By: Phillip Ang
Temasek-linked companies seem to have access to unlimited tax dollars.
In June last year, TLC Surbana Jurong (SJ) acquired KTP Consultants and Sinosun Architects & Engineers. Surbana Jurong intends to continue acquiring companies to morph into a global player and money will not be an issue. CEO Wong Heang Fine confirmed this when he said “..there’s no limit to the amount that we are willing to spend as long as it fits our growth strategies.”
As to be expected, this joker CEO Wong had started his career with the EDB and parachuted into numerous government-linked companies. link
It is strange for Temasek-linked companies to be acquiring companies as if there’s no tomorrow because ample warnings – inflated asset prices and weaker returns – have been sounded. Even by its sister company, GIC.
Temasek’s business model is simplistic: buy over companies to make more money. But companies that are put up for sale are either risky or if they aren’t, their owners would demand a very high premium. Or perhaps owners are stupid?
What’s worse, Chairman Liew Mun Leong’s focus is on growing revenue, not profits. Liew: “Surbana Jurong will grow its annual revenue from S$500 million currently to potentially S$1.5 billion in the same time frame.” Any other chairman who’s not interested in the bottom line?
As confirmed by NOL, revenue targets are meaningless. NOL had managed to achieve 8 times SJ’s current revenue but was eventually sunk by ex paper general Ng Yat Chung.
NOL’s revenues averaged more than $9 billion from 2010 to 2014.
(In 2009, Liew was reported to have been awarded a $20 million bonus and was described as “a civil engineer who spent 22 years as a civil servant before taking the corporate world by storm”. The ST journalist must have received a bonus beyond his wildest imagination for his conviction in hogwash. PAP’s corporate ‘success’ stories have been written with billions of tax dollars, no doubt. If PAP-affiliated civil servants could, on their own merit, be successful in the corporate world, pigs can skydive.)
Shrewd investors and businessmen see Temasek (and GIC) as ‘Robert’, the rich kid on the block, a ‘carrot to be chopped’. Or maybe a money tree. What these PAP-affiliated scholars need is an inflated ego to part with billions of tax dollars. Real performance is never an issue as it will not see daylight.
Legendary investor Jim Rogers had this to say about Temasek: “I know these people, and they have never given me the impression that they’re smarter than anyone else. They have gigantic amounts of money, but they’ve made a bad judgement in these cases.” Rogers correctly predicted Temasek’s billion-dollar losses after it had invested in failed financial institutions during the GFC.
Temasek can’t simply employ its simplistic growth model by going on a shopping spree. Which goondu would sell a well-managed profitable business?
Two months ago, Temasek again gave some loose change to SJ to buy Australia’s SMEC for S$400 million. This is what was reported in Australia’s press:
Thank you Singaporean tax payers!
In the BT report, SJ again mentioned a revenue, not profit, target of $1.5 billion. Throwing more tax dollars to achieve this is so difficult meh? Joker Wong was reported to be shooting for a new revenue target of between $2.5 billion and $3 billion in 3 to 5 years’ time.
The same report also mentioned SJ having crossed its staff strength target of 6000. For ?? Does a company exist to Increase staff and revenue or bottom line? It’s as meaningless as Temasek disclosing its organisational weight profile of its employees.
To inflate Temasek’s ego, SMEC CEO Andy Goodwin own self praised own self and said: “In the markets that we are in, with the skill sets that we offer, it would not be unreasonable to expect organic growth in the region of 10 to 15% per year. Sure or not? If can grow so much, then why sell the company? Hmm.. so fast learn to talk cock like Temasek?
However, the overly-optimistic BT report failed to mention an ongoing investigation (same link above) that could potentially affect 15% of SMEC’s fees. The “involvement or allegation of involvement by the company in “illegal or questionable business practices (including facilitation payments and bribery)” could damage its reputation.”
It also did not mention SMEC’s current net debt which was last reported to have increased by A$25 million to A$56.6 million from Dec 2015 to March 2016.
With former civil servants running Surbana Jurong and tax dollars falling from the Singapore sky, will CEO Wong be taking the corporate world by storm? Or is it goodbye to more tax dollars?
Republished from the blog ‘likedatosocanmeh‘.