Saturday August 7, 2010
Partners through thick and thin
SINCE Scomi Group vaulted into the national limelight back in 2003, and despite its ever changing business mould over the years, one thing has remained constant.
Shah Hakim Zain, the group CEO, has been the “face” of the company while the other controlling shareholder, Datuk Kamaluddin Abdullah, has rarely shown his.
The two, who used to be school mates, own a majority stake in Scomi Group through two investment companies. It’s a working relationship that has remained constant throughout the existence of the company right up to the present.
Kamaluddin’s aversion to the limelight could be due to wanting to distance himself from the accusation that the performance of the company is tied to the fact that he is son of former prime minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.
In a rare interview in 2003, he made it clear that he does not hide his shareholding in the company but has acceded the day-to-day running of the business to his business partner Shah Hakim.
“Kamaluddin only sits on the board of Scomi Oiltools. They (Kamaluddin and Shah Hakim) have been partners through thick and thin,” says a source.
Their entry into Scomi Group took place in 2000 through Kaspadu Sdn Bhd, which acquired Subang Commercial Omnibus & Motor Industries, hence the abbreviation Scomi.
They didn’t take very long to build the company into a significant drilling fluids operator in Malaysia.
During Abdullah Badawi’s reign, critics lashed out that the group had bagged lucrative contracts because of the father-son link.
Undistracted, Kamaluddin and Shah Hakim focused on building and expanding the business abroad, partly to fend off such accusations and partly because there were enormous opportunities to be tapped elsewhere.
“Their mantra has always been to commercially drive the company. That’s why the company has set strategic horizons and expanded their business overseas,” says a source.
Today, with 85% of the group’s revenue stemming from abroad, the company is embarking on a new direction. One of its core business – monorail – is showing great promise. What is surprising is that Kaspadu, Shah Hakim and Kamaluddin’s main investment vehicle in the group, has been gradually trimming its interest in the company.
Observers close to the two parties dismiss talk that the two have had a fallout. It is believed that Kamaluddin may want to free up some cash for his personal ventures elsewhere.
Shah Hakim started his career as an auditor with Ernst & Young and was subsequently promoted as consulting manager, responsible for servicing large corporations.
He went on to be executive director of a regional packaging manufacturer in 1992, with direct operational responsibility.
Having long been the face of Scomi, a year ago, Shah Hakim decided to take a step back, choosing instead to push the respective presidents of the various units to the fore front.
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