Maju puts in new bid to take over PLUS, says report

A news report says Maju Holdings has offered to light up entire PLUS highway stretch.

PETALING JAYA: Maju Holdings Sdn Bhd has put in a fresh proposal to take over PLUS Malaysia Bhd, The Edge reported.

It said Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad had confirmed on-going speculation that Abu Sahid Mohamed, who is executive chairman of Maju, had put in a bid.

Mahathir said Maju was the only one to submit such a proposal.

The Edge reported that the only one standing in the way of Maju and Abu Sahid was Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng, who is opposed to the takeover.

It said the reasons for Lim’s objections were unknown.

Maju has always been interesed in taking over PLUS and had put in a bid in mid-2017.

At that time, the government said it was uncertain the bid was supported by “clear and strong” sources of financing, according to a report.

Abu Sahid Mohamed.

Immediately after the offer was made, UEM and EPF said in a joint statement they had no intention of selling their stake in PLUS.

The Edge said Maju had given four offers to the government, all hinging on extensions to the concession, expected to end in 2038.

Maju is proposing a 25% reduction in toll rates to get a 10-year extension or a 30% toll reduction if the concession is extended for 15 years until 2053.

Alternatively, it offers a 33% toll reduction if the concession is extended for 20 years, or a 36% toll reduction for a 30-year extension until 2068.

However, The Edge said Maju wants the government to maintain its guarantee on PLUS’ debt structure throughout the concession period and the extension.

Maju has also proposed spending RM5.3 billion over the concession period to light up the whole highway, The Edge added.

PLUS not only runs the North-South Expressway, but also the New Klang Valley Expressway, Seremban-Port Dickson Highway, North-South Expressway Central Link, Malaysia-Singapore Second Link, Butterworth-Kulim Expressway and the Penang Bridge.

Recently, Lim had announced that the government had made a RM6.2 billion bid to take over four concessions of toll highways.

Gamuda Bhd was reported to have accepted the proposed offer by the Minister of Finance (Incorporated) (MOF Inc) to purchase all of the group’s equity stake in four highway companies.

Gamuda owns a 44% stake in Litrak, 52% in Sprint, 70% in Kesas and 50% in SMART. They run the Kesas, LDP, Sprint and Smart highways.

Lim said a congestion charge will replace the tolls, with no toll charged during the early hours of the morning.