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||4 September 2009
Malaysia says no plan to sell Sime stake to China
Malaysian government is not considering selling a 10 per cent stake in its largest company Sime Darby to a Chinese entity, Reuters quoted government officials as saying Thursday.
Earlier, the influential Malaysian Insider website (www.themalaysianinsider.com), citing unnamed sources, reported that the government had recently agreed to sell a 10 per cent stake in the palm oil to property conglomerate to a Chinese entity.
“The government has not discussed this, Sime Darby selling a stake to China. There is no such thing,” said a senior government official, who declined to be named because of the sensitivity of the issue.
Shares in Sime Darby edged up on the news but soon pared gains to trade flat at 8.23 ringgit ($2.33). The wider Malaysian stock index was up just 0.2 per cent.
The Malaysian government and various state funds own almost 70 percent of Sime, the country’s largest company, and Prime Minsister Najib Razak has said he wants companies with close links to the government to become more efficient.
There has been speculation that Sime could list its plantation division, but the company said last month that it had no immediate plans for an IPO for the business.
Sime recently announced it was to team up with a Chinese company to enter the palm oil refining business in China, a major market for Malaysian exports.
It also has other interests and when Najib visited China recently, he agreed a construction deal with Sime in China.
“Najib is serious about Sime Darby and wants it to expand into China, but we have not been briefed or even told about the selling of Sime Darby’s stake to a Chinese company,” a second government official told Reuters.
Sime has a water treatment plant, a port and property development plans in Weifang in Shandong province, a 10 per cent share of the BMW car market in China and opened new branches for its industrial products in Xinjiang province, according to Malaysian brokerage HwangDBS.
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