KUALA LUMPUR: Khazanah Nasional Bhd never sold the assets of Iskandar Malaysia Studios.
It only disposed of shares in the studio’s operating company, deputy finance minister Steven Sim said.
He said the film and television production complex on a 19.8ha site in Iskandar Puteri, Johor, is still owned by Khazanah’s special purpose vehicle, Tanjung Bidara Ventures Sdn Bhd.
The sovereign wealth fund decided to sell shares in the studio operator, Iskandar Malaysia Studios Sdn Bhd (IMS), in order to find a new partner which could better manage the studio, Sim said.
“IMS is facing challenges in terms of financial sustainability, which is exacerbated by the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the film industry.
“If Khazanah remained a shareholder of IMS, it would have to continue funding the company with estimated losses of up to RM14 million a year,” he said during the question-and-answer session in the Dewan Rakyat today.
Iskandar Dzulkarnain Abdul Khalid (PN-Kuala Kangsar) had asked the government to explain the studio’s sale.
Sim said Khazanah had selected Studio Management Services Sdn Bhd as the new partner, following a request for proposals.
Studio Management Services is a consortium led by the local management team of IMS, regional partner GHY Culture & Media Holding Co Ltd and its unit, GHY Culture & Media (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd.
GHY, listed on the Singapore Exchange, is a leading media group in the Asian entertainment industry.
“Currently, the share purchase agreement has been signed by both parties and we are waiting for the conditions to be satisfied,” he said.
Sim said following the transaction, Khazanah will make RM32 million from the sale of the shares, as well as get an estimated total rent payment of RM26 million until 2036.
He said Studio Management Services was expected to generate potential revenue of RM800 million in five years through the entry of new productions for the studio.
“As a result, more job opportunities can be provided in the studio ecosystem. This will have a positive impact on the local economy,” he added.