In an exclusive interview Boustead Holdings Bhd group MD Tan Sri Lodin Wok Kamaruddin talks to StarBiz journalist Elaine Ang on the happenings in the group.
StarBiz: How is the group expected to perform this year?
Tan Sri Lodin Wok Kamaruddin: We will announce the nine months' financial results soon, and indications look quite positive.
We have a lot at stake, not only as employees of Boustead, but also as shareholders of the group through our employees’ share option scheme, so we really have to work very hard to make sure the group does well.
This will also benefit all stakeholders of the group.
StarBiz: What is the progress on Affin Holdings Bhd’s joint proposed acquisition of the life insurance business of Tahan Insurance Malaysia Bhd with AXA Asia Pacific Holdings Ltd?
Lodin: That is progressing well. It will form the non-banking activity of Affin Holdings.
Ultimately, we will have on one side, the banking group and on the other side, the non-banking group, which is the insurance business.
This will complete the rationalisation and consolidation of our investments in the financial services grouping.
StarBiz: Are there any plans to list Boustead Petroleum Sdn Bhd?
Lodin: There are no plans to list Boustead Petroleum yet as we just took over the operations. We will have to review the situation first.
StarBiz: How is the group’s property arm, Boustead Properties Bhd, holding up with the slight softening of the property market?
Lodin: We are quite happy with the progress of the property division, especially Mutiara Damansara.
The prices of properties there have gone up almost 100% in the last two to three years. We also have pockets of land in the Klang Valley that we can develop into condominiums. We are in the process of coming up with development plans. We have a big piece of land in Semenyih where we have sold 100 acres to the University of Nottingham, in which we have a 66% interest. We hope the opening of the university will be a catalyst for further development of our 1,200 acres of land there. We have sufficient land bank to last us for at least the next 10 years.
StarBiz: Are there any plans to start a real estate investment trust (REIT) with the group’s properties?
Lodin: We are not discounting it. We announced earlier this year our proposal to issue Sukuk bonds and we want to complete this exercise first before looking at REITs. The group has some properties that will be able to give pretty good yields – The Curve, Menara Boustead, Royale Bintang and Menara Affin.
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