Widad Business Group makes new offer of RM5.3bil for PLUS

KUALA LUMPUR: Widad Business Group Sdn Bhd has upped its offer for PLUS Malaysia Bhd with a new proposal to acquire 100% equity interest in the company for RM5.3bil.

Including the compensation waiver of RM3.04bil and debt assumption of RM30bil, the total enterprise value of the offer comes to RM38.34bil, representing the highest bid from the private sector thus far.

According to Widad, the revised offer also includes the waiver of the RM11bil sukuk guarantee by the government and a new option for the government to buy back PLUS after 10 years based on market valuation.

The government has received three other acquisition proposals for PLUS from the private sector, including Maju Holdings Sdn Bhd's bid at an enterprise value of RM34.9bil including debts, RJR Capital's offer of RM3.5bil and Tan Sri Halim Saad's proposed RM5.2bil purchase.

Widad's new offer is a follow up to its Oct 9 proposal to purchase a 51% stake in PLUS Expressways Bhd concessionaires for RM1.5bil cash or 100% of the concessionaires owned by Khazanah Nasional Bhd and the Employees Provident Fund for RM3bil cash.

It comes in response to Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad's comments on Oct 22 that the offers by the private sector had not been attractive enough and did not reflect the bright prospects for PLUS.

"After some deliberation, we have come up with an upgraded offer that better reflects the bright prospects of this company, and a takeover plan that can help further reduce the financial burden of the Government as well as provide much needed savings and convenience to the rakyat when using our roads," said Widad group executive chairman Tan Sri Muhammad Ikmal Opat Abdullah.

Widad made its presentation to the Works Ministry yesterday, listing also a few commitments for the PLUS takeover.

It proposed two mechanisms for toll rates, comprising either a 25% to 40% reduction via direct toll discounts or an 18% toll reduction for road users with a balance 7% to 22% to be channelled to the government for the welfare of targeted groups.

Widad added that it would be implementing AI technology for vehicle recognition and smart traffic planning, equipping first responders with new fundamental skills and equipment as well as upgrading facilities.

"Development of family friendly centres, shopping outlets, business centres and entertainment hubs along inter-city stopovers will be carried out to improve the current ecosystem of the expressways.

"To further develop value chain participants, WBG will introduce trickle-down economics to benefit larger participation of local contractors, suppliers and service providers," it said.

WIdad is an an integrated facility management and construction conglomerate that owns 65% of Widad Group Bhd and 63% of Dataprep Holdings Bhd, both listed on Bursa Malaysia.
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