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Friday, March 28, 2008

YTL eyes utilities, infrastructure buys

MALAYSIAN power-to-property firm YTL Corp has a US$2.2 billion war chest to fund acquisitions in the utilities and infrastructure sectors, its chief said today.

“A lot of opportunities are being thrown at our door already today, mainly because people know we have got a huge war chest, so we are looking at deals,” YTL managing director Francis Yeoh said in an interview.

YTL, which has RM7 billion (US$2.2 billion) in cash and earns 70 per cent of revenues overseas, is sizing up possibilities, but has not zeroed in on a target yet, he said.

“From a financial point of view, it’s not reached a salivating stage yet,” Yeoh said. “I would say we have a window of a year or so to pick the cherries.”

The firm, which gave a dividend payout of 25 Malaysian cents per share for the financial year to June 30, 2007, aims to stick to its dividend policy, Yeoh added. It has paid two interim dividends amounting to 15 cents per share in 2007/08 so far.

“We are not only going to stick to our dividend policy, we are going to stick (to it) for a long, long time to come,” Yeoh said.

Shares of YTL Corp have risen five per cent over the last year, outperforming a 0.3 per cent fall in the benchmark index and giving the firm a market value of RM12.4 billion (US$3.9 billion).

YTL Corp is a conglomerate whose assets include British utility Wessex Water and Australian power firm ElectraNet. It is also a developer and wants to build a US$2.3 billion bullet train between the Malaysian capital and neighbouring Singapore.

By Reuters

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