Thursday June 20, 2013

Kulim to take another 20% stake in New Britain Palm Oil Ltd (Update)

It plans to acquire remaining shares in palm oil manufacturer

PETALING JAYA: Kulim (M) Bhd, which has a 50% stake in palm oil manufacturer New Britain Palm Oil Ltd (NBPOL), is planning to make an announcement today for a conditional partial offer to raise its stake by another 20%.

NBPOL is currently listed on the London Stock Exchange and the Port Moresby Stock Exchange of Papua New Guinea (PNG).

NBPOL was traded at £4.77 (RM23.80) with a market capitalisation of £716.5mil (RM3.6bil). At the current price, the cost of acquiring NBPOL could be substantially cheaper, given that its share price has fallen more than 42% from £8.30 (RM41.42) in August 2012.

According to sources, Kulim intends to buy back shares from the London Stock Exchange, taking NBPOL private.

There has been speculation that Kulim was looking to privatise NBPOL following the exercise by Johor Corp (JCorp) to take QSR Brands Bhd and KFC Holdings (M) Bhd private. The RM5bil acquisition of QSR and KFC by a consortium comprising JCorp, the Employees Provident Fund and CVC Capital Partners was part of a bigger restructuring by JCorp to streamline its businesses.

The exercises allows JCorp to directly access the cashflow of the two businesses compared with the previous convoluted structure.

Kulim has requested for a suspension in the trading of its securities from 9am until 12:30pm today, pending an announcement relating to a material corporate exercise.

NBPOL is an integrated industrial producer of sustainable palm oil in Australasia. According to its website, it has over 78,000ha of oil palm plantations, a further 10,000ha under preparation for oil palm, over 7,700ha of sugar cane and a further 9,200ha of grazing pasture; 12 oil mills; two refineries, one in PNG, and one in Liverpool, UK, as well as a seed production and plant breeding facility.

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