Sapura Energy denies social media allegations involving CEO

by ALIFAH ZAINUDDIN/ pic by TMR FILE

SAPURA Energy Bhd has denied allegations on social media accusing the oilfield services firm of negligence and foul play that forced Abdul Jalil Abdul Rasheed (picture; left) to resign as Permodalan Nasional Bhd (PNB) CEO last month.

The company, in a statement issued yesterday, said its board of directors (BoDs) refutes the “unfounded” allegations, and board members will always act in the best interests of the firm.

“As a listed company, the BoDs subscribes to the guidelines and rules of the main market listing requirements of Bursa Malaysia Securities Bhd and all relevant authorities, and is bound by high standards of corporate governance stipulated in the Malaysian code on corporate governance,” it added.

Anonymous allegations made on microblogging platform Twitter claimed discrepancies in the company’s financials had caused tensions between Abdul Jalil and Sapura Energy president and group CEO Tan Sri Shahril Shamsuddin (left).

Snapshots of the post by user @ExposeMsia have since been widely circulated. A search for the private Twitter account did not produce results at the time of writing.

PNB is the single-largest shareholder in Sapura Energy with about 40% equity interest following a rights issue exercise that was completed last year, making Shahril the second-largest shareholder after PNB.

The fund management firm is the investment subsidiary of Yayasan Pelaburan Bumiputera, a state-owned body established to promote Bumiputera share capital ownership in the Malaysian corporate sector in line with the National Economic Policy.

Shahril’s high remuneration package — among the issues highlighted by the social media post — has been a point of contention in recent years, given that Sapura Energy has struggled to generate profits amid slowing oil and gas activity.

For the financial year ended Jan 31, 2018 (FY18), Shahril took home RM55 million in bonus payments and RM16.56 million in salary and other emoluments while the company posted a record annual loss of RM2.5 billion.

In FY19, Shahril received RM3.62 million in bonus payments and RM9.2 million in salary, emoluments, defined contribution plan and benefits-in-kind. Sapura Energy’s net profit for the year stood at RM203 million.

The company recently announced sweeping plans to cut 20% of its 4,000 full-time staff count following the crude oil price collapse and the Covid-19 pandemic. The move follows over 130 other measures to cut costs, including salary cuts, which the company has identified.

Earlier in April, the group had announced salary reductions affecting a third of its working personnel. Senior management took a 50% pay cut, while the rest have seen their salaries readjusted between 5% and 45% effective after Ramadhan.

The company on Monday reported its first quarterly profit after four consecutive losses, with a net profit of RM14.21 million for its first quarter ended April 30, 2020, despite a decline in revenue.