Felda Global on track for April listing

This is written by my colleague, Goh Thean Eu.

NILAI, Negeri Sembilan: Felda Global Ventures Holdings Sdn Bhd is on track to make its debut on Bursa Malaysia by early second quarter of next year, its president Datuk Sabri Ahmad said. 

“We are on track. We have the bankers looking into it already. Hopefully, we can list it in April next year,” Sabri told a press conference at Felda Biotech Centre at Bandar Enstek, here, yesterday.

The company has appointed CIMB, Maybank, Morgan Stanley, JP Morgan and Deutsche Bank to arrange the mega listing.

While the actual size of the initial public offering (IPO) has yet to be announced, it is expected to be worth billions of ringgit, making Felda Global one of the country’s 25 most valuable companies.

The proposed listing has its fair share of compliments and criticism. Some welcomed it, saying it would enhance the attractiveness of the country’s capital market, attract foreign investors as well as provide an avenue for settlers to make additional income.

The sceptics contented that the settlers would risk losing their lands upon listing.

Sabri said the Felda group manages a vast 850,000-ha plantation landbank but the listing will only affect 350,000ha, which are owned by Felda. “The settlers, more than 110,000 of them, would not lose their land. The land will still be theirs,” Sabri added.

Six months ago, Felda embarked on an exercise to monetise its assets and listed sugar unit MSM Malaysia Holdings Bhd. It raised slightly over RM800 million from the MSM share sale, which saw the sugar company valued at about RM2.4 billion. Koperasi Permodalan Felda (KPF), which is owned by all Felda settlers, made a paper gain of RM300 million from the MSM IPO, from its 20 per cent stake.

Earlier, Sabri announced that Felda Agricultural Services Sdn Bhd had successfully created the world’s first marker for identifying oil palm susceptible to Ganoderma disease.

Ganoderma disease, commonly known as Basal Stem Rot disease, affects oil palm yields. Every year, between 30 and 70 per cent of oil palm yields is lost due to Ganoderma, with major implications to planters' income.

Sabri said the marker technology would take about another three to four years before it can be commercialised. It would be used to detect seed production trees that are prone to the disease. These trees are shifted out and then, eliminated.

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