A big Plus for Maju

MAJU Hold­ings founder and group ex­ec­u­tive chair­man Tan Sri Abu Sahid Mo­hamad makes RM36 bil­lion of­fer to UEM and EPF to take over high­way op­er­a­tor PLUS Malaysia.

New Straits Times - - Front Page - RE­PORT BY LIDIANA ROSLI & AMIR HISYAM RASID

THE founder and group ex­ec­u­tive chair­man of Maju Hold­ings Sdn Bhd, Tan Sri Abu Sahid Mo­hamad, who has made an of­fer of RM36 bil­lion to take over PLUS high­ways, de­scribed his of­fer as “more than fair”.

With the of­fer price, Abu Sahid, in an ex­clu­sive in­ter­view with the New Straits Times, said the of­fer to PLUS high­ways’ ma­jor share­hold­ers, UEM Group Bhd (UEM) and Em­ploy­ees Prov­i­dent Fund (EPF), would also in­clude the govern­ment’s con­tin­gent li­a­bil­i­ties of RM30 bil­lion.

Fur­ther, Abu Sahid was pre­pared to waive the govern­ment’s com­pen­sa­tion of some RM900 mil­lion owed to the toll op­er­a­tor.

If suc­cess­ful, the land­mark deal could be the coun­try’s sec­ond largest cor­po­rate ex­er­cise af­ter Bi­nar­i­ang GSM Sdn Bhd’s ac­qui­si­tion of Maxis Bhd.

“They say that they are eval­u­at­ing now, so let them eval­u­ate.

“We are look­ing at own­ing PLUS in to­tal­ity and, as such, we are tak­ing on all its as­sets, li­a­bil­i­ties and debt.”

Asked how he came to the RM36 bil­lion of­fer, Abu Sahid said the fig­ure was from the eval­u­a­tion by United States-based in­de­pen­dent in­vest­ment bank­ing ad­vi­sory firm Ever­core Asia Ltd.

“Our pro­posal was sent out to PLUS as well as UEM and EPF in a non-bind­ing let­ter of in­tent (LoI) from Ever­core Asia on be­half of Maju Hold­ings, which in­di­cated our in­tent to ac­quire the en­tire eq­uity stake in PLUS.

“We knew that if we were to send the let­ter our­selves, they wouldn’t have taken us se­ri­ously.

“That’s why we use Ever­core, be­cause Ever­core is one of the world’s largest bou­tique ad­vi­sory firm and had last year com­pleted

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US$293 bil­lion (RM1.2 tril­lion) worth of deals.

UEM Group is a wholly-owned unit of Khaz­anah.

Abu Sahid said as of now, he had not been given a firm dead­line of when PLUS and its ma­jor share­hold­ers would get back to him with a re­ply.

Abu Sahid’s of­fer is not the first for PLUS.

Tan Sri Halim Saad had, in March 2014, put in an un­so­licited bid to take over PLUS Malaysia via his pri­vate in­vest­ment ve­hi­cle, Idaman Saga Sdn Bhd, but it was re­jected by the govern­ment.

Maju Group, via its whol­ly­owned sub­sidiary, Maju Ex­press­way Sdn Bhd, is the op­er­a­tor of the 26km-long Maju Ex­press­way (MEX) that runs from KL to Putrajaya, Cy­ber­jaya and the Kuala Lumpur In­ter­na­tional Air­port (KLIA).

MEX 2, a 16.8km-long ex­ten­sion to KLIA, with an ex­pected con­struc­tion cost of RM1.7 bil­lion, is in the works, with a tar­get com­ple­tion date in the end of next year or early 2019.

PLUS’s cur­rent con­ces­sions are:

PROJEK Le­buhraya Utara-Se­la­tan Bhd, with a 846km concession, in­clud­ing the North-South Ex­press­way, New Klang Val­ley Ex­press­way, Fed­eral High­way Route 2 and Serem­ban-Port Dick­son High­way;

EX­PRESS­WAY Lingkaran Ten­gah Sdn Bhd, with a 63km concession that in­cludes the NorthSouth Ex­press­way Cen­tral Link;

LINKEDUA (M) Bhd, with the 47km Malaysia-Sin­ga­pore Sec­ond Crossing;

KONSORTIUM Le­buhraya But­ter­worth-Kulim Sdn Bhd, with the 17km But­ter­worth-Kulim Ex­press­way; and,

PE­NANG Bridge Sdn Bhd with the 13.5km Pe­nang Bridge.

Tan Sri Abu Sahid Mo­hamad

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