FGV: One more month to resolve issues, domestic inquiry to start next Monday,

KUALA LUMPUR: Felda Global Ventures Holdings Bhd (FGV), whose share price has been on a steady decline since end June, will need at least another month to resolve the issues related to the alleged breach of procedures at its subsidiary Delima Oil Products Sdn Bhd.

Acting chairman Tan Sri Sulaiman Mahbob said the domestic inquiry (DI), which is an internal exercise, will begin next Monday, and FGV aims to complete the process by Aug 14.

Speaking to reporters at a press conference yesterday at FGV’s Hari Raya Open House, Sulaiman said an independent panel will review the answers submitted by group president and CEO Datuk Zakaria Arshad and group CFO Ahmad Tifli Mohd Talha in response to their show-cause letters.

“The panel will see if their answers have basis or not and decide whether they are guilty (of the alleged breaches) or not. If found guilty, the panel will decide on the punishment,” he said.

Sulaiman said the DI will involve Zakaria, Ahmad Tifli, FGV Trading CEO Ahmad Salman Omar and Delima Oil Products senior general manager Kamarzaman Abd Karim. All four have been placed on leave of absence since June 6.

Sulaiman said there is no conspiracy in this case and the independent panel will work on facts and figures. He said Zakaria could return to work if the panel finds him innocent.

“They will be able to defend themselves and will be given the chance to present any evidence … we will ensure that there is enough time for them to respond and for the panel to deliberate and conclude,” he said.

FGV is expected to confirm the appointment of three members to the panel during its board meeting this Thursday. Sulaiman gave his assurance that the panel will remain independent to ensure a fair DI.

Last week, FGV appointed three representatives from its largest shareholder, Federal Land Development Authority (Felda), to its board of directors. Sulaiman said the appointments will make FGV’s board stronger.

Ab Ghani Mohd Ali and Datuk Abu Bakar Harun were appointed non-independent non-executive directors while Datuk Muzzammil Mohd Nor is the alternate director.

On FGV’s operations, Sulaiman said the group is facing a shortage of labour, resulting in estimated revenue loss of RM2 million per day, which could eat into its cash flow and reach up to RM1 billion in losses.

He said the group will take immediate action to address the shortage of up to 8,000 workers and is looking to source foreign workers from Bangladesh. It will also intensify replanting efforts in order to have a stronger base for profitability.

FGV’s share price slid further yesterday, closing 3.07% lower at RM1.58 with a total of 16.5 million shares traded, giving it a market capitalisation of RM5.7 billion.