MAJOR LEAP IN REORGANISATION PLAN
Bondholders’ nod for US$800m sukuk buyback an important step in group’s goal to have 3 listed entities
SIME Darby Bhd has made a key leap in its reorganisation plan to split into three independent listed companies. The country’s oldest conglomerate yesterday said it had received bondholders’ approval to restructure its US$800 million (RM3.5 billion) sukuk.
This followed a meeting in Hong Kong yesterday of holders of the sukuk, of which US$400 million matures in 2018 and an equal amount in 2023.
President and group chief executive Tan Sri Mohd Bakke Salleh said the exercise would see either Sime Darby buying back the papers or its plantation arm, Sime Darby Plantation Bhd, becoming the new borrower.
“Holders of the sukuk have approved our plan to buy back the papers or replace the obligor, or borrower, to Sime Darby Plantation.
“This is an important step for the group in our proposed reorganisation exercise to unlock value for shareholders,” Bakke said in a statement.
“We must ensure that each listed company has the optimal capital structure that will allow it to pursue growth with focus and agility,” he added.
Sime Darby said it had achieved a final tender and consent participation of 91 per cent for both series of sukuk. Investors holding almost a quarter of the 2023 sukuk also chose to stay invested in Sime Darby Plantation.
The plantation unit has secured first-time corporate ratings of “Baa1” and “BBB+” by Moody’s Investor Service Inc and Fitch Ratings Ltd, respectively, both on “stable” outlook.
The ratings are similar to Sime Darby’s existing corporate ratings and reflect Sime Darby Plantation’s position as one of the world’s leading palm oil plantation players, its size and scale of business, track record and strong shareholders’ support.
The group had earlier announced the proposed listing of its units, SimeDarby Plantation and Sime Darby Property Bhd, through share distributions.
Sime Darby will remain listed, owning the automotive, industrial equipment and logistics businesses.
Its shares closed unchanged at RM9.33 with 6.53 million units traded yesterday.
Sime Darby Plantation has been rated ‘Baa1’ and ‘BBB+’ by Moody’s Investor Service and Fitch Ratings Ltd, respectively, with a stable outlook. BLOOMBERG PIC