Biz Watch

  • Business
  • Saturday, 11 Jan 2003

TAN Sri Syed Mokhtar Albukhary, say sources, is keen to expand and beef up his water assets. The water assets he is currently eyeing, say industry sources, are those in Selangor. While it is not yet clear what these assets are, it has been indicated that one of them being considered (note: merely at preliminary stage) is SPLASH. 

SPLASH or Syarikat Pengeluar Air Sungai Selangor is 40 per cent-owned by Tan Sri Wan Azmi Hamzah, 30 per cent by Gamuda Bhd and 30 per cent by Kumpulan Darul Ehsan Bhd or KDEB, the investment wing of the Selangor state government. It is also not clear whether these assets will be acquired by Mokhtar's privately owned companies or listed entities which he controls but the likelihood may well be the latter to enhance shareholder value. 

Syed Mokhtar, in fact, already has substantial interest in water with some 11 years' experience of being in the industry. Water concessionaires Equiventures Sdn Bhd and Southern Water Corp are just two of his water assets.  

Equiventures operates two water treatment plants that have the capacity to produce 105 million gallons of water per day while Southern Water operates 14 treatment plants that can produce 99 million gallons of water per day. All the plants are located in Johor. 

But still, a market observer points out that quite a lot of issues need to be sorted out with regard to the structure and regulations pertaining to the water industry and this may delay the purchase if ever at all it is decided upon. 

  • MALAYSIAN Resources Corp Bhd will make an announcement on Monday, which is likely to involve a major property acquisition. It is believed that the deal may involve Uda Holdings Bhd (UHB). The deal, says an industry source, maybe akin to that between UHB's management buyout team and Gold Bridge Engineering & Construction Bhd that was recently called off. Under that deal, Gold Bridge had proposed to acquire entire interest in Landas Utama Sdn Bhd which owns a 24.93 per cent-stake in UHB for RM213.3 million.  

    Landas Utama was the vehicle used by certain senior management of UHB to undertake a management buyout of the latter from the Ministry of Finance Incorporated back in April 2000. The MBO involved Landas Utama acquiring 87.99 million shares in Uda Holdings representing 24.93 per cent interest for RM131.99 million from MoF Inc. MoF Inc currently has a 50.01 per cent-stake in UHB.  

    It is a well-known fact that MRCB is keen to expand its land bank to become a major urban property developer.  

    Now all that's left to see, according to a market observer, is at what price MRCB proposes to carry out the purchase.  

    Uda Holdings closed Thursday at a low of RM1.11.  


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