24September2020

Agenda Daily

General offer for The Store, after Vincent Tan exit

Almost three weeks after Tan Sri Vincent Tan and the Berjaya Group exited The Store Corp Bhd, the major shareholders have launched a takeover of the company that operates a retail chain.

In a filing with Bursa Malaysia yesterday, the major shareholders of The Store – Tan Sri Tang Yeam Soon and his wife Puan Sri Khor Guik Lee – said they had acquired a further 13.88% stake in the company, hence triggering a mandatory general offer.

Tang and his wife have been long-time shareholders of The Store through their private company, Equatorial Century Sdn Bhd, which holds 28.16%.

Yesterday, they acquired the stake through another private company that they control – TYS Consolidated Sdn Bhd – at RM3.52 per share. With the latest transaction, TYS Consolidated and Equatorial Century collectively hold 42.05% in The Store, hence triggering the general offer.

The seller of the block of 13.88% shares was not disclosed in the announcement.

However, based on The Store’s disclosed shareholding, the only person with the block of shares is Tan Sri Kong Hon Kong, who surfaced in the company on Nov 1.

Kong, who is known for his bereavement care service company Nirwana Asia that is listed in Hong Kong, purchased a block of 9.02%. He then went on to accumulate more shares, taking his total stake to 13.88%.

Kong acquired the shares from Tan directly and the Berjaya Group. Tan was a long-time shareholder of The Store, which has not been faring well in recent years.

In purchasing the block from Tan and the Berjaya Group, Kong said that he saw potential in the operator of a chain of departmental stores.

He also stated that although the company was not doing well, it was paying dividends.

Kong, in an interview over the weekend, also did not rule out selling the stake if the price reaches his “target”.

The price of the transaction between Tan and Kong was not disclosed. But based on industry data, the stock was trading at about RM3.20 at the time of that transaction.

“However, it does not seem like a massive premium for someone who many had thought was holding it for the long-term,” said a banker.

The Store’s financial numbers have been coming down, something that the company has attributed to weak consumer sentiment, even during festive seasons.

In its most recent quarterly results, The Store announced a wider loss of RM10.5mil for the period to end-September. A year ago, the loss was at RM1.65mil.

It has been reported that the company’s cash pile had shrunk in the last few years – to RM48.74mil as at Sept 30 from RM160.6mil a year ago.-29/11/2016

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