August 26, 2014 / 2:00 AM / in 3 years

UPDATE 1-Singapore's United Engineers unit selling luxury car business for $365 mln

(Adds background, share price move)

SINGAPORE, Aug 26 (Reuters) - Singapore’s United Engineers Ltd said on Tuesday its subsidiary WBL Corporation was selling its luxury car business to StarChase Motorsports (Singapore) Pte Ltd for S$455 million($365 million).

The company said the sale was part of its plan to exit from non-core business operations.

United Engineers shares, which were halted for trading on Monday, rose 1.45 percent in early trade and then turned flat. On Friday, they had climbed as much as 14 percent.

News of the sale comes as Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp is in talks with a group linked to Thai billionaire Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi to sell its stake in United Engineers.

OCBC, along with related companies, owns around 36 percent of United Engineers, according to United Engineers’ most recent annual report. Buying more than 30 percent of the shares would trigger a mandatory takeover for the company.

OCBC said on Thursday that the discussions were at a preliminary stage.

WBL, which is 67.6 percent owned by United Engineers, imports and distributes luxury cars across Singapore, Malaysia, China, Thailand, Indonesia and Vietnam.

The automotive business generated an operating profit of S$6.23 million in the first half of 2014 on revenues of S$446.84 million.

1 US dollar = 1.2511 Singapore dollar Reporting by Rachel Armstrong; Editing by Edwina Gibbs and Biju Dwarakanath

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