MA­JOR LEAP IN RE­OR­GAN­I­SA­TION PLAN

Bond­hold­ers’ nod for US$800m sukuk buy­back an im­por­tant step in group’s goal to have 3 listed en­ti­ties

New Straits Times - - Business -

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

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