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Lee increases shareholding in IOI

This is written by my editor Francis Fernandez.

KUALA LUMPUR: Tan Sri Lee Shin Cheng has strengthened his hold on IOI Corp Bhd as the company zeroes in on acquisitions to beef up growth.

Parties directly related to Lee bought the company’s shares for between RM5.76 and RM5.79 a piece from the open market, filings to the stock market show.

Lee, said to be worth US$4.5 billion (RM14.5 billion), saw his family members spend slightly more than RM25 million within two days (December 11 and 12) to acquire around five million IOI shares.

IOI shares, up some two per cent this month, rose to RM5.87 each, before ending at RM5.78.

The purchases helped the country’s sixth richest man, according to Forbes Magazine, increase his indirect shareholding in IOI to 45.32 per cent.

The 74-year-old Lee has a direct 1.04 per cent stake in IOI, the country’s fourth largest plantation company.

The Lee family was not the only ones buying IOI shares in a big way. A quick check on Bursa Malaysia’s website shows that the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) also bought some 1.44 million IOI shares on December 11. With the purchase, the EPF now owns some 9.2 per cent of the company.

Purchases by IOI’s two biggest shareholders come at a time when analysts expect crude palm oil (CPO) to fetch a better price next year.

Last Thursday, Alliance raised IOI’s financial year 2014-2016 earnings outlook by 6.4 per cent and 7.1 per cent, respectively, to reflect an upward revision of CPO average selling price from RM2,400 a tonne to RM2,575-RM2,600 a tonne for the respective years.

Meanwhile, on the acquisition of oil palm estates, IOI told the stock exchange that it now owns some 94.79 per cent of Unico-Desa Plantations Bhd. The whole Unico Desa takeover is valued at RM606 million. 

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