PPB Group rules out plan to acquire FGV’s sugar unit MSM Malaysia

Malaysia’s listed PPB Group Bhd said it has no intention to acquire a controlling stake in MSM Malaysia Holdings, a sugar refinery subsidiary of FGV Holdings, Managing Director Lim Soon Huat said.

The company controlled by Kuok family said it is not discussing with FGV on the potential divestment plan, as reported by The Edge.

MSM, which holds 60% of the domestic sugar market, was once part of PPB before FGV Holdings took over the firm for 1.22 billion Ringgit in 2009. Following the acquisition, FGV conducted an IPO for MSM in June 2011, which marked the exit of Robert Kuok, earlier known as Malaysia’s Sugar King, from the sugar refining business.

In July, FGV was reported to be looking to divest part of its 51% ownership in MSM as it explored strategic alliances in the sugar industry.

There were around four companies rumoured to be interested in the MSM stake including JAG Capital Holdings, an investment holding company linked to the family of former finance minister Datuk Seri Johari Abdul Ghani. Another interested party was Wilmar International, associated with PPB.

Wilmar is proposing a listing of Yihai Kerry Arawana Holdings in China, Lim said. PPB shareholders may get see a payout if the group receives special dividends from Wilmar post-listing.

PPB Group noted a 17.3% decrease of year-on-year net profit to 408.42 million Ringgit in 1H of 2019. The company’s largest profit contributor is Wilmar International, which is expected to perform better this year.

The group is pressing on with its planned 794 million Ringgit of capital expenditure for the next three to four years. Most of the budget will be spent on PPB’s grains and agribusiness as well as its film exhibition and distribution business segments.

PPB Group plans to open one cinema in Johor Bahru Malaysia by 4Q-19, as well as two cinemas in Mekong and Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam, under its partnership with Galaxy Studio.