KUALA LUMPUR (Sept 19) – Journalist turn businessman Datuk Seri Clement Hii said today he has no intention to wrest control of furniture-maker SYF Resources Bhd “at the moment” although he has been actively accumulating shares from the open market.
Hii, who is also SEG International Bhd (SEGi)’s group managing director, yesterday mopped up 7.75 million SYF shares to raise his holdings in SYF to 15%, just three months after emerging as SYF’s substantial shareholder with 10.01% stake on May 31.
“I am confident of my investment in SYF but I have no intention of being in the driver seat [at SYF] at the moment,” Hii told in a telephone interview.
His near-frequent purchase of SYF stock from June to September has sparked speculation that he is keen to gain control of SYF from Ng Ah Chai, SYF executive chairman and CEO.
Currently SYF’s largest shareholder, Ng now has a 23.34% stake in the company, up from 20.88% in April following his purchases.
Responding to a question on whether the SYF chairman will be threatened by Hii’s aggressive buying, the SEGi chief said: “I’m already on the board of SYF… I’m not acting in concert with Ng [on SYF share purchases]... whether or not Ng feels threatened by my purchases, you’ll have to ask him,” Hii said with a laugh.
Ng has yet to respond to ’s request for an interview.
Describing Ng as someone he could “definitely” work with, Hii said: “Ng is a very hands-on manager. He has his strengths and has a good team of people working with him.
“If you’re going to invest in a company, you have to be confident that the people running it can take the company to greater heights… I think the company will do well.”
On whether he is in the market today, with SYF among today’s top 20 most active stocks, Hii responded: “I will make the necessary announcement as and when I buy in the market.”
Yesterday, Hii’s HCK Equities Sdn Bhd paid an average of 80.3 sen apiece for 5.05 million shares from the open market and another 75 sen apiece for 2.5 million shares via direct dealings.
At midday, SYF was up 8 sen or 1.23% to 82 sen with close to 5 million shares done. SYF had closed higher for the five straight market days and gained 18.2% in the process. The stock has risen from a recent low of 44 sen on August 2.
Hii wouldn’t say whether his investment in SYF was spurred by his desire to grow his privately-held property development business, which he had given some focus in recent years.
“I can confirm I have a property development group with existing and on-going property development projects with significant GDV (gross development value),” Hii said, but declined comment on whether the property business would be injected into SYF one day.
Without naming his partners or who he’s had talks with, Hii said there had been “some discussions” to possibly list his property business. “It is still premature to comment,” he added.
The Edge Financial Daily reported today that Hii was scouting for a listed vehicle for his privately-held property business, citing “executives familiar with the SEGi Group”.
In a recent blog post, Hii mentioned a joint-venture with Energiser Properties Sdn Bhd has obtained development approval for a 60 acre mixed development project with RM550 million GDV in Ipoh, Perak. There is also a plan for a project in the Klang Valley with a GDV of RM2 billion.
But for now, Hii would only say SYF is “a good investment that could generate good returns” for him in the medium to long-term.