PETALING JAYA: Integrated facility management and construction conglomerate Widad Business Group (WBG) has offered to buy the PLUS Expressways Bhd concessionaires for RM3 billion.
In a statement, WBG said its proposal offered two options - the first being a 51% takeover of the concessionaires owned by Khazanah Nasional Bhd for RM1.5 billion cash, where the remaining 49% will be public shareholding owned by the Employees Provident Fund (EPF).
The second option would be a full takeover of the concessionaires owned by Khazanah and EPF for RM3 billion in cash.
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.
WBG executive chairman Tan Sri Muhammad Ikmal Opat Abdullah said that in the event that WBG successfully takes over the concessionaires, the group would 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 December 31, 2018,” he said in the statement.
He added that WBG would 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 five years after the takeover.
The takeover proposal was submitted to the Prime Minister, the Works Ministry and the Economic Affairs Ministry on October 9.
The acquisition will be funded by WBG’s global strategic partner/investor, coupled with its internal funds and fundraising plan via sukuk medium-term notes and equity issuance.
The highways that are involved in the concessionaires of PLUS Expressways are: PLUS Highway (PLUS), Second Link Expressway (LINKEDUA), Penang Bridge, North South Expressway Central Link (ELITE), Butterworth Kulim Expressway (KLBK), and the Seremban-Port Dickson Highway (SPDH).