After Royale Chulan hotel, Najib predicts sale of more LTAT assets

Boustead Holdings is selling the Royale Bintang hotel to Singapore’s Hotel Royal Ltd for RM197 million.

PETALING JAYA: Najib Razak has predicted that more Lembaga Tabung Angkatan Tentera (LTAT) assets will be disposed of following the sale of the Royale Chulan hotel to a Singaporean company.

The former prime minister noted that Boustead Holdings, in which LTAT is the largest shareholder, had said the sale of the Bukit Bintang property in Kuala Lumpur formed part of the group’s overall plan to return to profitability by divesting non-strategic assets.

He said that two of LTAT’s biggest assets — Boustead and Affin Bank — had suffered a drop in their share prices after the 14th general election.

“Boustead’s share value dropped 50% while Affin Bank’s dropped 15% even though Affin Bank’s profits increased a little to RM500 million.

“But Boustead, which is LTAT’s biggest asset, suffered huge losses of RM488 million compared to the RM875 million profit it made in 2017 under the Barisan Nasional administration,” he said in a Facebook post.

Najib said that like Khazanah, Boustead had never suffered losses in the nine years under BN “but suddenly did last year”.

During the year, he said, all of Boustead’s businesses suffered losses, with its sales in the plantations sector dropping 21%, heavy engineering 50% and property 7%.

“So, with Boustead looking to return to profitability by divesting non-strategic assets, more LTAT assets will likely be sold despite the slow market and economy.

“That is why they have yet to announce dividends even though Mat Sabu (Defence Minister Mohamad Sabu) promised to announce LTAT’s dividends in February,” he said.

Yesterday, it was reported that Singapore-listed Hotel Royal Ltd was buying over the Royale Chulan from Boustead for RM197 million.

Boustead is expected to get RM92 million profit from the sale.