KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 22 — FELDA has decided to form a special purpose vehicle (SPV) to take the majority stake in FELDA Global Ventures Holdings Bhd after eight settlers blocked the FELDA Investment Cooperative (KPF) from injecting its assets into the company for its contentious initial public offering (IPO).
FELDA chairman Tan Sri Isa Samad said today the SPV will take care of the interest of some 112,000 settlers, blaming the opposition for misleading the settlers into blocking KPF’s sale of 51 per cent in the Federal Land Development Authority’s (FELDA) commercial arm FELDA Holdings Bhd to FGVH.
“Because of the action by these eight people, KPF members cannot take part in the proposed listing of the one of the biggest palm oil producers in the world,” Isa said in a statement issued this evening.
“Although the action by this group of FELDA settlers has no impact on the FGVH listing, we are disappointed at the decision influenced by the opposition that has blocked an opportunity for a majority of FELDA employees to be involved in FGVH’s growth,” he added.
Last week, a group of settlers won today a temporary court order blocking the transfer of shares from their co-operative to FGVH, a crucial step in Putrajaya’s plans to list the plantation firm.
Critics say the move short-changes more than 200,000 smallholders and saddles FELDA with an annual deficit of RM1.5 billion.
The Kuantan High Court gave eight settlers an interim injunction barring from handing over its shares in FELDA Holdings to FGVH, or for any discussion to be held on behalf of KPF on the matter.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak had recently said the listing of FGVH, announced in Budget 2012, is expected to take place in April, instead of the middle of the year as was earlier planned. It was later said the listing date has been scheduled for May 10 but Isa has denied it, saying it was up to the regulators.
The statement issued on behalf of FELDA also said, “These materials are not an offer for sale of the securities of FGVH in the United States”, although plans thus far have been about a listing in Bursa Malaysia.
“The securities may not be offered or sold in the United States absent registration or an exemption from registration under the US Securities Act of 1933, as amended. FGVH does not intend to register any portion of the offering in the United States or to conduct a public offering of its securities in the United States,” the statement said.
In the statement, FELDA also pointed out that FGVH is 100 per cent owned by the government, saying the decision to list the company “lies wholly with the FELDA Board and the Minister in charge of FELDA.
“If required, the proposed IPO will proceed without KPF’s direct involvement,” said the statement.
The statement went on to say Isa “reiterated that absolutely none of the FELDA settlers’ land will be touched for the proposed listing.
“In addition, their holdings in KPF will remain as it is. The FELDA settlers will now be able to enjoy any returns or windfall from the proposed listing directly through a special purpose vehicle,” it noted, saying the SPV will ensure that FELDA settlers benefit directly from the proposed listing and participate fully in all future profits.
KPF has approximately 220,000 members, of which 112,635 are FELDA settlers. The rest are FELDA employees and children of settlers, according to the authority.
“The proposed listing would have brought tremendous short- and long-term benefits to KPF and its members, but we respect their choice,” Isa added.
FELDA has interest in 80 active companies undertaking a range of diverse activities in the agri-business sector, mainly multi-crop plantations, oils & fats, oleo chemicals, and logistics & services with operations in the US, Canada, China, the Middle East, South Africa, Turkey and Pakistan, amongst other countries.
“The FGVH IPO is going through the usual regulatory process and nothing has been finalised at this point.
“I urge all parties not to make any statements or speculations on the outcomes. I am sure the FGVH management will provide the necessary information as and when approvals are obtained from the authorities concerned,” said Isa.
Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Ahmad Maslan had earlier said KPF would be the single largest shareholder of FGVH with a 37 per cent stake.
“We have finalised the shareholders. Companies like Permodalan Nasional Bhd, the Employees Provident Fund and Amanah Saham Nasional Bhd will have stakes in the company after listing,” he said last week, adding a new investment holding company, Felda Asset Holdings Co, had been formed to control and manage KPF’s 37 per cent stake in FGVH.
“Felda Asset Holdings Co will have representatives from the Prime Minister’s Department, Finance Ministry, Felda, Felda Global Ventures and KPF. These representatives will be appointed by Datuk Seri Najib Razak,” he said in a report carried by Bernama Online.
FGVH is now a holding company that has signed a long-term land lease agreement with Putrajaya for 350,000ha of federal government-owned plantation land. It also owns additional land, holds other forms of business such as downstream subsidiaries and associates, as well as a controlling stake in the public-listed MSM Sugar and a 49 per cent stake in FHB.
The main businesses of FHB are oil-palm milling operations, and various palm oil related logistics and downstream businesses, as well as non-palm related businesses such as rubber, cocoa, information technology and security services.