State may consider buying Khazanah properties

Legoland Malaysia is one of the properties owned by a Khazanah unit. — Filepic

KOTA ISKANDAR: The Johor government does not rule out the possibility of buying several properties owned by Khazanah Nasional Bhd in Iskandar Puteri including Legoland Malaysia.

State International Trade, Investment and Utilities committee chairman Jimmy Puah Wee Tse said the sovereign wealth fund, through its subsidiary, Iskandar Investment Berhad (IIB), has several catalyst projects within the Iskandar Malaysia area.

He added that IIB held many investments in the southern region where it was mostly in properties, with projects such as Medini, EduCity and Legoland Malaysia.

“This is a strategic plan where it is the norm for a company to sell off some of its assets as part of its corporate restructuring.

“We have not been informed if they wanted to sell Legoland Malaysia and I am actually surprised by such rumours but I believe the park will still continue to operate even if they sell it to a third party,” he added.

Puah said this when met after attending the state assembly sitting held at Bangunan Sultan Ismail in Kota Iskandar.

He added that IIB’s main role was to develop its catalyst projects around here where once it is established, they had no role to play in the development any longer.

When asked if the state government was willing to buy some of their properties including Legoland Malaysia, Puah said they were willing to discuss the matter.

“Let us see if there is a proposal from them and if we are a willing buyer and they are a willing seller first,” he added.

It was reported by Bloomberg that Khazanah Nasional was weighing the sale of Legoland Malaysia Resort, people with knowledge of the matter said.

The theme park could be valued at around RM1bil including debt, as Khazanah is considering the potential divestment as part of its review of non-core assets, according to the people.

Legoland Malaysia, located in the southern state of Johor, is owned by a Khazanah unit and operated by Merlin Entertainments.

It is the first Lego-themed park in Asia, covering an area equivalent to over 50 soccer fields, with more than 15,000 Lego models made from over 60 million bricks.

No final decision had been made and Khazanah could decide to keep the property, the people said.

Khazanah would consider selling Legoland if there was a good offer, managing director Datuk Shahril Ridza Ridzuan said at a press conference in Kuala Lumpur.

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