Malaysian tycoon Kuok raises stake in Shangri-La Hotels unit

KUALA LUMPUR (REUTERS) - Mr Robert Kuok, Malaysia's richest man according to Forbes, has increased his equity stake in locally listed Shangri-La Hotels (Malaysia) Bhd, according to stock exchange filings late on Monday.

The luxury hotels chain said Kuok Brothers Sdn Bhd, a family investment vehicle of Mr Kuok, bought a 22.2 per cent stake or 98 million shares in Shangri-La from Standard Chartered Private Equity Ltd on March 20.

The purchase raised Mr Kuok's interest, via Kuok Brothers and Hong Kong-listed Shangri-La Asia Ltd, in Shangri-La to 74.98 per cent from 52.78 per cent, raising the possibility of an offer for the outstanding shares.

South-east Asia has seen a series of management buyouts in recent months, including deals in Singapore for miner Skari Resources Ltd and Asia Pacific Breweries Ltd .

The price for the transaction was not disclosed. Shares of Shangri-La opened 3.92 ringgit per share on March 20 and ended that day at 4.11 ringgit, for a gain of nearly 5 per cent and giving the company a market value of about 1.9 billion ringgit (S$748 million).

The stock rose 1 per cent on Tuesday to 4.24 ringgit per share, while the benchmark stock index rose 0.6 per cent.

On Monday, the shares rose as high as 4.30 ringgit, a four-month high.