EWI, Guoco Group discuss London assets

KUALA LUMPUR: Eco World International Bhd (EWI), which debuted at a premium 6.67% yesterday, has started discussions with GuocoLand Limited’s parent company Guoco Group Limited on the potential redevelopment of some of the latter’s assets in London.

“Guoco has got assets in the UK, especially in London, some of which we think are actually ripe for redevelopment. Some of the assets are very old and need to be re-masterplanned. We have been engaging in discussions albeit informally. I wish to point out that there is no definitive agreement. It is basically for us to put up viable propositions to Guoco to convince them that these assets can be redeveloped and can make money for them,” EWI president and CEO Datuk Teow Leong Seng said.

He said these assets are mainly hotels and could potentially be redeveloped into mixed developments but declined to comment on the timeline of the project, saying only that the planning would be a long process.

Teow also declined to comment on whether Guoco and GuocoLand would inject any assets into EWI.

GuocoLand is one of two strategic investors for the IPO and subscribed for a 27% stake in EWI. Eco World Development Group Bhd is the other strategic investor with another 27% stake.

EWI closed its first day of trading at RM1.28 per share, 6.67% higher than its initial public offering (IPO) price of RM1.20 per share.

The stock opened at RM1.31 per share, representing a 9.17% premium over the IPO price with 14.296 million shares traded at the opening bell. A total of 145.498 million shares changed hands yesterday. It was the most actively traded stock. EWI’s warrants opened at 30.5 sen per unit, 30 sen higher than its reference price of 0.5 sen.

Teow said the IPO received very strong institutional interest from outside Malaysia, with about 39% of book orders coming from abroad. Cornerstone investors Permodalan Nasional Bhd, Kumpulan Wang Persaraan (Diperbadankan) and the Employees Provident Fund Board subscribed for a combined 47%.

“The retail offering is very small, only 2%. Institutions form the main bulk of the IPO. We are quite happy with that result but of course in the longer term we have to continue to engage (institutional investors),” he told reporters at the listing ceremony yesterday.

EWI’s IPO raised total proceeds of RM2.58 billion, which will mainly be used to fund its operations. It is one of the largest listings in Malaysia since June 2015.