Cahya Mata Sarawak says Taib and family have no control over it

Sarawak strongman Taib Mahmud and family own 31% of Cahya Mata Sarawak, the largest company in the state. (Bernama pic)

KUALA LUMPUR: Sarawak’s Cahya Mata Sarawak Berhad (CMSB) today denied that the giant conglomerate is controlled by former Sarawak chief minister and current governor Abdul Taib Mahmud and his family.

CMSB’s CEO, Isaac Lugun said they are shareholders but do not have a controlling stake.

“Taib and his family are shareholders in the company but they do not have control as EPF, SEDC and the foreign investors collectively own more than 40% of the company,” Lugun told reporters today after delivering a talk at the Bursa Malaysia-Hong Leong Investment Bank Stratum Focus Series V111.

CMSB had come under criticism in the past amid claims that it could easily win contracts in Sarawak due to its ties with Taib.

Shares of the company took a beating following Pakatan Harapan’s electoral victory last year, and there was speculation that CMSB could lose its dominant position.

CMSB, believed to be the largest company in Sarawak, is involved in key economic areas in the state.

Isaac Lugun.

Taib and his family own 31% in the company while EPF has a 11.3% stake, followed by Sarawak Economic Development Corporation (SEDC) holding a 6% stake. Foreigners hold a 15% stake in the company.

Among projects awarded to CMSB is one of the packages of the Pan Borneo Highway.

Lugun is confident the company was not at risk of losing the contract as the government was changing the contract’s model.

He said this was added by the fact that the works minister, Baru Bian, is also a Sarawakian.

The company derived 32% of its revenue from its cement business in 2018. As the sole manufacturer of cement, it benefitted from a spike in construction activities in the state.

Last year, it posted a revenue of RM1.7 billion in 2018 and a profit after tax of RM262 million.