Felda to keep stake in Iris

  • Business
  • Wednesday, 03 May 2017

From left, Chairman and Funder Tru Tag Technologies Dr. Hank Wuh, Iris acting CEO CH Choong, Felda Chairman Tan Sri Shahrir Samad and Chairman Nanotag Solutions Datuk Nazifuddin Najib at the signing ceremony at Iris in Bukit Jalil in Kuala Lumpur on May 2, 2017. ROHAIZAT MD DARUS/STAR.

 KUALA LUMPUR: The Federal Land Development Authority (Felda) is looking to raise its stake in IRIS CORP Bhd, chairman Tan Sri Shahrir Abdul Samad said.

“We will decide (later) whether we want to buy more shares in the market,” he said.

Shahrir was commenting on Felda Investment Corp Sdn Bhd (FIC) investment in Iris. FIC holds a 21.3% stake in Iris, but this will be diluted to around 19% following the completion of a new share placement.

It is likely that FIC would want to keep its stake in Iris at above 20%.

“There is great potential in nanotechnology and measures to enhance identification security and Iris can capitalise on this. We will maintain our investment in the group and are happy to see the share price go up recently,” he told reporters following the signing of a letter of intent (LoI) between Iris and United States-based TruTag Technologies Inc here yesterday.

Felda’s vote of confidence in Iris comes amid a major shake-up in Felda Investment Corp Sdn Bhd (FIC), one of the agency’s key units.

Shahrir said Felda fully supported new collaborations by Iris to strengthen its market position.

As part of the LoI, Iris and TruTag will look at possible collaboration opportunities to co-develop and offer a portfolio of smartcard and secure label products to customers in both the government and private sectors. Iris is a major player in the trusted identification segment, as well as a pioneer for e-passport.

Meanwhile, TruTag is known as an innovator in nanotechnology. The company said it has developed an optical memory device which can digitise information in any given product.

The devices are dust-sized particles which can be used as microtags in consumer products.

TruTag CEO Dr Michael Bartholomeusz said in a statement that one potential avenue was to work with Iris to provide leading-edge authentication and data intelligence solutions to customers with high levels of security needs.

TruTag’s business in the region is represented by Nanotag Solutions Sdn Bhd, led by its chairman Datuk Mohd Nazifuddin Najib.

Speculation had been mounting that Felda might reconsider its investment in Iris due to recent negative events concerning the company.

In January, the group’s deputy managing director Datuk Hamdan Mohd Hassan was arrested by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission over an e-passport project in the Republic of Guinea.

In March, the group was hit with a lawsuit by Roxwell Group Sdn Bhd, which is claiming for a sum of RM169.48mil in alleged unpaid commissions over the same project.

Hamdan and Iris group managing director Datuk Tan Say Jim, who were both named in the suit, are currently on a leave of absence.

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