Liew to continue to spearhead Battersea project

KUALA LUMPUR: S P Setia Bhd head Tan Sri Liew Kee Sin will continue to spearhead the redevelopment of the £8 billion (RM43.9 billion) Battersea Power Station in London despite his departure from the property group in April this year, said Sime Darby Bhd president and group chief executive Tan Sri Mohd Bakke Salleh.

Liew, who has been instrumental in leading the Malaysian consortium to acquire the Battersea Power Station — the site Chelsea Football Club had wanted for a new stadium — is also chairman of Battersea Power Station Development Co Ltd (BPSDCL), the development manager for the project.

“Tan Sri Liew has announced that he will stay on [as chairman of BPSDCL] until September 2015 … I am confident that he will continue to hold the post beyond that date,” Mohd Bakke said during a media briefing on Sime Darby’s results last Friday.

“The Battersea power station redevelopment will continue with its present operations and Liew will [continue to] anchor it and play his role in the development company [BPSDCL].”

The Battersea Power Station is being redeveloped by a consortium comprising S P Setia (40%), Sime Darby (40%) and the Employees’ Provident Fund (20%).

Liew, who is S P Setia president and chief executive officer, will resign from his position effective April 30, this year.

Meanwhile, Mohd Bakke said the second phase of the Battersea project is expected to be launched on May 1, which will feature 254 apartments ranging from studio to five-bedroom penthouses.

Sime Darby reported a 15.5% increase in net profit for its second quarter ended Dec 31, 2013 (2QFY14) to RM818.31 million from RM708.53 million a year ago, mainly due to reduced taxes. It paid 47.8% less taxes during the quarter under review. Revenue for 2QFY14 was 3% lower at RM10.88 billion against RM11.25 billion a year earlier.

For the six months ended Dec 31, 2013, the group saw a 23% decline in net profit to RM1.3 billion from RM1.69 billion a year ago. Revenue also fell to RM21.63 billion from RM22.99 billion previously.

Mohd Bakke says Sime Darby is on track to achieve its key performance indicator of RM2.8 billion in net profit for FY14.

The group announced an interim dividend of six sen per share for FY14, payable on May 9.

Mohd Bakke said Sime Darby is on track to achieve its key performance indicator of RM2.8 billion in net profit for FY14 as it is already half way there.

“The plantation segment, which has been the main contributor of about half of the group’s net profit, is expected to improve further with the increase in the average price of crude palm oil (CPO),” he said.

Mohd Bakke sees CPO prices touching the RM3,000 per tonne level in the second quarter of this year. Average CPO price realised in 2QFY14 was RM2,416 per tonne against RM2,331 per tonne a year ago.

However, he expects fresh fruit bunch production to fall by 2% to 10.14 million tonnes in FY14 due to the current drought parching Singapore and swaths of Malaysia and Indonesia. It was reported that the dry spell will persist into the first half of March.

This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on March 03, 2014.


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