Tan Sri Abu Sahid, or popularly referred as Abu Juling among Muarians, attracted quite the attention for his intention to take over PLUS's highways for RM30 billion.
He claimed to have the "blessing of the highest level in the country" but Works Minister, Dato Fadillah Yusoff denied (read Malaysia Reserve here).
Abu himself admitted he is still trying to get hold off Khazanah Nasional managing director, Tan Sri Azman Mokhtar.
Is he for real?
Known to be a close crony of Tun Dr Mahathir, who did he meant as "the highest level in the country" that gave him the blessing?
FMT reported below:
Tycoon Abu Sahid wants to buy PLUS
FMT Reporters | Aug 1, 17 12:14pm
KUALA LUMPUR: Corporate tycoon Abu Sahid Mohamad wants to take over highway operator PLUS Malaysia Bhd. The group executive chairman of Maju Holdings Sdn Bhd wants to buy up both the 51% share held by UEM Group Bhd and the 49% held by the EPF.
The acquisition could cost RM30 billion or more. He intends to do this via his flagship Maju Holdings Sdn Bhd, according to a report in The Edge. UEM is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Khazanah Nasional Bhd.
The Edge reported that Abu Sahid was trying to meet Khazanah managing director Azman Mokhtar over the possible acquisition.
Abu Sahid, who was once chairman of Perwaja, told The Edge: “Yes, I want to buy all of PLUS [Malaysia] … the EPF’s 49% as well.”
However, he declined to reveal details, as he has yet to commence talks. If his plan works out, it could lead to the largest corporate exercise in Malaysia to date, according to The Edge.
Abu Sahid was quoted by The Edge as saying: “I’m very, very confident of pulling it off. I have everything ready – I have the money, I have the blessing from the highest levels in the country, I have the advisers and bankers all ready, and I have the formula to do it.”
UEM declined to comment to an email query by The Edge, saying only that it had a policy not to comment on reports that were speculative in nature.
The UEM Group and the EPF took over the assets and liabilities of PLUS Expressways in 2011 in a RM23 billion deal. PLUS Malaysia has five concessions:
All of PLUS’s concessions end in December 2038.
- Projek Lebuhraya Utara-Selatan Bhd, with an 846km concession that includes the North-South Expressway, New Klang Valley Expressway, Federal Highway Route 2 and Seremban-Port Dickson Highway;
- Expressway Lingkaran Tengah Sdn Bhd, with a 63km concession that includes the North-South Expressway Central Link;
- Linkedua (M) Bhd, with the 47km Malaysia-Singapore Second Crossing;
- Konsortium Lebuhraya Butterworth-Kulim Sdn Bhd, with the 17km Butterworth-Kulim Expressway; and
- Penang Bridge Sdn Bhd with the 13.5km Penang Bridge.
Abu Sahid also confirmed there were negotiations to sell Maju Expressway but nothing had been finalised as he would not sell for anything less than RM3 billion.
He was asked to comment on market talk of the UEM Group considering to buy Maju Expressway Sdn Bhd, which operates the Maju Expressway (MEX) that links Kuala Lumpur city centre with the Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang. A 16.8km extension to KLIA will further increase the value of MEX. The extension, known as MEX 2, is slated to cost RM1.7 billion to construct – with the engineering, procurement and construction sum of RM1.29 billion fixed under the contract.
Maju Expressway registered an after-tax profit of RM7.62 million on the back of RM105.57 million in revenue for its financial year ended Dec 31, 2015. It has a 33-year concession, which started in December 2004.
The reputation of Abu preceded himself.
Starting out in the crap metal business, he is known to be a protege of the infamous late Tan Sri Eric Chia.
Eric Chia's indiscretions was blamed for the failure of Perwaja Steel.
Abu is the Chairman of Perwaja that had accumulated losses of RM10 billion and a China company had to come in to bailout.
Accusation that he cheated the Tabung Haji then chaired by Mahathir's brother-in-law in the sales of office space at Maju Junction is not forgotten
Abu was awarded the MEX highway during Mahathir administration and it came with a substantial financial assistance from government.
He has been trying to sell off MEX. It was reported that UEM is interested. But instead of seller, he turned buyer of UEM's highways.
Abu is reknown for being creative and unusual in his ability to extract more profit than expected. What is he up to?
However, one should give Abu the benefit of the doubt.
It is now commonly heard that those in the past that are labelled as Mahathir's cronies are actually victims and even made to be fall guy.
Now, a quick check from a personal source claimed PLUS collected more than RM40 billion from 1988 to 2016.
The cost to build then was RM5.94 billion thus Dato Najib decided to takeover at a cost of RM23 billion for concession till 2038.
It was parked under EPF and Khazanah's UEM for purpose of stabilising toll rate and extend the 3-year toll rate revision.
Still collection is forecasted to be about RM100 billion.
Smart of the old man. Maintenance cosi is hardly RM1 billion a year.
Supposed Abu could raised RM30 billion, can he keep toll rate at current level with increases every 5 yearly?
There is also the suspicion that this a money laundromat to allow money parked abroad by a certain someone to be brought back in.
It depends on who he meant as the highest levels in the country. Past, present or future?