MAHB shareholder expresses doubt over takeover bid

“This offer was opportunistic,” and there is a risk the stakeholders won’t get the 90% threshold needed to delist the company, Northcape's Cameron said. — Bloomberg

KUALA LUMPUR: Northcape Capital Ltd says a bid by major shareholders to take Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) private may face opposition due to the low valuation offered.

“They might need to revise the offer,” said Ross Cameron, a portfolio manager at Northcape, which owns a 1.7% stake in the airport group.

“This offer was opportunistic,” and there is a risk the stakeholders won’t get the 90% threshold needed to delist the company, he said.

A Khazanah Nasional Bhd-led consortium announced on May 15 an offer for the shares of MAHB it doesn’t already own, at RM11 a piece. The move comes as revised concession terms and extended operating agreements provide better earnings visibility for the airports operator.

The offer, made along with the Employees Provident Fund, Global Infrastructure Partners and Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, values the company at RM18.4bil. Shares of MAHB have dropped about 3% since May 14, just before the offer was announced, paring year-to-date gains to 37%. Northcape is an Australian boutique fund manager specialising in equities with funds under management of about US$8bil, according to its website.

The fund is active in the aviation sector and owns stakes in Qantas Airways Ltd and an airport in Mexico, Cameron said. It used to hold shares in the now delisted Sydney Airport.

Analysts have mostly recommended that investors accept the buyout offer. The deal is fairly valued, given that MAHB’s share price has advanced in the last six months as minority shareholders “positioned early,” said Macquarie Capital Securities analyst Max Koh.

Some may opt to hold out for a better price. Among recent transactions in the region involving infrastructure assets, the US$17bil sale of Sydney Airport in 2021 was only completed after two previous bids were rejected.

“The transaction would materialise eventually,” said Mohit Mirpuri, a fund manager at Singapore-based SGMC Capital Pte. “It may just take longer than they anticipated.” — Bloomberg

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MAHB , delisting , lowballoffer , Khazanah , EPF , airports


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