KepCorp to consolidate asset management units

KepCorp's CEO Loh Chin Hua telling the press yesterday about the proposed consolidation of four businesses. He is flanked by the group's chief financial officer Chan Hon Chew and Ms Christina Tan, the CEO-designate of the new Keppel Capital.
KepCorp's CEO Loh Chin Hua telling the press yesterday about the proposed consolidation of four businesses. He is flanked by the group's chief financial officer Chan Hon Chew and Ms Christina Tan, the CEO-designate of the new Keppel Capital.PHOTO: KEPPEL

No job cuts at new Keppel Capital, which is expected to lift investment returns, income

Keppel Corporation will consolidate its interests in four asset management businesses under one subsidiary, Keppel Capital Holdings, in a major restructuring.

The conglomerate told the Singapore Exchange yesterday that the move would involve the managers of Keppel Infrastructure Trust, Keppel DC Reit, Keppel Reit and Alpha Investment Partners.

It said, in an e-mail to Reuters, that there will be no job losses from the process. "Each business vehicle will continue to retain its key management and employees to ensure business continuity."

KepCorp chief executive Loh Chin Hua told a briefing the four businesses manage assets worth $26 billion and contributed $60 million in profits last year.

He said the consolidation, which will not change the unitholdings in the Reits and business trust or investments in the funds, is aimed at increasing the contributions from its investment division.

"This is about growth and about an increased focus in an area... that is becoming a very important part of not just providing contributions to our bottom line, but also... in terms of expanding our capital base as well as easing our capital recycling efforts."

Mr Loh said Keppel Capital will help "create greater velocity for new vehicle launches", be it private funds or listed trusts, while allowing the group to better leverage on its balance sheet.

It is expected to spur better investment returns and generate higher recurring income from management fees as well.

"(The consolidation) will also improve the performance of the subsidiaries and the funds, Reits and business trusts that they manage through centralising certain non- regulated support functions and creating a larger platform which will enhance recruitment and retention of talent, and sharing of best practices," said Mr Loh.

"This will improve the returns to the Keppel group, and to other investors and unitholders."

KepCorp aims to complete the proposed consolidation by the second half of this year, subject to the relevant approvals, including that of the Monetary Authority of Singapore. The group may then consider widening Keppel Capital's scope to include regulated activities relating to investments and asset management, though only after obtaining the necessary licences and approvals, it said.

Ms Christina Tan, managing director of Alpha Investment Partners, will be the chief executive- designate of Keppel Capital.

Under Ms Tan's leadership, Alpha has grown its assets under management to more than $12 billion, said Keppel, noting that she has over 20 years of experience in investing and fund management across Asia, Europe and the US.

KepCorp shares closed 21 cents or 4.2 per cent down at $4.81 yesterday.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 26, 2016, with the headline 'KepCorp to consolidate asset management units'. Print Edition | Subscribe