Keppel's vision for new decade includes building on core strengths

Keppel Corporation is drawing up a plan for the new decade leading up to 2030, one that may involve shedding non-core businesses, according to chief executive Loh Chin Hua's New Year message to employees yesterday.

An exercise involving about 30 younger business leaders from Keppel was held last year to chart the vision for the group.

Contrasting ideas were presented, but there were also "significant areas of convergence", such as the need to focus and build on core strengths, divest non-core businesses, tap third-party funds for growth, and build an agile organisational culture, he wrote.

"We will take on board these ideas as we chart the company's 2030 vision, with interim targets for 2025," Mr Loh said in the letter sent to all of the conglomerate's directors and staff.

More details on the new road map are to be shared later this year. The group had an average of more than 18,000 employees in 2018.

This comes as Temasek seeks to raise its stake in Keppel in a move that would give the state investment firm control.

A few months ago, Temasek, through its wholly-owned subsidiary Kyanite Investment Holdings, made an offer to acquire an additional 30.55 per cent of Keppel shares at $7.35 apiece in cash.

If successful, the $4.08 billion deal will raise Temasek's and Kyanite's total holding in Keppel to 51 per cent, on top of Temasek's current, direct 20.45 per cent interest.

Temasek has said it intends to keep the mainboard-listed Keppel on the Singapore Exchange, but would seek to undertake a strategic review of Keppel's businesses.

While Mr Loh was unable to comment on the offer, he said that there is "inherent long-term value in Keppel's businesses".

"As always, we will endeavour to deliver value for all our stakeholders," he wrote.

Sustainability will also be a "key consideration" in Keppel's investment decisions, and it has set targets to invest in renewable energy generation.

In addition, the group is moving away from highly polluting businesses such as coal and towards renewables and cleaner energy such as gas. Already, renewables and LNG-related solutions made up close to 60 per cent of new orders secured in 2019, Mr Loh noted.

THE BUSINESS TIMES

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 02, 2020, with the headline 'Keppel's vision for new decade includes building on core strengths'. Print Edition | Subscribe