Ong Beng Seng, Wheelock Properties move to buy out HPL

Property tycoon Ong Beng Seng is tying up with Wheelock Properties to buy out his listed hospitality company, Hotel Properties Limited (HPL). -- BUSINESS TIMES PHOTO: ARTHUR LEE CH
Property tycoon Ong Beng Seng is tying up with Wheelock Properties to buy out his listed hospitality company, Hotel Properties Limited (HPL). -- BUSINESS TIMES PHOTO: ARTHUR LEE CH

SINGAPORE - Property tycoon Ong Beng Seng is tying up with Wheelock Properties to buy out his listed hospitality company, Hotel Properties Limited (HPL).

Their joint venture, 68 Holdings, has agreed to buy a 41.91 per cent stake in HPL and make a takeover offer for the rest of the shares.

68 Holdings is offering $3.50 per share in cash, it said on Tuesday. This is 12.8 per cent higher than HPL's closing price of $3.13 last Friday. HPL shares were suspended from trading on Monday.

68 Holdings will buy the initial 41.91 per cent stake from Mr Ong Beng Seng and companies controlled by him, Mrs Christina Ong, Nassim Developments, Mr David Ban Song Long and Ms Tan Quee Heong.

The offeror is a joint venture between Cuscaden Partners, which holds 60 per cent, and Nassim Developments, which owns the remaining 40 per cent. Cuscaden Partners is 90 per cent-owned by Mr Ong and 10 per cent-owned by Mr Ban.

Nassim Developments is an indirect wholly-owned subsidiary of Wheelock Properties.

Cuscaden Partners and Nassim Developments have each agreed to give a loan to 68 Holdings to buy the initial 41.91 per cent stake.

68 Holdings said that Mr Ong, as co-founder of HPL, together with Mr Ban and Wheelock Singapore "have been long term shareholders of HPL and they share a common vision and strategy for HPL".

"They have therefore decided to consolidate their shareholdings in HPL so as to be in a position to cooperate and implement their shared objectives for HPL and to enhance value over time," it added.

68 Holdings intends to retain HPL's listing on the Singapore Exchange mainboard, it said. But if HPL's free float falls below 10 per cent, 68 Holdings may decide to take it private.

HPL shares surged 37 cents to $3.50 on Tuesday morning after the news.