PETALING JAYA: Flushed with cash after getting a dividend windfall of almost RM100 million recently, Eco World Development Group Bhd (EcoWorld Malaysia) executive chairman Liew Kee Sin upped his holdings in the developer after acquiring a 7.47% stake from co-founder Abdul Rashid Manaf yesterday.
In a bourse filing, the group said Rashid sold his stake in privately-held Eco World Holdings Sdn Bhd, which had given him an indirect 7.47% equity interest in EcoWorld Malaysia, where he is a non-executive director.
The filing did not disclose the price at which the shares were disposed. If based on yesterday’s closing price of RM1.06, the transaction involving 219.88 million shares would amount to an estimated RM233.1 million.
Liew now holds a direct and indirect interest of 9.4% and 12.84% respectively, for a total equity interest of 22.24% or 655.1 million shares.
The deal sees Rashid, 76, who was SP Setia Bhd chairman from 1997 until 2012, divesting his entire stake in the group he helped establish after leaving SP Setia.
A lawyer by training, he served in the Malaysian judicial and legal service including as senior federal counsel before becoming a businessman following his retirement.
He is currently chairman of Salcon Bhd, a water and wastewater engineering company, and former group chairman of Sarawak conglomerate Cahya Mata Sarawak Bhd.
Liew on a roll
Liew, 64, was appointed as SP Setia’s group managing director in May 1996 and continued as its president and CEO for the next 18 years until April 2014. He was instrumental in setting up EcoWorld Malaysia after selling his stake in SP Setia.
He was appointed as a non-executive director of EcoWorld Malaysia in May 2014 before being redesignated as the non-independent non-executive chairman in March 2015.
He was also one of the main beneficiaries of Eco World International Bhd’s (EWI) recent bumper dividend declaration. The international property developer declared a second tranche dividend of RM144 million in September to add to the first tranche of RM792 million declared in August, bringing the grand total to RM936 million.
Liew, who founded EWI, as well as his family jointly hold a 12.2% stake and scooped up RM96.44 million of the dividend payout.
EcoWorld Malaysia is a public-listed developer with 22 projects including affordable and luxury homes, integrated high-rise developments, and green business parks.
Its shares ended two sen or 1.9% lower at RM1.04, giving it a market capitalisation of RM3.06 billion.