Mah Sing’s RM411m JB land deal hits another snag

KUALA LUMPUR: Mah Sing Group Bhd’s proposed RM411.2 million acquisition of 1,352 acres (547ha) of freehold land in Plentong, Johor Baru hit another snag after the Estate Land Board rejected Bistari Land Sdn Bhd’s application to approve the deal.

In a filing with Bursa Malaysia yesterday, Mah Sing said Bistari Land, the landowner, has instructed its surveyors to submit an appeal to the Estate Land Board.

A Mah Sing spokesman told The Edge Financial Daily that the reason for the rejection was incomplete documentation.

She said Mah Sing will help Bistari Land in its appeal and provide the required documentation.

Saying the matter was “quite straightforward”, the spokesman added that it should “be cleared the moment we submit the complete documentation”.

Mah Sing had proposed to acquire 31 pieces of adjoining tracts of land totalling 1,352 acres last October through its unit, Sanjung Tropika Development Sdn Bhd, from Bistari Land. The property developer had earmarked the land for a self-contained township named Bandar Meridin East, which will have a gross development value of RM5 billion.

The transaction hit its first snag in November last year when Mah Sing announced that the Malaysian Highway Authority (LLM) had presented a winding-up petition to the Johor Baru High Court against Bistari Land for owing it RM11.6 million. Mah Sing eventually agreed to pay LLM the sum, which amounted to less than 3% of the RM411.2 million price tag for the land.

Mah Sing also announced in November that it had been advised by its solicitors that the transaction was considered void because the parties had entered into it after Bistari Land was presented with the winding-up petition. The group applied to the High Court to validate the deal’s agreements, which the court granted in January.

Then, in January, it emerged that there were private caveats on 28 out of the 31 lots of the transacted area. The caveats were entered by Ang Swee Kang, chief executive officer of Al-Cube Sdn Bhd, before Bistari Land signed the agreements with Mah Sing. The Johor Baru High Court, however, ordered the removal of the caveats.

While these setbacks appeared to be little more than hiccups, they did make some of Mah Sing’s shareholders jittery for a few days in November. News of the winding-up petition slashed Mah Sing’s share price 4.1% in a day, while the solicitors’ advice sent it falling by 3.2% over four days.

This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on March 05, 2014.


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