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.