Prima Group founder Cheng Tsang Man dies at age 97

PHOTO: Prima Group founder Cheng Tsang Man dies at age 97

SINGAPORE - Prima Group founder Cheng Tsang Man, whose firm is behind the chain of PrimaDeli bakeries, died on Sunday morning at the age of 97.

His son Primus Cheng, 55, who is the chairman and chief executive of the group, said his father started suffering from poor health after he contracted pneumonia in February and more complications arose over the past few months.

Mr Cheng was hospitalised last Saturday before dying the next morning with more than 20 members of his family by his side. He left behind six children, 12 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.

Mr Cheng, who was born in China's Fujian province in 1916, had little formal education.

He left for Indonesia when he was eight, eventually setting up his own firm in his late twenties.

It was in the 1960s when he made Singapore his new base.

With 30 years of business expertise under his belt, he beat out other foreign investors to win the Government's project to set up the nation's first flour mill in 1961. Under Mr Cheng's leadership, the company diversified its interests into food manufacturing and services, restaurants, property management and information technology.

Its chain of PrimaDeli bakeries is a household name. He retired as executive chairman in 1998, after 37 years in the post.

His son remembers his father as a hard-working man: "He was also an honest and honourable businessman, and a family man who loved his family very much." The group's head office in Keppel Road will close on Thursday for staff to pay respects.

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