Paints Tycoon Goh Cheng Liang Pulls Off A Master Stroke And Takes Control Of Nippon Paint
This story is part of Forbes’ coverage of Singapore’s Richest 2021. See the full list here.
The fortune of paints tycoon Goh Cheng Liang got a boost to $18.6 billion after his son Goh Hup Jin cemented a $12 billion stock-and-cash deal that gave Goh’s privately held Wuthelam Holdings control of Nippon Paint, the world’s fourth-largest paint maker by sales, and added $3.8 billion to his net worth.
Hup Jin, 68, chairman of Nippon Paint and managing director of Wuthelam, says the merger was a natural step between the longtime partners and “eliminated an unwieldy, unnecessarily complicated structure.”
As per the agreement struck in August 2020, Wuthelam raised its stake in the Tokyo-listed company to 58.7% from 39.6%; in return, Nippon Paint bought out their Asian joint ventures. It also took over Wuthelam’s Indonesian business for $2 billion.
It’s been a remarkable journey for Goh, 94, who grew up in poverty. The one-time fishnet seller and rubber tapper stumbled into the paint business after World War II, buying cheap paint from the British army that he turned into a local paint brand called Pigeon. In 1962 he jumped at the opportunity to partner with Nippon Paint, then looking to expand into Southeast Asia.