Felda Global joins the march of big IPOs

KUALA LUMPUR: The planned listing of Felda Global Ventures Holdings Bhd (Felda Global) would mean that 2012 will be the fourth straight year Malaysia has offered investors major initial public offerings (IPOs).

Felda Global is the commercial arm of government-owned Federal Land Development Authority (Felda). It is the owner and manager of over 850,000ha of plantation land and its listing should create the world's largest listed plantation entity by land.

Drumming up interest in the local stock market has been a feature of the government under Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak since he came into office in 2008.

Malaysia's biggest mobile phone operator by subscribers, Maxis Bhd, returned to the market in 2009, followed by the country's biggest IPO, Petronas Chemicals Group Bhd.

Petronas Chemicals raised RM12.8 billion in 2010 and immediately made it to the country's top 10 list of companies by market value. The company is the petrochemicals unit of Petronas, Malaysia's multinational oil and gas corporation. Prior to Petronas Chemicals, Malaysia Marine and Heavy Engineering Holdings Bhd (MHB) was also listed in the same year. MHB, a rig and shipbuilder, is also ultimately owned by Petronas.

This was then followed by the listing of MSM Malaysia Holdings Bhd this year, the sugar refiner that belongs to Felda Global. "This listing (of Felda Global) will create yet another blue chip in the plantation sector and add to our niche offerings, attracting larger international portfolio funds to the Malaysian market," Bursa Malaysia chief executive officer Datuk Tajuddin Atan said in his response to the 2012 Budget announcement on Friday.

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