Leader to upgrade Cambodia IPP

BY David Tan iN Penang

LEADER Universal Holdings Bhd is considering upgrading its US$45mil independent power plant (IPP) in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, in the near future. 

Group managing director Datuk Kenneth H'ng Bak Tee told StarBiz the plant's power generator currently had the capacity to produce 35 megawatts of electricity. 

“The requirement of the city is actually 60 MW. This is why we are considering upgrading the plant. An initial investment for the upgrading exercise is expected to run up to US$15mil,” he said. 

Datuk Kenneth H'ng Bak Tee

H'ng said the group was taking into consideration factors such as the city's pace of growth before making a decision. 

The IPP, in operation since 1997, generated about RM120mil or around 10% of the group's annual turnover, he said. 

H'ng said the group now had a smaller board of directors since six of the 14 directors resigned. 

“So now we have eight directors,'' he said. “The move is to reduce cost and create more transparency by encouraging independent views from the independent non-executive directors.” 

“The move is to reduce cost and create more transparency by encouraging independent views from the independent non-executive directors,” he added. 

The group had also, since March, ceased its pewter manufacturing operations in Butterworth, he said. “We have also closed our showrooms and agent operations in Penang, Kuala Lumpur, Langkawi, Singapore, Japan, and Australia.” 

H'ng also said the group currently had four property projects on the island, undertaken by Dolphin Square Sdn Bhd, Leader Garden Sdn Bhd, Exogold Sdn Bhd, and Cogent Sdn Bhd. 

He added that the group's property segment contributed about 5% to the group's annual earnings. 

H'ng said the group had received several awards and certification from the International Trade and Industry Ministry for its cable and wiring products. 

“These are the Malaysian Brand Development and Malaysian Brand Name awards. The ministry also awarded us the Export Excellence Merchandise Certificate in February,” he said. 

For the fiscal year ended Dec 31, 2002, the group posted pre-tax profit of RM48.5mil, compared with RM18.9mil in 2001.  

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