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Azmin: Govt will consider PLUS takeover if firm can guarantee abolishing tolls

 

KUALA LUMPUR (Oct 31): Khazanah Nasional Bhd is not keen on selling its stake in PLUS Malaysia Bhd (PLUS) although several takeover proposals have been submitted to the government by several private entities.

Economic Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali reiterated the statement made by Khazanah managing director Shahril Ridza Ridzuan earlier today that the government sovereign wealth fund was not in the mood to sell the country’s biggest expressway toll firm.

"PLUS is 51% owned by Khazanah and 49% owned by the Employees Provident Fund (EPF). Why do you want to privatise it?

“We don’t want to burden the people and highway customers, that’s why, in our manifesto, we (said) will discuss with all concession companies in stages to reduce the burden of the people and road users.

"But, if (we) sell PLUS to the private sector that will charge toll and increase the toll rate, (then) it will not fulfil the (promise in the) manifesto," he told reporters at Parliament lobby here, yesterday.

He added that Khazanah’s stand was clear in that it would not sell its stake in PLUS, because if this deal went through, there was no guarantee the company would be able to reduce the toll rates or abolish the toll.

"Definitely not, because the private sector, they are profit-oriented. A company will buy something that will give profits. For us, it’s not a question of profitability. Khazanah and EPF want to provide services to road users.

"Except, if there’s a private sector (company) that wants to buy PLUS and want to abolish tolls...good luck if they can find it," he said.

Earlier today, Widad Business Group Sdn Bhd upped its offer for PLUS with a new proposal to acquire 100% equity interest in the company for RM5.3 billion.

Including the compensation waiver of RM3.04 billion and debt assumption of RM30 billion, the total enterprise value of the offer comes to RM38.34 billion, representing the highest bid from the private sector thus far.

According to Widad, the revised offer also includes the waiver of the RM11 billion sukuk guarantee by the Government and a new option for the Government to buy back PLUS after 10 years based on market valuation.

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