Saturday, March 15, 2014

Peter Lim enters new Johor security venture

Published on Mar 15, 2014

Billionaire investor, Johor prince sign MOU to offer services in Iskandar

By Audrey Kang

SINGAPORE billionaire investor Peter Lim is stepping up his aggressive push into Iskandar Malaysia with a new agreement to set up a security business.

A security company owned by Mr Lim is joining hands with a Johor prince to offer security services in the rapidly emerging growth corridor.

Mr Lim is one of the largest investors in the Iskandar region over the past two years. He and the Johor royal family are substantial shareholders in Rowsley, which is working on a RM10 billion (S$3.9 billion) development in the Johor Baru city centre.

The Soverus Group, which is 95 per cent owned by Mr Lim, signed a memorandum of understanding with Tunku Abdul Rahman, son of the Sultan of Johor, yesterday. Its chief executive officer, Mr Paul Lim, said: "The security business in all countries is highly regulated. This MOU signifies and cements our belief in the growing market in Iskandar and the rest of Malaysia."

Working with the prince will be hugely beneficial, he added, given his detailed knowledge of the area.

Tunku Abdul Rahman said: "I am very impressed with how Soverus has grown so rapidly within the last four years, from a start-up to a major provider of security services with over 600 staff.

"I look forward to working with Soverus and its manage-ment team to build a credible and imitable full-service security firm in Johor."

One key reason for the MOU is the rising demand for premium security services in Iskandar, owing to the growing affluence of Johor residents, said Mr Paul Lim.

Although the company has yet to execute any plans for its expansion in Iskandar, he said potential clients are already seeking its security services.

Soverus previously focused on providing only guarding services, but has expanded into a wider range of solutions, including private investigations, cyber security and IT forensics.

Three-quarters of its operations in Iskandar will be guarding services, while the remaining 25 per cent will be focused on mostly security technology and security consultancy.

Mr Paul Lim said: "Our mid-term plan is to set up a sizeable infrastructure with proper armoury and full-fledged training facilities."

Officers from Singapore and Malaysia will be able to train with their counterparts in both countries, in order to provide quality guards, he added.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Rowsley reports Net Loss of $5 million

Rowsley reports Net Loss of $5 million before goodwill write-down
for RSP Acquisition

RSP meets full year profit target of $25 million

Rowsley’s Balance Sheet remains debt-free

Singapore, 21 February 2014 – Rowsley Ltd. today announced a net loss of $5
million for the nine months ended 31 December 2013, before the goodwill write-down
for the purchase of RSP Architects Planners & Engineers. Rowsley said RSP met its
profit target of $25 million for 2013.

Rowsley, which has transformed itself from an investment holding company into
an integrated multi-discipline real estate business, had acquired RSP in September
2013 for $187.5 million by issuing 1,250,000,000 shares at $0.15 each. The
purchase consideration was remeasured at closing date in accordance with financial
reporting standards to $422.5 million at $0.65 cents or $0.338 per share after
adjusting for the warrants issued. As a result, $221 million of goodwill had to be
written down. This is a non-cash accounting adjustment that does not affect the
company’s cash flows or the fundamentals of its business.

RSP, Singapore’s leading architectural firm, was one of two substantial
acquisitions completed last year; the other being a 9.23-hectare piece of land in
Johor Bahru’s Iskandar region to build an integrated wellness and lifestyle
development called Vantage Bay.

Rowsley said that its nine months’ results reflected the consolidation of RSP’s
4th quarter financials after it became a subsidiary. RSP, it added, has achieved profitafter-
tax of $25 million for the full year of 2013 and is on track to meet the targets set
by Rowsley under the terms of the acquisition.

On its Iskandar Region project, Rowsley said that although the Malaysian
government had recently introduced anti-speculative measures for properties, it was
confident that the Johor State Government and Iskandar Regional Development
Authority remained committed to the long-term economic development of the
Iskandar Region. The Johor State Government is in the process of clarifying how
and to what extent the measures will be implemented. Once clarified, Rowsley
expects the strong demand for properties in the Iskandar Region to once again drive
the interest in the Johor property market.

Chiang Chie Foo, Chairman of Rowsley, said: “We have created tremendous
value for shareholders with our two acquisitions and are confident that the demand
for our product in Iskandar will be strong. Being debt-free, we are unfazed by any
anti-speculative measures in the operating environment and are poised for further

Lock Wai Han, Rowsley’s Group CEO, added: “Our two acquisitions in 2013
were successfully carried out and we are already seeing the benefits of the synergy.
RSP’s expertise in architecture, urban-planning and engineering will maximise the
potential of the prime land which Vantage Bay sits on.

“We are optimistic that our development project in Vantage Bay will attract
genuine owners and investors.”

Rowsley remains debt-free and continues to look for further investment
opportunities in the region.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Peter Lim makes offer for Spanish football club Valencia

Published December 24, 2013

Tycoon agrees to invest 400m euros and clear debt; sets Jan 15 deadline

ByAngela Tan

[SINGAPORE] Singapore tycoon Peter Lim has a huge budget for his Christmas presents. By Jan 15, 2014, he would know if Santa has granted his wish to be the new owner of Spanish League football club Valencia CF.

In a press conference held on Sunday afternoon before Valencia's match against Real Madrid, Valencia's president, Amadeo Salvo, announced that Mr Lim, the 10th richest man in Singapore according to Forbes, had agreed to invest an initial 400 million euros (S$692 million) in the financially stricken club. Mr Lim has also offered to erase Valencia's debt to Spanish bank Bankia.

The arrangement could see Mr Lim buy the 70 per cent share belonging to the Valencia Foundation.

However, the agreement will not be official until Bankia, which holds the debt of the club, gives its approval. About 12 days ago, Bankia said it was putting Valencia up for sale.

Mr Lim has set the Jan 15 deadline for the offer to be accepted, so that the club can reinforce its squad in the January transfer window with the hope of challenging for Champions League places come the end of the season.

"Mr Lim's offer is amazing," Mr Salvo said.
"The club has to sell for a price between 200 and 250 million euros," he added. "The new investor has to eliminate the debt we have with the bank, invest in players, promise to finish the new stadium and to let the club be run by the people of Valencia. Lim's offer meets all these requirements."
A spokesman for Mr Lim declined to comment.

Valencia's fortunes on and off the field have suffered since a financial crisis struck Spain in 2009. The club has been unable to finish work on the Nou Mestalla stadium and has had to sell a number of its best players to raise capital.

Recently, Valencia was named one of the seven Spanish clubs to be investigated by the European Commission for alleged illegal state aid in which local government played a role in guaranteeing the loans taken out by the club from Bankia.

The search for a new investor has not been easy. Mr Salvo has spent months searching for a big investor in Valencia and thanks to super-agent Jorges Mendes, he has found Mr Lim. The 60-year-old is an avid sports fan worth around US$2.05 billion. He has also shown interest in buying a stake in rival Spanish club, Atletico de Madrid.
In an effort to seek refinancing initially, Valencia travelled to Asia, including China and Singapore. On Nov 2, it met Mr Lim, who showed interest in the project.
Mr Salvo said: "Lim is very passionate about football. In November, we opened advanced discussions about the future of Valencia. Upon our arrival back in Valencia, we came to the understanding that it would be difficult to refinance with Bankia.
"There is a multinational company that can guarantee 130 million euros to finish the Nou Mestalla stadium. It's a very real project and not fictitious. It's always been said that, if we needed to sell, it should be for around 200-300 million euros, which would eliminate our debt. I've always stated that this is wrong and it wouldn't work with a venture capital fund. We needed someone objective and not speculation."

He said following Bankia's statements, Mr Lim called the club and came to Valencia to meet the president of the board and vice- president of the foundation.

"Given this offer, which is one of two or three biggest deals in the world to purchase a club, we were obligated to present it to Bankia," Mr Salvo said.

He added that Bankia was impressed by Mr Lim's "extraordinary offer", but needs to review other offers before submitting a report to its board of directors.

"When Bankia gives the OK, Lim will come to Valencia to explain his project. Mr Lim wants to strengthen the team in January. He wants Valencia to play in the Champions League. This will be one of the biggest transactions in world football. It's a historic opportunity, it will solve all of Valencia's problems," Mr Salvo said.

A fishmonger's son, Mr Lim made his fortune through holdings in palm oil producers. No stranger to the European football scene, he offered £320 million (S$661 million) to buy English Premier League soccer club Liverpool FC in 2010. But his all-cash offer for the club was eventually scuttled by an offer from New England Sports Ventures, owner of the Boston Red Sox.

Mr Lim is also reported to have shown interest in Rangers FC in Glasgow, Scotland. Mr Salvo confirmed that Mr Lim had tried to purchase Valencia under former president Manuel Llorente, but was turned down.

Mr Lim is not the only ultra-wealthy person in Asia interested in the top football clubs in Europe.
In 2011, Malaysian entrepreneur Tony Fernandes, founder of budget airline AirAsia and chief of Formula One Team Lotus, completed the takeover of English soccer team Queens Park Rangers.

Another Malaysian tycoon, Vincent Tan, has been dominating soccer headlines of late, albeit for the wrong reasons, when he threatened to axe Malky Mackay, the boss of his newly acquired Welsh club, Cardiff City.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Rowsley plans launch of Iskandar units by early ’14

The Business Times
Ong Chor Hao

ROWSLEY Ltd, which has transformed itself into a property player, could launch residential units from its key development project in Johor's Iskandar region by early next year. The company is also confident about demand despite the possibility of Malaysia's southern-most state imposing a new property tax on buyers.

Ho Kiam Kheong, executive director at Rowsley who oversees its sprawling Vantage Bay development, said this yesterday. Vantage Bay is a mixed-development comprising residences, offices, a mall and a hotel on 9.23 hectares of waterfront land about one kilometre away from the Causeway.

The number of units for the first phase of residential units to be launched was not revealed, but Mr Ho said that overall, Vantage Bay should have more than 3,000 homes.

Prices were also not available, but Mr Ho commented that on a "like-for-like" basis, prices in the area have gone up quite a bit and have surpassed the 1,000 ringgit (S$391) per square foot mark "quite significantly".

While the company is "obviously disappointed" with the possibility of a new tax of about 4-5 per cent of the property price that the local government is mulling over, Mr Ho also welcomed the weeding out of speculation in the market.

He added that the intervention was also a clear sign of sustained demand. "It's hot enough for the government to want to do something."

The journey of Rowsley, controlled by billionaire Peter Lim, from an investment holding company to a real estate player in Iskandar began after it announced two significant deals last December.

The first was to acquire the land that now houses the Vantage Bay project for $358 million; the second was to buy RSP Architects Planners and Engineers for up to $187.5 million.

It has paid in full for the land and about $131.3 million of the consideration for RSP by issuing some 3.3 billion shares at 15 cents each after shareholders gave the green light for the deals last month. It has also issued two free warrants for each share that investors hold. The warrants start trading tomorrow.

The outstanding $56.3 million in consideration for RSP is subject to the architectural firm achieving a net profit after tax totalling $75 million for the next three financial years starting from 2013.

Lai Huen Poh, also an executive director at Rowsley, said the vendors for RSP are expecting to exceed the first-year earn-out target, after making a net profit of $25 million last year.

With its transformation, Ho Tat Kin, executive chairman at Rowsley, noted that the company's market cap has jumped from $140 million to some $1.5 billion in less than a year.

Acquiring RSP provides a strong recurrent income stream, and the firm's expertise and Rowsley's landbank in Iskandar mean "we now have the platform, synergy and scale to put Rowsley on a solid footing as a premium, quality developer", Dr Ho said.

He added that Rowsley is currently debt free and lining up project financing for Iskandar.

It has been swinging between losses and gains in recent years, most recently reporting a net loss of $975,000 for its first quarter ended June 30.

The counter closed 5.6 per cent down at 34 cents yesterday