Tussle for WBL: what was it all for?

UE pays through its nose to take over WBL, only to sell parts of it a year later

Published Fri, Aug 29, 2014 · 10:00 PM

PERHAPS there were forces beyond his control. But when then-United Engineers (UE) chief executive Jackson Yap announced that his property and engineering firm was going to fight fellow shareholder Straits Trading for control of WBL Corp in January 2013, he gave other reasons to justify what, in hindsight, was essentially a quest to unlock value for OCBC.

Straits Trading had triggered a mandatory takeover offer for WBL a few months earlier after it increased its stake to about 45 per cent. OCBC, which owned about 38 per cent of WBL with related parties, expressed concern that the offer was too low.

UE, owned by OCBC but with no shares in WBL…

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