Boustead Holdings on track to reduce gearing to 0.9 times

Media briefing by Chairman, YBhg Tan Sri Dato' Seri Lodin Wok Kamarudin after the Pharmaniaga Bhd AGM.

KUALA LUMPUR: Boustead Holdings Bhd (BHB) is on track to pare down debt and reduce its gearing to 0.9 times from 1.1 times by end-2016, said deputy chairman and group managing director Tan Sri Lodin Wok Kamaruddin.

Lodin said BHB was in the process of disposing some of its non-core assets to unlock value and generate cash to substantially settle its debts, and the approval to dispose Jendela Hikmat Sdn Bhd (JHSB) at an EGM in Kuala Lumpur on Friday, marked the conglomerate’s first divestment exercise this year.

Up to 99% of shareholders voted to approved BHB’s plan to divest 30% of its stake in JHSB at the EGM, he said.

“The disposal (stake in JHSB) will enable the group to realise a net gain on disposal of about RM198.4mil, as well as recover RM119mil in advances given to the company.

“Next, would be the disposal of a plantation landbank in Kulai, Johor, and possibly other non-core landbanks and assets, including two more chemical tankers that currently being built,” he told reporters after the EGM.

The disposal of the 30% equity interest held in JHSB, was to Cascara Sdn Bhd for a cash consideration of RM180mil.

“The sale consideration of RM180mil represents a premium of about 201.7% over the adjusted effective net asset of JHSB,” Lodin said.

He said the disposal of JHSB allowed the group to strengthen its liquidity and cash flow position by raising total gross cash proceeds of about RM299mil, inclusive of the shareholder’s advance, which will be utilised for working capital by the property division.

“Cash from the JHSB sale would be used to part finance construction of the MyTOWN Shopping Centre along Jalan Cochrane, in Kuala Lumpur, and a 25-storey office block, the Nucleus Tower in Mutiara Damansara,” he added.

Boustead’s original investment in JHSB shares nearly 10 years ago was reported at RM12.6mil.

Lodin reiterated that the conglomerate was expected to raise RM1.5bil from assets sales, divestment and rights issue in its effort to strengthen the balance sheet for the financial year ending Dec 31, 2016.

The proposed rights issue alone is expected to raise over RM1bil for the group. - Bernama

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