Tycoon's son takes on bigger role in Hong Leong group

Tycoon's son takes on bigger role in Hong Leong group

PETALING JAYA - Quek Kon Sean, the youngest son of tycoon Tan Sri Quek Leng Chan, could be taking on a bigger role in the Hong Leong group's property ventures, sources say.

Last Friday, 36-year-old Kon Sean resigned from his directorship positions in Hong Leong Financial Group Bhd (HLFG) and Hong Leong Capital Bhd to assume "a new position within the Hong Leong group", but the announcements did not reveal anything more.

"Quek (Leng Chan) is said to be making a big foray into real estate and Kon Sean could be the one heading the venture," said an industry source.

There has been recent speculation that Leng Chan would be investing in Eco World International Bhd (EWI) and the Bandar Malaysia project.

Meanwhile, another signficant development is that Leng Chan's Singapore-listed GuocoLand Ltd has won a tender for a prime residential site in the River Valley area, which was announced on July 1 by Singapore's Urban Redevelopment Authority.

GuocoLand had put in the highest bid of S$595.1 million for the 99-year leasehold private housing site. The bid price works out to S$1,239 per sq ft per plot ratio.

Leng Chan owns about 76 per cent of Hong Kong-listed Guoco Group Ltd through Hong Leong Group. Guoco Group, in turn, owns about 65 per cent in GuocoLand, which undertakes property development, property investment and property-related activities on behalf of Hong Leong Group.

GuocoLand's property development activities are mainly concentrated in Singapore, Malaysia, China and Vietnam.

GuocoLand is currently helmed by Raymong Choong, who is the former pesident and chief executive officer of HLFG.

Leng Chan's family investment in EWI would expand GuocoLand's property development projects in developed countries.

EWI is currently en route to an initial public offering to raise money for development projects in mature overseas markets such as the United Kingdom and Australia.

It is also speculated that the Quek family could emerge as a substantial shareholder in unlisted Iskandar Waterfront Holdings Sdn Bhd, the master developer of Johor Baru's waterfront properties, and recently won the mandate for the Bandar Malaysia project.

Bandar Malaysia is a huge development spanning 486 acres, where the plan is to have an integrated underground city modelled after the Montreal underground city in Canada.

Meanwhile, GuocoLand itself is embarking on several ambitious projects such as the Tanjong Pagar Centre in Singapore, a 290-metre tower which is set to be Singapore's tallest building when completed.

Via its GuocoLand Malaysia Bhd, the group is also embarking on an integrated development with an estimated gross development value of RM2.5 billion (S$846.7 million), comprising two office blocks, two residential blocks, a 4.5-storey mall and a hotel with more than 300 rooms known as the Damansara City project in Malaysia.

Meanwhile, another source said that Kon Sean may want to focus on his brainchild project GEMFIVE, an online shopping website.

GEMFIVE is operated by GuoLine eMarketing, an independent new private entity owned by the Hong Leong group.

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