News: Wheelock Properties to go private?

Mar 7, 2012

The death of Wheelock Properties CEO and Managing Director David Lawrence has raised speculation regarding the firm’s possible privatisation by parent Wheelock Group, as well as its future direction and link to SC Global.

“This company has always been one of the potential candidates (for privatisation) and given that David Lawrence has unfortunately passed on, it could be a case for the parent company to consider (privatisation),” said Wilson Liew, an analyst from Maybank Kim Eng.

“But, I’m not sure if it will be immediately done. it may be awhile, once the matter dies down, (and) operations settle.”

In a by Business Times report, the question of the company’s stewardship also arose. DMG Partners Research yesterday mentioned two names — Tan Zing Yan and Tan Bee Kim, both Executive Directors at the company.

“David Lawrence had been more or less passive ever since 2006 / 2007. Since then, day-to-day running has mostly been done by the other executive directors,” said Liew.

“In the past, David Lawrence was known to be quite spot-on in catching market cycles, so one would have expected him to go ahead to replenish his land bank. Be it a change in focus from the parent company, or the fact that he wasn’t actively running the company, I think that’s what led to the inactivity of the past few years.”

He added that if Wheelock Group does privatise the company, it may consider divesting its shares in Simon Cheong’s SC Global.

Meanwhile, Wheelock Properties’ Ardmore Three development is expected to be completed by 2014. The 36-storey freehold luxury project comprises 84 three-bedroom apartments and is located along Ardmore Park (pictured). Construction and fit-out works of the showflats are completed and preparation for the launch is on track.

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