These are the problems awaiting incoming Boustead MD Amrin

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KUALA LUMPUR (Apr 15): With its first leadership change in 35 years, Boustead Holdings Bhd – the flagship listed vehicle of the Armed Forces Fund Board (or LTAT) and by extension its group of companies – is now at a crossroads.

Which road will its new managing director and outgoing Sime Darby Property Bhd chief Datuk Seri Amrin Awaluddin choose for the conglomerate after he takes office on May 6?

Boustead Holdings have presence in six different sectors --- plantations, heavy industries, pharmaceutical, finance, property and trading and manufacturing.

Of those, plantations and heavy industries ended 2018 in red while the rest saw their respective bottomlines come under downward pressure except Affin Bank.

The big question marks for the incoming Boustead Holdings chief is how to deal with this situation. For the market, it remains to be seen whether a massive corporate restructuring will follow.

At the same time, he will have to manage entrenched expectations from the market, who had become accustomed to consistent dividends from Boustead Holdings even during more difficult times.

The change in leadership comes following the departure of long-serving managing director Tan Sri Lodin Wok Kamaruddin, who had been the face of the Boustead Group and LTAT for many years, on Dec 31, 2018.

Lodin is long seen as a close ally of ousted prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, who was defence minister twice (1990-1995 and 1999-2008). The close association also extended to Lodin helming the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) board from Dec 2009 up to April 2016 amidst rising temperature on the 1MDB scandal.

His departure from LTAT and Boustead Group is seen as part of the corporate shake-up that followed the nation’s first change in federal power that expelled Najib from Putrajaya.

Read more about the challenges Boustead Holdings faces in the latest issue of The Edge.

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