Local firm to buy over NFCorp, says minister

Once the agreement is sealed, the firm will make the payout of NFCorp’s outstanding loans amounting to RM284m to MoF

By SHAHEERA AZNAM SHAH / Pic By ISMAIL CHE RUS

THE troubled National Feedlot Corp Sdn Bhd (NFCorp) — which was deemed as “a mess” for being poorly managed by the Auditor-General’s (A-G) Report in 2011 — is expected to be acquired and taken over by a local firm.

Agriculture and Agro based Industry Minister Datuk Salahuddin Ayub (picture) said the firm is currently in constant discussions with the government and once the agreement is sealed, it is expected to make the payout of NFCorp’s outstanding loans amounting to a total of RM284 million to the Ministry of Finance (MoF).

“There is a local company that is set to buy NFCorp and my ministry will facilitate and review the terms of the deal and what is required to revive the business model.

“The new company is capable to return the loan given to NFCorp. We will see how much the loans are and see if the new company can actually deliver the amount to MoF,” he told reporters at a press briefing in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

He added that the takeover may also involve the approval from the Negri Sembilan state government, as it involves land asset.

“If that is the case, we will facilitate for what it is required to pursue the takeover. However, it will be up to the state government.

“With this investment, the new company can revive and redevelop the ruminant project,” he said.

Previously, several takeovers were proposed by local firms which somehow fell through.

According to earlier reports, Salahuddin said the livestock project had drawn international interest from countries such as Brazil and Japan that would cooperate with a private company to revive the livestock project.

The project was previously run by NFCorp, a private firm then owned by Datuk Seri Dr Mohamad Salleh Ismail, the husband of former Umno Wanita chief Tan Sri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil.

NFCorp was awarded a tender in 2006 to manage the RM74 million National Feedlot Centre (NFC) in Gemas, Negri Sembilan.

The main goal of the livestock project was to improve the country’s beef self-sufficiency levels to 40% of total local production.

To achieve the goal, the MoF has allocated a RM13 million grant and approved a soft loan amounting to RM250 million to operate the centre.

NFCorp was then caught in scandal when several dubious dealings rise to the surface, which included the purchases of two luxury condominium units, land plots in Putrajaya, overseas trips and credit-card expenses.

In 2011, the A-G Report had described the project as “a mess” for being poorly managed and had met only 41.1% of 8,000 heads of cattle for 2010.

Mohamad Salleh was then charged in 2014 with two accounts of criminal breach of trust for misappropriating funds and was acquitted of all charges in 2015.