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Khazanah ‘not in mood’ to sell PLUS; Widad Group offer revised to RM5.3 billion, 25%-40% toll reduction

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Government sovereign wealth fund Khazanah Nasional is ‘not in the mood’ to sell PLUS Malaysia, the country’s largest tolled highway operator, said PLUS managing director Datuk Shahril Ridza Ridzuan according to Bernama, adding that Khazanah retains its stand of not disposing its stake in PLUS.

“We are not in the mood of selling the asset and we actually haven’t got any kind of bidding process going on,” Shahril Ridza said, noting that he is on the same note as prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad who felt that all offers so far were unattractive.

Widad Business Group revised its offer for PLUS with a new proposal to acquire 100% equity interest the company for RM5.3 billion, including a compensation waiver of RM3.04 billion and debt assumption of RM30 billion to bring the total enterprise value of the offer to RM38.34 billion, making this the highest offer from the private sector thus far, The Star reports.

Widad had proposed two mechanisms for toll rates in its revised offer, which comprises of either a 25% or 40% toll reduction via direct toll discounts, or an 18% toll reduction with the balance 7% to 22% to be channelled to the government for welfare or targeted groups.

The revised offer also includes the waiver of the RM11 billion sukuk guarantee by the government and a new option for the government to buy back PLUS after 10 years based on market valuation, Widad was reported by the daily as saying.

The latest development in the interest in PLUS follows the works ministry’s confirmation that the government has received four offers for the takeover of PLUS, having revealed that the bidders are Widad Group, Maju Holdings, RRJ Capital and Tan Sri Halim Saad’s vehicle Karongsa Private Capital.

“After some deliberation, we have come up with an upgraded offer that better reflects the bright prospects of this company, and a takeover plan that can help further reduce the financial burden of the Government as well as provide much needed savings and convenience to the rakyat when using our roads,” said Widad group executive chairman Tan Sri Muhammad Ikmal Opat Abdullah.

Widad also added that it would be implementing artificial intelligence technology for vehicle recognition and smart traffic planning, equipping first responders with new fundamental skills and equipment as well as upgrading facilities, the report said.

“Development of family friendly centres, shopping outlets, business centres and entertainment hubs along inter-city stopovers will be carried out to improve the current ecosystem of the expressways. To further develop value chain participants, WBG will introduce trickle-down economics to benefit larger participation of local contractors, suppliers and service providers,” Widad said.

Khazanah ‘not in mood’ to sell PLUS; Widad Group offer revised to RM5.3 billion, 25%-40% toll reduction

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