Ex-Goldman banker joins Wilmar in deal-making role

LONDON • Wilmar International, the world's biggest palm-oil processor, has hired former Goldman Sachs Group banker Yong Hsin Yue for a deal-making role.

Ms Yong, who was head of South-east Asia investment banking at Goldman, joined Wilmar in July as general manager for special projects, said the Singapore-based company in an e-mail yesterday, responding to Bloomberg queries.

The former banker's role is centred on strategic development, which also involves mergers and acquisitions, said the statement.

Ms Yong, who is related by marriage to the Kuok family that controls Wilmar, has about two decades of deal-making experience, the statement added.

Wilmar has announced US$3.1 billion (S$4.4 billion) worth of deals in the past five years, showed data compiled by Bloomberg. It is China's biggest seller of cooking oil, offering products squeezed from both palm and soya beans under brands that include Jin Long Yu.

The company's dominant position in cooking oil has pushed it to expand to other products like noodles and raw sugar. Wilmar has bought manufacturers and forged tie-ups throughout Asia to add consumer brands to boost profit margins.

Wilmar closed 1.1 per cent lower at $2.60 in Singapore yesterday, taking this year's losses to 20 per cent.

Last year, it teamed up with First Pacific for the A$1.32 billion (S$1.3 million) takeover of Australia's largest baker, Goodman Fielder.

Wilmar, which trades almost half the world's palm oil, said last month that its second-quarter net income rose 18 per cent as it boosted the profit margin from processing soya beans in China.

Ms Yong, who had been with Goldman Sachs since 1996, left the investment bank to pursue other opportunities, stated a February internal memo seen by Bloomberg. She is married to Wilmar chief sustainability officer Jeremy Goon, according to yesterday's statement.

Mr Goon is the nephew of Wilmar chief executive Kuok Khoon Hong and grand nephew of the family patriarch Robert Kuok, according to the statement. The latter is South- east Asia's richest person with a net worth of US$13.3 billion, showed the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

The Kuok family controls 32 per cent of Wilmar, according to the company.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 09, 2015, with the headline 'Ex-Goldman banker joins Wilmar in deal-making role'. Print Edition | Subscribe