SINGAPORE: Haw Par Corp Ltd, best known for its Tiger Balm ointments, reported a 42.8% drop in 2002 net profit yesterday, but forecast a better year ahead and said it would take its healthcare unit private.
The pharmaceutical and leisure group said its profit tumbled after a S$30.5mil write-down on its investment in Camerlin BVI, the holding company of Malaysian businessman Quek Leng Chan's listed Camerlin Group.
Haw Par, which is 10% owned by United Overseas Bank (UOB), said its net profit fell to S$18.13mil for 2002 from S$31.7mil a year earlier on a 16.7% drop in revenue to S$105.1mil.
The company said it planned to buy all the outstanding shares in Haw Par Healthcare Ltd, which produces Tiger Balm, nutritional supplements and other healthcare products, for S$2.45 cash each. Haw Par already owns 77.4% of the healthcare unit, whose net profit edged up 1.5% last year to S$12.88mil.
It said Haw Par Healthcare would continue to expand its product offerings in key markets.
”Looking ahead, because the provision is non-recurrent, you can reasonably expect that earnings will be sharply up this year,” Haw Par's president and chief executive Hong Hai told reporters.
Wee Ee Lim, son of UOB chairman Wee Cho Yaw, will become acting president and chief executive of Haw Par from April 1 after Hong retires.Haw Par owns four percent of UOB.
Hong said the firm would borrow funds to finance the privatisation of its healthcare unit and that there was no need to sell its 4% stake in UOB. – Reuters
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