EPF warned against letting go its stake in PLUS


KUALA LUMPUR: Some 14.5 million contributors to the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) may lose out on a steady stream of dividend income if the pension fund sells its 49% stake in highway operator PLUS Malaysia Bhd, analysts say.

These concerns come amid reports that entrepreneur Abu Sahid Mohamad is eyeing to take over PLUS through his flagship Maju Holdings Sdn Bhd.

Besides EPF’s 49% equity in PLUS, the majority 51% shareholding is held by UEM Group Bhd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Khazanah Nasional Bhd.

Analysts say the proposal should be rejected as both the pension fund and the government’s investment arm have enjoyed good returns from PLUS since end-2011.

They also said PLUS represents a core business for Khazanah and a core investment for EPF and was undoubtedly an important income generator for both.

Analysts said these issues meant that PLUS should continue to remain in EPF’s portfolio as a long-term strategic investment.

EPF chief executive officer Shahril Ridza Ridzuan said last month that the fund had no plan to dispose its 49% stake in PLUS “as the investment in the company was reaping good returns”.

Bernama quoted him as saying that the fund and UEM Group had invested substantially in expanding its network, especially in the Klang Valley.

He was also quoted as saying that “PLUS Malaysia has contributed substantially to EPF’s earnings”.

UEM Group, after receiving a non-binding letter of intent from Maju Holdings, also said it has no intention to sell its stake in PLUS Malaysia.