Thursday, December 02, 2004

rant: M&A singapore-style

kinda long. but article is under businesstimes (aka the other "bt"); gotta snag-it b4 it goes into subscriberland

good move i must say.... godmother (fade-in: godfather theme) goes to work.... hey presto! it's a clean slate. *hush-hush* as long as the carpet is big enough.... sweep it under.

we are a global financial hub? yeah!?! of cos. gotta keep the good stuff for ourselves.

how abt a wager? by 2006... HDB Corp would be....."sleeping with the fishes". (fade-out muzik)

Temasek buys HDB Corp for undisclosed sum in surprise deal


(SINGAPORE) Temasek Holdings has bought over HDB Corp for an undisclosed sum in a surprise deal announced yesterday. The divestment by the Housing and Development Board (HDB) was sooner than expected; equally surprising was Temasek as the buyer.

The deal caught the market by surprise as no tender was called for the sale. Both parties were tight-lipped about the price, saying only that it was a 'mutually agreed' sum.

In response to BT's queries, Temasek said: 'Our immediate focus would be to further grow HDB Corp into a regional developer of township projects.' Industry analysts say a gauge of the transaction value would be the average price-earnings ratio of construction firms. Construction stocks are trading at an average price-earnings ratio of 23 and applying that to HDB Corp's estimated net profit of $8.7 million would yield a price of about $200 million.

According to records filed with the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (Acra), HDB Corp had net assets of $144.9 million and issued and paid-up capital of $142.6 million.

BT understands that the price paid was markedly below $200 million, or the net asset value of $144.9 million, or the company's paid-up capital of $142 million. Non-listed entities typically command lower PE ratios than listed counterparts in the same industry.

While Acra records do not show turnover or profit figures for HDB Corp, a tally of the numbers for the six HDB Corp subsidiaries bearing the Surbana name revealed a net profit of $8.7 million and turnover of $100 million for FY2004 ended March. HDB Corp uses the Surbana name overseas and in Singapore.

HDB Corp's main subsidiary Surbana Consultants had a net profit of $7.4 million on a turnover of $58.3 million, according to Acra records. Surbana International (Consultants) - the only loss-making unit - had a net loss of $2.4 million on turnover of $1.5 million.

Commenting on the deal, Temasek managing director for strategic development Wong Heng Tew said: 'We see good growth potential in HDB Corp and the markets it serves.

'We aim to be a value adding shareholder to HDB Corp and hope to grow it into a successful regional enterprise.' HDB Corp is in China, India, Myanmar and Vietnam.

Unlike the sale of CPG Corp which saw an international tender and a planned management buyout, there was no open bidding for HDB Corp. CPG Corp was sold to Australia's Downer EDI for $131 million in March 2003. CPG Corp was the former Public Works Department and a Temasek-linked company.

HDB said in response to BT's queries: 'We did not call a tender as one of HDB's primary concerns when considering the sale of HDB Corp was to avoid any disruption in services to HDB residents after the company is sold.

'We believe that under Temasek, HDB Corp will continue to deliver a high quality of service to HDB and its public housing projects, while it grows into a successful regional enterprise.'

HDB Corp was formed in mid-2003 after HDB's building and development division was corporatised. The $220 million restructuring of HDB resulted in the housing board shedding 2,630 jobs, of which about half joined HDB Corp. HDB Corp now has 820 permanent staff, Temasek said. Temasek said it does not foresee any impact on HDB Corp's staff.

HDB Corp is assigned HDB's design and development projects in the first three years but this will be lifted gradually to 90 per cent in the fourth year, 70 per cent in the fifth year and 50 per cent in the sixth year. HDB Corp said this will not change after Temasek takes over. HDB Corp will however not be able to retain the HDB name after June 2005.

Temasek said that 'should there be any merger, acquisition or divestment opportunities in the future, they will have to be evaluated based on commercial considerations'.

HDB Corp said: 'Temasek will exercise its shareholder rights to influence the strategic directions of all its companies but the day-to-day commercial and operational decisions will be left very much to management.'


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