TYCOON Robert Kuok has bought a controlling interest in Transmile Group Bhd via an off-market deal. Sources said a company owned by the Kuok family bought 45.2 million shares or 28.5% of the air transport services firm yesterday.
MESB data showed that such a transaction was made at RM6.25 per share in the afternoon. However, the exchange was not informed of the identity of the buyer or the seller of the shares.
According to Transmile's latest annual report, its chief executive officer Gan Boon Aun and director Khiudin Mohd are the largest shareholders in the company, with a stake of 21.67% and 13.93% respectively.
The acquisition of the Transmile stake will enable the Kuok family to control another Malaysian transport services company besides Malaysian Bulk Carriers Bhd, which was listed last December.
The Kuok family has had strong interests in the transportation and logistics business for decades. It has a presence in most parts of Asia.
The family owns Singapore-based shipping company Pacific Carriers Ltd and Hong Kong-based Kerry Logistics. The latter's core activities encompass contract logistics, distribution centres, and international air and sea freight forwarding.
Analysts see Transmile, which operates intra-Asia air cargo services, as a good fit with the Kuok family's logistics business in the region. DHL Worldwide is one of the company's largest customers.
The recently signed air services agreement between Malaysia and Hong Kong, which removes restrictions on the number of flights that can be operated between the two destinations, is likely to benefit Transmile, analysts say.
The agreement will enable Transmile to use Hong Kong as a hub to launch trans-Pacific freighter services to Los Angeles, the United States.
For the financial year ended last Dec 31, Transmile posted a 50% jump in pre-tax profit to RM65.5mil, from RM43.5mil a year earlier, on higher revenue of RM289.2mil.