KUALA LUMPUR: Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi has urged Petronas to bail out struggling oil and gas services company Sapura Energy Bhd (SEB), which is saddled with RM10.3 billion in loans and facing bankruptcy.
“More than RM5 billion has been invested by Permodalan Nasional Bhd (PNB). The company employs over 10,000 workers and over 3,000 vendors are involved,” he said during his speech at Umno’s extraordinary general meeting (EGM) at the World Trade Centre Kuala Lumpur (WTCKL) today.
“Without using direct government funds, Petronas can take over and do a ‘turn-around’ as soon as possible.
“However, we agree that forensic auditing must also be done so that it is more transparent,” he said of SEB, which announced an RM8.9 billion loss last year.
This comes on the back of Thursday’s debate between former prime minister Najib Razak and opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim on the issue.
Najib focused on why SEB needed to be saved from bankruptcy, pushing for either Petronas to take a substantial stake in the company or for banks to give SEB government guaranteed loans.
Najib said SEB had RM7 billion worth of contracts, and that once it delivered on those, its share price would increase and Petronas could sell the company for a profit.
He said thousands of people would suffer and lose their jobs if SEB, whose biggest shareholder is PNB, goes under.
Anwar, meanwhile, stressed that SEB’s finances should be sorted out first and called for a forensic audit on the company, stating that a Petronas takeover would cost billions of ringgit.