IOI's Lee set to be nation's 3rd richest

This is written by my colleague Lim Cian Yai.

PUTRAJAYA: MALAYSIA'S sixth richest man, Tan Sri Lee Shin Cheng will be the biggest winner upon the relisting of IOI Corp Bhd's unit, IOI Properties Bhd.

With a stake of 45.77 per cent, Lee is currently the single largest shareholder in the plantation and property conglomerate IOI Corp.

From a wealth creation perspective, the deal will generate billions of ringgit for Lee and his family.

According to Forbes magazine, Lee has a net worth of US$4.5 billion (RM13.4 billion) as of March 2013. 

Based on the current RM18.6 billion market value of IOI Properties, it could bring in an additional RM8.55 billion (about US$2.85 billion) for Lee, bringing his net worth to about US$7.36 billion.

Likewise, Lee will also surpass Tan Sri Lim Kok Thay of Genting Group (net worth of US$6.6 billion) and emerge as the third richest person in Malaysia.

IOI Corp privatised IOI Properties in 2009 in a deal valued at RM1.3 billion. Upon the relisting, the property unit's asset value will balloon to RM14.6 million, a huge jump of 1,076 per cent.

"We privatised IOI Properties in 2009. At that time, the price was too low and that's why we privatised it. And now that it has matured, we are going to demerge and relist it." 

Lee disagreed that the privatisation and relisting are tricks of tycoons to make personal gains. "This is not true at all. We are relisting to enhance the value for shareholders. I am working very hard for the shareholders, not for myself."

Upon the relisting exercise, Lee will control 46.19 per cent of the shareholding in the new entity, IOI Properties Group Sdn Bhd, maintaining the company in the Lee family's tight grip.

IOI Properties' image has gradually changed since it ventured into the Singapore and China markets. From a township developer, it has transformed into a high-end condominium and commercial property developer. 

So far, its overseas projects have received encouraging response from buyers, especially the Cityscape and Jalan Lempeng projects in Singapore.

"The project in Xiamen, China, will be launched soon. Once it is launched, you can collect 100 per cent payment from the purchasers," Lee said yesterday.

While contribution from Xiamen will begin to come on stream, earnings for the next three financial years are anticipated to spike.