IN a year in which tycoons and their businesses faced headwinds both locally and globally, fortunes were made and lost by the nation’s wealthiest.
From currency shocks, commodity price fluctuations and a property glut right down to an overall decline in business sentiment, some were able to capitalise on these events, while others saw their fortunes taking a hit.
The biggest increase in wealth was made by 56-year-old Datuk Koon Poh Keong of Press Metal Bhd. Shares of the aluminium producer surged more than 100% last year, propelling him 18 rungs to No. 14 on our list of Malaysia’s 40 richest. His worth, solely based on his family’s controlling stake in Press Metal, is estimated at RM3.71bil.
Press Metal’s share price spike was even more notable considering that the market’s main barometer, the FBM KLCI, closed 3% down to 1,641.73 points on Dec 31, 2016 on a year-on-year basis.
The other new entrant is Gooi Seong Lim and his brothers, who have interests in Crescendo Corp Bhd and Kim Loong Resources Bhd. The two newcomers edge out JCY International Bhd’s controlling shareholder Yong Yoon Kiong and Tan Sri Surin Upatkoon, whose flagship is Multi-Purpose Holdings Bhd.
Malaysia’s richest person remains Robert Kuok with a net worth of RM36.7bil, while Genting Group’s Tan Sri Lim Kok Thay is second on the list with RM22.2bil.
The net worth of the tycoons was computed based on their stakes in listed companies. Stakes in private companies were not computed.
The benchmark used was the closing share prices as at Dec 31, 2016.
The total wealth did not take into account the person’s borrowings or funding cost of their investments in the listed companies as such information is not disclosed.
It is assumed that the shareholding of the person could have included or is combined with family members such as spouses, children or close relatives and partners.
The wealth is computed based on the person’s effective equity interest in the primary or holding listed companies. Listed subsidiaries or associates are not computed to avoid the double-counting of the person’s wealth.
In 2016, the combined wealth of the 40 richest Malaysians stood at RM235.68bil, about 6% higher than RM222.87bil in 2015.
In 2014, their combined wealth stood at RM222.8bil, while a year before that the figure was at RM216.33bil.
It does seem that things are looking up for corporate Malaysia after a year of flattish wealth growth.
SPOTLIGHT ON NO. 21-25
KIAN CHONG, 40, is the grandson of the late Tan Sri Loh Boon Siew, who in his lifetime was the richest man in Penang.
Kian Chong is the executive director of the Penang-based conglomerate, Oriental Holdings Bhd, and had a net worth of RM2.424bil in 2016.
But his net worth was higher at RM2.461bil in 2015, although he occupied the 22nd spot.
This was led by the drop in the share price of Oriental Holdings from RM6.95 a share in 2015 to RM6.80 last year.
Kian Chong’s 57.5% deemed interest in Oriental Holdings is held via the family’s privately-owned companies – Boon Siew Sdn Bhd, Penang Yellow Bus Company Bhd, Bayview Hotel Sdn Bhd, Loh Boon Siew Holdings Sdn Bhd and Loh Kar Bee Holdings Sdn Bhd.
He is the son of Boon Siew’s eldest and only surviving son, Loh Kar Bee.
21 DATUK LOH KIAN CHONG
Flagship: Oriental Holdings Bhd
Net worth: RM2.4bil
The Oriental group, started by Boon Siew, famously known as “Mr Honda” by selling cars, has also expanded into investment holdings and financial services, hotels and resorts, property development, automobile and related products, plastics, healthcare and others.
Although Boon Siew was the first to bring the Honda brand into Malaysia, the group lost the sole distributorship of the Honda brands some years ago. Last June, the automotive business through the car assembly and automotive parts manufacturing unit, Oriental Assemblers Sdn Bhd, was sold to Berjaya Assets Bhd for RM32.5mil.
Oriental Holdings’ Kah Motor Sdn Bhd was the sole distributor of Honda cars until July 2001 when the franchise was taken over by DRB Oriental Honda Sdn Bhd. Kah Motor was made a dealer.
Kian Chong holds the reins of the Boon Siew empire and there is a shift in the business to focus more on the retail business, which has hotels and investment properties in Malaysia, Australia, New Zealand and Britain.
22 TAN SRI AZMAN HASHIM
Flagship: Amcorp Group
Net worth: RM2.4bil
AZMAN, who turns 78 in July, has planned his retirement with his departure from a number of boards within his group over time.
Synonymous with the Arab Malaysian Group, Azman is a chartered accountant-turned-banker. He found himself in a fortuitous position in 1982 when he bought a 40% stake in Taiping Textiles, which later became Arab-Malaysian Development Bhd. In that same year, Azman bought Arab-Malaysian Development Bank, which later was transformed into Arab Malaysian Merchant Bank Bhd or AMMB.
Azman holds the entire stake in Amcorp group, which is into financial services, property and engineering, information technology, consumer goods and services.
The Amcorp group has a 69.3% stake in Amcorp Properties and Amcorp Properties-PA controls MCM Technologies (information technology business), Harpers Travel, Restoran Seri Melayu and 90% in Amcorp Auto.
In the financial services sector, Azman is the second-largest shareholder with an effective 12.7% stake in AMMB, which controls AmBank, AmInvestment Bank, AmIslamic Bank, AmSecurities and AMMB Nominees.
Azman, via Amcorp group, has a 59.7% stake in RCE Capital and a 6.1% stake in Am First Reits, while AMMB has 26.7% in the same company.
Last year, he disposed of his 25.89% stake in ECM Libra for RM27.45mil held via Amcorp group, Hikkaya Jaya Sdn Bhd, Arab-Malaysian (CSL) Sdn Bhd and Equity Vision Sdn Bhd.
It was said that he was building up his coffers to prepare to take up a portion of the 23.8% block held by Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Ltd’s (ANZ) stake in AMMB Holdings Bhd or the AmBank Group.
He has not denied his interest in the block held by ANZ.
As one of the wealthiest persons around, he saw a drop by one notch in the ranking of Malaysia’s richest to the 22nd spot from 21st in 2015. His net worth was RM2.522bil, down marginally 4.6% to RM2.405bil.
This was derived from the value of his stocks in the various companies as at end-2016.
His 69.2% in Amcorp Properties was valued at RM329.3mil or 78.5 sen a share, his 82.6% in Amcorp Properties-PA was worth RM75.1mil, 12.97% stake in AmBank was valued at RM1.68bil or RM4.31 per share, 6.09% stake in Amfirst Reits was at RM32.3mil or 77 sen a share, and finally, his 59.7% in RCE was worth RM282mil or RM1.36 a share.
23 DATUK TAN HENG CHEW
Flagship: Tan Chong Consolidated
Net worth: RM2.3bil
AS the president of the Tan Chong empire, Tan had a net worth of RM2.297bil last year, although he was three notches down from the 20th place in 2015.
In 2015, his net worth was RM2.6bil.
At 70, Tan is still in control of the business. He is known to be a workaholic but has steered away from publicity all these years.
It was his late father, Tan Sri Tan Yuet Foh and uncle Datuk Tan Kim Hor, who co-founded the Tan Chong group. They were appointed sole distributors of Nissan and Datsun vehicles in Malaya in 1957, thereby making it the first Japanese cars sold in the country.
It was tough selling Nissan cars in those days after the Japanese occupation in Malaya, but given the various models brought in over the years, Nissan rode the tide.
The company had to undergo several broadroom tussles over the years that saw Tan emerging with control of the automotive-led empire.
Tan inherited a 22.85% share in Tan Chong Consolidated Sdn Bhd (TCC), which is the major shareholder of Tan Chong Motor Holdings Bhd (39.5%), APM Automotive Holdings Bhd (36.4%), Warisan TC Holdings Bhd (34.9%) and Hong Kong-listed Tan Chong International (35.1%).
Tan Chong Motor, APM Automotive and Warisan TC are listed on Bursa Malaysia.
Separately, Tan and family also hold 7.2% in Tan Chong Motor, APM (12.5%), Warisan (17.1%) and Tan Chong International (20.6%).
Since last year, the group has ventured into IndoChina, where it sought support from the Cambodian Government to build an automobile assembly and spare parts plant for Nissan cars.
Tan’s wife, Datuk Khor Swee Wah (aka Rosie Tan) and two of his sons, Nicholas and Christopher, are also involved in the car business, while another son, Anthony, who co-founded the Grab mobile application with Tan Hooi Ling, is busy building the e-hailing business through Grabcar. That business is said to be worth US$3bil.
24 RAJA MUNIR SHAH RAJA MUSTAPHA
NEWCOMERS to the world of Malaysia’s wealthiest, Raja Munir Shah (left) and Wong have a combined wealth of RM2.185bil.
They are deemed shareholders in MyEG and Excel Force, holding interest in the two listed companies via Asia Internet Holdings, Asia Internet E-Services Holdings and Radio Port Ltd.
Munir Shah, 54, has been the executive director of MyEG since 2004, while Wong has been the managing director and also executive director of MyEG since March 6, 2000.
Wong, 42, graduated from the National University of Singapore with a bachelors degree in electrical engineering. He has over 20 years of experience in the ICT industry, with his involvement in designing, implementing and the maintenance of communication applications on the Internet in various technology companies, both local and abroad.
Last year, MyEG bought an 18.7% stake in Excel Force for RM38mil.
MyEG had a market capitalisation of RM5.4bil or RM1.51 a share last year, while Excel Force’s market cap was RM246mil with a share price of RM1.19. MyEG’s compounded annual growth in net profit was 45% the past five years.
The companies have seen their share prices rise last year. MyEG is an e-Government services provider that recently had its contract to manage the registration of illegal foreign workers under the rehiring programme extended until the end of this year.
Excel Force, set up in 1994, is into the development, provision and maintenance of computer software application solutions for the stockbroking industry. It has expanded into Thailand and Vietnam.
25 DATUK LIM KUANG SIA
Flagship: Kossan Holdings
Net worth: RM2bil
LIM, 70, is the managing director and chief executive officer of Kossan Rubber Industries Bhd. He is a chemical engineer who started making rubber bearings and later gloves.
Kossan is one of Malaysia’s top-four manufacturers that control the world market for gloves. Its products are sold in over 160 countries, and virtually every hospital or medical clinic in the world would have used the company’s products.
Last year, Kossan’s share price fell by about 29%, thereby shaving off nearly RM1bil in value from RM9.30 a share to RM6.59.
He was the 17th richest man in Malaysia in 2015 with a net worth of RM3bil based on his and his family’s shareholding in Kossan.
The fall in the share price was led by the price war on glove products and the higher cost of raw materials.
Still, Kossan churns out close to 22 billion pairs of disposable gloves every year and will be adding three billion more this year since it invested in a facility last year. Kossan’s product mix is 70% nitrile and 30% natural rubber gloves.
The company also invested about RM35mil in a research and development centre last year, which will be opened in July this year.
The company’s first patented glove technology, the Low Derma Technology, protect users from developing allergies from latex protein and rubber chemical accelerators.
Lim and his family, Lim Kuang Wang, Lim Kuang Yong, Lim Kwan Hwa and Lim Leng Bung, are shareholders of Kossan Holdings (M) Sdn Bhd, which in turn has a 51.1% stake in Kossan. He and his family also have a direct 0.3% share in Kossan.
Kossan’s net profit was lower at RM126mil for the nine months ended Sept 30 from RM148mil in the same period a year ago.