KUALA LUMPUR: The Government's effort to get a Malaysian company to acquire the ExxonMobil Corp's 65% stake in Esso Malaysia Sdn Bhd has reached a dead end, said Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Minster Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob.
Ismail Sabri said that ExxonMobil Corp had reached an agreement with Philippine conglomerate San Miguel Corp for the deal, and there was no more room for the Government to intervene.
“Now that the agreement is signed, there's nothing much that the Government can do,” he told reporters at the Istana Negara Hari Raya open house celebration here yesterday.
“I have spoken to ExxonMobil Corp's vice-president Stafford Kelly and told him to consider the sentiments of the Malaysians, who want a local company to run Esso Malaysia.
“However, to get them to consider is the best that we can do.
“We cannot force them to agree,” said the minister.
Ismail Sabri said Kelly had personally explained to him that it had to reject a bid from Lembaga Tabung Angkatan Tentera (LTAT) for the stake because it could not match San Miguel's offer.
“He told me that when San Miguel gave the final offer, ExxonMobil had gone back to LTAT in June and allowed them a chance to match San Miguel's bid. But LTAT couldn't.
“I was also told that LTAT did not have plans to expand Esso's Port Dickson refinery, unlike San Miguel. So that's why they went with San Miguel,” he said.
Last week, Ismail Sabri had said his ministry would seek the help of International Trade and Industry Ministry to persuade the American oil and gas corporation to consider selling its Malaysian business to local companies.
San Miguel had announced plans to buy the 65% stake in Esso Malaysia for RM614.25mil or RM3.50 a share two weeks ago.
It also reportedly planned to fully acquire ExxonMobil Malaysia Sdn Bhd and Exxon Mobil Borneo Sdn Bhd for a combined RM1.21bil.
Both companies are involved in the business of marketing petroleum products.
However, the transaction still needs the approval of three key ministries the International Trade and Industry Ministry, the Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Ministry and the Finance Ministry.
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