Au­thor­ity open to scrap­ping land lease deal with FGV and hav­ing In­done­sian ty­coon as unit’s share­holder

New Straits Times - - Business - OOI TEE CHING KUALA LUMPUR bt@me­di­aprima.com.my

THE Fed­eral Land De­vel­op­ment Au­thor­ity (Felda) is open to can­celling the land lease with Felda Global Ven­tures Hold­ings Bhd (FGV) and hav­ing In­done­sian ty­coon Mar­tua Si­torus emerg­ing as a big share­holder in its plan­ta­tion unit.

“We are ex­plor­ing all op­tions avail­able. This is to en­sure a sus­tain­able fi­nan­cial sit­u­a­tion for Felda,” its chair­man Tan Sri Shahrir Ab­dul Sa­mad told NST Busi­ness re­cently.

It was re­ported that Felda was seek­ing the re­turn of land cur­rently leased and man­aged by FGV be­cause it felt that it could ex­tract higher re­turns.

About 335,000ha of Felda’s to­tal land­bank of 850,000ha are run by FGV un­der a land lease of 99 years es­tab­lished in 2012.

An­other 475,000ha are ap­pro­pri­ated to Felda set­tlers, while Felda man­agers op­er­ate the re­main­ing 40,000ha.

If the plan­ta­tions are trans­ferred back to Felda, the land lease agreement be­tween the two par­ties will come to an end.

As at De­cem­ber last year, FGV’s long-term land lease li­a­bil­i­ties stood at RM4.13 bil­lion, the largest com­po­nent of its long-term debt.

It was also re­ported that FGV was likely to see Mar­tua, who is Wil­mar In­ter­na­tional Ltd co-founder, as a new share­holder.

Since Shahrir took over Felda at the be­gin­ning of the year, he and his team have been ex­plor­ing new ideas to max­imise its in­vest­ment as­sets and in­vest­ment in FGV.

Felda, which comes un­der the Prime Min­is­ter’s De­part­ment, was set up 61 years ago to cham­pion the so­cio-eco­nomic agenda of pro­vid­ing “land for the land­less, jobs for the job­less”.

Tan Sri Shahrir Ab­dul Sa­mad

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