Singapore businessman Sam Goi's companies buy stake in Malaysian hospitality firm

Two companies linked to Singapore businessman Sam Goi have invested about 700 million ringgit ($270 million) in a Malaysian hospitality company.

Mainboard-listed GSH Corporation said on Wednesday that its unit Borneo Ventures, together with Mr Goi's investment vehicle TYJ Group, will take a 77.5 per cent stake in The Sutera Harbour Group.

Mr Goi, nicknamed the "Popiah King" for his success at the helm of popiah skin maker Tee Yih Jia, is the executive chairman and majority shareholder of GSH Corporation. GSH is a distributor of medical consumer goods and photographic and imaging equipment but has been diversifying into the property sector.

The Sutera Harbour Group belongs to Datuk Edward Ong Han Nam, the founder of Sutera Harbour Resort and other properties in Kota Kinabalu in Sabah, Malaysia.

The resort comprises two five-star hotels - the 500-room Pacific Sutera and the 456-room The Magellan Sutera - as well as the Sutera Harbour Marina and Country Club, a 27-hole championship golf course, and a range of fine dining and recreational facilities.

In addition, two of GSH's wholly-owned subsidiaries have agreed to buy stakes in two separate land parcels located within the 384-acre Sutera Harbour property, GSH said in a press release.

Ocean View Ventures will acquire a 12.1-acre plot while Ocean View Point will buy a 13.1-acre site.

GSH's chief executive officer Gilbert Ee said the area in which Sutera Harbour is sited is an up-and-coming location for real estate in Malaysia, buoyed by economic growth and increasing numbers of foreign visitors.

"Kota Kinabalu is a rising property hotspot in Malaysia and we see robust potential for prime real estate in the city, fuelled by strong tourism growth from Northeast Asian countries such as Korea, Japan, Hong Kong and China," he said.

Sabah has also enjoyed robust economic growth on the back of its key agriculture and oil and gas sectors, Mr Ee added. "With such strong fundamentals, we see great potential in Kota Kinabalu's luxury hospitality sector as well as premier resort homes."

This transaction comes a month after GSH bought a prime plot of land in Kuala Lumpur for 132.4 million ringgit. The firm plans to build a residential and commercial development on the site.