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Wednesday June 23, 2010

Khazanah still mum on sale of Pos Malaysia stake

By FINTAN NG
fintan@thestar.com.my


PETALING JAYA: Although news has surfaced that 11 parties are interested in bidding for Khazanah Nasional Bhd’s 32.2% stake in Pos Malaysia Bhd and that local bidders may team up with foreign ones, no further word has been forthcoming on how this plan is coming along.

It is believed that Khazanah has also not issued the “request for proposal” document, which would kickstart the tender process.

Analysts who cover the stock are still in the dark over the plans for the divestment with one saying that no official statement has come from Khazanah.

However, they believe that the stake divestment, apart from being part of the business transformation plan, would be a catalyst for other changes in Pos Malaysia.

In early April, Khazanah managing director Tan Sri Azman Mokhtar said the stake would be divested via a two-stage process as part of the Government-linked companies’ transformation plan.

He said the first stage, which begins immediately, addressed aspects like regulatory structure, usage of Government-controlled land and the low income of Pos Malaysia staff.

Effective July 1, there would be a 75% to 100% increase in postage tariff rates as well as an increase of between 11% and 19% in salaries and allowances for most of Pos Malaysia’s staff.

Among the company’s assets are land in KL Sentral worth RM200mil and 692 postal offices nationwide which could be used to grow revenue.

Azman said in stage two, Khazanah would draw up a bidding and evaluation process to select a new shareholder for Pos Malaysia.

He added that Khazanah hoped to complete the deal by year-end and would welcome foreign postal service firms as shareholders if they were part of a Malaysian-led group.

An analyst with a bank-backed research house told StarBiz any plans for the KL Sentral land was way down the road. “The company will have to discuss with the Federal Government, which owns the land, over the usage,” she said.

An analyst with an independent brokerage said there was likelihood that new foreign shareholders would only come in after the business transformation plan was completed.

“Pos Malaysia is partway through the transformation, there’s another 1½ years to go. I believe once the transformation is complete, they’ll be ready to come in,” he added.

He said having new shareholders would be good for Pos Malaysia as they would strengthen the balance sheet and improve the company’s image.

Meanwhile, another analyst with a local investment bank said the stake divestment could be the start of other changes in the company as the tariff increase, while positive in the short-term for revenue, would not be enough.


POS : [Stock Watch] [News]

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