PNB accepts Gamuda's RM290mil Kesas highway offer

PETALING JAYA: Permodalan Nasional Bhd (PNB) has accepted Gamuda Bhd’s improved offer price of RM3.08 per share, or RM290mil cash, to acquire its 20% stake in Kesas Holdings Bhd.

The acquisition will increase Gamuda’s stake in the highway operator to 70%.

Gamuda, in its attempt to fully control Kesas, had made a revised offer to both remaining shareholders of the company, namely, PNB and the Selangor State Development Corp (PKNS) to RM3.08 from RM2.973 per share at end-May.

However, in its filing with the stock exchange, Gamuda said PKNS, which holds the remaining 30% stake in Kesas, had not accepted the offer.

Gamuda, a big player in the construction and infrastructure sectors, initially owned only 30% in Kesas, but strengthened its control over Kesas when Amcorp Properties Bhd accepted its RM250mil offer late last year to acquire the company’s 20% stake.

As of financial year 2013, Kesas’ revenue and profit jumped by 37.3% and 80.9% to RM332.9mil and RM161mil, respectively, with a total asset value of about RM1.3bil.

It is believed that Kesas has contributed between RM30mil and RM40mil to Gamuda’s net income as of last year.

Kesas is the toll concessionaire for the 35km Shah Alam Expressway under a concession agreement that is valid until Aug 18, 2023.

Gamuda set its sights on fully owning Kesas when it first made its bid to the three other shareholders in an RM875mil bid in early November 2013, which received Amcorp’s acceptance.

The company then upped its offer price by 12% for PKNS’ 30% stake in Kesas to RM420mil and for PNB’s 20% to RM280mil last December, which received the green light from PNB.

However, PNB subsequently asked for an extension for the execution of its sale and purchase agreement until Feb 7, but the deal fell through as PNB’s acceptance had lapsed following the inability of both parties to execute a definitive agreement then.

Analysts believe that the efforts of Gamuda to increase its stake in Kesas would be immediately earnings-accretive and timely to mitigate the potential loss of earnings from 40%-owned associate Syarikat Pengeluar Air Sungai Selangor Sdn Bhd, or Splash, which is still embroiled in the Selangor water restructuring saga since 2008.

Besides Kesas, Gamuda also controls Litrak Bhd, which holds the concessions to the Damansara-Puchong Highway and the Sprint Highway. It also has a 50% stake in the Smart Tunnel.

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