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Family of late timber tycoon speaks out for the first time

TheEdge Mon, Jun 20, 2016 - 2 years ago

This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on June 20, 2016.


The estate of the late Sarawak timber tycoon Datuk Wong Kie Nai is speaking out for the first time about its legal dispute with WTK Holdings Bhd chairman Pemanca Datuk Wong Kie Yik and his brother Wong Kie Chie, who is a non-executive director at WTK Holdings, over control of the timber business empire in Sarawak.

In a statement last Friday, Kie Nai’s estate said the ongoing legal dispute between the two rival factions of the family of the late Datuk Seri Wong Tuong Kwang — one of Sarawak’s richest men — involves the son of Kie Yik, Patrick Wong Haw Yeong, who is managing director of WTK Holdings, and Janice Ting Soon Eng, a non-independent, non-executive director of the company.

“The 34 ongoing lawsuits do not only involve Kie Yik and Kie Chie ... In other words, four out of the eight members of the board of directors of WTK Holdings are involved in this unhappy state of affairs between our families,” it added.

Kie Nai’s estate was responding to an article titled “WTK Holdings’ top brass allays concerns over family tussle” and the joint statement by Kie Yik and Kie Chie that was published in The Edge weekly on June 6, 2016.

On the control over Successful Trend Investment Corp (STIC), a British Virgin Islands company which held three convertible preference shares (CPS) in the family’s private investment vehicle WTK Realty Sdn Bhd with Kie Yik, Kie Chie and Kie Nai holding equal shares in it, the estate said the statement by Kie Yik and Kie Chie that any two brothers who agree with each other had the final say in the event that no consensus was reached is a “matter of contention”. WTK Realty owned 13.6% of the shares in Bursa Malaysia-listed WTK Holdings as at Dec 31, 2015.

The CPS have no voting rights unless converted into ordinary shares. However, following the death of Kie Nai, an emergency board meeting was convened on March 22, 2013, to carry out the conversion exercise on the basis that WTK Realty was required by a bank to increase its paid-up capital as a condition to obtain a banking facility amounting to RM19 million.

The conversion exercise had resulted in Kie Nai’s family losing control of WTK Realty and reducing its shareholdings to 46.7% from 54.68%. Meanwhile, Kie Yik and Kie Chie and their respective families now control the remaining 53.2% of WTK Realty.

Kie Nai’s estate clarified that at the emergency board meeting, Kie Nai’s son Neil Wong Hou-Lianq had requested for more time to consider the offer.

It added that however, the board of WTK Realty, by a majority vote of three to two as Hou-Lianq and his sister Mimi Wong Hou Wai had objected, approved to accept the letter of offer which contained a special condition to increase the paid-up capital of WTK Realty.

“At the meeting, Kie Yik, as chairman of the board of WTK Realty, suggested to convert the CPS held by STIC to fulfill the special condition of increasing the paid-up capital of WTK Realty.

“An extraordinary general meeting (EGM) was then called to take place on April 6, 2016 to authorise the issuance of 2.75 million ordinary shares in WTK Realty to STIC and approve the conversion of the CPS,” said the estate.

The estate noted that despite several written requests by Kie Nai’s widow Kathryn Ma to postpone the EGM, she was not allowed to attend and vote at the EGM until and unless she is registered as a member of WTK Realty in respect of Kie Nai’s shares.

“In the absence of Ma, the members at the EGM, by a majority vote of two to one, voted in favour of authorising the issuance of ordinary shares in WTK Realty and approve the conversion of CPS. Haw Yeong (as proxy for Kie Yik) and Lim Cheng Bock (as proxy for Kie Chie) voted for the resolutions [while] Hou-Lianq dissented,” it said.

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