While Perkasa and company are making a lot of noise about communal issues, a few familiar faces in the corporate sector during the Mahathir era have been quietly making their presence felt.
Vincent Tan’s Berjaya Land Bhd entered into a conditional S&P Agreement to buy 57 acres of prime Penang Turf Club land at RM184 per sq ft in a green lung area for a property development project. (The last time someone tried to take over the Turf Club land was in 2007, when the well-connected Patrick “Badawi” Lim tried to build his PGCC project.)
Meanwhile, Malaysia Airlines and TM confirmed that they had received a letter from the government regarding an out-of-court settlement of legal suits involving former MAS chairman Tajudin Ramli, a protege of Daim, under the Mahathir administration.
The Star reports:
MAS said that it was involved in three suits against Tajudin which include claim for damages for breach of fiduciary duties and other breaches, claim for breach of fiduciary duties and conspiracy to defraud MAS in the Hahn Airport case, among others, for losses of RM174.6mil and indemnity of 6.9 million euros and claim (by MAS Hotels & Boutiques Sdn Bhd) for specific performance to transfer the titles of certain lands pursuant to sale and purchase agreement.
Nazri had sent a letter to the GLCs informing them that the Government and the Finance Ministry had agreed to settle all civil claims against Tajudin. That raises the question: why didn’t the letter come from the Finance Minister?
The Edge, 15 August, expressed concern: “A settlement would in effect prevent the truth of who was actually responsible for the losses incurred from being revealed. In fact, in his affidavit, Tajudin had claimed that he was acting on instructions from the then government.”
Then there is the MAS-Air Asia alliance. Among the new directors at MAS, reported The Edge, is Wan Azmi Wan Hamzah, said to be close to Daim. “Wan Azmi is still active on the local corporate scene but has kept a low profile since 1998. This is his first major appointment to a GLC.”
Finally, you have San Miguel, the largest beer producer in the Philippines, taking over ExxonMobil International Holdings Inc’s 65 per cent stake in Esso Malaysia under an agreement dated 17 August. San Miguel Corporation will now be required to extend a mandatory take-over offer to the remaining shareholders of Esso Malaysia.
The WSJ reported that the offer price of RM3.50 per share represents a 29.3 per cent discount to Esso Malaysia’s closing price. The stock had surged 14.1 per cent to close at RM4.95 ringgit following news of the acquisition. Some questions have been raised about this and other related aspects of the deal at the Malaysian Finance blog.
According to the San Miguel website, the companies acquired are Esso Malaysia Bhd (EMB), a publicly traded company of which Exxon Mobil owns a 65% stake; and wholly-owned ExxonMobil Malaysia Sdn Bhd (EMMSB), and Exxon Mobil Borneo Sdn Bhd (EMBSB). The three subsidiaries form an integrated business engaged in the refining, distribution and marketing of petroleum products. Physical assets include the Port Dickson refinery with a rated capacity of 88,000 barrels per day; seven fuel distribution terminals; and a network of roughly 560 branded service stations, 420 of which are company-owned. The transaction is valued at US$610 million.
San Miguel plans to upgrade the Port Dickson refinery to make use of a wider variety of crudes and churn out value-added products.
Last December, San Miguel exercised a share option allowing it to gain majority control of Petron Corporation. Petron is the largest integrated oil refining and marketing company in the Philippines with a crude distillation capacity of 180000 barrels per day. It also has a network of over 1700 service stations in the Philippines. It is now upgrading its refinery to allow it to convert fuel oil to higher-value petrol, diesel and petrochemicals.
The San Miguel website added:
“Exxon Mobil’s Malaysian downstream business is attractive to San Miguel given that there is plenty of room to move up the value chain by upgrading refinery capabilities,” said SMC President and Chief Operating Officer Ramon S. Ang. “Our plan would be to upgrade the Port Dickson refinery so that it can make use of a wider variety of crudes, and produce higher-value products.” Ang added.
Mirzan Mahathir is listed as a director of Petron Corporation in its 2010 Annual Report.
The others in the family involved in the oil and gas sector are Mokhzani Mahathir, who has a 38 per cent stake in Kencana Petroleum Bhd (according to the firm’s 2010 Annual Report), and Mahathir himself, advisor to Petronas.