Saturday, December 22, 2012

Rowsley to become property play

by Conrad Raj
04:46 AM Dec 22, 2012

SINGAPORE - Investment holding company Rowsley Ltd, which is controlled by former "Remisier King" Peter Lim, plans to transform itself into a property play in a S$581-million deal which will also see leading architectural firm RSP Architects Planners & Engineers absorbed into the company and getting a backdoor listing.

 The term sheets of the all-share deal are non-binding and subject to due diligence and further definitive agreements but the plan is for Rowsley to acquire RSP from its head Albert Hong and four of his partners for S$223 million through the issue of Rowsley shares at 15 cents each.

 Mr Hong has been trying to get 56-year-old RSP listed since 1995 but was told then by the Singapore Exchange that it was not ready to accept services companies.

However, the government has recently given permission for architectural firms to be listed. "We decided to do a listing through Rowsley rather than go on our own as we would then be part of a bigger entity," Mr Hong explained.

 "Through Rowsley, RSP will have a strong pipeline of design and engineering projects, further strengthening our regional practice which is already one of the biggest in Asia. If the deal goes through, RSP will continue to be run by its existing management."

At the same time, Rowsley has agreed to buy for S$358 million worth of its shares 9.23 hectares of land in Johor's Iskandar project from Vantage Bay Sdn Bhd, which is 70 per cent owned by Mr Lim and Johor Crown Prince Ismail Idris, who holds the remaining 30 per cent.

The site will be transformed into a S$3 billion mixed use development comprising apartments, malls, convention centres and offices.

 Mr Lim, who is also investing in a hospital to be run by Thomson Medical in an adjoining two-hectare site and a RM3.5 billion (S$1.4 billion) race track in Iskandar, is expected to continue to be Rowsley's biggest single shareholder with about a 40 per cent stake.

If the deal goes through, and this could take up to six months, Rowsley proposes a bonus issue of two free warrants for every existing share at an exercise price of 18 cents per share, which could raise up to S$356 million.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Tycoon invests in Johor motorsports complex, gives Changi Hub a miss

5 December 2012
Ian De Cotta

JOHOR BARU - Singapore tycoon Peter Lim expanded his wide-ranging investment portfolio yesterday when he signed a joint-venture agreement to build, manage and operate the RM3.5 billion (S$1.4 billion) Motorsports City project in Johor.

He also revealed why he chose to go across the Causeway rather than invest in a similar, though ill-fated, facility at Changi.

The Motorsports City complex in Nusajaya, which is 10 minutes from the Tuas Second Link, features a 4.5-km FIA-certified Grade 2 track, a kart and drag racing track, and F&B and entertainment facilities.

The billionaire said that, in the long term, the investment by his FASTrack Autosports company will yield better returns than if he had invested in a similar facility in Singapore.

Rising costs of construction and a tightening labour market in the Republic made Johor a more attractive proposition, said the 59-year-old, who is also a significant shareholder and director of British sports car-maker McLaren Automotive and Managing Director of its Singapore office.
The company, which operates its own F1 team, flew in McLaren star Lewis Hamilton as a special guest for the exchange of documents to formalise FASTrack's partnership with UEM, a subsidiary of Malaysia's state-owned Khazanah Nasional Berhad.

Also present were Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak and Singapore Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam. Both leaders were in Johor Baru for the Islamic World Economic Forum.
FASTrack will have a 70-per-cent stake in the Nusajaya project on 270 acres of freehold land in the heart of the Iskandar Malaysia economic corridor.

In comparison, Singapore's plans to build a Motorsports Hub in Changi were based on land less than half the size of Nusajaya that also came with a 30-year lease.

Construction stopped late last year after Japanese consortium SG Changi ran out of funds to build it.
Although Mr Lim has the capabilities to revive the Singapore project, he noted that the potential yield was not attractive.

"It's the cost structure," he said. "With a 30-year lease, the Changi Hub is an expensive proposition. I will get a better yield for my investment in Johor because the Motorsports City will be built on freehold land and there is more scope to increase its revenue potential."

The Nusajaya facility will not be able to host F1 races. FASTrack Managing Director Barry Kan said they will instead focus on GT Saloon and off-road events and karting, drag and truck races, as well as motorbike premier series MotoGP.

But the project has now cast a shadow on the viability of building a racetrack in the Republic.
The Singapore Sports Council (SSC) is in the midst of exploring if there is interest to revive the Changi Motorsports Hub.

SSC Director of Corporate Communications and Relations Alvin Hang said they have been conducting a request for information (RFI) from potential investors and a decision will be made by the first quarter of next year whether to call for a re-tender.

Said Mr Hang: "We are aware of developments in Johor and the plans to build a racetrack there.
"The market players who are participating in the RFI would obviously have to take into account the developments across the Causeway in their calculations and proposals that they put forward in the RFI. The racetrack in Johor will provide motorsports fans more options."

SUTL Group Chairman Arthur Tay, who had previously considered bidding to build the Changi Hub but pulled out before tender closed in 2009, said Nusajaya has changed the dynamics.

"We have not dismissed the Changi project, but we need to see what is being offered should a re-tender be called," he said.

"There has to be a price advantage for us to attract people to the track and it must make financial sense in the terms of the number of years the constructor will have on the lease."

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Singapore tycoon, Peter LIm and partners

December 01, 2012

KUALA LUMPUR,  — Singaporean billionaire Peter Lim is bidding to build a RM3 billion race circuit in Iskandar, Johor with the Johor royal family and state asset manager Khazanah Nasional Berhad, the Straits Times reported today.

The Singapore daily reported that the project, called Motorsports City, is expected to be completed by 2015 or 2016 in Malaysia’s ambitious southern corridor that provides high-end housing and entertainment popular with Singaporeans.

It quoted sources as saying the race track’s 100-hectare site is located 10 to 15 minutes away from Tuas’ Second Link in the southern state, at the left of a rest stop after the Malaysian checkpoint.

The project will be an integrated facility encompassing a track certified by world motor-racing body FIA, and can hold GT, go-kart and motorcycle races.

Celebrated designers Hermann Tilke and Clive Bowen have been named as those who might design the 4km to 4.5km race track, which will feature, among others, a 1.2km to 1.5km stretch where vehicles can speed up to 300km/h.

Besides the circuit, the project will also contain resort homes, a car museum, an advanced driving school, workshops, a warehouse and a go-kart factory.

A bonded area will be available where well-off car enthusiasts can store their tax-free cars, including left-hand-drive models.

Those who don’t prefer to drive can also enjoy an air-conditioned circuit for radio-controlled cars, and a room with top-notch simulators.

When it is open, car manufacturers will be able to test-drive their vehicles, conduct product training for employees, and hold launches for their customers in the facility.

Motorsports City will house the third major race track in Malaysia after the Sepang International Circuit, which holds the Malaysia Grand Prix Formula One and MotoGP races, and the Pasir Gudang track nearby.

Lim, 59, is a well-known car enthusiast, with a garage of exotic cars which he rarely gets to drive in his native Singapore.

He was recently approached for a similar project in Singapore called Changi Motorsports Hub on a 41ha three-year leasehold site nearby the Singapore Airshow grounds, which is currently stalled.

In August, Lim had acquired a stake in British race car manufacturer McLaren Automotive and had taken a spot on the board of directors along with Ron Dennis, Mansour Ojjeh and the Bahrain Mumtalakat Holding Co.

The businessman, named the eighth richest man in Singapore by Forbes, had recently invested in a multibillion-dollar medical hub, also located in Johor’s Iskandar.