KUALA LUMPUR (July 13): Lembaga Tabung Angkatan Tentera (LTAT) should not be sentimental towards businesses under its portfolio in a restructuring to unlock value pursuant to the newly-announced multi-year strategy, said Minister of Defence Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan.
“In the corporate world, survival of the fittest is a ‘dog eat dog’ business, so there is no such thing as mercy or whatever it is. That’s why I said, put our sentiment aside when do business,” he told reporters after attending the launch of the Sustainable25 strategy here on Thursday (July 13).
“We cannot say we are sentimental towards something, or this is our ‘flagship’. There is no such thing as flagship, it is survival. So, how do we survive such challenging times, with the interest rate differential? US interest is 5% [versus] our 3% and so on. So how do we manage the situation, so that we remain relevant,” he said.
Asked if the restructuring would involve divesting Boustead Plantation Bhd or Boustead Petroleum Marketing Sdn Bhd (BHPetrol), Tok Mat, as he is fondly known, said “in business, what is important is that we make money; we do business to get returns”.
“There is no point in retaining business if you are going to lose money. It doesn’t mean that the privatisation of Boustead [Holdings Bhd], that’s the end of it. We want to re-position ourselves.
“The important thing is to look at our assets. There are assets such as those of ‘planting trees on a gold mine’, so we have to unlock that because this is the process for adding value,” he added.
Boustead Holdings was recently delisted under a RM703.2 million or 85.5 sen per share privatisation deal by LTAT.
Tok Mat also said LTAT intends to re-list Boustead on the local stock exchange, upon completion of the Sustainable25 strategy.
“Maybe in two years’ time, we will relaunch ourselves with a fresh company and we can position ourselves. How can we remain happy when our shares are traded at 55 sen and our net asset value is at RM1.70? It doesn’t make sense, does it?
“So why should we remain a public company? Might as well you just pull back for a while but in the next two years, who knows? With all these restructuring processes, with this unlocked value of our asset taking place, we can relaunch ourselves with a new ‘missile’,” he said.
Apart from Boustead Holdings and Boustead Plantation, which LTAT owns an 11% direct stake and a 57% indirect stake in respectively, the Armed Forces Fund Board is also a major shareholder in several other listed companies like Affin Bank Bhd (47%), Boustead Heavy Industries Corp Bhd (73%), and Pharmaniaga Bhd (60%).
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