IN November 2016, Tan Sri Desmond Lim Siew Choon acquired 245.71 million shares or a 19.67% stake in WCT Holdings Bhd, forking out RM2.50 a share or RM614.27 million. The acquisition price was a 42.85% premium (75 sen) to the prevailing share price of RM1.75. Lim was appointed executive chairman while Datuk Lee Tuck Fook and Peter Chow Ying Choon took up the managing director and deputy managing director posts respectively.
But things have not been plain sailing for Lim and WCT. To put things in perspective, the stock closed at 42 sen last Wednesday, giving the company a market capitalisation of RM588.53 million and Lim’s 25.14% equity interest a market value of RM147.96 million — down 76% from the price he paid for his 19.67% stake.
Meanwhile, WCT’s net asset per share was RM2.23 as at Sept 30. Over the past four years, the stock has averaged RM1.08 apiece — way below the RM2.50 per share that Lim paid. Meanwhile, the company has paid out only 2.9 sen per share in dividends since Lim took over the reins.
While analysts say the company is less aggressive in tendering for projects compared with four years ago and has lost some of its lustre, construction industry players beg to differ. They say WCT is a participant in every significant bid in town and its tender prices are very competitive.
Attempts to speak to Lim’s generals for this article did not bear fruit.