Eco World’s share price reaches record high

KUALA LUMPUR: Eco World Development Group Bhd’s share price closed at a record high yesterday, following the sale by Tan Sri Liew Kee Sin (pic) of his remaining 67.79 million shares, or 2.75% stake, in S P Setia Bhd.

Eco World, which many said will be Liew’s next destination after his last day at S P Setia on April 30, gained 15 sen or 2.9% yesterday to close at a new one-year high of RM5.35, from its previous high of RM5.26 on April 11.

The counter was the third biggest gainer on Bursa Malaysia, with 1.43 million shares changing hands. Eco World shares rose right after the opening bell, touching an intra-day high of RM5.46 in the morning session. At its close of RM5.35 yesterday, Eco World’s market capitalisation stood at RM1.36 billion.

S P Setia’s share price, on the other hand, was relatively flat and closed two sen higher at RM2.93 yesterday. The counter traded at its highest level of RM2.94 and averaged RM2.92 throughout the day. Its recent high was on Dec 19 last year when the shares closed at RM3.06.

Liew sold his last block of shares in S P Setia ahead of his April 30 exit from the company, which he co-founded in 1974. The 2.75% block was traded off market at RM3.95 per share, RM1.03 above the closing market price of RM2.92 on Tuesday.

S P Setia, in an email response to The Edge Financial Daily, confirmed that Liew had exercised his put option to sell the stake to majority shareholder Permodalan Nasional Bhd (PNB). A filing with Bursa Malaysia yesterday also showed Liew had sold the shares to PNB.

Speculation is that Liew, who announced his resignation as S P Setia president and chief executive officer in January, will join his son, Liew Tian Xiong, at Eco World after his resignation takes effect on April 30. Tian Xiong is a director and major shareholder of Eco World with a 35.05% stake.

While there may be some leadership uncertainty in S P Setia after Liew’s departure, there have been reports that PNB may be looking at injecting properties owned by its subsidiaries, such as Sime Darby Property Bhd and I & P Bhd, into S P Setia.

Eco World

Despite his departure from S P Setia, Liew will remain chairman of Battersea Project Holding Co Ltd (BPHC) until September 2015. BHPC is owned by S P Setia, Sime Darby Bhd and the Employees Provident Fund in a 40:40:20 ratio. The consortium is spearheading the £8 billion (RM43.88 billion) redevelopment of the Battersea power station site in London.

Liew will also continue as managing director of Qinzhou Development (M) Consortium Sdn Bhd, which is developing the China-Malaysia Qinzhou Industrial Park.

This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on April 24, 2014.


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