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Felda boss: Govt did not shun settlers

 | May 31, 2012

The Felda chairman says a trust fund will ensure a 20% dividend is channelled directly to settlers.

KUALA LUMPUR: Felda chairman Isa Samad has denied claims that the government shunned settlers with low allocations of shares in the controversial listing of Felda Global Ventures Bhd.

The National Land Development scheme chief claimed a trust fund was already set up to ensure settlers receive a 20% dividend directly despite their shares accounting for only 2.5% of the total shares available.

The trust fund was set up just after the Felda Settlers Cooperative (KPF) refused participation in FGVH’s initial public offerings following concerns that the deal would benefit investors more.

Isa said settlers could have enjoyed larger share ownership through KPF’s 37% quota but its refusal to partake in the listing meant Putrajaya had to seek an alternative way to channel the profits.

“But we still have a trust fund so 20% of all profits will be given directly to the settlers as dividend,” he said at the launch of FGVH’s IPO) prospectus today.

PKR claimed earlier this week that Putrajaya earmarked more shares for rich Umno cronies while shares allocated for the 112,000 Felda settlers only stood at 2.5% or 91 million shares.

The allocation was almost 300 million less than those reserved for the said segment, according to the Ministry of International Trade and Industry’s investors prospectus published on its website.

Fleecing settlers

DAP leader Tony Pua claimed today that Putrajaya would be “fleecing” settlers of a whopping RM8.8 billion through the leasing of their land, a key aspect of the listing which was set to raise RM10.5 billion.

The party’s publicity chief alleged further that KPF would not get any ownership of FGVH shares once it was listed and the co-operative’s existing business and income would be “cannibalised” by FGVH.

FGVH initial public offering was expected to raise RM10.5 billion with a projected market capitalization of more than RM16 billion to pave way for Felda’s expansion with the plantation giant looking at becoming the world’s leading palm oil producer.

Observers believe the IPO, Asia’s largest initial public offering so far this year and the world’s second largest after Facebook, would likely increase Najib’s winning chances in the 13th general election.

The listing had already attracted a strong cast of cornerstone investors including French agribusiness giant Louis Dreyfus, Fidelity Investments and Middle Eastern sovereign fund Qatar Holding LLC.

Reuters reported that this partly reflected strong investor interest in Southeast Asia, which had seen a burst of IPOs since the start of the year despite the protracted euro zone debt crisis, the debacle over Facebook’s market debut and shaky IPO markets elsewhere in Asia.

Also read:

Fasa kedua ‘durian runtuh’ 7 Julai

PM lancar prospektus FGVH


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