Monday 27 May 2024
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This article first appeared in The Edge Malaysia Weekly on March 25, 2024 - March 31, 2024

The shareholding of the Loh family in cash-rich Oriental Holdings Bhd rarely changes. Historically, it has been held through Boon Siew Sdn Bhd.

But that changed following a planned internal restructuring of the private companies controlled by the Loh family. According to a series of announcements in the last two weeks, Pacific Carnival Sdn Bhd is now the largest shareholder in Oriental, with 36.7%.

The largest shareholder in Pacific Carnival is Loh Kar Bee Holdings Sdn Bhd, which holds a 32.17% stake and is associated with Datuk Loh Kian Chong. Kian Chong is executive chairman of Oriental and his father, Kar Bee, is the eldest son of the late Tan Sri Loh Boon Siew. The second-

largest block in Pacific Carnival is owned by Loh Wei-Lyn, with 31.43% equity interest.

Two blocks of 17.8% each in Pacific Carnival are held by private companies belonging to Loh Phoy Yen and Loh Gim Ean — daughters of Boon Siew, who founded the Boon Siew Group, which controls Oriental.

Oriental is sitting on a cash pile of RM3.1 billion and also has large swaths of plantation and development assets.

Prior to the latest internal restructuring, the Loh family held Oriental through Boon Siew Sdn Bhd and a slew of other companies, including the Penang Yellow Bus Sdn Bhd, Bayview Hotel Sdn Bhd, Boontong Estates Sdn Bhd and Boon Siew Development Sdn Bhd.

After Boon Siew passed away in 1995, the Oriental group was headed by Datuk Loh Cheng Yean — his daughter — together with her brothers-in-law Datuk Robert Wong and Datuk Seri Lim Su Tong. The third generation, headed by Kian Chong and several of his cousins, came on board in 2015.

Until the latest announcements, it was unclear as to who really held the majority stake. After the restructuring, the shareholding in Oriental is now obvious, as it is concentrated in the hands of Kian Chong and Wei-Lyn.

According to the announcements, the family of Cheng Yean, who are Singaporeans, hold a 6.8% stake.

While the shareholding structure is clear, what remains to be seen is whether the third generation will unlock value in Oriental. The company has a healthy pile of cash, generates healthy cash flow and has land to develop.

Still, unlocking the value of the assets is taking a long time.

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