Suria set to be infrastructure-based company


  • Business
  • Thursday, 25 Sep 2003

BY RUBEN SARIO IN KOTA KINABALU

SURIA Capital Bhd is set to take on a new business identity after it takes over the operations of Sabah’s seven main ports from the Sabah Ports Authority (SPA). 

The KLSE main board company, which faced a de-listing after its disposal of Sabah Bank Bhd and Sabah Development Bank Bhd left it with no core business, now looks ready to become an infrastructure-related entity. 

“I think this could be the future direction of the company. But we will consider all options,” Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Musa Aman said on Tuesday after witnessing the signing of an agreement paving the way for Suria Capital’s takeover of the seven ports for a price tag of RM210mil. 

The ports are in Kota Kinabalu, Sepanggar Bay, Sandakan, Tawau, Lahad Datu, Kunak and Kudat. 

Under the agreement, Suria Capital will lease the ports from SPA for 30 years with an option for another 30 years and the company will undertake expansion works totalling RM1.3bil in the course of the concession period. 

Musa said Suria Capital was awaiting approval from the Securities Commission and Foreign Investment Committee for the takeover of the ports by next January. 

He said an EGM would also be convened to obtain shareholders' approval. 

Musa said with Suria Capital’s takeover, the state government expected the seven ports to be run more efficiently while having easier access to funds for their expansion programmes. 

As to why the Sabah ports were not listed directly on the exchange, Musa said such an exercise would take time. 

“The ports would have to show a good track record for some time and all that,” he said, adding that despite the takeover the ports would still be under state ownership. 

The Sabah government holds more than 50% stake in Suria Capital, once set to become a financial supermarket. 

However, Sabah Bank was eventually merged with other banks, including Multi-Purpose Bank Bhd, to form the Alliance Bank Bhd group while the Sabah Development Bank was reverted back to the state. 

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