A tale of two waivers

WAIVERS should only be granted in exceptional and extenuating circumstances. One wonders what is the basis for Tanjung Offshore Bhd asking for two significant waivers: one from Ekuiti Nasional Bhd (Ekuinas) against a non-competing clause and another from the Securities Commission (SC) to waive the requirement for Tanjung Offshore’s new shareholders from having to make a mandatory general offer (MGO) despite buying up more than 33% of the company.

To recap, Tanjung Offshore has reportedly already asked Ekuinas to waive the clause (that was inked back in 2012 when the fund bought the offshore support vessels business from Tanjung Offshore) that prohibits Tanjung Offshore from getting into a similar business until mid-2015.

Tanjung Offshore is in the midst of a reverse takeover (RTO) exercise that will see it buying marine vessels from several parties who would end up with more than 33% of the company. Tanjung Offshore is seeking a waiver from the MGO rule. A group of minority shareholders, on the other hand, are opposing this.

It is difficult to fathom why Ekuinas should grant Tanjung Offshore a waiver. Ekuinas had done right by including the non-competitive clause after paying a whopping RM220mil for Tanjung Offshore’s OSV assets.

Ekuinas’ planned floatation of Icon Offshore Bhd (which is essentially the asset it had acquired from Tanjung Offshore) already has some challenges in the form of seemingly toppish valuations and one report questioning the certification of some of Icon Offshore’s vessels. The last thing it would need is having another competitor creep into the same sector.

As far as the MGO waiver is concerned, it should be opposed as minority shareholders should be protected in this deal by offering them a chance to exit the business at the same price the new shareholders are buying into the company.

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