Widad Business Group (WBG) has offered to buy Plus Expressways Bhd concessionaires by taking over the 51 percent stake owned by Khazanah Nasional Bhd for a RM1.5 billion cash consideration, or 100 percent of the concessionaires owned by Khazanah and the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) for RM3 billion cash.
The takeover proposal was submitted to Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad, the Works Ministry and Ministry of Economic Affairs on Oct 9, the integrated facility management and construction conglomerate said in a statement today.
The highways involved in the concessionaires of Plus Expressways Bhd are Plus Highway, Second Link Expressway, Penang Bridge, North South Expressway Central Link, Butterworth Kulim Expressway and Seremban-Port Dickson Highway.
“In the event that Widad successfully takes over the concessionaires, the group will reduce the current toll charges by 25 percent to 40 percent.
“This is in line with the government’s manifesto to reduce the burden of the people, which we fully support. We also intend to help the government by waiving the outstanding compensation of the government to Plus worth RM338.5 million as of Dec 31, 2018,” executive chairman, Muhammad Ikmal Opat Abdullah said.
Both offers include the waiver of toll compensation worth RM2.7 billion incurred by the government for the abolition of tolls in Plaza Batu Tiga and Bukit Kayu Hitam.
The group has also proposed to give a 50 percent discount for toll fares during festive seasons such as Hari Raya, Chinese New Year and Deepavali for as long as the Group deems reasonable.
Muhammad Ikmal also said the group would refurbish highway rest-stops and implement artificial intelligence technology to improve highway and traffic management, with the additional promise of not retrenching staff for at least five years after the takeover.
The group has identified its global strategic partner/investor to fund the proposed acquisition, coupled with the group's internal funds and its fundraising plan via sukuk Medium Term Note and equity issuance.
Muhammad Ikmal is the founder and group leader of Widad Business Group, a corporate holding which provides jobs to more than 1,500 people throughout Malaysia.
WBG was incorporated in 2002, to fulfill the growing needs for bumiputera contractors of calibre to serve the country’s rapid economic growth and development.
The group has since grown and diversified its activities into integrated facility management, construction, operations and maintenance, mechanical and electrical services, building automation system, energy management, property development, education, media & ICT services, hospitality, aquaculture and oil & gas.
Earlier this week, Dr Mahathir said that the government would study any proposal to acquire Plus Malaysia Bhd if it met the country’s demands.
It was reported that a Malaysian-led Hong Kong-based private equity firm, RRJ Capital, had expressed interest in acquiring Plus Malaysia Bhd for RM3.5 billion.
However, Khazanah Nasional Bhd managing director Shahril Riza Ridzuan said on Oct 6 that the company had no intention of selling its strategic assets to any party.
On the contrary, EPF, which owns a 49 percent stake in Plus, said it would consider selling its stake in Plus Malaysia Bhd, for a good offer.
Khazanah owns 51 percent of Plus and the EPF, 49 percent. This followed a takeover in 2011, in a transaction valued at RM32 billion.