Puncak Niaga shares end steady following suit against Selangor govt, Khalid and Azmin

PETALING JAYA: Puncak Niaga Holdings Bhd’s share price hit a high of 68 sen before closing unchanged at 66.5 sen today, after it announced a multi-billion ringgit lawsuit against the Selangor state government and its past and current mentri besars for alleged abuses in connection with the sale of its water assets for RM1.56 billion in 2015.

Some 885,300 shares were traded, giving it a market capitalisation of RM299.66 million.

On Tuesday, Puncak Niaga told Bursa Malaysia it filed a suit against the Selangor state government, former mentri besar Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim and current mentri besar Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali for alleged abuse of their powers in public office/misfeasance by threatening to cause and/or requesting or attempting to cause the federal government to invoke use of the Water Services Industry Act 2006 to force a takeover of the state’s water industry.

The federal government, which brokered the deal, is conspicuously missing from the suit which is due to be heard on Nov 28.

The writs were served on Khalid’s solicitors on Nov 2 and on the Selangor state government on Nov 6. The writ on Azmin was served on Tuesday.

Puncak Niaga is claiming the difference between the value of PNSB Water Sdn Bhd (formerly known as Puncak Niaga (M) Sdn Bhd) and Syarikat Bekalan Air Selangor Sdn Bhd (Syabas) at the range of RM2.08 billion to RM2.35 billion and the actual purchase consideration of RM1.56 billion under the share purchase agreement dated Nov 11, 2014 between Puncak Niaga and Pengurusan Air Selangor Sdn Bhd.

It is also claiming for loss of business opportunities (local and foreign) totalling RM13.50 billion.

The Selangor state government and the federal government had in 2014 signed an agreement for the state government to take over four water concessionaires, namely Puncak Niaga, Syabas, Konsortium Abbas Sdn Bhd and Syarikat Pengeluar Air Sungai Selangor Sdn Bhd (Splash).

The state government has already taken over water assets of three companies except for Splash. The acquisition of Splash has been delayed thrice from Oct 7, 2016 to April 7, 2017 and later, to Oct 5, 2017. A new deadline has not been fixed.