Tuesday, June 21, 2011


Former APL Industries Bhd (APLI) CEO Datuk Lee Son Hong is making a comeback to the corporate scene via the proposed listing of glove manufacturer WRP World Bhd on the Main Market of Bursa Malaysia.

Lee had sold his substantial block in APLI to Supermax Corp Bhd in 2005. APLI, then loss-making, failed to turn around after Supermax bought it over and the latter subsequently in late 2008 wrote off its entire investment of RM27.8 million in APLI.

After the listing of WRP, Lee’s family will control a direct and indirect stake of 44.4% stake in the company, second to Datuk Hamidah Abdullah, whose family will own a direct and indirect interest of 49.8%. A majority of Lee and Hamidah’s stakes in WRP are held jointly in two private vehicles.

WRP planned to launch an initial public offering (IPO) of 148.37 million new shares of 50 sen each to raise proceeds mainly for its capital expenditure. The issue price of the shares has not been determined.

Following the listing exercise, the company will have an enlarged share capital of RM300 million compared with RM225.8 million currently.

WRP — which was originally known as Wembley Rubber Products Sdn Bhd in the 1990s — was principally involved in manufacturing latex gloves and urology balloon catheters.

In 2005, Lee was invited by the late Tan Sri Ibrahim Mohamed, then a shareholder and chairman in WRP, to participate in the restructuring of the company’s businesses. Lee was made the CEO of WRP and was credited to have turned around the group. WRP posted a net profit of RM12.7 million in FY08 ended Dec 31, RM38.6 million in FY09 and RM35.7 million in FY10. Its revenue was RM491.07 million in FY10.

Lee had ventured into WRP as a shareholder and director about the same time he exited APLI and sold his stake to Supermax.

Recall that in 2005, as part of its strategy to beef up in size, Supermax acquired 45 million shares representing a 12.9% stake in APLI from Lee for RM27 mllion cash. Subsequently, it increased its stake in APLI to 14.09%. Given that Supermax was also running APLI on a day-to-day basis, APLI was considered an associate company of Supermax and its profit and losses was equity-accounted into the latter’s books.

Despite Supermax’s efforts to restructure APLI, the latter continued to make losses and became a PN17 company in 2007. In December 2008, Supermax put an end to its investments in APLI by making a full and final write-off of the latter’s remaining net book value of RM16.7 million.

WRP said it commercialised five of its own brands of latex gloves and supplied for major brands of latex gloves as well.

For FY10, we have expanded our markets to cover a total of 48 countries. Some of our major export countries include the US, Germany and Austria.

WRP has two manufacturing plants in Sepang, with 44 latex glove production lines and a urology balloon catheter production line with a total production capacity of about 3.65 billion gloves and 10.8 million urology balloon catheters annually.