Malaysian utilities company YTL Corp and global investment bank Lehman Brothers are to jointly develop a US$81m hotel project on the resort island of Koh Samui, Thailand.

The project will comprise an 80-room hotel, 26 villas and 90 apartments and will be built in 30 months following approval for designs, which would take about a year, YTL told Reuters.

YTL managing director Francis Yeoh says Asia has not yet realised its potential.

“While the Mediterranean and the Caribbean took 25 years to realise their full potential, we foresee Southeast Asia will take only ten to 15 years to realise this,” he says.

YTL recently made its third acquisition in two years in neighbouring Singapore when it won a tender for 50 high-end apartments for $302m.

George McDonald