Yeoh Soo Ann is lifting Encorp to greater heights in the post-Effendi era

  • Business
  • Saturday, 15 Mar 2014

SUCCESS comes to people who made good of challenging situations. There are many examples of Malaysians who have achieved this feat and Yeoh Soo Ann, the group chief executive officer of Encorp Bhd, is one of them.

Yeoh is well known in corporate circles for his role in turning around loss-making GW Plastics Holdings Bhd and later disposing the company’s core packaging concern to competitor Scientex Bhd for RM283.2mil in 2013.

Shareholders made a pile from the entire exercise. In the process, Yeoh carved out a name for himself.

An accountant by profession, Yeoh had stints in various public accounting firms in the United Kingdom and Malaysia for more than 12 years, before moving into the corporate sector.

Yeoh joined the board of Encorp as group chief executive officer and non-independent executive director in October 2011.

In July last year, Yeoh together with Encorp chief operating officer Mohd Ibrahim Masrukin undertook a management buyout (MBO) of Encorp by buying over Lavista Sdn Bhd, a private vehicle of former Encorp executive chairman Datuk Seri Effendi Norwawi, that owned a 30.55% stake in the company.

The current management team has been with Encorp since the company’s inception in 1997. The MBO allowed Effendi to pursue other personal interests.

Under Yeoh’s stewardship, Encorp saw its net profit surged three-fold for the financial year ended Dec 31, 2013 to RM95.6mil from RM29.7mil a year ago.

In response to questions posed by StarBizWeek, Encorp said the exemplary performance was mainly due to higher sales, progress of works achieved and also from the revaluation of certain assets in compliance with the accounting guidelines on the company’s investment properties.

“Prospects for the group remain bullish especially with the company’s first venture into mall development and management,” it added.

Encorp expects to continue on its growth trend and sustain its revenue growth this year from progress billings generated from the lock-in sales of RM727.5mil comprising the projects of Encorp Marina Puteri Harbour in Nusajaya, Encorp Cahaya Alam in Shah Alam and Encorp Strand Residence in Kota Damansara.

After last July’s shareholding change, Encorp is in the limelight once again with market talk that Felda Investment Corp (FIC), the business arm of Felda, is keen to buy a 20% stake in the company.

Yeoh had earlier denied that Encorp was disposing its only shopping centre asset, Encorp Strand Mall in Kota Damansara, and that an interested party had offered RM400mil to buy the mall.

He said the company was keeping the shopping centre for future recurring income.

“The Encorp Strand Mall is projected to strengthen the group’s financial performance for the financial year ending 2014,” Yeoh said.

The mall exemplifies Encorp’s impressive steady track record growing from strength-to-strength building its portfolio in property development and construction, he added.

Contrary to the speculation of the sale of the mall, he said preparations were going full swing for the mall’s grand opening next month.

The shopping mall with 435,000 sq ft in net-rentable space is part of the RM1.4bil Encorp Strand development that also include 265 business suites, a 500 ft-long covered boulevard Red Carpet Avenue, 14 blocks of self-contained garden offices and 278 serviced residences built on top of the mall.

Yeoh said the mall will serve to complement the needs of over 1.8 million of the surrounding population. Among its anchor tenants are TGV Cinema, CHI Fitness and a premium supermarket operator.

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