Chan: Trinity land deal a non-issue

KUALA LUMPUR (July 18): Trinity Corp Bhd is perplexed by the fuss over the land-for-debt swap deal between the company and the Selangor government, which is the talk of the town of late.

Speaking to the press for the first time after allegations raised by MCA that the Selangor government was short-changed in recovering a RM391.98 million debt owed by Trinity, formerly known as Talam Corp Bhd, its non-independent non-executive director Tan Sri Chan Ah Chye dismissed it as a non-issue.

“The truth is contained in the circular and public document. If they care to read it, all these issues don’t even arise. It is the most transparent transaction that has ever happened. This transaction has gone through the scrutiny of the Securities Commission and Bursa Malaysia. It has also gone through our EGM. Everything is approved.

“If they want an answer, go and read our circular and prospectus. We don’t need to reply to something that is mere false accusation,” said Chan after the company AGM yesterday. He also said the state did not lose any money in the transaction as the land prices have appreciated.

(From left) Chan, Trinity Corp Bhd chairman Tsen Keng Yam and independent non-executive director Datuk Kamaruddin Mat Desa at the company AGM yesterday.

Quoting an example, Chan said the price of a piece of land in Bukit Beruntung which Talam had sold to the state for RM6 per sq ft (psf), has now doubled. “They are making a lot of money. If they think we have taken the state for a ride, give [me] back my land. I will arrange to take it back , you [the state] take back your money.

“Easily, Perbadanan Negeri Selangor Bhd has made over RM200 million. In fact, the industrial land with infrastructure is sold at RM25 to RM30 psf. “Unfortunately at that time, we had no money. It can’t be helped.

We had to settle the debt with land. If we can [keep the land] until now, we would make a lot of money. Many of our prized land [was] given to them. “The way it is portrayed [is] as if we are taking the state for a ride, which is totally false,” said an annoyed Chan, adding that the group has also sold land to its other creditors to pare down debt.

Moving forward, Trinity, which is left with 2,000 acres of the 16,000 acres of land it once owned, has some 10 projects in the pipeline which are expected to bring in revenue of over RM100 million in the next two years.

Chan said the group would complete all its stalled housing projects by the year-end before launching new joint-venture projects. “In fact, we are also finalising more JV projects with several other parties.

Basically, that is what we are concentrating on. When the time is suitable, we will do our own developments. “We have to get the confidence of the Housing and Local Government Ministry and the house buyers. We need a certain gestation period to prove to the public that we are in a position to deliver,” he said.

This article appeared in The Edge Financial Daily on July 18, 2012.

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