Tradewinds waiting for fresh proposal

TRADEWINDS (M) Bhd disclosed yesterday that it had rejected an earlier proposal from Johore Tenggara Oil Palm Bhd (JTop) to merge their plantation assets.  

The board of Tradewinds was now waiting for a new proposal from the merchant banker appointed to look into the matter, said Tradewinds non-executive director Ong Ie Cheong.  

“The Tradewinds board had studied the first proposal. We were not happy with it and have given them the new basis,'' he said when asked if Tradewinds was opposed to the merger plan. 

According to Ong, the board disagreed with the “basis” for the earlier proposal, mainly on points relating to the valuation of the two companies' plantation assets.  

Ong, who is also executive chairman of PPB Group Bhd, was speaking at PPB's press briefing on its financial results for 2003.  

Tradewinds and JTop announced on Tuesday that they had appointed Commerce International Merchant Bankers Bhd (CIMB) to conduct a study and to come out with a scheme to merge their oil palm plantation and related businesses. 

JTop's and Tradewind's combined plantation land size is estimated at 128,000ha. 

It had been widely speculated for over a year that Tradewinds and JTop were in merger talks but neither party had announced its intentions until Tuesday's announcement. 

“We'll look at the study first. If it is not to the benefit of Tradewinds' shareholders, we'll oppose,'' said Ong, who represents the Kuok group in Tradewinds.  

He is also managing director of Central Sugars Refinery Sdn Bhd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Tradewinds. 

Kuok group holds a 22% stake in Tradewinds while Pernas International Holdings Bhd (PIHB) owns 54%.  

Restu Jernih Sdn Bhd, a company that is believed to be linked to Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar Al-Bukhary, has a 32% equity interest in PIHB. 

 Stock Watch On JTOP Stock Watch On PERNAS

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