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Thursday, 19 December 2013

Never say died atititude of Tan Sri Lee Kim Yew 李金友不認輸‧重振綠野聲威

We get a lot of search of "Lee Kim Yew" and "Tan Sri Lee Kim Yew" as a keyword search to this blog for past few weeks. It is not sure it is related to speculation of his intention to contest political party MCA top post or his daughter Dian Lee in Singapore's Asiasons, Blumont, Liongold saga. Lee Kim Yew is familiar face foe Malaysia, I guess the search is from Singaporean who search info for for Asiasons, Blumont, Liongold.


 

Growing up in Batu Pahat, Lee, who was the youngest in a family of six, had to mature rather quickly as his father pass away when he was 13. Despite life being hard, Lee preserved in his studies, and upon completion of his Senior Middle Three in 1973, left for the bright lights of Kuala Lumpur.

He took on various jobs in the publishing and book trade. Within four years he grew tired of working for others so he started his own business. He dabbled in everything, from printing to cakes and confectionery. "If there is anything that could be sold, I sold it" Lee remembers.

A few of his business forays lost money and sank like lead balloons. One of his more successful early forays was in automatic gates business. His thriving automatic gates business could not have given Lee a better insight into how the other half lived. He was literally beating up the path that led to the front doors of the monied classes and the privileged few.  "I felt one day I could live in such nice homes and become successful myself" he says.

Blessed with a willingness to work hard and the ability to bounced back from setbacks, Lee made his first million soon enough, at 23 years old.

He enjoyed the fruits of his labour for a while but became restless when he turned 30. It was then that Country Heights was born. "it was 1985 and I was looking for a new business venture. I did not want to go into some plain run-of-the-mill property development project. To succees, I thought, one had to be original."

Lee's outstanding achievement was the exclusive Country Heights residential project dubbed the "Beverly Hills of Malaysia". The Luxury country style residential project got underway in 1986 when the nation was in the throes of deep recession.

Around that time, he made the acquaintance of Arab Malaysian chieftain Tan Sri Azman Hashim whose family happened to own a large chunk of a rubber estate land hear Kajang next to the newly built Kuala Lumpur-Seremban highway. Lee came to know that Azman was anxious to dispose of the land and so made his approach. "For so long I had the idea. Now here was some one with the location. the place was perfect as it was next to the highway, and on good day, Kuala Lumpur is less than 30 minutes away by road" he says.

Quite a few people took a bit of convincing before they committed themselves for forking out a little under RM10psf for the land. since then, Country Heights has become such desirable property that the same square foot of turf is now worth many times more.

That it was sucha success cannot be put down to mere luck. Lee cleverly pitched his project at the top income bracket. the originality of luxurious country-style homes and being the first to introduce a new lifestyle ( where each home and expansive grounds are not walled up by physical barriers such as fencing) did not receive much interest initially. there have been well documented cases of individuals, including one cabinet minister, who did not take up the offer of buying one of the bungalow lots at the then prevailing rate, only to regret it later as the property value skyrocketed.

The success of Country Heights persuaded Lee to take his flagship property company public. Country Heights was offered to the public at RM1.50 a share in February 1994 and debuted at RM4.20, a premium of RM2.70.

The company's listing and subsequent hike in value has increased Lee's personal wealth to such an extent that he could afford to lead an idle life in retirement if he wanted to. He choose in stead to work on the Mines Resort City and set himself the task of transforming the derelict portion of Sungai Besi into a premier tourist attraction.

Sceptics deride his extraordinary recklessness when he, in a joint venture with some partners, acquired almost 1,000 acres of what was then wasteland in 1988 for about RM50million.

The purchase came with a huge lake, the result of rainwater that had collected over the years in the excavated pit of the disused mine. the huge amount of crystal clear water threatened to be his biggest liability at one point. Having filled to capacity, there was nowhere for all that accumulated rainwater to go but flood the adjacent Sungai Besi road. this treat has been nullified by the construction of an efficient system of drainage channels which divert excess water into Sungai Kuyoh and on to suingai Klang.

The then Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamad (now Tun) has visited the project site twice within a space of two years. Brimming with ideas, the prime minister was also responsible for suggesting that thr resort's two neighbouring lakes be connected by way of canal, according to Lee. He suggested that with a canal, a major transport link could be established between the various resort attractions without having to reply totally on road transportation. It would also become an attractive feature in itself.

Lee unabashedly describes it as Malaysia's Seven Wonders - for the seven components that make up the RM2billion development. These consist of the super exclusive Mines Resort and Golf Club, the mines Wonderland (leisure theme park), The mines Shopping Fair (Shopping and retail centre), The Mines Beach Resort. The mines Waterfront Business park, Palace of the Golden Horses ( the country's first resort hotel with an equine theme)  and the nation's largest exhibition centre - Malaysia International Exhibition and Showroom.

Having struck gold in the residential sector, Lee looked to industrial development next, The Subang Hi-Tech Industrial Park.  Chunghwa Picture Tubes was the first Taiwanese firm to set up shop in Subang Hi-Tech Industrial Park. Chunghwa Picture Tubes later take up a stake  to become second largest shareholder in Country Height during Asia financial Crisis.


Country Heights has further expanded into other segments of the property market in its aim to become a well diversified property developer. However, its core business remains bungalow land development. when reeled off one by one, the project name include the trademark "Heights" as if it were proprietory. (Like College Heights, Corporate Heights, Borneo Height resort, etc)So there is no danger of not being identify projects belonging to the group. However, all product are target high end customer and it is bad hit during economic crisis.

 Bouyed by the success of this foray into Mauritius (Kit Homes). Country Heights through its International and new Business Division entered into a joint-venture agreement to develop Pecanwood Estate in South Africa. Situated on the southern banks of the Johannesburg's Dam which is one of Johannesburg's largest,  600acre freehold estate a mixed residential, leisure and commercial development with golf course, conference centre and facilities for watersports activities.

In short 3 years after the company IPO. The company hit with Asia Financial Crisis in 1997 when the completion of Mines Resorts. It financial result miss market expectation.

The Devaluation of RM and bad economic condition cause much difficulties. However, Lee never say died attitude make him to remain positive. In earlier 1998, Tan Sri Lee actively seeking investor in Taiwan and Chunghwa Picture Tubes Ltd become second largest shareholder, Chunghwa Picture Tubes Ltd have 13.93%  stake in Country Heights today,

Taiwan-listed Chunghwa Picture Tubes manufactures cathode ray tubes for monitors and televisions.

After some hardworking, his able to continue his project in UK and South Africa. The project in Sarawak, Borneo Heights, also revive after stop work for 4 months.

 When people cutting advertising cost. Country Heights increase advertising expenses. In fact, London International Exhibition Centre (ExCel) in Canary Wharf, which Country's Height hold 42.7% stake, also a project that initiated during Asia financial Crisis. ExCel Canary Wharf able revive after 10 years also increase Country Height reputation in Europe. British also invite Country Height to bid for Millennium Dome job at one point due to it reputation on ExCel project.

At one point, when cash in the market was low, Country Height allowed people to use shares of listed company to swap property in the company.  This is an innovative measure as people do not have cash at that point. company able to sell the shares to get some cash flow for the company as shares are more liquid than property that company own.


Tan Sri Lee said he is satisfied with performance of his daughter, Dianna Lee Cheng Wen as a CEO of the company.  Lim become semi retired as a vice chairman of the group after pass the CEO position to his daughter. The company more focus on healthcare division now. Medical tourism is the way forward. The figures are growing but what we want now is to capture the foreign market," he said.

Mines Shopping Fair to Singapore's CapitalLand Ltd

In 2007, it sold Mines Shopping Fair to Singapore's CapitaLand Ltd for RM432 million, from which it made an estimated gain of RM102 million. The proposed disposal will enable Country Heights to realise its investment in the Mines Shopping Fair complex and raise funds to reduce its gearing, the Malaysian company said in a statement

Lee Kim Yew also launch Country Heights Grower Scheme in 2007. Some financial journalist promote the scheme as it is launch by Tan Sri Lee Kim Yew. However, those financial journalist fail to recognised that Tan Sri Lee expertise in on property and he has no experience in palm oil nor plantation business at all. The scheme has been terminated in 2013.

Tan Sri Lee has been high profile recently, first, at EGM of Matang Holdings Berhad, which, majority of it shareholder are member of MCA, part of ruling political party, and later his intention to contest top post in MCA




Update : Country Heights at 6-year high





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李金友不認輸‧重振綠野聲威
http://biz.sinchew.com.my/node/78540

30年前,首都南部一帶的發展還相當緩慢,遠不及衛星城市如八打靈再也的發展,不過綠野仙蹤的崛起頓時成為“市場佳話”,也讓我們開始瞭解有這麼一名華商丹斯里李金友。
他的代表作“綠野王國”靠的不全然是運氣,從80年代經濟大蕭條時期崛起,以大膽及創意立足國內的企業界,“綠野”這個名詞更讓國人看到了本地華商的那一份魄力及果敢,彩繪了90年代輝煌的一頁。
然而,在綠野集團(CHHB,5738,主板產業組)上市後的短短3年光景,令人心驚膽顫的1997年亞洲金融風暴肆虐,迅速令國內產業市場由高峰跌入谷底,自此綠野的聲勢也變得大不如前,像座沉睡的火山,而最近該公司旗下的種植計劃終止,更將聲勢再度往下力壓。
本期《經營之道》以綠野集團為主題,將這30年的前後變化擺上台面,走過的高高低低化為文字,近年來“按兵不動”的綠野這個品牌,能否“歷久不衰”及再度綻放光芒,值得追尋。
 
從礦湖到旅遊景點
 
一片荒蕪橡膠園開發成高尚住宅區;一片森林蛻變成讓人流連忘返的高原旅遊度假村;一個被人遺忘的錫礦湖搖身一變成了國際性旅遊景點。
在掛牌的短短10年間,綠野已取得很多產業發展公司夢寐以求的成就,將一塊毫不起眼的地段,打造佔地400公頃的綠野度假城,從商場、酒店、商業中心,到會展中心、高爾夫球場及水上園,一座又一座的建築物拔地而起,並成為吉隆坡市郊的重要地標。
其他的發展計劃還包括國內首個工業園“巴生高科技工業園”、砂拉越花園勝地“婆羅洲高原”、結合教育及家園概念的森美蘭州“學府山莊”,一直延伸至海外的南非“Pecanwood度假村及住宅計劃”,都是在李金友的努力下而打造出來的。
該公司的核心業務包括休閒、產業投資及產業發展,從綠野仙蹤、金馬皇宮酒店,到綠野購物廣場都是赫赫有名的地標,相信沒有多少人會不懂,一切得從80年代談起。
80年代中期,宏觀經濟從谷底爬起,綠野在雪州加影買了一塊膠園地,打造成國內首個具有鄉野式的居住環境,獲得市場的熱烈迴響。
儘管1987年國內經濟不景氣,產業市場低迷之際,不過綠野集團創辦人兼副主席李金友卻毅然選擇了產業市場,作為他“更上一層樓”的基石,並擴展至工業園發展計劃。當時41歲的他更開創綠野山莊,猶如大馬的“Beverly Hills”,以致被喻為國內最具創意的發展商之一。
綠野是國內首家推出“綠野生活”概念的產業公司,並孕育了“綠野仙蹤”發展計劃,進而打響了公司的聲譽,並成為業務標誌。
 
綠野——產業市場“明珠”
 
來到90年代牛市場時期,該公司的前景更是備受看好,甚至有分析員曾這樣說:“即使房市放緩,該公司仍可取得20%成長。”可見當時的綠野可算是產業市場中的一顆“明珠”。
綠野的產業計劃以高檔市場為主,砂拉越婆羅洲山莊、森美蘭巴音學府山莊、吉打州學府山莊都相當著名,不過在大市下跌時,卻面對較大的風險。
當時該公司也積極將觸角延伸至海外市場,曾參與毛里求斯廉價屋、非洲綠野仙蹤綜合性產業發展及中國南京長江第二大橋計劃等。
國內方面,該公司斥資超過2億6千萬令吉承建金馬皇宮酒店,僅花了短短的22個月即於1997年10月落成,成為綠野度假城的一部份。該酒店坐落在湖畔旁,外形呈馬來傳統建築之摩爾式設計風格,有如童話中天方夜譚的宮殿。
隨後綠野推介水上綠野休閒城,耗資10億令吉,成為吉隆坡南部“產業明星”,並實現了所謂的“夢想計劃”,當中包含酒店、購物商場、高爾夫球俱樂部及公寓等,總面積達946英畝。
 
無懼金融風暴
危機中尋商機
 
1997年7月,金融風暴開始來襲,狂烈拍打企業家的門口,具代表性的綠野度假城(Mines Resort)於同年落成,形成強烈對比。
從那時起,綠野的產業發展步伐也開始放緩,財報表現低於市場預期。金融風暴席捲時,有人揣測李金友已失去靠山,企業王國開始受到動搖,而且更有傳言指他瀕臨破產邊緣,負債累累,但他都沒有加以解釋。
 
赴台取經
引進資金
 
無論如何,一場亞洲金融風暴,致使國內產業領域萎縮,股市崩盤及馬幣劇貶,從事休閒、旅遊、娛樂及購物商場業務的綠野難免受到衝擊,但李金友卻毫不退縮及畏懼,反而積極在危機中尋找商機,包括到台灣“取經”,期望引入更多資金。
在風暴肆虐期間,各種不利於李金友的謠言不絕於耳,主要指該公司受股市拖累而面對財務問題、銷售成績趨軟,甚至被迫變賣金馬皇宮酒店。
不過,李金友都一一駁斥了這種“攻擊性”的言論,並認為只要金融危機煙霾一過,一切就會復甦了,並淡定地說“路遙知馬力,日久見人心”。
1998年初,國內產業市場幾乎全線崩潰,除了消費情緒低迷及馬幣大幅貶值,更重要是當時國家銀行採取嚴謹的緊縮政策,產業市場自然深受其害。
可是,他始終“不認輸、不低頭、不屈服”,不斷在萎靡的市道中尋找一絲希望,為公司尋覓資金及為海外陷入停頓的發展計劃重新催生,如邀來台灣中華映像管(Chung Hwa Picture Tube)入股綠野,成為第二大股東。他積極奔走,讓綠野的英國及南非的2項大型投資得以延續,而停工了4個多月的砂拉越婆羅洲山莊也迅速復工。
在金融風暴期間,許多商家都大幅縮減廣告開銷,唯獨綠野“反常態”不惜下重本強勢宣傳,而且倫敦展覽館計劃更是風暴期間敲定的計劃,在停工超過10年後才“死灰復然”,進而讓該公司的名氣傳開至歐洲市場。
同時,該公司的高檔產業計劃仍成功攫取市場的熱烈反應,渡過產業市場的低潮期。1999年更涉足博彩業提昇收入來源,以倫敦國際戰展開控股股權,換取泛馬彩券(Pan Malaysia Sweeps)的股權,交易值達3億令吉。
不過,大馬評估機構(RAM)於1998年5月下調綠野的債券評級,主要基於其基本面因素惡化,經濟危機更導致該公司的資產脫售計劃遭擱置,並影響了高檔產業的銷售額。
 
股票換產業渡困境
 
當時債務激增將該公司推向下坡,資產脫售傳言即刻亂竄,包括金馬皇宮酒店及綠野仙蹤,員工之間也人心惶惶,李金友每天不僅得忙於公司事務,還得面對員工的疑問及忙於解釋。
為了應對困境,該公司曾提出創意的“股票換產業”計劃,市民獲準以手中的股票來購買旗下產業單位,以解決市場資金短缺及高檔產業難以獲得貸款的難題,並期望能安然渡過嚴冬。
有關計劃以股票取代現款,該公司獲得的股票也比產業更容易套現,藉此改善現金流狀況。當中主要以在馬股掛牌的藍籌股來換取該公司推出的產業單位,“窮則通,通則變”儼然成為他的經營方式。
隨後綠野更推出“免銀行、免利息及無壓力”的產業投資策略,最終獲得市場的不俗反應,連外資也深感興趣。
綠野也曾大規模涉足服務業,先以旅遊保健業帶頭衝刺,並由銀髮族計劃等業務相輔。
 
重整聲勢
斥32億打造保健城
 
為了重振綠野聲勢,綠野配合國家經濟轉型計劃,斥資32億令吉在接下來的10年內,將綠野休閒城轉變為綠野休閒保健城,矢要放手一搏,挽回顏面。
李金友不諱言,公司要重整旗鼓並不是項簡單的任務,因為自遭到1997年亞洲金融風暴蹂躪後,公司欠下龐大債務,至今已攤還超過5億令吉。
“若非要償還這大筆債務,公司業務成長幅度會更為快速。”
無論如何,他說,有些事情急也急不來,公司須打穩基礎後才能再度“起飛”。
他深信作為國內具知名度的發展商,綠野遲早會獲得市場的青睞,並向實達集團(SPSETIA,8664,主板產業組)看齊,期望有朝一日也能創造龐大市值。
“除了商業利益,我們也以誠信度掛帥,將正確的人文及思維融入品牌價值中。”
 
滿意女兒領導
 
“半隱退”的李金友對千金李靜雯的領導感到滿意,並指團隊方向正確促使公司品牌備受肯定。
“年輕人應獲更多機會,持續領導公司邁向前並取得更大進步空間。”
綠野正啟動的綜合醫療及健康的度假村,佔地1千英畝,將打造成一個集現代及輔助醫藥的一站式保健中心。
他說,公司致力於將全球各地優質的醫療服務引入保健度假村,確保營運能永續經營。
“保健業務有別於其他屬於週期性的領域發展,隨著人們的保健康意識逐漸提昇,相信此業務可攫取更大的成長契機。”
該公司曾提出各項重組建議,包括雄心勃勃欲將產業發展臂膀掛牌,放眼減債及籌措逾3億令吉,惟分拆上市計劃最終卻遭證券監督委員會駁回,引起市場的強烈沽售,導致股價創下歷史新低紀錄。
隨後提出設立產業投資信托(REITs)計劃,但最終卻不了了之,因此究竟能否突破重圍,極力向上游,則仍有待觀察。
 
被逼售綠野水上購物廣場給嘉德置地還債
 
現實始終是殘酷的,長期累積的債務,導致綠野於2007年不得不以4億3千萬令吉,脫售綠野水上購物廣場給嘉德置地(Capita Land),以套現還債。
1997年該公司處於頂峰,股價上探至15令吉以上水平,比1994年剛掛牌時的1令吉50仙發售足足翻了9倍之多,而在風暴前的產業高峰期,該公司於1996及1997年期間取得1億1千500萬令吉稅前盈利,表現極為亮眼。
 
金馬皇宮酒店曾差點遭充公
 
由於經濟不景氣,綠野的旅遊及休閒相關業務陷入困局,卻從2001年起首次蒙虧,全年淨虧7千450萬8千令吉,2002年淨虧損更擴大至1億4千316萬8千令吉,直到2003年才轉虧為盈,錄得1千169萬5千令吉淨利。
該公司曾爆發一場風波,主要是因為無法贖回總值2億令吉債券,差點拖累金馬皇宮酒店遭充公,隨後陸續脫售非核心資產減債,並專注在核心業務的發展。
 
首季盈利激增13倍
 
該公司2006年又陷入虧損窘境,淨虧3千268萬9千令吉,隔年才轉虧為盈,而2012財政年全年淨利則小起3.78%至2千454萬3千令吉。
最新2013財政年首季則激增13倍至1千893萬1千令吉,受惠於產業領域表現出色。
90年代的綠野曾派發10%以上股息,但如今卻已多年無派息記錄了,引頸長盼的投資者不知還要多等幾久呢。
雖然李金友強調公司已告別2008年全球金融風暴的陰霾,業務基本面及資產負債表已大獲改善,不過在股東大會上,小股東仍按耐不住,對股價毫無起色而感到擔憂。
小股東從李金友口中得到的答案是:“大股東一直都在增持股權,超過50%,證明我們對公司的業務前景深具信心。”
綠野股價遭大幅低估,過去10年都在淨資產水平以下交易,不斷令私有化消息重燃。目前該股約為1令吉,相比每股資產為2令吉74仙。
 
吸取教訓
短期不推出種植計劃
 
沉寂了逾10年的綠野,於2006年欲借助推出“綠野種植者計劃”重新吸引市場的目光,且是國內首創之舉,可是最近卻宣告失敗了。
李金友坦言:“這事件給了我一個教訓,我們是在逼不得已的情況下才終止,短期內不會再考慮推出此類計劃。”
此計劃主要讓投資者直接持有油棕園股權,依據當時的棕油價計算回酬。投資者最低僅需5千令吉,即可當個油棕園的小園主,與產托頗為相似,投資期限為23年,承諾首3年可捎來高達8%回酬,隨後則根據市價而定。
這項投資在吉蘭丹話望生佔地逾4千公頃的計劃,在經營逾5年後,去年杪突然傳來此種植計劃遭終止的消息,震驚市場,投資者對該公司的決定感到萬分不解。
李金友表示,計劃之所以被終止是因為面對產量不足問題,加上未能如承諾般提供保證回酬。然而,他的這番解釋,卻留下了重重“疑團”,特別是當前的棕油價仍處於有利可圖水平。
無論如何,他說:“最初我們買下話望生種植地前,土壤研究結果顯示擁有良好的發展潛力,但最終結果事與願違。”
雖然在種植業者大會舉行前,投資者紛紛起哄宣泄不滿,然而在李金友書面承諾填補全額本金後,終止計劃動議才獲投資者投票贊成通過,劃下了句點。
 
堅持營運理念
 
無論如何,他還是堅持營運理念,即使身處經濟危機,也應樂觀面對並嘗試從中尋求契機。
“商場跟生命過程一樣,同樣有起伏,無論是高或低,我們都須勇於面對。當然,在低潮期,我會要求員工與管理層保持合作,確保穩住員工的飯碗。”
結語:

勞碌了大半輩子的李金友,如今已逐步退位,而隨著其千金李靜雯加入綠野並接任首席執行員職位後,繼承父業的重大責任就在她的肩膀上。

自小接受父親薰陶的李靜雯,能否接過管理權後開創另一片天地,並引領綠野再創高峰,更是未來營運之路的關鍵所在,下一個“綠野王國”有待發掘。







 
李金友小檔案

●現年56歲的李金友出身微寒,自幼喪父,但憑著自己的努力打拼,在40歲前即躋身億萬富豪的行列,成為一名地位顯赫的華商。
●他是純受華文教育的華校生,17歲畢業後即從柔佛來到吉隆坡打天下。最初他只當一名學徒,之後跑去當出版社翻譯員、推銷員,也賣過中藥及古董,並成為首位將電動門引進國內市場的商人。
●23歲那年,李金友賺到了人生中的第一桶金,經過一輪的深思,最終在30歲那年勇闖產業發展市場,即使當時產業領域處於低迷狀態,他也毅然放手一搏,開創另一片春天。
●值得一提的是,他有深厚的中華文化根基,並熱愛中華文化,這份特質在國內華商身上確實少有的。
●李金友於1984年5月正式創辦綠野集團(前稱Kurniata及Mojilee公司),並於1994年2月18日正式在馬股掛牌,擔任了24年的董事經理後,於2008年卸任,轉而擔任副主席。

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