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Saturday, January 23, 2010

MK Land hits bump in turnaround efforts

Three of four chief operating officers roped in to turn around the property development company are leaving amid a dispute over management of the company

Plans to rejuvenate MK Land Holdings Bhd have hit a snag as three of its four chief operating officers (COOs) who were roped in to turn around the property development company are leaving.

It is understood that there is a dispute over management of the company, controlled by tycoon Tan Sri Mustapha Kamal Abu Bakar.

The three senior executives are R. Balasundram, Fatimah Wahab and Yusof Abu Othman, who together with Lau Shu Chuan were appointed as COOs in November 2008.

According to a source close to the company, Mustapha Kamal had recently appointed his eldest daughter as the company's executive director. However, he had also promised to promote others to higher positions.
The source said Fatimah will tender her resignation soon to move on to other prospects. Balasundram may still be involved in Emkay Group, which is Mustapha Kamal's privately-held outfit.

When contacted by Business Times, Fatimah confirmed that she is leaving MK Land by March, but declined to elaborate on her plans.

Yusof did not return calls for comment. Mustapha Kamal was also not available for comment.

The list of names bandied around to replace the departing three include Peter Teh Heng Poh, Mazrita Mazlan and Jaya Sangaran. Peter is currently Emkay COO while Mazrita and Jaya are the senior general managers.

MK Land had posted losses in 2007, the first time since its inception more than 10 years ago due to additional costs incurred to complete projects.

This happened after Mustapha stepped down as executive chairman in April 2007 to focus on his private companies.

He returned to helm MK Land in June 2008 in the hope of turning the company around by outlining a three-year plan to rejuvenate it.

This was when the four COOs, who were roped in from Emkay and Setia Haruman, were appointed.

Since then, MK Land has been able to make profits as it cut costs and boosted sales.

It posted a net profit of RM18.3 million in 2008 versus a net loss of RM61 million in 2007.

The source said MK Land may be in the red in the current financial year ending June 30 2010 unless it could strike a mega en-bloc sale soon.

For the first quarter ended September 30 2009, MK Land posted a net profit of RM1.2 million.

Under the leadership of the four COOs, MK Land was recording average sales of RM30 million per month, three times more than prior to their appointment.

"With the key people leaving, there is a possibility it will impact the company's performance," the source said.

By Business Times (by Sharen Kaur)

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