Already a Bloomberg.com user?
Sign in with the same account.
CapitaLand Ltd. (CAPL), Southeast Asia’s biggest developer, said President and Chief Executive Officer Liew Mun Leong will retire in a year from the company he helped create almost 12 years ago.
CapitaLand will review succession candidates, it said in a statement to the Singapore stock exchange on June 22. Liew will retire on June 28, 2013 when he turns 67, the company said.
Liew’s planned departure comes amid management changes at CapitaLand. In the past year, the developer named a new chief financial officer and swapped jobs of senior managers including the head of its serviced apartment unit. Jennie Chua retired as group chief corporate officer earlier this year.
“Mr. Liew’s retirement is not likely to surprise the market, partly given his long tenure,” Chong Kang Ho, an analyst at BNP Paribas with a buy rating on the stock, said in a report sent to clients today. “Key question is who the successor is. Mr. Liew guided that many of his CEOs in the group’s business units are capable of succeeding his position.”
The stock was unchanged at S$2.64 at the close in Singapore. The shares have risen 19 percent this year, compared with the 6.4 percent gain in the Singapore benchmark Straits Times Index. (FSSTI)
Liew said he’s not retiring from work and is looking for a new career outside of the real estate industry. He may make an entrepreneurial investment and is interested in “something where I can globalize,” he said.
The developer was formed in 2000 through a merger between Singapore-based DBS Land and Pidemco Land, which Liew ran as president from 1996, according to the statement. At CapitaLand, he served two extensions on his contract after reaching the Singapore retirement age of 62 in 2008.
“It’s a long time to be CEO,” Liew said at a press conference. “Younger people are being groomed and are ready to take on higher responsibility. We are looking internally and externally for a candidate.”
Internal candidates may include Lim Ming Yan, CapitaLand’s chief operating officer, Olivier Lim, chief investment officer, and Arthur Lang, a 15-year Morgan Stanley veteran who joined in August as chief financial officer.
“All my chiefs can succeed me,” Liew said. “All my CEOs have potential. The CFO, CIO, COO.”
Liew’s views on the Singapore real estate market have become talking points in the industry. He said in an interview last month that the government should curb the increasing trend of so-called shoebox apartments because they are “almost inhuman,” sparking a debate in the local media on the issue after record purchases of units smaller than 50 square meters (538 square feet).
“I am dead against shoebox developments,” Liew said in the May 23 interview. “The government should intervene. Singapore’s land is very precious and you are wasting your scarce resources” by building shoebox apartments.
Under Liew, CapitaLand expanded beyond the limited Singapore market with a population of 5.2 million. China now makes up 38 percent of the company’s S$33.1 billion ($25.8 billion) of assets as of March, exceeding Singapore’s 34 percent, according to data from CapitaLand. Australia contributed 17 percent.
The company, which develops homes, malls and office buildings, also runs a chain of serviced apartments in the Asia- Pacific region and Europe.
“Mr. Liew’s retirement has been largely anticipated by the market,” Vikrant Pandey and Vijay Natarajan, analysts at UOB- Kay Hian, said in a report on June 22. “As part of its succession planning strategy, CapitaLand has been actively grooming its internal candidates.”
CapitaLand’s first-quarter profit rose 31 percent as gains from the sale of a hotel and higher shopping-mall income offset declines in residential earnings from Singapore and China. Net income increased to S$133.2 million in the quarter ended March 31 from S$101.5 million a year earlier, it said on April 30.
CapitaLand committed a total of S$11 billion for new investments last year, an 83 percent increase from the S$6 billion worth of investments made in 2010.
To contact the reporter on this story: Pooja Thakur in Singapore at email@example.com
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andreea Papuc at firstname.lastname@example.org