False announcement to Bursa Malaysia or ‘BoD Assassination’?

Website of Bursa Malaysia

Screenshot of FGV announcement in Bursa Malaysia website on the last change in FGV BoD

As part of their statutory duty, FELDA Global Ventures Holdings Bhd (FGV) made an announcement to Bursa Malaysia that recently retired President of the Group and CEO Tan Sri Sabri Ahmad resigned from FGV BoD dated 29 August 2013.

As far as we know, Tan Sri Sabri at the time was incapacitated and hospitalised for a very major ailment in Kuala Lumpur.

He was not allowed visitors and definitely no work ever made its way to his hospital bed. Which include any papers that he is supposed to sign, to finalise if ever he actually wants to leave FGV BoD by his own device.

Sabri was Prime Minister Dato’ Seri Mohd. Najib Tun Razak’s personal pick three and a half years ago to carry his ‘Transformation Plan’ for the FELDA community, via their business arm FELDA Global Ventures and FELDA Holdings Bhd. Sabri was supposed to merge the two under FGVH and listed it.

Sabri started the ball rolling and made the necessary work to merge, restructure and organise the plan for IPO. On 7 October 2011, Prime Minister Najib announced in his Bajet 2012 speech that the exercise would happen and by April 2012, FGVH would be listed as a plc.

He successfully did the first one, Malaysian Sugar Malaysia (MSM). MSM was listed in mid 2011 and cash was realised for FGV, on top increasing value to the shareholders.

Part of the listing exercise of FGV was supposed to realise the full potential and ‘unlocking of values’, designed for the benefits of  the 112,635 FELDA settlers. It did happen when Prime Minister Najib announced the ‘Durian Runtuh’ of RM15,000 in agggregate to all FELDA settler families for the hardwork and sacrifice all these years.

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The market was bullish. The IPO of FGV in June 2012 was second most globally successful IPO for the whole year, after Facebook. FGV realised RM4.5 billion in cash, from the IPO exercise. Sabri carved out a large portion of the gains realised from the IPO, for the purpose of continuous development of FELDA community.

In January, FGV Chairman Tan Sri Isa Samad announced the designated CEO Emir Mavani to replace Sabri. Then the final ouster of Sabri as CEO came on 15 July.

It is no mystery why there are personalities who wanted Sabri out the way from FGV BoD. FGV is sitting on a huge pile of cash and any successor to the wealth planned and created from Sabri’s hard work could easily do spending spree.

Proposals like the acquisition of New Britain Plantations off Papua New Guinea, almost double what Kulim Bhd paid for a similar acquisition two years earlier. Now, the more recent one is the Pontian Plantations which was acquired for RM1.204b and paid in cash.

What is interesting about the Pontian Plantations acquisition is that the speed that the deal was was made and concluded since the year before, one of its own shareholders TSH Resources failed.

They had to push Sabri out of the way very quickly for obvious reasons. Had Sabri is still around, he would have not allowed nor condone the acquisition of Pontian Plantations to be exercised without proper good governance and necessary due diligence.

After all, Sabri is an experienced planter and very well respected in the industry. He could smell a rat or fish, in any proposition.

As far as we know, Sabri did not sign any documents that he agreed to resign from FGV BoD. In fact, Prime Minister Najib also wanted Sabri to remain in the FGV BoD after he retired as Group President and CEO. Sabri would only leave when Prime Minister Najib tells him to. So if Sabri did not sign anything or even verbally agreed to resign from FGV BoD, how could FGV make such an announcement to Bursa Malaysia?

Is this not an attempt to commit corporate fraud by deception?

Published in: on October 4, 2013 at 14:00  Comments (12)