Should Petronas, worth almost RM1 trillion, be listed?

P Gunasegaram

Modified 13 Dec 2019, 1:41 am

QUESTION TIME | Recently Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad, in an interview with Reuters, said that the government may consider selling stakes in national oil company Petronas to states in which Petronas has oil and gas fields.

Such a move is not an easy one to make - Petronas is a behemoth, by far the largest and most profitable company in Southeast Asia and among the most profitable in the world.

Back of the envelope calculations indicate that Petronas, if it were to be listed, would be worth nearly RM1 trillion, roughly equal to Malaysia’s debt as defined by Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng, but more than the roughly RM800 billion, going by conventional measurement of debt.

If listed, it will boost the Kuala Lumpur stock market’s value by nearly three-fifths to some RM2.7 trillion and will account for nearly two-fifths of total market value. Which naturally raises the question of whether it should be listed...

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