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Still no PNB offer document

KUALA LUMPUR (Nov 16): S P Setia Bhd has yet to receive the official general offer document from Permodalan Nasional Bhd (PNB) to acquire all its remaining shares and warrants, according to the property developer's president and CEO Tan Sri Liew Kee Sin.

After the group's official launch of the RM6 billion KL Eco City integrated development project situated on the former site of Kampung Haji Abdullah Hukum on Tuesday, Liew told reporters that PNB has to submit the offer document first to enable all shareholders of S P Setia to evaluate it and decide whether to sell their shares or not.

"We have to wait for the offer document to come up first so that all shareholders can evaluate PNB's offer. But on our side, we are very happy because we're going to get a shareholder which is prepared to put money into S P Setia. Put aside all the sentiments and so on and so forth, we have today a big fund, one of the biggest investment funds in the country, to put money into S P Setia," he said.

Contrary to the board's initial response to the offer, which at RM3.90 per share and 91 sen per warrant was deemed to have undervalued the group, Liew appeared to be positive on Tuesday when asked about his view on the proposed takeover offer.

"We should be pleased because if they don't like us, if they think we're not capable, why would someone put money into your company. Now with S P Setia having PNB as a strong dominant shareholder, we have money so we can do more projects. We must always look at the positive side of things," said Liew.

PNB, through Maybank Investment Bank Bhd, had given notice of the takeover offer to the board of S P Setia on Sept 28 and had given a time frame of 21 days for the company's shareholders to decide whether to sell their shares to the fund. However, they have yet to submit the official document to the board.

On Oct 17, PNB had applied to the Securities Commission (SC) for an extension for the despatch of the offer document, which was approved by the SC via a letter dated Oct 24.

However, no date was given to indicate when the offer document would be sent and when it would close.

According to Aberdeen Investment Bank Bhd assistant investment manager Bharat Josh, the indefinite extension showed a lack of clarity in the process of PNB's takeover exercise, leaving investors in the dark.

"I think PNB and the SC should be a lot more transparent and they should keep investors in the know. For investors in general, we would like to see the offer document before we know whether the offer really undervalues the company or not," he commented.

Since making the announcement, PNB and its various trust funds and parties in concert (PAC) have been accumulating S P Setia shares in the open market. They crossed the 33% shareholding threshold on Sept 27 and have since increased the stake to more than 35% as at Nov 11.

Other government funds which have significant shareholdings in S P Setia are Kumpulan Wang Persaraan holding around 5% and the Employees Provident Fund with more than 13%.

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