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Samling Said to Near Agreement to Purchase Jaguar Dealer Wearnes

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Aug. 25 (Bloomberg) -- Samling Group, the Malaysian plantation owner and property developer, is nearing a deal to buy the luxury car distributor owned by Singapore’s United Engineers Ltd., people with knowledge of the matter said.

United Engineers aims to sign an agreement as early as this week to sell Wearnes Automotive Pte for as much as S$450 million ($360 million), one of the people said, asking not to be identified as the talks are private. The sale includes real estate owned by Wearnes, they said.

Samling competed for Wearnes with Hong Kong trading house Swire Pacific Ltd. and Dubai’s Al-Futtaim Group, which runs retail chains in Singapore including Royal Sporting House, according to people with knowledge of the process. Shares of United Engineers were halted from trading today.

Wearnes, founded in 1906, distributes Jaguar and Bentley cars in Singapore and Indonesia, according to its website. It also runs Volvo dealerships in Hong Kong and mainland China.

Spokesmen for for the companies declined to comment or didn’t immediately respond to queries from Bloomberg News.

Samling distributes Bentley, Mitsubishi and Honda vehicles in Malaysia, the website shows. United Engineers, whose businesses include real estate and construction, bought Wearnes’ parent company WBL Corp. last year for $725 million including debt, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

To contact the reporter on this story: Joyce Koh in Singapore at jkoh38@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Philip Lagerkranser at lagerkranser@bloomberg.net Ben Scent

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