Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Demise of Latitute Tree's major shareholder

KUALA LUMPUR (Dec 27): Taiwanese Lin Tzu-Keng, deputy chairman and largest shareholder of LATITUDE TREE HOLDINGS BHD [], passed away on Dec 26, the wooden furniture and component-maker said in a statement to Bursa Malaysia on Tuesday.

Lin, 57, also group CEO of the company's 77.62%-owned Latitude Tree International Group Ltd (LTI), was 'responsible for the development of the overall corporate strategies and business developments of the group', the Singapore-listed unit told the Singapore Exchange in a separate statement.

'The board pays tribute to the late [Lin] for his great leadership, foresight and vision in driving and developing the group's business,' executive director Yeoh Joe Son said in the statement to SGX on behalf of the board.

Pending the appointment of a new CEO, Yeoh, LTI's group finance director, has been appointed acting CEO and continues to be in charge of finance.

Neither statement provided details surrounding Lin's demise.

Lin's spouse, Lin Chen Jui-Fen, 57, succeeded Lin as managing director of Latitude Tree on May 28, 2009, even as Lin took on the post of deputy chairman. That same day, Lin's older brother, Tzu-Lang, 69, was re-designated from deputy chairman to executive director, according to its annual report.

As at Oct 28, 2011, the late Lin had 19.45% of Latitute Tree directly and was deemed interested in a 11.33% block held by his spouse. His brother, Tzu-Lang holds a 10.97%-stake directly.

The company's other major shareholder is non-executive director Yek Siew Liong, a Malaysian, who through Konsortium Kontrek Sdn Bhd, has a 15.03% stake. Yek, 51, is group managing director and CEO of Hock Lee Holdings Sdn Bhd and its group of companies, with 23 years of experience in various fields including timber trading, logging, saw-milling, oil palm PLANTATION []s, shipping, petrol station, hospitality and property development, according to Latitute Tree's annual report. Yek also hold directorships in Hock Lee Asia Bhd, Hock Lee Resources Bhd, Cinacom Bintulu Bhd and Sarawak Cable Bhd. He emerged as Latitute Tree's substantial shareholder on May 18, 2007, filings showed.

Thinly-traded LTI's market capitalisation stood at S$58.71 million at its last close of 24.5 cents on Dec 13, reflecting 1.13 times book value.

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