Malaysia’s Felda Global appoints new CEO after controversial deal collpases

Visual from Felda Portal

Malaysia’s Felda Global Ventures Holdings Bhd, the world’s third-largest palm plantation operator, said it was replacing its CEO – a surprise move that comes after a failed controversial deal last year for it to buy into Indonesia’s Rajawali Group.

Current Chief Executive Mohd Emir Mavani Abdullah, who has been in the job for three years, will be succeeded in April by the head of its downstream operations, Zakaria Arshad, a Felda Group veteran of 32 years, the company said in a statement.

It did not give a reason for the change.

Last year plans for Felda Global to buy 37 percent of palm oil plantation firm PT Eagle High Plantations Tbk collapsed after politicians and investors blasted a $680 million deal as an expensive favour for Indonesian tycoon Peter Sondakh, who controls the debt-burdened Rajawali Group, including Eagle High.

Sondakh has long-standing ties with Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak. Both Najib and Sondakh have said that the deal was commercially driven.

Seeking to avoid further investor criticism, the wider Felda Group, a state-owned conglomerate, is now re-attempting to close the deal using an unlisted unit and is also seeking to cut the price by as much as 30 percent, sources familiar with the matter told Reuters last month.

Felda Global shares were up 1.4 percent after the announcement. The stock has fallen over 14 percent this year, hurt by the global downturn in commodity prices.

Zakaria is also the vice chairman of the Palm Oil Refiners Association Of Malaysia and sits on the Malaysian Palm Oil Council board of trustees.

Also read:

Malaysia’s Felda to re-attempt deal for Indonesia’s debt-burdened Rajawali Group

Malaysia: Felda Global Ventures offered 15% discount on Eagle High deal, could have FIC take up a portion of stake

Malaysia: Felda Group proceeds with Eagle High stake acquisition in a revised deal

Reuters

 

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In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

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  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
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