B04 - Boustead (Singapore) Limited

Boustead Singapore Limited offers specialized engineering services and geo-spatial solutions. Its suite of engineering services fulfils the demands of specialized engineering fields, such as energy-related engineering, water and wastewater engineering and industrial real estate solutions. Under its geo-spatial technology arm, it provides consulting services and distributes ESRI geo-spatial technology, a geographic information systems and geo-spatial solutions to markets across Australia and South East Asia. In March 2007, its subsidiary, Salcon Pte Ltd, sold its interest in SPHIL Investments Pte Ltd.

In March 2007, it acquired the remaining 50% interest in its subsidiary, C & E Haven (S) Pte Ltd. In May 2007, its subsidiaries disposed their aggregate 60% equity interest in ERDAS India Private Limited. In June 2007, it acquired the Maxitherm combustion technology business from Maxitherm Boilers Pty Ltd.



Industry Diversified Holding Companies
Address 63 Ubi Avenue 1 #06-01 Boustead House Singapore 408937 Singapore
Phone 6567470016
Fax 6567418689



Boustead, established in 1828 by an English entrepreneur is Singapore's second oldest company of European origin. At one time or another it was involved in tin, rubber, palm oil and shipping. It was an agent for insurance giant Lloyd's, as well as one of the first importers of such brands as Tide detergent, Nestlé condensed milk and Moët & Chandon champagne.

But by the 1970s the company was split into three groups, Boustead Plc. in the U.K., Boustead Holdings Bhd. in Malaysia and Boustead Singapore Ltd. The Singapore group got whatever was in Singapore, like shipping and insurance. In the next two decades manufacturing and engineering businesses were added but not much was doing well.

When Wong Fong Fui, the current Chairman and CEO came in and took over the company in 1996, it was left with "dribs and drabs." The most valuable part, he says, was a group that had the rights in Australia and parts of Asia to distribute ESRI mapping and spatial analysis software. Even that was making less than half a million Singapore dollars a year, one third of the company's profits.

Wong gambled that the storied Boustead name was still worth something. His first thought was to develop Boustead into a food company much as he did QAF. He tried to buy a related food business, Australia's Defiance, 18 months after buying Boustead, but failed. The company got into the bread business under the Bonjour brand, a costly venture that helped push the company into the red.

Wong was forced to concede that his plans had failed, calling it "a difficult learning curve." So he started getting rid of noncore assets, a tough decision as it shrank the size of the group considerably. He closed the marketing and distribution businesses, which had been associated with Boustead for decades. He divested food, insurance and power generation groups.

He shifted Boustead into industrial engineering and infrastructure, establishing new businesses, including one in industrial heater engineering. He also bought existing outfits, such as Salcon, a water treatment company.

Boustead now has projects in 75 countries. One-third of its revenue comes from energy-related engineering, such as solid waste energy recovery, and another third from its division that builds industrial warehouses. Its ESRI distribution business makes up 15%.

Notable deals won in the past 13 months include a $212 million joint venture to construct a 1,164-home township in Libya, a $124 million contract to build a water infrastructure system in Libya and a $42 million bid to build Singapore FreePort, a high-security storage area.1

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