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Winners of the 21st Singapore Business Awards Focus on business chieftains who take their companies overseas

SINGAPORE, 22 March 2005 – Foresight and vision, coupled with an unrelenting drive to take their companies global are the traits that define the winners of this year´s Singapore Business Awards, say award organisers, The Business Times and DHL.

The winners were selected from a highly competitive shortlist of individuals, all of whom have led with a combination of passion, charisma, and intense self-belief, and companies that have shown extraordinary enterprise and perseverance, in seizing opportunities to take their operations beyond local shores.

Businessman of the Year
For his success in guiding a family-owned business into one recognized by Forbes as one of the World´s 200 Best Small Companies for four consecutive years, this award goes to HTL International Holdings´ Group Managing Director, Phua Yong Tat.

Despite brisk growth in its sofa making and leather upholstery business, the company is not showing any signs of slowing down. Mr Phua, 54, recently led the group in acquiring Domicil, a German upmarket furnishing solutions franchisor with a network of 15 owned and eight franchised outlets in 23 locations in Germany.

Citation: For his outstanding entrepreneurial drive in transforming HTL from a traditional furniture maker into an international brand name, with more than 95 per cent of its high quality leather furniture products exported to over 40 countries worldwide.

Outstanding CEO of the Year
Mr Liew Mun Leong, President and Chief Executive Officer, CapitaLand Ltd.

Mr Liew, 59, steered CapitaLand through a very rough business environment filled with global and local economic shocks. Under his leadership, CapitaLand was transformed from a traditional property group to one that capitalizes on intellectual property, creates new business pillars and taps into the global capital market.

At the time of its formation, CapitaLand was $287 million dollars in the red. Within five years, Mr Liew reversed that to a record profit of $751 million.

In the process, he turned CapitaLand into an international entity, with a strong focus on gateway cities like China and Australia. The group has also established extensive tie-ups and partnerships in Asia to tap the region´s real estate potential.

Citation: For his leadership and vision in pioneering real estate financial products in Singapore and in transforming CapitaLand into an international property group with about three-quarters of its profits coming from abroad.

Outstanding Chief / Senior Executive of the Year (Overseas)
This inaugural award goes to the President of Xian-Janssen Pharmaceutical, Chong Siong Hin

Mr Chong, 49, is a Singaporean who works for one of the most successful high-tech joint venture companies in China

Launched by US pharmaceutical giant, Johnson & Johnson and four Chinese state organisations in 1986 after years of discussions and negotiations, the 35,000 square metre plant is widely seen as the largest pharmaceutical and most successful joint venture in China.

For his contributions to China, Mr Chong has been awarded the “Friendship Medal” by the State Council of China, is an honorary citizen of Xian City, and an honorary member of the Chinese Medical Association.

Citation: For his leadership and passion in establishing Xian-Janssen Pharmaceutical Ltd as one of the most successful joint-venture companies in China, thus serving as a role model for Singaporeans working overseas.

The Enterprise Award
eSys Technologies

In six short years, eSys Technologies grew rapidly to become the world’s largest HDD (Hard Disk Drive) distributor with an impressive track record and an excellent reputation for the distribution and service support of key PC components.

With 112 offices in 33 countries and still expanding, eSys is arguably the technology distribution company with the widest global footprint.

Some of the brands it represents include industry leaders such as Seagate, Intel, and IBM, as well as LG and Microsoft.

Led by CEO Vikas Goel, 35, eSys was ranked No 1 in 2005 Enterprise 50 awards, given to the most dynamic companies of Singapore by Accenture and The Business Times. Mr Goel himself was named the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year, 2005.

Citation: For its outstanding enterprise and far-sightedness in seizing the opportunity to become the global leader in the distribution of desktop hard disk drives and other technology products.

The winners will receive their awards from Minister of Manpower and 2nd Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen at a black-tie dinner this evening (22 March) at the Ritz Carlton, Millenia Singapore.

The annual Singapore Business Awards, honour outstanding achievers in the Singapore’s business community, and is jointly organised by The Business Times, a business daily published by Singapore Press Holdings, and DHL, the world’s leading express and logistics company.

The winners are chosen by a panel of judges drawn from industry, academic and official agencies.

Mr Scott Price, Chief Executive Officer, DHL Express Asia Pacific, said: “DHL is proud to be associated with this awards ceremony, which honors and recognizes the best in Singapore´s business circle, and showcases the depth and breadth of talent that exists here. These awards also aim to create an environment which encourages and sustains the entrepreneurial spirit and enhances standards of corporate management.”

The Chairman of the SBA organising committee and Editor of The Business Times, Alvin Tay said this year´s winners were good examples of the sheer grit and determination often required to take companies abroad.

“Taking a company overseas is never easy, but Phua Yong Tat and Liew Mun Leong are fine examples of business leaders who have successfully navigated the challenges of doing so. In Chong Siong Hin, we have an excellent role model for all Singaporeans who work abroad, and in eSys Technologies, Singapore has a global leader in IT distribution. They are all deserving winners.”

Issued by Singapore Press Holdings Limited
Co. Regn. No: 198402868E

For more information, please contact:

Christine Ang
The Business Times
DID: 6319 5119
Fax: 6319 8292

Vickie Tay
DHL Express Singapore
Tel: 6880 6212/6880 6210
Fax: 6288 6855

About The Business Times
The Business Times, a member of the Singapore Press Holdings group, was launched in October 1976 when Singapore was growing rapidly as a regional financial and business centre.

Now firmly established as Southeast Asia’s leading business daily and a paper with an opinion, it brings to its readers exclusive ground-breaking reports, trend-spotting news and incisive analyses and commentaries on the corporate, financial, economic and political fronts.

About DHL
DHL is the global market leader of the international express and logistics industry, specializing in providing innovative and customized solutions from a single source.

DHL offers expertise in express, air and ocean freight, overland transport, contract logistic solutions as well as international mail services, combined with worldwide coverage and an in-depth understanding of local markets. DHL’s international network links more than 220 countries and territories worldwide. 285,000 employees are dedicated to providing fast and reliable services that exceed customers’ expectations.

DHL is a Deutsche Post World Net brand. The group generated revenues of ?56 billion in 2005.

About SPH
Main board listed Singapore Press Holdings Limited is the leading media company in Singapore in the print, Internet and broadcasting platforms. It publishes 13 newspapers in the four official languages and more than 80 magazine titles. Everyday, 2.8 million individuals, or 88 per cent of the people above 15 years old, read one of the SPH publications. Its Internet Business Unit manages the online editions of SPH’s major newspapers, which enjoy over 100 million pageviews from 6 million unique visitors every month.

SPH also owns a 20% stake in MediaCorp TV Holdings Pte Ltd, which operates free-to-air channels 5, 8, U and TV Mobile, and a 40% stake in MediaCorp Press Pte Ltd, which publishes free sheet Today. SPH has a 70% stake in UnionWorks which operates two entertainment radio channels, UFM 100.3 FM in Chinese and WKRZ 91.3 FM in English, and owns an 80% stake in SPH MediaBoxOffice Pte Ltd, Singapore´s largest LED network media company.