Widad Business Group (“WBG” or the “Group”), an integrated facility management and construction conglomerate, has offered to buy the PLUS Expressways Berhad concessionaires by taking over 51% of Khazanah Nasional Berhad’s shares for RM1.5 billion in cash consideration, or 100% of Khazanah Nasional Berhad and Employees’ Provident Fund’s (“EPF”) shares for RM3 billion in cash consideration.
The takeover proposal has been submitted to the Prime Minister of Malaysia, Ministry of Works, and Ministry of Economic Affairs on 9 October 2019. The highways that are involved in the concessionaires of PLUS Expressways Berhad are as follows:
- PLUS Highway (PLUS)
- Second Link Expressway (LINKEDUA)
- Penang Bridge
- North South Expressway Central Link (ELITE)
- Butterworth Kulim Expressway (KLBK)
- Seremban-Port Dickson Highway (SPDH)
According to WBG, the Group offered two options in their offer – the first being a 51% takeover of Khazanah Nasional Berhad’s shares for RM1.5 billion in cash consideration, where the remaining 49% will be public shareholding owned by EPF; and the second being a full takeover of Khazanah Nasional Berhad and EPF’s shares for RM3 billion in cash consideration.
Both offers include the waiver of toll compensation worth RM 2.7 billion incurred by the Government for the abolishment of tolls in Plaza Batu Tiga and Bukit Kayu Hitam.
The above options also take into account the extension of the highway concessionaires for another 20 years after the conclusion of the concession period. The Group has identified its global strategic partner/investor to fund the proposed acquisition, coupled with the Group's internal funds and its fundraising plan via sukuk MTN and equity issuance. The highway will be run on an entrepreneur basis to optimise efficiency while preserving road safety and quality for the public at large.
WBG Group Executive Chairman Tan Sri Muhammad Ikmal Opat Abdullah said: “In the event that Widad Business Group successfully takes over the concessionaires, the Group will reduce the current toll charges by 25% to 40%. This is in line with the Government’s manifesto to reduce the burden of the rakyat, which we fully support. We also intend to help the Government by waiving the outstanding compensation of the Government to PLUS worth RM338.5 million as of 31st December 2018.”
“The Group has also proposed to give a 50% discount for toll fares during festive seasons such as Hari Raya, Chinese New Year and Deepavali for as long as the Group deems reasonable. We will also work to refurbish the involved highway rest stops and implement new artificial intelligence technology to improve highway and traffic management with the additional promise of not making any retrenchment of staff for at least 5 years after the takeover,” he added.
Tan Sri Muhammad Ikmal Opat Abdullah is the Founder and Group Leader of Widad Business Group, a corporate holding which provides job vacancies to more than 1,500 people throughout Malaysia. WBG was incorporated in 2002, to fulfil the growing needs for calibre Bumiputera contractor to serve the country’s rapid economic growth and development. The Group has since grown and diversified its activities in integrated facility management, construction, operations and maintenance, mechanical and electrical services, building automation system, energy management, property development, education, media & ICT services, hospitality, aquaculture and oil & gas.