News Column

Leader Group expands regional footprint

February 25, 2014

Marina Emmanuel

SIHANOUKVILLE: Penang-based Leader Group is expanding its investment footprint in the region as a boutique developer of power projects.

The company, which is banking on the successful completion of two power projects in Cambodia, is eyeing neighbouring Laos, Thailand, Indonesia and Myanmar to develop power projects which harness a diverse mix of energy resources, the company's chief executive officer Datuk Sean C.H. H'ng said.

"The group is nearing completion of the feasibility studies of two mini hydropower projects in the Champasak Province in Laos, and we expect to ink the project agreements with the local authorities sometime this year.

"Construction of these two hydropower projects is expected to commence in the second half of 2015," he told reporters after Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen presided over a joint inauguration ceremony yesterday for a 100- megawatt coal-fired power plant by Cambodian Energy Ltd (CEL) and a 230kV transmission line and substation project by Cambodia Transmission Ltd (CTL).

Both companies are wholly-owned by the Leader Group and the total investment cost of the two power projects is approximately US$330 million (RM1.09 billion).

Present at the ceremony were the company's group executive chairman Datuk Seri H'ng Bok San and chief financial officer Datin Jessica H'ng.

CEL's 100MW coal-fired power plant project is a 30-year build-own-operate (BOO) concession project where the electricity generated is sold to the state-owned utility, Electricite du Cambodge (EdC). The project started construction in 2010 and achieved its commercial operation date in December 2013.

CTL's project, meanwhile, consists of some 100km of 230kV transmission line and two substations; one located at Udong, north of Phnom Penh city and the other is located at Kampong Cham (120km from Phnom Penh). It is a 25-year build-operate-transfer (BOT) project.

The privatisation of the Leader Group by HNG Capital was carried out in the middle 2012. HNG Capital is led by Bok San, who is also the founder of the group.

"Since going private," noted Sean, "the group has been reorganising its businesses to put more focus on its core businesses such as power, cable and metal."

He said the group registered revenue of approximately RM3 billion last year, with the major contribution coming from its metal and cable division.

"However, the main profit contribution was from our power division," Sean said, adding that with the two new Cambodian power projects commencing commercial operations, the group expects the contribution from its power division to be significantly higher this year and continue to be the main income generator.

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Source: Business Times (Malaysia)

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