A Kadir Jasin
[Revised and Updated, Nov. 24]
I think Synergy Drive Sdn Bhd is a special purpose vehicle to be use to implement the merger. For the time being it's "owned" by CIMB or people linked to it.
Later, I think, say in a couple of months, it will “collapse” into one of the three companies -- Sime Darby, Golden Hope and Guthrie – to become the new mega listed entity.
That new entity, with some 600,000 hectares of land will possibly be one of the largest plantation companies in the world with operations in several countries.
Assets of these three companies can be repackaged to form a highly diversified mega conglomerate with activities in plantation, property, wholesale marketing and retailing, automotive, power generation, healthcare and pharmaceuticals.
Other PNB companies may also be involved in the merger as PNB had requested for trading of nine of them on Bursa Malaysia to be suspended.
I am confident that it is not likely for any individual or group to be able to “hijack” a corporate restructuring of this magnitude.
Still, it is good if all of us can keep an eye on it.[Original Posting]
THIS is my preliminary thoughts on the talks that Sime Darby, Golden Hope and Kumpulan Guthrie will be merged into a giant plantation-based conglomerate.
Whatever the Prime Minister cum Minister of Finance does with Sime Darby, Guthrie and Golden Hope, he must protect and guarantee the interest of the minority shareholders, who, in this case, include millions of Permodalan Nasional Berhad’ unitholders.
PNB is the controlling shareholders of the three companies. Thus this can be a golden opportunity for the Prime Minister to fulfill his pledge at the Umno Annual General Assembly in Kuala Lumpur last week to continue with the implementation of the NEP-type programmes.
While the merger proposal might have been promoted by PNB itself and ahead of Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi's appointment as Prime Minister, the final authority to approve or reject the merger lies with him.
But I personally take great comfort in the fact that the merger is being put together by the highly reputable and professional CIMB Group. I am sure everthing will be above board, transparent and fair.
Additionally, the Prime Minister could use this mega merger to protect and enhance the Bumiputera share of the corporate sector via the PNB.
He could use the mega merger to enhance the value of the three GLCs for the benefit of their shareholders.
He could use the mega merger to create possibly one of the largest plantation-based companies in the world so that it can truly enjoy the economies of scale and drives his agricultural revival programme.
He could use the mega merger to create more employment at the time when the number of unemployed graduates and school leavers, according to government statistics, is nearing 100,000. With the end of the 2006 school year, more school leavers will be joining the job market.
He could use the mega merger to “reward” the best corporate sector managers in the country by putting them at the helm.
Remember, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and his key advisers, including the late Tun Ismail Ali and Tan Sri Desa Pachi raided the London Stock Exchange in early 1980’s to gain control of Guthrie Corporation.
Let’s hope that this time around our current Prime Minister will do as well, if not better for the sake of the shareholders of the three companies, their 60,000-odd employers and unit holders of PNB unit trust funds.