Published: Wednesday April 24, 2013 MYT 12:29:00 PM
Updated: Thursday April 25, 2013 MYT 3:43:10 PM

Quek ups bid for HK-listed Guoco Group

By John Loh

PETALING JAYA: Tan Sri Quek Leng Chan has upped his takeover bid for Hong Kong-listed Guoco Group Ltd to HK$100 per share, raising his offer by 13.6% after minority shareholders gave the thumbs down to the tycoon's previous HK$88 a share offer.

The deal, now valued at HK$9.37bil from HK$8.25bil earlier, is still 24.6% below Guoco's net asset value of HK$132.62 per share as at June last year.

However, it is 2.6% higher than the stock's last price of HK$97.45 before the offer was revised on Tuesday.

The bid will not be increased, Guoco said in a filing with the Hong Kong stock exchange. Its shares resumed trading on Wednesday.

Quek, who already owns 74.84% of the diversified Guoco, made the offer via his Malaysia-based private vehicle Hong Leong group.

The proposed buyout will give Quek, one of Malaysia's richest men, more control of the firm's 14% stake in Bank of East Asia Ltd, Hong Kong's largest family-run bank, Bloomberg reported.

Bank of East Asia is the second largest shareholder in local lender Affin Holdings Bhd with a 23.5% stake behind the Malaysian Armed Forces Board.

In Malaysia, Guoco also has interests in GuocoLand (Malaysia) Bhd via Singapore-listed GuocoLand Ltd, as well as Hong Leong Capital Bhd and Hong Leong Bank Bhd through Hong Leong Financial Group Bhd.

Quek had tried and failed to privatise Guoco in 2004 because the price offered was lower than the market price at the time.

"Guoco is trading at a big discount to its net asset value, and the low valuation prompted Quek to seek its privatisation again," an unnamed Hong Kong hedge fund manager was quoted as saying by The South China Morning Post.

"It remains a big question on whether the deal would succeed this time."

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