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Ageson says does not have AP for sand export

KUALA LUMPUR (May 12): Ageson Bhd, whose share trade was suspended for an hour until 10.07am today, said neither the company nor any entities within the group and its subsidiaries have the approved permit (AP) for sand export.

"The company is not privy to such information on whether any applications are required and/or submitted to Department of Mineral and Geoscience Malaysia (JMG) for any kind of collaborations with the existing AP holders that export sand," it said in a bourse filing.

This was in response to a Bernama report on Saturday regarding Ageson's contract to supply sand to a China-based client announced recently. The article quoted JMG director-general Datuk Shahar Effendi Abdullah Azizi as saying that no applications have been received or AP approval given to Ageson or its subsidiary Esa Pile Sdn Bhd.

According to the report, Shahar Effendi said the Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources (KeTSA) through JMG found there was no record that existing AP holders that export sand had made any joint-venture agreement to supply sand to the company or subsidiary to date.

"Based on existing procedures which are enforced currently, any sand mining operators or mineral traders that want to export sand to foreign countries must firstly apply to KeTSA to get an AP.

"KeTSA issues AP to export sand to foreign countries based on several criteria such as national interest, taking into account the aspects of local consumption needs, sovereignty of the nation or importance of trade, on condition that operators obtained the approval from KeTSA beforehand," he was quoted as saying.

On May 4, Ageson announced that Esa Pile had bagged a RMB44.8 billion (RM27.5 billion) purchase order from Guangzhou Kaishengda Industrial Co Ltd for the supply of river and sea sand for 15 years.

Last Friday, in a reply to a Bursa Malaysia's query on the contract, the group said it will leverage long-established partners and experienced subcontractors in the sand business to fulfil the deal as it has no sand-mining operations.

It also noted that the source of sands to be procured in order to fulfil the purchase order is from Terengganu and Pahang.

Pursuant to these announcements, Ageson explained that Esa Pile will be leveraging its business partners in the sand business, namely World Tractor Parts (HK) Ltd, Zhillion Sand Sdn Bhd and AP holder Polo Specialist Trading Sdn Bhd (PST).

"However, Esa Pile will not limit itself to rely solely on PST as the AP holder," it said.

"Notwithstanding Esa Pile's partnership with the above-mentioned several business partners in sand business, the company is currently in the midst of discussion and negotiation with several potential business partners in Malaysia to undertake the sand supply and export to overseas," it added.

Ageson said it has extended its exploration for potential collaboration in sand business beyond Malaysia and is currently in talks on potential collaboration with the potential business partners within the Southeast Asian region.

To date, the discussion and negotiation with these potential business partners are at a preliminary stage, it noted.

"The company [is] cognisant of the laws, procedures and requirements needed for sand export to overseas and will ensure the company’s sand export business, at all times, is in compliance with relevant laws and regulations," said Ageson.

At 11.36am, shares in Ageson fell 1.5 sen or 8.57% to 16 sen with 75.49 million units changing hands, valuing the company at RM102.42 million. The stock has climbed 700% year to date.

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