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Tuesday February 22, 2011

Khazanah pledges fair, transparent process

PETALING JAYA: The proposed divestment of Khazanah Nasional Bhd’s 32% stake in Pos Malaysia Bhd is finally taking place since it was first announced last March.

However, details of the bidders are scarce but it was reported that several consortiums were eyeing the stake.

Khazanah did not indicate which companies were interested.

On Sunday, the sovereign wealth fund said it was in the second stage to divest its stake in Pos Malaysia which would involve the restricted tender process.

This stage, it said, would run concurrently with the on-going stage one.

Analysts had given the thumbs up to Khazanah’s move to sell the stake when it was first announced by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak at the Invest Malaysia 2010 conference.

However, analysts said there would be no impact to Pos Malaysia financially and no re-rating catalyst for now.

“It will free up Pos Malaysia to be much more commercially minded and viable,” an analyst said.

Another analyst said the latest announcement was just to announce that Khazanah was now in its second stage of the divestment process and would probably take a while before a result would be made known.

“Don’t think there’s any impact to Pos Malaysia unless there’s a total revamp of the tariff structure, the way business is done or change of management,” he said.

The state investment arm stressed that the divestment would undergo a fair and transparent process. “This process will provide a level playing field, giving all proposals submitted by bidders an equal opportunity.”

It added that contrary to media speculation, there weren’t any “leading or lagging bidders” at this stage.

Khazanah said an independent evaluation panel comprising five professionals from the public and private sector with extensive postal and corporate experience would evaluate the bidders’ proposals on an anonymous basis.

It said bidders would be evaluated based on their strategy and business plans followed by the offer prices.

Bidders must be 51% owned and controlled by Malaysians, it added. with a profile that would fit the goal of diversity in terms of ownership under the “1Malaysia” concept, including bumiputra participation.

Last month, Khazanah announced the opening of tender for the Pos Malaysia shares through its adviser CIMB Investment Bank Bhd.

According to earlier reports, conglomerate DRB-HICOM Bhd were among those who had put in a bid as it was familiar with companies in which the Government has a golden share.

Other speculated suitors included consortiums led by Sapura Group and Scomi Marine Bhd. Konsortium Logistik Bhd CEO Loo Hooi Keat was reported to be interested in acquiring the stake.

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