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 angelat@sph.com.sg

[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

Thursday, September 26, 2013

F1-quality racetrack coming up in JB

Peter Lim's project could pose competition for S'pore and Sepang circuits

The Straits Times - September 26, 2013
By: Christopher Tan

SINGAPORE tycoon Peter Lim's planned race circuit in Iskandar is revving up to be more than just a playground for the fast and furious. It could potentially rival Singapore and Sepang as a Formula One venue.

FASTrack Autosports, a venture between Mr Lim and the Johor royal family, which is undertaking the project, has decided to build an F1T-grade facility. F1T stands for Formula One Test.

It was slated as a Grade 2 track - for all races except F1 - when the project was first announced last year.

FASTrack chief executive Barry Kan said the company decided to upgrade to F1T when it found that it cost only about 10 per cent more to do so.

At a cost of just under $100 million, the track is part of a $1.4 billion motorsports hub project undertaken by FASTrack and Malaysian state-owned real estate company UEM Land.

On whether it will compete with Singapore and Sepang as a future F1 venue, Mr Kan said the circuit will have all the technical requirements necessary for Formula One races.

"F1 teams can test their cars here, but whether a circuit is an F1 track depends on one man," he said, referring to F1 czar Bernie Ecclestone.

Compared to a Grade 2 track, the 4.5km F1T circuit will have gentler gradients, wider run-off areas, stronger barriers, and a long straight stretching over 1km that will allow cars to breach 300kmh.

"It'll be faster than Sepang, Monza and Singapore," Mr Kan added, referring to three F1 circuits.

Sepang in Kuala Lumpur is a permanent F1 Grand Prix track. Its F1 contract ends in 2015. As for Singapore's street circuit, with its latest race just concluded on Sunday, its contract ends in 2017.

The Iskandar circuit, which is designed by renowned German racetrack designer Hermann Tilke, is due to be completed in 2016. It is part of the Mo-torsports City project within Gerbang Nusajaya in the fast-developing Iskandar region.

Gerbang Nusajaya is a mixed development township just a 10-minute drive from Tuas' Second Link. It could eventually have an MRT link to Singapore.

Besides F1 cars, the FASTrack facility with its two paddocks will be able to host superbike events. There are also an off-road circuit for sports utility vehicles and two go-kart circuits - one indoor, for electric karts. Mr Kan said construction is slated to start in the middle of next year.

Observers said the recent cancellation of plans for a $380 million racetrack in Changi will be an extra boon to the Johor circuit.

Already, Mr Kan said he has received calls from well-heeled individuals to reserve garage space.

Venture capitalist Tommie Goh said he will consider putting "a couple of track cars up there".

The facility offers a "bonded area", a tax-free zone for collectors to keep their cars - including left-hand-drive models - and use them on the track.

Mr Goh was surprised by the track's upgraded status. "It'll give Singapore a run for the money," he said.

But others do not think it will pose an immediate threat. Mr Colin Syn, deputy chairman of Grand Prix organiser Singapore GP, said it will get its chance only if Singapore and Sepang do not renew their contracts.

"And like everybody else, they'd have to pay a lot of money to host the race," he said.

Earlier this year, Sepang International Circuit chief executive Razlan Razali described the Johor project "more as a playground for the wealthy", rather than a competitive racetrack.

Monday, September 2, 2013

How Singapore Billionaire Peter Lim Makes Money From Thin Air

Neerja Jetley, Contributor
Forbes Asia

Not a single brick has been laid and the ground has yet to be broken on Singapore billionaire Peter Lim’s real estate venture in Malaysia’s Iskandar project. But it has already added around $95 million to his net worth on the basis of 29.9% shareholding of his investment vehicle Rowsley. Shares of the company are up around 370% since the real estate venture was announced.

Lim is converting Rowsley into a real estate player through a reverse takeover (RTO). It will acquire a 9.23- hectare vacant tract of land in Malaysia’s Iskandar region, just across the causeway from Singapore, by issuing 2.4 billion Rowsley shares at a price of $0.12 each, valuing it at about $280 million. It will also acquire Singapore’s largest design firm, RSP Architects Planners & Engineers, by issuing another 1.25 billion shares at $0.12 each. Together, the two deals are valued at $428 million.

Since the deal was announced, shares of Rowsley have been on a tear. Lim already owns the vacant tract of land that Rowsley is now buying in a 70:30 joint venture with the Crown Prince of Johor (Malaysia’s royal principality adjoining Iskandar). The deal helps him monetize the land and raise $428 million in Rowsley for construction of the waterfront township planned. His friend Albert Hong, Principal and largest shareholder at RSP would emerge as 12.21% owner of Rowsley without having to go through the lengthy and complex process of an Initial Public Offering (IPO). Besides, he gets a ready pipeline of projects outside Singapore.

Lim’s followers (yes, there’s an unofficial website tracking him: www.remisierking.blogspot.sg), investors, traders and speculators are gung ho on the RTO, too, for good reason:

First, it gives them a play in the region’s most vibrant property play, the Iskandar region. In the past two years, it’s been attracting the attentions of no less than Malaysia’s richest man Robert Kuok and Australian billionaire Lang Walker along with Singapore’s Temasak Holdings, all investing top dollar into Iskandar.

Second, if property is about location, location, location, the tract of land Rowsley is acquiring happens to be less than a mile from the Singapore-Malaysia causeway. It has a plot ratio higher than others nearby, allowing for a high intensity of land use. And it’s also close to the rail link that will join the two countries by 2018.

Third, Rowsley provides investors a low-risk option compared to a pure property play in Iskandar, especially given Malaysia’s flip-flop policies on foreign ownership of property, it’s relatively high crime rate and cyclical vagaries in the property rental market. Investors are also betting that he’ll bring the  motorsports city and the medical hub he is building next door under Rowsley.

And last but not the least, the Rowsley takeover deal includes two free bonus warrants for every existing share at a pre-set exercise price of $0.14. With the fair value of the shares being placed at $0.53 to $0.67 by local bank OCBC, investors would make a more than 300% return on the investment even if they were to buy at Rowsley’s current price of $0.40. Lim, of course, would make a killing as he emerges with 38.73% of Rowsley–even before work begins on the project!

Now if that is not making money from thin air, what is?


Friday, August 16, 2013

Peter Lim's investment firm gets nod for $545m in deals

Published on Aug 16, 2013

By Rachael Boon

BILLIONAIRE Peter Lim's investment company Rowsley has received regulatory approval for
two deals valued at up to $545 million that will launch its diversification into the real
estate business.

The Singapore-listed firm said yesterday that the Singapore Exchange (SGX) has given in-
principle approval for the proposed acquisition of RSP Architects Planners & Engineers
for up to $187 million and a 9.23ha plot of land in Iskandar, Johor, for up to $358

The deals were signed in February.

Rowsley will pay architecture firm RSP by issuing up to 1.25 billion Rowsley shares at 15
cents a share.

It will also issue 2.4 billion shares to pay for the land in Iskandar.

The land is a part of Vantage Bay, which is owned by the eponymously named 70-30 joint
venture between Mr Lim and the Johor royal family.

In a related move, Rowsley will issue a free bonus of two warrants for every existing
share held by shareholders, which was also approved by SGX.

The company will have to hold an extraordinary general meeting to get shareholders'
approval for the two deals and the proposed bonus issue at a later date.

Rowsley's shares closed a cent lower at 42.5 cents yesterday.


Monday, February 4, 2013

Rowsley inks deals to acquire RSP, land

Published February 04, 2013 ROWSLEY Ltd has sealed the two deals it needed to transform into a property player, a move that comes after it made known in December last year plans to acquire RSP Architects Planners & Engineers and a 9.23-hectare plot of land in Iskandar in Johor. The investment company, controlled by billionaire Peter Lim, yesterday said that it has signed the sale and purchase agreements to acquire RSP in an all-share deal for $187 million. It will also acquire the Iskandar-located plot of land from Malaysia's Vantage Bay in an all-share deal for $358 million. Vantage Bay is majority-owned by Mr Lim. To reward existing shareholders, Rowsley said that it will issue a free bonus of two warrants for every existing share held, once all the necessary shareholder and regulatory approvals for the deals are received. Each warrant will have an exercise price of 18 cents per share. Under the deal, Rowsley will pay RSP by issuing up to 1.25 billion Rowsley shares at 15 cents a share. The maximum purchase price of $187 million works out to a price-to-earnings ratio of approximately 7.5 times, Rowsley said in a statement. This is based on the average annual profit after tax under earn-out targets from its financial years ending Dec 31, 2013, to 2015. -BT