ECM Libra’s Kian Onn passes baton to son

ECM Libra’s Kian Onn passes baton to son
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KUALA LUMPUR (June 18): Datuk Lim Kian Onn has passed on the top job at ECM Libra Group Bhd to his son Gareth Lim Tze Xiang.

Effective June 1, Gareth was appointed CEO and redesignated to executive director while Kian Onn was redesignated to non independent and non executive director from managing director.

Gareth holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Economics from St. Catharine’s College at the University of Cambridge. He is also the Chief Executive Officer of Singapore-listed Plato Capital Limited Group that holds an 11.81% stake in ECM as at May 29, 2020.

He joined Plato Group in September 2009 as Head of Investments, responsible for the formulation and implementation of Plato Group’s overall investment strategy, and took on the CEO role of Plato Group in November 2010.

The junior Lim began his career as part of Morgan Stanley’s mergers and acquisitions practice in Singapore.

Gareth joined ECM when he was appointed to the board in July 2016.

ECM had been looking for a core business after it exited the investment banking business in 2012 and the fund management business in 2019.

The group accelerated its move into the hospitality business last year.

ECM’s non-executive chairman Datuk Seri Kalimullah Masheerul Hassan noted in his 2019 chairman’s note that the group will have a portfolio of seven hotels after the completion of the corporate exercise it is undertaking with regards to the hospitality business.

The seven hotels are Tune Hotel Penang, Tune Hotel Kota Kinabalu, Tune Hotel KLIA Aeropolis, Tune Hotel KLIA2, Tune Hotel Danga Bay, The Chow Kit, an Ormond hotel and MoMo’s Kuala Lumpur.

After the group sold off Libra Invest Bhd for RM50.78 million cash last year, its net cash pile ballooned to RM55.99 million against borrowing of RM18.9 million.

ECM posted a net profit of RM30.3 million for the financial year ended Dec 31, 2019 from RM5.1 million in the previous year.

Earnings per share improved to 6.32 sen in FY2019 from 1.3 sen a year earlier while the net assets per share gained 6 sen to 42 sen in the same period.