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.
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
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