16 GOH PENG OOI
Flagship: Silverlake Axis
Net worth: RM2.85bil
GOH, 63, is Malaysia’s first tech billionaire courtesy of his 64.4% stake in banking software provider Silverlake Axis. Founded in 1989, Silverlake Axis has built a track record of successful banking implementations.
Over 40% of the 20 largest banks in South-East Asia run Silverlake Axis’ core banking solution, and today that solution is the core system platform partner of choice for three of the five largest Asean regional financial institutions.
At the end of 2016, Silverlake had a market capitalisation of S$1.43bil and a share price of 53 sen a share. But 2016 was a period of good news for Goh who was embroiled in controversy the year before. Early last year, Goh finally got vindication from an independently-commission report by Deloitte Singapore that cleared Silverlake Axis of impropriety.
The Singapore-listed company had engaged Deloitte’s services following damaging allegations made in an anonymous online report titled “The Unbelievable Financial Alchemy of Silverlake Axis” on Aug 20, 2015, it was reported in January last year.
It was reported that a 42-page anonymous report authored by a “razor99” alleged foul play in certain interested-party transactions entered into between Silverlake and private companies controlled by Goh, and three acquisitions made by the group.
The report caused the share price of Silverlake Axis to plunge the next day and by Aug 26 of that year, Goh’s wealth through Silverlake Axis had been reduced by 43% of RM2.75bil.
The fallout in the company’s share price soon dissipated and with Silverlake’s share price stabilised, the company soon got on with concentrating on growing its business.
In November last year, Silverlake announced that its revenue declined by 3% RM126.7mil during the first quarter of its financial year. It, however, said recurring revenue from its business activity, maintenance and enhancement services, continued its strong growth with additional contracts secured in Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand as well as contributions from Symmetri Group.
Goh’s company expects the current cautious business outlook in the region to continue into early 2017.
17 TAN SRI DR CHEN LIP KEONG
Flagship: Various companies
Net worth: RM2.8bil
DR CHEN, 70, who is a trained medical doctor, made his wealth through the gaming and tourism business. In 2016, he saw a marginal dip in his wealth but that did not deter him from making a general offer for two of the companies on Bursa Malaysia that is controlled by him.
In May 2016, he made an offer to take private Karambunai and Petaling Tin private from the stock exchange, a move that would have cost him RM166mil. There was tepid response as only 4% and 16% of shareholders of Karambunai and Petaling Tin accepted the offer.
But the two listed companies have a small market capitalisation of RM289mil and RM83mil respectively. The other company that he controls on Bursa is FACB Industries Inc Bhd, which had a market capitalisation of RM92mil. FACB is a manufacturer of mattresses and steel fittings.
Karambunai is involved in the tourism industry in Sabah and property development in Malaysia. It owns 1,300 acres near Putrajaya and the Kuala Lumpur International Airport. Petaling Tin is involved in property development.
But Dr Chen’s flagship company is NagaCorp Ltd, the largest hotel, gaming and leisure operator in Cambodia. NagaCorp became the first company with operations in Cambodia to become a public-listed company on the Hong Kong, as well as the first gaming-related company traded.
NagaCorp-owned NagaWorld is the only casino-hotel entertainment complex in Phnom Penh and enjoys a 70-year concession on its licence that runs until 2065. The 41-year monopoly of its licence will also see it have a casino monopoly within 200km of Phnom Penh until 2025.
18 TAN SRI DESMOND LIM SIEW CHOON
Flagship: Pavilion and Malton
Net worth: RM2.71bil
LIM, 57, is the controlling shareholder of the successful Pavilion shopping malls and property developer Malton Bhd . In 2016, Lim saw his net worth jump substantially by 41.2% to RM2.71bil as he not only bolstered by the Pavilion brand but he bought a controlling 19.5% stake in engineering and property developer WCT Holdings Bhd .
Lim has a 35.3% stake in Malton and a 37.4% equity in Pavilion Reits, the latter accounting for a big chunk of his wealth as the market capitalisation of Pavilion at the end of last year was RM5.74bil compared with RM298mil for Malton.
It is through Pavilion that Lim stands to benefit more from as the mall operator has been on an expansion drive. It has acquired Da: Men Mall and Intermark Mall which allows Pavilion to stand in good stead to see a 8% to 10% jump in revenue.
But there is no word whether Pavilion Reit will be acquiring Pavilion Bukit Jalil or Pavilion Damansara Heights, both of which are owned by Lim. The other sweetner is the acquisition of WCT, which the market believes Lim has grand plans for.
WCT owns three shopping malls, namely, Aeon Bukit Tinggi Shopping Centre in Klang, Paradigm Mall in Petaling Jaya and the integrated complex gateway@klia2 in Sepang. It also boasts a property development portfolio that goes along with the construction business the company was founded on.
Lim paid RM2.50 a share to take a controlling stake in WCT, a healthy premium over its market price of RM1.75 a share at the time of purchase. That acquisition price remains a premium but WCT’s share price has been steadily moving upwards indicating that the market feels the counter has some promise.
19 TAN SRI VINCENT TAN
Flagship: Berjaya Group
Net worth: RM2.6bil
TAN saw a dip of 18.2% in his net worth in 2016 but that did not deter the tycoon from doing what he does best, which is making deals.
In 2016, Tan sold the McDonald’s franchise, consisting of 390 outlets in Malaysia and Singapore, to Saudi Arabia’s Lionhorn Pte Ltd for US$400mil. More than 80% of those 390 restaurants were owned by McDonalds Malaysia. The McDonalds franchise has been a prized possession for Tan as it was one of his first successful business ventures.
But Tan has maintained that everything can be sold for the right price and throughout his career, that has been a hallmark of his business empire.
Last year, Tan sold 299.4 million shares in Berjaya Land to Berjaya Corp , and on a personal level, sold a 10.5% stake in the Store Corp. That year, he also sold a 4.5% stake in 7-Eleven Malaysia Holdings Bhd .
During the year, the share price of MOL fell 78% to US 15 cents from US 69 cents.
Despite the gyrations in the value of his shareholdings, Tan seems re-energised in his business career after seemingly signalling he was going to take a lesser role in the running of his business empire.
During a trip to Kyoto, Japan to open the Four Seasons Hotel and Hotel Residences, Tan spoke about the potential of some of his businesses. He seemed passionate about the prospects of the Berjaya Corp’s lottery business in Vietnam.
According to a report, the unit, which has an 18-year exclusive right to operate a computerised lottery in Vietnam, has seen its sales revenue increased 4.6 times in less than two months. Its revenue as of Nov 20 was US$32.1mil.
“Sales have far surpassed our expectations. We only launched one jackpot. We are going to launch 10 to 12 games and it is going to be fantastic,” he said in a report recently.
Tan also feels that his fledgling lottery business in Vietnam can become much bigger than the cash cow of his business empire, which is Berjaya Sports Toto Bhd . He says the complexity of his business group prevents many from analysing accurately the different types of businesses within the group
“But not many people understand it. We are pretty relaxed (about it),” says Tan about the lack of awareness about the potential of the lottery business in Vietnam.
One company that might add to the value of Tan’s wealth is that of mobile phone operator U-Mobile. It is thought that U-Mobile might be ready for a listing on Bursa Malaysia this year and depending on the valuations it can fetch, such a listing might very well increase the wealth of Tan for next year’s instalment of the richest Malaysians.
20 TAN SRI LIM WEE CHAI
Flagship: Top Glove Corp Bhd
Net worth: RM2.5bil
LIM’S wealth on the list of richest Malaysians is pretty straight forward and lean. It is through a 36.9% shareholding in Top Glove that Lim owns most of his wealth as the company is the world’s largest manufacturer and distributor of rubber gloves.
The group has 27 manufacturing facilities throughout Malaysia, Thailand and China with 484 production lines producing around 45 billion gloves per annum. Given its size and scale, Top Glove, which had a market capitalisation of RM8.51bil as of end-2016, has about 2,000 customers in over 195 countries around the world.
But the volatility in the global currencies, especially the ringgit and the US dollar, has a big influence on the share price of the stock. The weaker ringgit and a stronger dollar have been a boon for Top Glove as over 90% of its revenue is in US dollars.
But in 2016, Top Glove’s share price dropped 21% from RM6.80 to RM5.35, trimming Lim’s wealth by 22.7%. This year the stock has been trending upward from a low of RM4.20 as opinions over the counter are still mixed.
While the stronger dollar will help with the company’s earnings, on the flipside, Top Glove is susceptible to rising operating costs. The price of rubber is on an uptrend owing to a shortage in supply coupled with higher demand for rubber globally.
Such a challenge for Lim is not new as the rubber glove stalwart has seen the ups and downs in the price of natural rubber.
“The group is expanding rapidly as the demand for gloves, globally, is still very good and consistently increasing. But we have to continue to focus on quality and costing to sustain our business as the industry is very competitive,” he said in a report recently.