MD: LG to focus on core business

Mike Krishnan

Land & General Bhd (L&G), which is finalising its seven-year restructuring programme, will stick to its core business of property development even after it clears off its debts, said managing director Mike Krishnan. 

He said after the company's EGM in Sri Damansara, Selangor, yesterday, that L&G had obtained the approvals of the Securities Commission (SC) and creditors for the exercise, and would call for a shareholders’ meeting next month once the KLSE gave the green light for its proposed shareholders circular. 

Under the proposed composite debt restructuring exercise announced last year, L&G would be given seven years to settle its debtsvia a series of non-core asset disposals. 

It initially had over RM600mil in debts but managed to pare it to about RM450mil after the disposal of its shareholding in Bumi Armada Bhd for RM207mil late last year. 

To date, L&G has disposed of its entire equity interests in Armada Tankers Sdn Bhd, Cakara Alam (PNG) Ltd (held through subsidiary Overseas & General Ltd), and Perlis Consolidated Sdn Bhd. 

In the process of sale are Industrial Resins (M) Bhd and Kinley Trading Ltd, which would ultimately lead to the disposal of PT Wapoga Mutiaria Industries of Indonesia. 

Krishnan said L&G would be in much better financial shape after completing the asset disposals, and come out with a clean sheet as a sole property development company. 

Currently, apart from property development, L&G also has investments in education, timber, and oil and gas operations. 

Meanwhile, L&G chairman Datuk Oh Chong Peng declined to say if the group would post operating profits in the current year to Dec 31, 2003, but said it was banking on more property sales this year. 

Oh said L&G would launch close to 500 townhouses and condominium units in Bandar Sri Damansara this year. 

The group would remain focused on Bandar Sri Damansara in the medium term, with its 4,800-acre Lembah Beringin township as the longer-term development project, he added. 

Oh said L&G would resume work on the abandoned Lembah Beringin housing and mixed development project, which stalled because of cashflow problems in 1997 following the Asian financial crisis. “We are certainly doing some work in Lembah Beringin, and there will be some announcements in the coming months.” 

The group may also dispose of some parcels of land in Lembah Beringin, if the opportunity arose, Oh added. 

He said although it was designated to be a large and well-planned township, it was not necessary for L&G to bring in partners to develop the area now that it was able to stand on its own feet. 

“But we are always open to ideas, including joint ventures,” he added. 

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