Ekovest says the pension fund wants exclusive negotiation
PETALING JAYA: The Employees Provident Fund (EPF) has expressed its interest to buy a 40% stake in Ekovest Bhd’s Duta-Ulu Kelang Expressway (Duke) highway concession.
In a filing with Bursa Malaysia yesterday, Ekovest said that it has received an expression of interest letter from EPF expressing its interest to enter into an exclusive negotiation with the company for a 40% stake in Konsortium Lebuhraya Utara-Timur (KL) Sdn Bhd. Konsortium Lebuhraya is a unit of Ekovest, which is involved in the design, construction and operation of its Duke assets.
The announcement said that both Ekovest and EPF were targeting to finalise the terms and conditions in relation to the proposed disposal of 40% stake in Konsortium Lebuhraya within 21 market days.
“Further announcement will be made in due course,” Ekovest said.
StarBiz has previously reported that Ekovest is eyeing to monetise its highway assets and has been in talks with local and foreign parties for a potential stake sale in Duke.
On Tuesday, Ekovest signed an agreement with four local banks to issue ringgit-denominated sukuk wakalah worth RM3.64bil to partly fund its Setiawangsa-Pantai Expressway (SPE) project, formerly known as Duke phase 3.
The 32.1-km highway is estimated to cost RM5.05bil, taking into consideration the debt service covering ratio within the construction.
Ekovest first bought a 70% stake in the 18-km Duke with a 34-year concession under an RM325mil share-swap deal with Wira Kristal Sdn Bhd in 2012.
The exercise saw the emergence of Tan Sri Lim Kang Hoo and Datuk Haris Onn Hussein, the brother of Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein Onn into Ekovest. Ekovest later acquired the remaining 30% stake in Duke from Malaysian Resources Corp Bhd for RM228mil in 2013.
That in total values the Duke highway at RM553mil.
Lim has a 20.19% stake in Ekovest, while Haris owns 18.29% via Kota Jayasama Sdn Bhd.
Ekovest is currently constructing the expansion of phase two of Duke, which costs around RM1.18bil, which is estimated to complete by the end of this year.
The extension will expand the existing Duke from two ends; via a seven-km link from Sri Damansara and a nine-km link from Jalan Tun Razak.
Meanwhile, the SPE toll-highway has already begun its construction on Aug 5 and would take about 3.5 years to complete.
It will cover areas stretching from Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman, Wangsa Maju and Ampang to the Tun Razak Exchange and Kerinchi.