Prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad says the government is looking at solutions to resolve the financial problems plaguing PLUS Malaysia, and that the best choice currently is for Khazanah Nasional – which is the major shareholder in PLUS – to manage the toll concession company to settle its debt, Bernama reports.
“We will see which is the best possible. If Khazanah manages (PLUS), OK, it can resolve the debt issue,” he said. However, he added that the government is also prepared to let go of PLUS if there is a party that is willing to pay a high price to acquire it and assume its debt.
“If there are offers by other people to take over the debts of up to RM30 billion, then it’s a good thing. For the government, we (will) talk with Khazanah,” he said.
Previously, Khazanah MD Datuk Shahril Ridza Ridzuan said the government sovereign wealth fund was not interested to sell its stake in PLUS, which is the biggest toll concession company in the country. It is controlled by the UEM Group – a subsidiary of Khazanah – and the Employees Provident Fund (EPF). The former holds a 51% share in PLUS, with the remaining 49% owned by EPF.
The works ministry has confirmed that the government has received four offers for the takeover of PLUS, with the bidders beinge Widad Group, Maju Holdings, RRJ Capital and Tan Sri Halim Saad’s vehicle Karongsa Private Capital.
The relatively-unknown Widad has made two proposals, the latest being to acquire 100% equity interest in the company for RM5.3 billion, including a compensation waiver of RM3.04 billion and debt assumption of RM30 billion. Meanwhile, RRJ Capital – a Malaysian-led, Hong Kong-based private equity firm – has made a bid of RM3 billion cash to purchase PLUS outright, while businessmen Tan Sri Halim Saad and Datuk Wong Gian Kui have offered RM5.2 billion for PLUS, via Karongsa.
Finance minister Lim Guan Eng has said that companies who wish to acquire PLUS must fulfil the minimum 18% average toll reduction that was announced in Budget 2020.
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