Malaysia’s Felda may sell share holdings, London hotels

A man walks past a welcome signboard outside the Federal Land Development Authority (FELDA) Sungai Tengi Selatan palm oil plantation in Hulu Selangor, about 100 km (62 miles) north of Kuala Lumpur February 22, 2012. REUTERS/Samsul Said/Files

Malaysia’s Federal Land Development Authority (Felda), operator of some of the world’s biggest palm oil plantations, may sell shares in publicly listed firms and some hotels in London in a review of investments to raise funds, its chairman said.

“We are looking at various assets we own,” Shahrir Abdul Samad told reporters on Tuesday. “You will see disposals, particularly overseas assets.”

“We have been mandated to sell some of the shares in our investment portfolio… to raise a certain amount of money. We have to sustain socioeconomic activities for our settlers,” Shahrir said, referring to small landowners.

He did not say how much state-owned Felda was looking to raise.

Shahrir – who took over as Felda chairman this month – said the funds raised from possible asset sales will be used for settlers’ activities.

Felda trimmed its stake in Malaysia’s biggest lender by assets, Malayan Banking Berhad (Maybank) on Monday, raising about 280 million ringgit ($62.71 million), Shahrir said.

It also owns shares in plantation firms Felda Global Ventures Berhad, Kuala Lumpur Kepong and Sime Darby, among others.

Through its investment arm, Felda Investment Corp, it has also acquired and invested in properties abroad, including the Grand Plaza Kensington Hotel in London.

Earlier this month, a local daily reported that Felda was considering privatising Felda Global Ventures, which later said it was not aware of any such plans.

Felda drew widespread criticism with its December announcement that it would buy a 37 percent stake in Indonesian palm oil firm PT Eagle High Plantations Tbk for $505.4 million, which critics saw as overpriced.

Eagle High is owned by one of Indonesia’s richest men, Peter Sondakh, who has done a number of deals in Malaysia and is a longtime friend of Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak.

An opposition lawmaker has claimed Felda‘s debts are growing and that it doesn’t have enough funds to pay small landowners, or Felda settlers as they are known.

The government will finance Felda‘s Eagle High stake purchase, Shahrir said on Tuesday, but he did not give any details.

Also read:

Felda secures Malaysian govt financing for Eagle High stake purchase

Malaysia: Felda defends PT Eagle High deal amid concerns over overpricing

Reuters

Singapore Reporter/s

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).

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

  • 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. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

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).

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

  • 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. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.