Developer to diversify portfolio with plans for top-end residential properties Henderson Land Development is poised to diversify into Macau's property market by developing more than seven luxury residential projects. The firm was expected to team up with local partners but details had not been finalised, vice-chairman Colin Lam Ko-yin said. Mr Lam would not comment on size and location, but said: 'We will not invest in the gambling business.' He said the move reflected the firm's confidence in Macau's improving economy and its prospects contrasted with a diminishing profit margin in the Hong Kong market. 'We are just diversifying our investment portfolio ... and the [initial] profits for Macau's residential project may even be lower than the projects in Hong Kong, considering Macau's current population and its small size,' Mr Lam said. The developer lost the public tender of MTR Corp's Tseung Kwan O Area 86 project to Cheung Kong (Holdings) earlier this week. 'The profit margin [of the Tseung Kwan O project] is very low already, but still, we lost it. [While MTR asked for a minimum profit sharing ratio of 60 per cent], the developers are merely a constructor to the project,' Mr Lam said. Analysts reckoned Cheung Kong proposed to share more than 70 per cent of the profit from the Tseung Kwan O project with MTR and would earn only about $700 million in developing the 1.5 million square foot project - at the market price of about $4,000 per square foot. Mr Lam said the firm would submit an expression of interest in Kowloon-Canton Railway Corp's 1.81 million sqft residential project, for which the deadline is today. But he said the firm was not expected to place an aggressive bid as it had a large agricultural land bank, amounting to about 22 million sqft, according to the firm's latest annual report. Mr Lam said the land premium the government wanted for converting agricultural land into residential projects had increased significantly, and the negotiation process had been slow. He said the firm's premium offered to convert a number of agricultural sites into residential was still 20 to 30 per cent smaller than the government's expectations. 'Converting a large piece of agricultural land is very difficult nowadays,' Mr Lam said.