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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

BRDB doing the right thing by calling for open tender for assets sale

KUDOS should be given to Bandar Raya Developments Bhd (BRDB) for taking heed and acting on concerns raised by analysts, the media and the Minority Shareholder Watchdog Group.

Its board has decided to withdraw the proposal to sell its prized assets to its major shareholder and has instead opted for an open tender exercise.

That's exactly what some quarters had been calling for. And that seems to be what BRDB is delivering.

It has also called on Ambang Sehati Sdn Bhd, the investment vehicle of BRDB chairman Datuk Mohamed Moiz Jabir Mohamed Ali Moiz, which had proposed to buy the assets, to take part in that tender exercise.

Ambang Sehati owns 18.88% in BRDB.

It will be interesting to see if there will be bids that top the RM914mil price tag that had been offered by Ambang Sehati for BRDB's Bangsar Shopping Centre, Menara BRDB, the CapSquare Retail Centre and the Permas Jusco Mall.

If there are no bids that match what Ambang Sehati has offered, then it may seem like there was much ado about nothing.

But if bids exceeded what was offered, then minority shareholders can rest assured that their company's board has done the right thing.

BRDB's board has also given the assurance that an independent international property valuation firm will be appointed to manage the tender exercise.

True, the question still arises as to why BRDB didn't have an open tender exercise for its assets in the first place.

But some credit should be due to BRDB for ultimately making the right decision.

What is still troubling in BRDB's case is the uncertainty surrounding the identity of the 23.6% block of shares, currently held under a nominee account by Credit Suisse.

This block of shares will hold a lot of voting influence over any deal to sell the company's assets, and yet no one seems to know who the beneficial owner is.

Again, BRDB has done the right thing by writing to the relevant nominee companies for details of their shareholdings, albeit later than expected.

By The Star

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