Felda Global: Investments profitable

KUALA LUMPUR: BURSA-bound Felda Global Venture Holdings Bhd (FGVH) has been profitable in its overseas investments since 2009, Felda Group chairman Tan Sri Isa Samad stressed. He denied claims that the company had been bleeding losses.

On Monday, PAS’ Kubang Kerian member of Parliament Salahuddin Ayub claimed that he had documents detailing FGVH’s overseas losses.

Asked to comment, Isa described the document leakage as an opposition ploy to erode Felda settlers’ confidence in taking FGVH public.

“We don’t know the leaked contents ... are they really the minutes of meetings? So we make the assumption that there has been a leak. We’ll make a police report tomorrow. Let the police investigate,” he said.

The chairman then gave assurance that FGVH is a profitable entity. “If it is not, we wouldn’t have the confidence to go for listing,” Isa said at a press conference here yesterday.

Citing figures by external auditor PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), he said FGVH posted RM203 million pre-tax profits in 2009. The following year, the figure jumped 80 per cent to RM366 million.

Merchant bankers handling FGVH’s initial public offering (IPO) are CIMB, Maybank, Morgan Stanley, JPMorgan and Deutsche Bank. 

“These bankers know what they are doing. They all have wide experience in managing IPOs. They will ensure the best returns for Felda settlers,” Isa said.

Meanwhile, FGVH group president Datuk Sabri Ahmad said FGVH had never intended to be secretive in the listing details as it had to abide by the Securities Commission rulings.

When asked on FGVH’s 2011 performance, Sabri said: “Based on higher palm oil prices, it should be better than that of 2010”.

Last month, eight Felda settlers won a temporary court order blocking the transfer of shares from Felda Investment Cooperative or Koperasi Permodalan Felda (KPF) to FGVH, a rucial step in the government’s plan to list the plantation firm. The injunction had since lapsed.

KPF has about 220,000 members, of which 112,635 are settlers. The rest are Felda employees and children of settlers. The decision to list FGVH is the prerogative of the Felda board and the minister in charge of Felda.

To capitalise on current high palm oil prices, Sabri said, the Felda board will continue to push for the listing by June. Since the court blocked the transfer of shares, Felda’s board is arranging that the IPO proceeds be channelled into a special purpose vehicle. 

Isa reassured Felda settlers that they will continue to retain full ownership of their land and benefit directly from any potential revenues realised from the listing exercise.

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