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Friday June 7, 2013

Halim Saad files suit against those who allegedly forced him to sell his shares

By B K SIDHU
bksidhu@thestar.com.my


Halim alleges the parties have the intention to deceive him. Halim alleges the parties have the intention to deceive him.

PETALING JAYA: Tan Sri Halim Saad, the former majority owner and executive chairman of Renong Bhd, has returned after 12 years, with a legal suit against those he claims had forced him to sell his shares in the company.

He alleges that he was told not to exercise the “put option” but sell his shares to Khazanah Nasional Bhd instead.

Halim filed a suit at the Kuala Lumpur High Court in April, claiming that he had not been paid the agreed RM1.3bil and given the tracts of land that were agreed in a deal entered into in 2001.

According to documents obtained by StarBiz, the statement of claim names him as the plantiff in the suit and Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop, the Government of Malaysia and Khazanah as the three defendants.

Nor Mohamed was the-then Special Economic Adviser to the Government while Khazanah now controls the UEM Group, which was then part of Renong.

Halim has alleged that despite the agreement signed in 2001 and/or the 2003 agreement, the parties had entered into the agreement with “an intent to deceive him or induce him to enter into both agreements”.

If Halim can convince the court of his allegations of wrongdoing committed by those who had forced him to sell the shares, this would turn out to be the biggest corporate battle the country has ever seen.

Halim claims to have only received RM165mil and not RM1.3bil. Of the RM165mil, RM100mil was the first instalment for the put option that was refunded to him, while the remaining RM65mil was for interest and costs.

To recap, Renong held a substantial stake in UEM, and in 1997, UEM announced that it had bought a 32.6% block of shares in Renong. However, this did not go down well with the investing public.

To appease the market, Halim had, in 1998, offered to buy the Renong shares from UEM by way of a “put option”.

The option price for the “put” was RM3.2bil, which he was to pay in four instalments three in RM100mil instalments and the balance with interest on Feb 14, 2001, when the option was due.

Halim was reported to have paid the first RM100mil but could not pay up the second when it was due, which was when Khazanah took over.

The sovereign wealth fund took UEM private in 2001 and later cancelled the option.

Halim resigned from the Renong/UEM group in October 2001.

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