Malaysia’s Sime Darby mulling sale of stake in $1.7b Papua New Guinea arm

Photo: Sime Darby Plantation website

Sime Darby Plantation Bhd., Malaysia’s biggest listed palm oil producer, is exploring a sale of a minority stake in its Papua New Guinea unit, people familiar with the matter said.

Sime Darby Plantation has asked potential advisers for proposals on options for its New Britain Palm Oil Ltd. subsidiary, according to the people. The Malaysian firm, based on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur, is considering selling 25 percent to 49 percent of the business, the people said, asking not to be identified because the information is private. Sime Darby Plantation has spoken with some prospective buyers to gauge their interest in the stake, one of the people said.

In any deal, Sime Darby Plantation would seek a valuation for New Britain Palm Oil of at least  $1.7 billion, the amount it paid when it acquired the company in 2015, the people said. Any deal would add to the $5.6 billion of announced acquisitions of agriculture-related companies in Asia over the last 12 months, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

Deliberations are at an early stage, and details of any potential transaction could change, according to the people. Sime Darby Plantation could also consider other options for New Britain Palm Oil such as a relisting of the business, the people said. A representative for Sime Darby Plantation said the company’s priority is to create more value for shareholders from its existing asset portfolio, declining to comment further.

Sime Darby Plantation operates and manages 248 plantation estates and 72 palm oil mills in Malaysia, Indonesia, PNG, the Solomon Islands and Liberia, its website shows. The company was spun out  from Sime Darby Bhd. last year.

New Britain Palm Oil owns 12 oil mills and two refineries, one in PNG and one in Liverpool, U.K., as well as a seed production and plant breeding facility.

Bloomberg

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.