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July 6, 2008

Malaysia's state investment arm to shed Pharmaniaga stake
Malaysian state investment firm Khazanah Nasional Bhd was in talks to sell its 72.5 percent stake in healthcare service provider Pharmaniaga Bhd as it seeks to streamline its portfolios, Reuters quoted a local newspaper as reporting Saturday.

Khazanah planned to sell the stake to Chemical Co of Malaysia Bhd (CCM), a 54.6 percent-owned unit of state fund Permodalan Nasional, Malaysian financial weekly The Edge reported, citing sources.

Khazanah controls the Pharmaniaga stake, which is worth about $87.87 million based on current market value, through property-to-construction group UEM World Bhd.

Khazanah and Permodalan Nasional had started talks on the planned disposal, the newspaper said.

"They have been in talks and both want to streamline their business ... they are trying to work something out," it quoted an unnamed source as saying.

The deal could involve a merger between Pharmaniaga and CCM, which makes and sells fertilisers, chemical and healthcare products.

Ahmad Pardas Senin, managing director of UEM World, was quoted by the report he was not aware of such negotiations at the company level. A Khazanah spokesman did not answer phone calls for comment.

On Friday, Pharmaniaga shares rose 2.8 percent to 3.70 ringgit ($1.13) in a market that fell by 1.7 percent. CCM was up 0.4 percent at 2.80 ringgit ($0.857). The stock has gained 7.3 percent of the past three months.

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