Sarawak tycoon raises stake in Naim to 25.2%

Major shareholder: Hamed has increased his direct and indirect holdings in Naim to 126.1 million shares, representing 15.92 of its enlarged issued capital of 513.8 million.

KUCHING: Sarawak tycoon Datuk Amar Abdul Hamed Sepawi has raised his stake in Naim Holdings Bhd by over 9% to about 25.2%, following the completion of the company’s rights issue.

However, there are no indications that the completion of the cash call would lead to further corporate exercises, analysts said.

“It was merely an exercise to raise funds to strengthen the company’s position to undertake future projects, particularly those that could be happening in Sarawak,” one analyst with a local brokerage said.

“We don’t see any likelihood of Naim being taken private, despite the fact that the company’s shares are not trading at historical lows ... otherwise the major shareholders would not have applied for exemption to a mandatory general offer,” he added.

Another analyst concurred, noting that Naim, which is based in Sarawak, is well positioned to gain from the impending infrastructure spending in the state.

“The company’s prospects are expected to improve in tandem with the state’s infrastructure spending,” the analyst with a local bank said. “By strengthening its financial position, the company will be on a better footing to win projects.”

It was reported last October that the Sarawak government would splurge a record RM11bil on infrastructure in the next two years, ahead of the state polls that must be held by mid-2021.

Under the plan, some RM6bil would be spent on the coastal highway project, RM2.8bil on improving water supply and a sum of RM2.3bil would be used to enhance electricity connectivity throughout the state.

The recently completed rights issue by Naim, which achieved a 74.22% subscription rate, raised total gross proceeds of RM118.7mil and exceeded the minimium level of RM100mil.

The total number of subscribed rights shares priced at 45 sen apiece (on the basis of three rights shares for every two existing shares) was about 263.8 million units. The rights shares were listed on Bursa Malaysia on Jan 25.

Hamed, who is also Naim’s chairman and the cousin of former Sarawak chief minister Tun Abdul Taib Mahmud, has increased his direct and indirect holdings to 126.1 million shares from 37.7 million or 15.92% in the company’s enlarged issued capital of 513.8 million shares (from 250 million shares).

His indirect holdings are via Tapak Beringin Sdn Bhd and Lembah Rakyat Sdn Bhd.

Managing director and major shareholder Datuk Hasmi Hasan has also raised his equity interest in the property developer to 191 million shares or about 38.1% from 24.1% after the rights issue.

Hasmi has a direct stake of 11.13% (55.73 million shares) and an indirect stake of 27% via Hasmi & Associates Management Sdn Bhd, Island Harvest Sdn Bhd and Lambaian Kukuh Sdn Bhd. Both the combined shareholdings of Hamed and Hasmi in Naim have ballooned to about 63.3% from 40.02% before the fund-raising exercise.

Hamed and Hasmi and persons acting in concert (PACs) have picked up nearly 79.98 million excess rights shares besides subscribing for their respective entitlements. Their undertakings to subscribe for the excess rights shares were to ensure that at least RM100mil would be raised.

The Securities Commission had granted an exemption to Hamed, Hasmi and the PACs from the obligation to undertake a mandatory offer for the remaining Naim shares not already owned by them arising from the subscription of the excess rights shares.

According to Naim, the rights issue is to help position the group, which is involved in the construction business besides property development, on a better financial footing to undertake more projects.

The Naim group suffered a pre-tax loss of RM147mil in the financial year ended Dec 31, 2017 (FY17), largely due to the Klang Valley mass rapid transit (MRT) project and its oil and gas associate Dayang Enterprise Holdings Bhd. The loss was the first ever in Naim’s 23-year corporate history.

Hamed has attributed the MRT project’s losses to delays in site possession, overloaded site instructions and changes at the project’s later stage.

From the proceeds of the rights issue, at least RM70mil would be used to finance the group’s three ongoing major residential projects. These are Kuching Paragon, Bintulu Paragon and Bandar Baru Permyjaya in Miri.

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