PETALING JAYA: Maju Holdings Sdn Bhd has made a revised offer to the government to acquire PLUS Malaysia Bhd for RM34.9 billion, following Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s comments saying the government would be willing to sell the toll highway operator if the offer received was suitable.
In a media statement today, Maju Holdings said that as part of the acquisition proposal, it would offer a 25% to 36% reduction in toll charges.
“We are proposing to bear the toll reduction in full and are in no way seeking financial compensation from the government for this.
In addition, Maju Holdings said it will absorb the RM2.7 billion toll compensation owed by the government to PLUS.
“If Maju Holdings takes over PLUS, we are pleased to inform that we will no longer hold the government responsible for these debts,” it said.
The spokesperson added that with this latest offer, existing PLUS shareholders would benefit from an estimated total equity internal rate of return of about 16%.
“This represents a return that far surpasses the cost of equity for a majority of other toll road concessions, both globally as well as across Southeast Asia.
“As part of our proposal and as we have reiterated on multiple occasions, we are committed to investing approximately RM5.3 billion which will include lighting up the entire length of the highway along with other much needed enhancements.”
Maju Holdings, controlled by businessman Tan Sri Abu Sahid Mohamed, made its first offer of RM36 billion to take over PLUS in 2017.
However, at that time, the Finance Ministry said the government had no plans to release its interests in PLUS to Maju Holdings and was concerned with the financial standing and capability of a private entity like Maju Holdings to pay for the acquisition.
In July this year, Works Minister Baru Bian confirmed it received a fresh offer from Maju Holdings, but this was ultimately rejected after Khazanah Nasional Bhd and the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) objected to the sale.
However, last week, EPF CEO Tunku Alizakri Alias echoed Mahathir’s comments saying that if there was a sensible takeover offer which would benefit its members in terms of returns and dividends, the fund would definitely study and consider the offer.
In its statement yesterday, Maju Holdings said it was confident that its offer this time was a compelling one and one that would help alleviate the government’s debt situation.
“Our operational track record in managing toll roads speaks for itself. We have successfully operated the MEX highway in a highly cost-effective manner compared with PLUS toll roads that should benefit from economies of scale.
“In fact, we have one of the lowest costs per kilometre in the country. As such, we are confident we will be able to reduce maintenance costs for PLUS.”