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10th June 2014

Eco World: Liew is not a substantial shareholder

KUALA LUMPUR: Former head honcho of property giant S P Setia Bhd, Tan Sri Liew Kee Sin, should not be regarded as a substantial shareholder of Eco World Development Group Bhd (Eco World) in which his son is currently the largest shareholder with a 35.05% stake.

In a filing with Bursa Malaysia yesterday, Eco World said it had yesterday received Form 29C of the Companies Act, 1965 and a notice pursuant to Section 135 of the Act, clarifying that Liew does not have any interest in the company pursuant to Section 6A of the Act and should not be regarded as a substantial shareholder of the company.

“He is also not deemed interested in the 88.78 million ordinary shares in the company [Eco World] held by his son, Liew Tian Xiong pursuant to Section 134(12)(c) of the Act as, Liew Tian Xiong is a director of the company,” said Eco World.

Yesterday’s filing by Eco World served to rectify a previous announcement on May 8, in which it  had notified the interest of Liew as a director and substantial shareholder, with a deemed interest of 88.78 million shares or a 35.05% stake by virtue of Tian Xiong’s shareholding in the company.

The senior Liew, who stepped down as president and chief executive officer of S P Setia on April 30, was made non-independent and non-executive director of Eco World on May 5.

Meanwhile, a separate filing by Eco World yesterday also revealed that Eco World Holdings Sdn Bhd (EW Holdings), the private vehicle of Tan Sri Abdul Rashid Abdul Manaf and Datuk Eddie Leong, sold 25 million shares or a 9.87% stake in Eco World on May 30, to an undisclosed party/parties.

The disposal reduced EW Holdings’ stake to 20.14% from 30.01% previously. Both Abdul Rashid and Leong had served on the board of S P Setia and are deemed to be close to Liew.

At this juncture, Eco World’s largest shareholder is Tian Xiong with a 35.05% stake, followed by EW Holdings with 20.14% (after the disposal of 9.87% on May 30).

Nevertheless, Tian Xiong’s stake will be diluted following Eco World’s acquisition of two property development entities and the development rights of multiple projects from Eco World Development Sdn Bhd (EW Development) for a net total consideration of RM1.78 billion.

EW Development is owned by EW Holdings (85% owned by Abdul Rashid and 15% by Leong) and Sinarmas Harta Sdn Bhd (99% owned by Leong). Under the proposed asset injection exercise, EW Holdings and Sinarmas Harta would subscribe for new shares worth RM1.37 billion in Bursa-listed Eco World, in order to help the latter fund the RM1.78 billion acquisition.

The subscription of shares would result in EW Holdings and Sinarmas Harta eventually owning 31.9% and 25.6%, respectively, in Eco World, with Tian Xiong’s share diluted to 11.27%, after another round of placement of shares to third-party investors.

Expected to be completed within six months, the asset injection exercise would see Eco World’s landbank triple to 4,433 acres (1,793.97ha) from 1,326 acres currently, and its total gross development value increase to RM43.5 billion from RM13.5 billion.

This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on June 5, 2014.

By Siow Chen Ming
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