Anthony Loke: Proposed MAHB privatisation boosts efficiency

PUTRAJAYA: The proposed privatisation of Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) will boost the company’s efficiency through swift strategic decision-making and facilitate its way forward, said Transport Minister Anthony Loke.

He said the Ministry of Transport (MOT) supports Khazanah Nasional Bhd’s proposal to restructure MAHB.

"It was Khazanah’s decision (to propose), not the ministry’s decision. It decided to take MAHB private from the share market. Of course, the ministry is aligned with what Khazanah has proposed.

"When MAHB becomes a fully private entity under Khazanah and the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) as a strategic asset of the government and the country, I am confident that various strategic decisions can be implemented swiftly,” he told reporters after chairing the National Logistics Task Force meeting here today.

Loke said this when asked about MAHB's proposed restructuring measures and allegations that Khazanah is selling the company off to foreign entities.

On May 15, Gateway Development Alliance and its shareholders announced a pre-conditional voluntary offer to acquire all the shares in MAHB not yet owned by the consortium at an offer price of RM11.00 a share.

The consortium is led by two Malaysian government-linked investment companies -- Khazanah via its wholly-owned unit UEM Group Bhd and EPF.

The consortium’s shareholders also comprise a wholly owned subsidiary of the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA) and funds managed by Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP), one of the world’s premier infrastructure investors and an experienced airport owner and manager.

The offer price of RM11.00 implies an equity value of RM18.4 billion, which translates to a price-to-earnings ratio of 37.7x MAHB’s audited consolidated earnings per share for the financial year ended Dec 31, 2023.

As of May 14, 2024, the consortium and their respective holding companies collectively own 41.1 per cent of MAHB's issued shares.

Upon full completion of the offer, Khazanah will be increasing its ownership in MAHB from 33.2 per cent to 40 per cent and EPF from 7.9 per cent to 30 per cent.

Collectively, Malaysian investors would own 70 per cent of MAHB, while ADIA and GIP will hold the remaining 30 per cent.

Meanwhile, in response to the allegation made by Machang Member of Parliament, Wan Ahmad Fayhsal Wan Ahmad, regarding the government's purported sale of a portion of MAHB shares to foreign entities, Loke asserted that the assertion was unfounded.

"His information is inaccurate. He said we are disposing of it, but we are not. Khazanah is not disposing MAHB. On the contrary, through this proposal, Khazanah and EPF will further increase their stakes in MAHB,” he said.

At lunch break, shares of MAHB rose by one sen to RM10.14 with 7.8 million shares transacted. - Bernama

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