Low family raises stake in Ho Hup Construction

KUALA LUMPUR: The Low siblings — Datuk Low Tuck Choy, Low Teik Kien and Low Lai Yoong — have increased their stake in Ho Hup Construction Company Bhd to 22.96% through their family investment vehicle, Low Chee & Sons Sdn Bhd.

A filing with Bursa Malaysia yesterday showed that Low Chee & Sons had picked up the additional stake via two tranches of 1,400 shares and 13,200 shares on April 9 and 10 respectively.  

Low Tuck Choy, Low Teik Kien and Low Lai Yoong are the children of Ho Hup’s late founder, Low Chee.  

They have not increased their stake in Ho Hup since 2008, when it stood at 21.92%. It was only in March this year that Low Chee &

Sons started to actively accumulate shares in Ho Hup.  Within a month, the company had accumulated an additional 1.04% equity interest in Ho Hup.

The family’s sudden interest in the company has led market observers to believe that the family is accumulating more shares in anticipation of Ho Hup’s exit from its Practice Note 17 (PN17) status.

Last year, the construction company ended a two-year dispute with Malton Bhd unit, Pioneer Haven Sdn Bhd (PHSB). This led to Ho

Hup’s 70% owned subsidiary, Bukit Jalil Development Sdn Bhd (BJD), regaining sole development rights to a 10-acre tract out of 60 acres of prime land in Bukit Jalil.

The remaining 50 acres will be jointly developed by Ho Hup and Malton.  The two developments in Bukit Jalil are seen as the catalyst for the revival of Ho Hup.

The settlement also saw BJD increasing its estimated gross development value (GDV) entitlement of the joint venture land from 17% to 18%.

This enabled Ho Hup to settle a RM75 million secured loan due to Insas Credit & Leasing Sdn Bhd this year, when PHSB advanced part of the 18% GDV entitlement for that purpose.

PHSB paid a sum of RM75.76 million on Dec 28, 2012, comprising the principal sum of RM75 million and interest, being the full settlement of the redemption sum to Insas on behalf of Ho Hup and BJD.

The settlement represented a major step forward for Ho Hup in regularising its financial position and exiting the PN17 list.
Ho Hup closed at 66 sen yesterday, down 2.94% from the previous trading day.

This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on April 17, 2013.

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