KUALA LUMPUR: Trading of shares in Malayan United Industries Bhd (MUI), one of tycoon Tan Sri Khoo Kay Peng’s (pic) stable of companies, is suspended for three days starting from 11am yesterday to 5pm next Tuesday (Nov 25), following a request from the company.
In a filing with Bursa Malaysia yesterday, MUI said the suspension was “pending the release of a material announcement”.
While it is unsure on what the material announcement would be, it is worth noting that MUI’s value lies in its assets, which if sold, could allow its profits to shine through as its financials have been on a downtrend in the past three years.
Khoo is currently embroiled in divorce proceedings with his wife, former beauty queen Pauline Chai.
The Edge Financial Daily reported in September that well-regarded investor Datuk Dr Yu Kuan Chon had emerged as the top 30 shareholders of MUI, just as the group looks to dispose of its crown jewel — the freehold Corus Hotel in Hyde Park, London, the United Kingdom.
It was reported that MUI had tasked Debutesq Group, a luxury real estate firm, to sell the hotel for £200 million (about RM1.05 billion). MUI, however, dismissed the report.
MUI’s chain of hotels in the UK is believed to have been not revalued for more than a decade, and could now be worth more than their net book values (NBV). Based on its latest annual report, MUI’s properties in Malaysia, Australia, the United States, Hong Kong, Singapore and the UK collectively held a NBV of RM827.3 million as at Dec 31 last year.
MUI’s revenue fell to RM663.4 million in the financial year ended Dec 31, 2013 (FY13) from RM820.2 million in FY12, while net profit shrank to RM6.3 million from RM32.6 million the year before.
Its finance costs of RM52.62 million and RM58.06 million in FY13 and FY12 respectively, have exceeded operating profits (before exceptional items) of RM50.42 million and RM55.56 million.
Total borrowings stood at RM893.48 million as at June 30, against cash of RM305.88 million.
MUI owns and operates nine hotels and two restaurants in the UK and two hotels in Malaysia, most of which are operated under the Corus brand.
Its business segments encompass the retail division, which includes London-listed Laura Ashley Holdings plc and Metrojaya Bhd, the food, property as well as financial services divisions.
This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on November 21, 2014.