Malaysia Pacific Corp Bhd's (MPC) chief executive officer Bill Ch'ng said he plans to increase his 48.4 per cent shareholding in the main board-listed property company.
Chn'ng, MPC's largest shareholder and a prominent business figure in the 1980s, plans to start buying shares in the open market sometime in December, he told reporters in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.
He had made a general offer in September last year for the shares he did not own, but there were few takers as the offer price of 10 sen a share was too low.
“No one wanted to offer to sell to us. Because of that, under the rules, we cannot start to buy any more shares in the market until the expiry of one year. So sometime in December it expires … we want to buy more,” he said on the sidelines of a seminar on “The Iskandar Development Region: Investment, Opportunities, Incentives, Synergies and Regulatory Framework”.
He said he would raise his shareholding in the company to above 50 per cent, but has no plans to take it private.
“No, but I do see the great potential of the company in terms of the underlying set value,” he remarked.
MPC, which returned to the black in the last fiscal year, is also looking to diversify its business.
“We are looking into areas of timber, plantation and mining. Today, everyone is keen about oil and gas as well, so let's see,” he said, adding that property would however continue to be one of the group's core businesses.
He aims to get into the new businesses via acquisitions or joint ventures.
MPC has received “three or four proposals” from both foreign and local companies who were keen to buy its Wisma MPL property in Jalan Raja Chulan, Kuala Lumpur either as a direct purchase or through a joint venture (JV) with it. He hopes to make a decision by year-end.
“We are now considering whether to sell or do a JV because I have to unlock value for the shareholders. Our target price is RM250 million,” he said.
Wisma MPL is a freehold office cum shopping complex.
MPC's main property development project – Lakehill Resort and City – is located in the Iskandar Development Region (Nusa Damai) and with a gross development value of RM6 billion. It is expected to keep the company busy over the next eight years.
MPC made a net profit of RM25.4 million for the year ended June 30 2006 compared with a net loss of RM81.4 million previously. Its share price, which have been on an uptrend since October, fell 3.5 sen to 58 sen yesterday.
Ch'ng, who was the pioneer architect/planner and one of the founding shareholders of the Genting Highland Casino Hill Resort between 1965 and 1972, was named one of the 50 top corporate CEO's by Business Weekly International in 1989.
He resided in Hong Kong for 21 years from 1984, returning home in 2005 to become involved in MPC. He and his family acquired majority control of the company in December 2006.