Malaysiakini News

FGV shares down after privatisation talks ruled out

Bernama  |  Published:  |  Modified:

Felda Global Ventures Holdings Bhd (FGV) shares eased in the morning session today on dismissal of privatisation talks.

At 10.34am, FGV declined three sen to RM1.72 with 3.47 million shares changing hands.

FGV in a filing to Bursa Malaysia yesterday ruled out any talks about a possible privatisation.

"After making due enquiries with the Federal Land Development Authority (Felda) as the major shareholder, FGV was informed that there has been no discussion on this matter at their board level," it said.

The world's third largest plantation company by hectarage said it had also not received any proposal from other shareholders on the same matter.

Felda and its associates collectively own the biggest stake in FGV at 36.69 percent

Among the institutional funds still holding a stake in FGV are Lembaga Tabung Haji (7.78 percent), Retirement Fund Inc (4.98 percent) and Amanahraya Trustees Bhd (4.13 percent).

Meanwhile, newly-appointed Felda chairperson Shahrir Abdul Samad said it will not interfere and micro-manage FGV despite being its major shareholder.

He said FGV was fairly diversified in its operations, ranging from milling to refinery, transportation and plantation, and it should know its business well.

"We leave it to them, we cannot interfere and micro manage.

"Felda should not interfere in the governance of FGV. (It is a listed company) and it has rules and methods (to follow)," he told Bernama in an interview.

Shahrir was asked to comment on losses incurred by FGV and its business strategies.

According to reports, Felda has 17.29 percent direct stake in FGV and indirect stake of 19.4 percent, bringing the total to 36.69 percent.

Shahrir said Felda has no plans to reduce its stake in FGV.

He described the Turkish venture, Felda Iffco Gida Sanayi as "a blip" and FGV chief executive officer Zakaria Arshad knew of its impact.

"We should allow him to execute his plans. They have given us an explanation and assurance on how they would mitigate the problem," he said.

In November last year, FGV discovered fraud in its 50 per cent-owned unit, Felda Iffco, which incurred a stock loss of RM57 million.

FGV recently announced that the financial losses were undergoing forensic audit and it was awaiting the official report before taking any further action.

It is also finalising the necessary paperwork to claim insurance coverage on such fraud that will substantially compensate the losses recorded earlier.

Shahrir, however, admitted that as a major shareholder, Felda wanted to see FGV succeed and continue making strides in all ventures.

"We want to see it do well. Because the most important (thing) for it to do well is, we get our dividend. Then we get our return on investment.

"But it is not for us (to) make statement that may suddenly cause the price (of FGV) to jump or come down. We shouldn’t be saying anything that would influence the market price.

"However, that does not mean that Felda close its eyes, Felda also has representatives who will see how FGV function and achieve its ambition to become a successful company," he said.

Asked whether he planned to meet FGV's board of directors, he said: "No. All my meetings are with the Felda board and Felda settlers."

- Bernama

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