IJM Corp: Signing of WCE concession 'on the horizon'

PETALING JAYA: The signing of the concession agreement for the West Coast Expressway is "on the horizon" and should not take much longer, said IJM Corp Bhd chairman Tan Sri Krishnan Tan.

"The concession has taken a bit of time. It is on the horizon, the not-too-distant horizon.

"Then again, maybe horizon is not the right word. We are already at the shore," he said after the company's EGM on Friday.

IJM has a controlling stake in the proposed 316km highway linking Banting in Selangor and Taiping in Perak.

It was previously reported that the project is estimated to cost RM7.07bil and would be on a build-operate-transfer basis over a 60-year concession period.

On its acquisition of a 25% stake in SCOMI GROUP BHD, Tan said the transportation and oil and gas (O&G) firm had come out of a "bad patch" and IJM is hoping to "ride on their turnaround".

He added that IJM saw "very strong growth" prospects in the O&G sector and its interest in Scomi provided a "good entry point" into the industry it exited a few years ago with the sale of its fabrication yard.

"It is a strategic stake. We will collaborate where appropriate, especially if it involves a strong civil engineering component," Tan explained.

Asked whether the two would jointly bid for projects, he said it was possible if IJM could add value.

On the refusal by IJM's non-executive directors of their entitlement to a proposed employee share option scheme, Tan said they had made that decision for corporate governance reasons and to avoid potential conflict of interest, not because of a speculated board split on the Scomi deal.

On Sept 24, IJM announced it was taking up to a 25.08% equity in Scomi for RM149.3mil via the subscription of 119.1 million new shares, or 10% of Scomi, for RM39.3mil as well as new Scomi redeemable convertible secured bonds for RM110mil.

Scomi's mainstay is in O&G. Through its subsidiaries and associates, the company is also involved in transport solutions such as rail infrastructure and energy logistics including coal transportation and vessels services to the O&G industry.

IJM had previously said it was also looking to tap into Scomi's logistics engineering business to complement its construction and civil engineering capabilities.

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