The biggest corporate newsmakers of 2019

From appointing the youngest CEO at PNB to bidding for a 51% stake in PLUS, TMR looks at some of the movers and shakers news this year


IT WAS an active year for the corporate world in Malaysia with 19 take over offers launched to date. There were 30 new listings year-to-date (YTD) on Bursa Malaysia amid corporate funding exercises by various companies and businessmen.

The year saw the cash injection of RM20 billion into ailing Lembaga Tabung Haji by Putrajaya via Urusharta Jamaah Sdn Bhd.

2019 also saw IOI Corp Bhd founder and substantial shareholder Tan Sri Lee Shin Cheng die in June.

It is the year a young and new CEO took the helm of the country’s largest fund manager Permodalan Nasional Bhd (PNB).

The Malaysian Reserve (TMR) takes a look at some of the biggest newsmakers over the past 12 months.

Jalil Rasheed
In August, PNB named Jalil Rasheed (picture), 38, as the fund’s new president and group CEO effective Oct 1 — the youngest person to helm the post at PNB — replacing former head Datuk Abdul Rahman Ahmad, who was named as Sime Darby Bhd chairman effective Oct 31 this year.

The move to appoint such a young individual to lead a large financial institution has been praised by many and showed the government’s trust and commitment in giving young talents the opportunity to become leaders.

Jalil’s appointment was among various leadership changes made at the government-linked investment company this year.

Prior to his appointment at PNB, Jalil was the CEO of South Asian operations for Invesco Ltd in 2013, a leading global investment firm managing more than US$1.2 trillion (RM5.05 trillion) across a multiple range of asset classes in over 25 countries.

The London School of Economics graduate began his career as a trainee at Aberdeen Standard Investments and climbed up the ladder to become an investment manager and head of equities before assuming the role of CEO at Aberdeen Islamic Asset Management Sdn Bhd in 2010.

Tan Sri Halim Saad
Tan Sri Halim Saad is no stranger to the local corporate world. He appeared in the news many times this year after proposing to take over PLUS Malaysia Bhd.

Halim is now in a fight with several other bidders for PLUS

Halim and his partner upped their offer price by more than a third from the initial RM5.2 billion offer for the largest highway concessionaries.

The former executive chairman of Renong Bhd, the predecessor of UEM Group Bhd, had submitted the bid to buy Khazanah Nasional Bhd’s 51% stake in PLUS in an offer letter dated Oct 11, 2019.

In the highest bid made so far by any parties for cash-minting PLUS, Halim has also proposed a 25% discount on toll rates and for the concession period to end as per the status quo — December 2038.

Halim, who remains one of the most prominent Malay entrepreneurs, is now in a dogfight with several other bidders for PLUS.

This is not the first time Halim, who was responsible for the construction of the 772km North–South Expressway, has tried to reconnect with his crown asset which propelled him into an industry titan.

He lost ownership of the company following the East Asia 1997/98 Financial Crisis.

Tan Sri Lim Kok Thay
In June, Genting Malaysia Bhd chairman and CEO Tan Sri Lim Kok Thay announced that he would take a 20% voluntarily pay cut, amid higher gaming taxes which have weighed upon the group’s earnings, according to a report by China Press.

Lim is ranked the 7th richest Malaysia by Forbes

Lim, ranked the seventh richest Malaysia by Forbes, is estimated to have a net worth of US$3.6 billion (RM 14.88 billion) YTD and had expressed hope the move would help to reduce costs.

According to the 2019 Corporate Governance Monitor, issued by the Securities Commission Malaysia, the top three companies with the highest paid CEOs were Genting Bhd, Genting Malaysia and Sapura Energy Bhd.

Lim is the CEO of both Genting and Genting Malaysia. According to the report, the CEO of Genting Malaysia received a remuneration of RM80.6 million, while the CEO of Genting received RM168 million.

Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar Al-Bukhary
Corporate moves by companies linked to Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar Al-Bukhary over the past year saw him emerge as a major media asset owner in the country.

Aurora Mulia Sdn Bhd rose as the largest shareholder in Media Prima Bhd after buying a 31.22% stake in the group for about RM207 million or an average 60 sen a share.

Aurora Mulia has Syed Danial Syed Mokhtar Shah as one of the named directors. Syed Danial is the son of the businessman.

The investment vehicle also purchased a 70% equity interest in Dilof Sdn Bhd, which holds the printing licences and archives of Utusan Malaysia and Kosmo!, following the shutdown of Utusan Melayu (M) Bhd’s operations. Dilof has since been renamed Media Mulia Sdn Bhd, according to reports.

The media-shy businessman is reported to be linked to a potential bid to buy a substantial stake in intergrated edible oil group, FGV Holdings Bhd. However, in a statement to the local bourse, FGV stated its board of directors and management were unaware of any proposals involving the businessman.

Datuk Dr Mohd Abdul Karim Abdullah
Serba Dinamik Bhd has had a meteoric rise in the corporate scene, with its share price hitting its highest level this year and almost tripling the wealth of its founder in two years since the company’s listing.

Mohd Abdul Karim is listed as the 40th-richest Malaysian by Forbes

The company, which was listed in February 2017, has seen rise from its IPO price of RM1.50 to close to a high of RM4.56 this year, prior to share split and bonus issue.

Forbes listed Serba Dinamik founder and group MD/CEO Datuk Dr Mohd Abdul Karim Abdullah as the 40th-richest Malaysian in its “Malaysia’s 50 Richest 2019” list with a US$345 million net worth.

Mohd Abdul Karim currently holds a 23.79% stake or 733.5 million shares in Serba Dinamik based on Bloomberg’s latest data.

He has transformed the company into a multibillion ringgit firm with consistent profits.

Serba Dinamik had grown its revenue base over the past four years from RM755.77 million in 2014 to RM3.28 billion last year, and had become among the top performing oil and gas companies in the country.

Investors have been delighted with the company’s performance, pushing its market capitalisation to RM6.45 billion from RM2 billion when it first became a public firm.

Mohd Abdul Karim, 54, has taken substantial interest in Kumpulan Powernet Bhd and Sarawak Consolidated Industries Bhd. He sits on both company boards.


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