Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Why Felda Global Ventures Is So Important To So Many

The investing community seems to regard Felda Global Ventures as another mega sized listing, and just happily trading the stock when it lists. It is a cash cow for sure, but its also about the equitable treatment of the settlers/stakeholders/peasants/farmers. There are news, theories and conspiracies. Read and try to discern and ask more probing questions, we all should arrive at our own conclusions. At least for now the injunction is  approved, thus halting the steamrolling listing.
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From Business Times today:

The highly anticipated drama at Koperasi Permodalan Felda Malaysia Bhd (KPF)’s headquarters here today fizzled out when it cancelled its extraordinary general meeting (EGM).

In a statement yesterday, the 224,000-strong cooperative said the meeting was called off following the Kuantan High Court’s temporary injunction blocking the transfer of shares from the cash-rich cooperative to Felda Global Ventures Holdings Bhd.

Felda Global is on its way to a listing on Bursa Malaysia, expected to be as early as May.

“The cancellation is due to the Kuantan High Court order, through an interim injunction dated February 17, 2012,” KPF secretary Abidin Abd Rahman said in a statement yesterday.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak had been scheduled to attend the event. Last week, eight settlers who are members of
the KPF filed an application at the same court for an injunction to block the share transfer from KPF to Felda Global or for discussing it at the EGM.

It was the third application for an injunction against KPF.
The National Felda Settlers Children’s Association (Anak)
had filed a similar action twice, one to prevent KPF from holding its EGM end of last year, and the other today.

Lawyer Mohd Haris Abdullah, representing the settlers, said the application was made to prevent KPF from disposing of all or part of its equity in Felda Holdings Bhd to Felda Global.

KPF owns 51 per cent of Felda Holdings while the remaining 49 per cent is owned by Felda Global. Among the grounds for the application was that the KPF’s proposal to dispose of its equity
in Felda Holdings and other subsidiaries, worth RM3.13 billion, to Felda Global would not benefit them or KPF shareholders.

The settlers also claimed that the delegates who would attend the February 22 meeting were never given the mandate by KPF members to represent them at the EGM.

National Association of Smallholders Malaysia president Datuk Aliasak Ambia said the EGM was cancelled probably due to, among
others, the non-compliance with the Cooperative Act and the cooperative rules and regulations.

“KPF must do its homework first before carrying out the EGM. But I see this as temporary as the majority of settlers are all for the listing.

“The cancellation is good as it gives members more time to reflect on electing new board members such as a new chairman, secretary or treasurer at the next elections.”

An analyst at a local brokerage said it was unlikely that the listing would be derailed as the government is the ultimate owner of Felda.

"The Felda management must resolve this fast to build up investors' confidence," said the analyst.

Felda chairman Tan Sri Mohd Isa Abdul Samad said the EGM cancellation would not derail the listing, which is on track for as early as May. 

He declined to elaborate as he did not want to contravene the Securities Commission listing rules.

Felda Global is the commercial arm of the government-owned Federal Land Development Authority (Felda). It has operations in 11 countries, partly contributing to Felda's annual revenue of more than RM20 billion.

Read more: Koperasi Permodalan Felda cancels EGM http://www.btimes.com.my/Current_News/BTIMES/articles/20120222002438/Article/index_html#ixzz1n4Igrg00

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From Malaysia Today's site:

That was what The Edge reported on Valentine’s Day, 14 February 2012. You can read the other news reports below, mostly controversial in nature.
Now, what I want you to focus on is this: Ethos & Company. And this is what they say on their website:
Ethos & Company is a boutique strategy-consulting firm based in Kuala Lumpur. We focus on serving private and public-sector clients on business and organisational transformation - from upfront planning to execution and implementation support. We aim to deliver value through building trusting relationships with our clients, working closely with our clients to solve their most critical issues, and creating lasting impact through insightful recommendations. (http://www.ethos.com.my/)
And the main man in Ethos is Omar Mustapha Ong, the person who is advising Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak on his corporate moves and has been doing so even back in the days when Najib was still just the Deputy Prime Minister.
Omar Mustapha Ong is a member of Khairy Jamaluddin’s ‘Fourth Floor Boys’, the team that helped Abdullah Ahmad Badawi run the country when he was the Prime Minister. They not only ran the country. They ran it into the ground.
Do you remember The Khairy Chronicles that Malaysia Today published in the days when Abdullah Ahmad Badawi was the Prime Minister? Well, the whole story of ‘The Fourth Floor Boys’ had been revealed in great detail in this series that ran for more than a year.
Basically, what the news reports below have not revealed is how much are the boys within Najib’s inner circle going to make out of this entire exercise which is going to run into tens of billions of Ringgit? Yes, we are no longer talking about millions. We are not even talking about billions any more. We are talking about tens of billions.
That is called inflation.
Felda was the creation of the Second Prime Minister, Tun Abdul Razak Hussein, Najib’s father. It was so successful that the United Nations FAO used to send people from Africa and Latin America to Malaysia to study what Felda did so that they can go back to their own countries and do the same thing. Felda was the example for the world to follow.
Well, it is so successful that it has become a cash cow with a potential exceeding RM20 billion. So now they want to milk this cash cow till its tits run dry. And those boys surrounding Najib are going to dip their straw into the pail to sip the milk. And because there will be so much milk no one is going to notice the absence of a few drops.
Isn’t it nice to have cows around, you know, that animal with four legs and a tail and that goes moooooo? Hmm…I wonder what Moohidin’s boys are going to do about this. Surely they are not going to just keep quiet. This is the perfect opportunity to bring Najib down.
Hey, hold on a minute! Isn’t Omar Mustapha Ong one of Khairy’s boys? And are not Najib’s boys plus Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad pissed big time because Najib has given this assignment to someone they perceive as Khairy’s boy -- plus appointed him to the Board of Petronas? And aren’t Najib’s boys plus Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad trying to cut off Omar Mustapha Ong’s head with a rusty sword?
If I were a person with a suspicious mind I would say that Omar Mustapha Ong is setting Najib up for a fall with this Felda thing while making big bucks in the process. But then you know me. I have a wild imagination. I see conspiracies even when there are none.
I am sure this is a legitimate corporate exercise merely meant to help poor land settlers make some retirement money, that is all. And there are no behind-the-scenes goings-on at all. I mean, surely Umno is not going to screw the Felda settlers when the next general election will soon be upon us and Umno needs every vote it can get.
By the way, do you know who Omar Mustapha Ong’s father is? Yes, that’s right, the same man who tried to fix up Anwar Ibrahim on sodomy charges. (Read more here:http://www.freeanwar.net/jan2003/Anwar_Appeal_Hearing_Day2_b.htm ).
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This was what Anwar Ibrahim said in June last year:
Malaysian citizens have the right to know all information pertaining to Felda Global Ventures Sdn Bhd and its parent body the Lembaga Pertubuhan Felda, including the losses suffered by the subsidiaries and not only the main Group.
This is vital because we believe that Felda Global Ventures and Lembaga Pertubuhan Felda have borrowed about RM6 billion from the Employees Provident Fund, which of course is money belonging to the Malaysian citizens. Lembaga Pertubuhan Felda had firstly borrowed RM6 billion from EPF, out of which RM3 billion it loaned to Felda Global Ventures.
Why was the borrowing done by Felda without the Bill being tabled in Parliament, where the voice of the Malaysian citizens are being represented? Who authorised the EPF to loan such a big sum to the Felda Group? We also believe that overseas investments undertaken by the Felda Group using the funds borrowed from EPF have all incurred losses.
We believe that all the overseas investments undertaken by Felda Global Ventures using the borrowed funds from EPF and investing under the names of Felda Iffco Sdn Bhd, Twin Rivers Technologies US, TRT-ETGO Canada, Felda Global Ventures Middle East and also Felda Global Ventures Arabia have all suffered accummulated losses from the years 1997 to 2010 amounting to the sum of RM500 million and the stupidity of the management of Felda Global Ventures is just as great if not greater than the mismanagement of Sime Darby.
With Felda Global Ventures suffering such a massive loss in its overseas investments, we believe that the loan from EPF will not be repaid, but the repayment period will be extended and this will be borne by the Malaysian citizens. We believe that the Prime Minister has no knowledge of the terrible losses incurred by Felda Global Ventures in its overseas investments as the losses have been concealed by the massive profits made by Felda Global Ventures in its annual palm oil trading activities.
In reality, the profits from the palm oil trading by Felda Global Ventures have been used to subsidise the overseas losses suffered by Felda. The Prime Minister has proudly praised Felda Global Ventures for its overseas investments, but it is really shameful, as we believe that in actual fact, nearly all the overseas investments made by Felda Global Ventures have incurred losses.
We are made to understand that the investment that was made under the name of Twin Rivers Technologies US, a factory processing food and protein fats in the United States of America is the worst investment ever made in the corporate history of Malaysia. The early investment sum totalling RM175 million was forked out to buy over Twin Rivers Technologies US, which was sold by Procter & Gamble.
We are made to understand that after buying over Twin Rivers Technologies US, the Bank of America has made a demand for the loan amounting to USD100 million owed by Twin Rivers Technologies US. Felda Global Ventures then borrowed RM300 million from CIMB to pay Bank of America.
It also came to our knowledge that Felda Global Ventures have spent around RM600 million for a processing factory in Canada under a subsidiary of Twin Rivers Technologies US which goes by the name of TRT-ETGO Canada which until to-date has never made any profits.
Did Felda Global Ventures give any more loans to TRT-ETGO Canada amounting to the sum of RM100 million? Due to this, we believe that the overall investment of Twin Rivers Technologies US inclusive of its subsidiary is around RM1.175 billion. Although the investment is massive, we believe that Twin Rivers Technologies US has incurred losses every year from year 2007 to year 2010 with the amount close to being RM500 million.
If it is true that the Felda Group has borrowed RM6 billion from the Malaysian citizens via the EPF, we demand that an investigation be made into the activities of the Felda Group similar to what is being done in regards to the investigation on Sime Darby's activities and those in the Felda Group, for instance, its Chief Investment Strategy Officer, Suzana Wati Idayu Othman and its board of directors who are guilty in making these decisions that made Felda Group incurred such massive losses should be held responsible for their negligence in carrying out their duties.
Under the Felda Act, all the investments of Felda Group, in principle requires the approval of the Minister who is responsible for Felda, which since 1997 has been Dato' Seri Najib Tun Razak.
Whether the investment losses have been revealed to Najib or not revealed to Najib by the management of Felda Global Ventures, the responsibility of the losses must be borne by Felda Global Ventures and Najib. An investigation must be ordered into the matter and the results of the investigation revealed to the Malaysian citizens.
It is understood that Ethos Consulting, a firm where one of its partners Omar Mustapha Ong is a former special officer attached to Prime Minister Najib has been appointed as a consultant for Felda Global Ventures. We demand to know what is the consultant fee that is paid to Ethos Consulting by Felda Global Ventures and how is it that a consultant firm that has no expertise in the agriculture industry has been appointed as consultant for Felda Global Ventures?
If it is true that the overseas investments of Felda Global Ventures have incurred losses, then consultant fee payments should not be made to Ethos Consulting as it is obvious that it has failed to give sound advice. The Malaysian citizens demand answers to all the above questions because Felda has borrowed RM6 billion from us.
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FGV listing: Corporate vs. Peasant Settler
(Sakmongkol AK47, 26 December 2011) - Two upcoming events are waited upon with great anticipation. (1) The outcome of an injunction application by a few settlers to stop the FELDA FGV listing and (2) the 5th January EGM of Koperasi Permodalan FELDA.
The outcome of the second event is a foregone conclusion. Chairman Isa will get elected as the KPF chairman despite not having the qualifications to become an office bearer. He is not a settler nor is he a FELDA employee. But the Minister in Charge of FELDA has given his approval, what can people do. The Minister is also the PM. He is lord over whoever lives in this land.
We must not be sidetracked by this sideshow involving the two-bit actor Isa Samad. The more pressing matter concerns the listing exercise.
Why the injunction? Why should four people extend energy and time and assume the risks of being called traitors and all that want to apply an injunction? Greed can’t be the overriding objective? If it is, it’s more profitable for the four people to side with Chairman Isa who can be generous as he is pleased.
The object of the injunction is to stop FGV taking over assets and shares belonging to KPF in FELDA Holdings. These people believed that the 350,000 hectares of land which FELDA took was actually meant for settlers. All the assets owned by KPF in FELDA Holdings will be leased to FGV for the next 99 years.
They will no longer exercise control over the assets as their interests are all converted into shares. FELDA Holdings is 51% owned by settlers and 49% owned by FELDA Global.
They are willing to risk it all, because they believe settlers are being sold out.
This listing is the ultimate short-changing of settlers. The first occurred when FELDA withheld more than 300,000 hectares of land from being given to settlers.  By assuming ownership of the land, FELDA was able to become a planter itself.
So we have the peasant settler and the corporate settler. The corporate settlers have moved on to becoming fabulously rich while the peasant settler (Tun Razak’s regimented landless and jobless) have remained relatively behind. They get to enjoy the trickle down effects defined and determined by FELDA who practically run the business on behalf and for the benefit of settlers.
The corporate settler sells CPO and busies itself in a wide range of downstream manufacturing and marketing activities. They were even able to go into various businesses out of the capital created from ownership of the land, which was supposed to go to the landless and jobless.
The second took place, when FELDA listed its sugar refining business. It made over RM800 million out of that IPO. How much did KPF make by virtue of owning 20% of the business? On paper it made 300 million? 
How did Sabri Ahmad cull this figure? If KPF makes a paper gain of 300 million and the 300 million is 20%, then the whole gain is 1.5 billion. But Sabri says, FELDA made 800 million. Maybe it’s just a figure of speech - the point is, he wanted to say KPF made money albeit on paper. Does that raise the share value of KPF in FELDA Holdings now that it made 300 million paper gain?
If the injunction is successful, the proposed listing of FELDA Global will be delayed. The listing will see the merger of FELDA Holdings with FELDA Global. The smaller partner in terms of equity, FELDA Global is buying out KPF who has 51%.
How is the nature of the transaction? Does it involve and offer by FGV to buy out KPF at a certain price or will it involve just a share swap? You priced it with premium fella - that’s why KPF is getting 61%.
But the share price of the new listed entity is also at a premium. You can easily inflate the price of the would be listed entity, paint glossy pictures, introduce exotic phrase such as unlocking value and so forth- you will probably induce KPF representatives to believe they are getting a good deal. KPF will get 61%. That’s good you say. Isa Samad goes around berating ungrateful settlers - apa lagi awak semua mahu - dari 51% jadi 61%?
But we ask in return - 61% of how much? If 30% of the shares are sold to the public, the settlers end up with 61% of 70% of the business. That’s not all. 30% is held by the public - the interests of settlers are converted into shares, which are tradable in the market place. As with the track record of bumiputera held equities, you can bet that chances are, the shares will be sold.
We have to go back to the primary source of dissatisfaction. The peasant settler has remained more or less the same. The corporate settler has made it big. The peasant settlers get palliatives - bonuses here and there. RM1,200 as yearly bonus translates into RM100 per month. 400 per year translate into 30 Ringgit per month - not even enough to buy a T-bone steak at Meatworks.
The peasant settler gets MRSM colleges, indoor stadiums, futsal stadiums and other social amenities but the value of these, pale in comparison with the amenities and wealth enhancing resources obtained by the corporate settler. The corporate settler has moved on into oleo chemicals, downstream activities, hotels, sugar business, etc., why can’t the peasant settler be organised that same way?
The fundamental reason why this listing is vehemently opposed is that people believed it’s a sell-out and it’s the culmination of unconscionable acts by FELDA.
Felda Global Ventures gets new status
(The Star, 26 January 2012) - Felda Global Ventures Holdings Sdn Bhd has obtained approval from the Companies Commission of Malaysia to change its status from a private limited company to a public limited company.
Accordingly, it will now be known as Felda Global Ventures Holdings Bhd.
The company is currently pursuing a listing on Bursa Malaysia Securities Bhd. The status change, approved on Jan 18, is part of the preliminary process of preparing for its initial public offering (IPO).
In a statement, Felda Global Ventures group president Datuk Sabri Ahmad said the company’s panel of listing advisers were in the final stages of working out the details.
“Everything is going according to schedule and we should be ready to make a formal submission for listing to the Securities Commission,” he added.
Felda Global Ventures has appointed several advisors for its listing by June. The listing was announced by the Prime Minister when tabling Budget 2012 in parliament last October.
Felda overhaul could harden opposition to FGVH listing
(The Malaysian Insider, 20 February 2012) - Stiff resistance to the proposed Felda Global Ventures Holdings (FGVH) listing will likely grow once plans for a corporate overhaul of Felda are announced, Singapore’s Straits Times reported today.
The daily, quoting sources familiar with the deal, said “potentially contentious” issues include settlers handing over land to FGVH and surrendering control of the Koperasi Permodalan Felda (KPF) settlers cooperative to government-appointed representatives in exchange for shares.
“The main points of the deal appear palatable, but the conditions on the settlers to hand over their land through long-term lease agreement and surrender corporate control of their stake to the government will need to be resolved to get this deal to fly,” a senior Felda executive told the ST.
The as yet unfinalised proposal will also see the financially strong KPF transfer its assets to FGVH based on a valuation that will likely be hotly contested.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak is set to meet senior representatives from Felda and KPF this week to iron out any sticky issues that could derail the IPO.
The ST said Najib’s handling of the listing will have serious implications for Barisan Nasional (BN) and Umno in the coming election, noting that KPF was collectively owned by some 113,000 Malay settlers who represented a key demographic for the lynchpin party.
“Land is a sensitive matter for settlers, particularly from a family inheritance perspective. So any plan that doesn’t deal with this properly is surely to be exploited (by the opposition),” the chief executive of a financial institution involved in the listing plan told the paper.
Putrajaya has said it intends to list FGVH in April, instead of the middle of the year as announced earlier during the prime minister’s Budget 2012 speech.
But critics contend that the proposed listing, which will see loss-making FGVH assume control of KPF, will short-change smallholders and saddle Felda with up to RM1.5 billion in yearly deficit.
FGVH units such as Felda Iffco Sdn Bhd, Felda Global Technologies, Felda Global Ventures Middle East and Felda Global Ventures Arabia reportedly chalked up accumulated losses of around RM500 million up to last year.
Opposition to the government’s plan to list FGVH has been led by the National Felda Settlers’ Children’s Association (Anak), which won a temporary court order on Friday blocking the transfer of shares from KPF to FGVH.