Saturday, November 25, 2006

Not Us - PNB

Who's killing Malaysia's Corporate Giants? PNB, of course, is the prime suspect behind Synergy Drive Sdn Bhd and the proposed super-merger of Sime Darby, Kumpulan Guthrie and Golden Hope. In his Comment in StarBiz today, Errol Oh writes:
"Although just about everyone has heard the rumours of the merger, observers believe that the management of the three listed groups were taken by surprise when PNB finally made its move through Synergy Drive Sdn Bhd. This perhaps reflects PNB's resolve to make the deal happen."
But is that so? PNB chief executive officer and president Hamad Kama Piah Che Othman spoke up late yesterday said "the merger would be encouraged as long as it created value and gave benefits to the shareholders. He also said "PNB has also not seen the proposal, the three companies only informed PNB about the suspension". When asked if the move was initiated by PNB, he said: "It is not a question of who initiated it. We have to see the ultimate result. Otherwise how PNB is going to support all this."
Finally, he added:
"Synergy Drive is not our company but the thing is we always believe that whatever they do they should take consideration of PNB's expectation."
Read the full article here. Hamad Kama Piah does not sound to me like he's on the ball. Someone else made that move through Synergy Drive Sdn Bhd, Oh Errol.


  1. Thus far, still no word from the CEOs of the three companies.

    Or is there a gag order from UMNO politicians since these CEOs are all politically appointed?

    Or is that young punk up to his monkey tricks again? Remember Pantai Holdings?

    Let's rename this new special purpose vehicle 'Synergy Drive' to 'Siphon Dry', shall we.

  2. Anonymous11:16 pm

    Yes, we do have a rampant "Not me" syndrome.
    Actually we have many other syndromes just like AIDS, eg. truth denial, wings have been clipped, ignorance is bliss,yes men, no balls, you name it,we got it, etc etc

  3. Anonymous7:03 am


    I picked this piece from


    NOVEMBER 25, 2006

    Najib Is A Liar

    The Deputy Prime Minister did not tell you the truth when he spoke of the proposed mega plantation merger.

    On Thursday, Najib said:

    Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said the Government supports the initiative taken by parent PNB, aimed at rationalising and consolidating the three plantation groups under one roof.

    "This is PNB's initiative. I believe they want to rationalise the companies within the group and they have decided plantation companies should be consolidated into one roof. This is one of the processes towards that.

    "We support the move decided by the trustees of PNB, of which I am one of the members. This is the position that we (the Government) have taken," he told reporters after opening the Malaysian Capital Market Summit in Kuala Lumpur yesterday. [Business Times]
    "This is PNB's initiative".

    Really, Datuk Seri? I mean, no shit?

    Then what about this?

    Permodalan Nasional Bhd (PNB) has yet to see a proposal to merge three of its plantations companies, its chief executive officer Tan Sri Hamad Kama Piah Che Othman said.

    ... Shares of the three companies and their subsidiaries were suspended on Thursday morning. The companies said they were considering an approach by an outside vehicle, Synergy Drive Sdn Bhd, about a change in business direction. Synergy Drive is
    "not our company", Hamad Kama Piah

    ... "We have to see what is the result ultimately because we want to make sure the exercise is beneficial to PNB ... otherwise, how is PNB going to support all this?"

    "We want to make sure the resultant position is creating value for PNB," he emphasised. [Business Times]

    Does that sound like PNB initiated the move to you?

    Najib said, "We support the move decided by the trustees of PNB, of which I am one of the members."

    Here are the board of trustees. They comprise Pak Lah, Najib, the Fat Lady, PNB chairman Ahmad Sarji and PNB director Geh Ik Cheong.

    This move was initiated behind the backs of not only the PNB CEO, but also the CEOs of all the other companies who will have to bow before Synergy Drive Sdn Bhd, which the PNB CEO said is "not our company".

    So why all the cloak and dagger stuff?

    Where is the transparency, since this is in the public interest?
    Why lie?

    What the fuck is going on here?

    AND another thing: The companies to be merged do more than just oil palm plantations. Sime Darby, for example, has a broad range of businesses.

    What the fuck is gonna happen to them?

    I already see the cronies salivating.

  4. Anonymous8:15 am

    The crooks behind this sort of deal would have had already worked on a press release (usually through a PR firm and with journalists like Errol Oh) to make the deal look like an investment based corporate decision. The Star is known to play this game. Errol's view that "This perhaps reflects PNB's resolve to make the deal happen" appears preconceived and inconsistent with Hamad Kama Piah's response merely because it had already been directly or indirectly dictated to him (Errol).

    Old trick, so i dedicate this old song: "Oh Errol, you are but a fool".

  5. Anonymous8:10 am

    Anak Muda,

    What you say is true. None of the CEO is aware of the tsunami until it hit their shore. Sime Darby Group CEO and a few of his think-tank flew off to China on Thursday to "cool-off" and re-think.

    PNB mooted the idea 3 months ago and the level 4 boys took it from there with their own version without consulting Hamad Kama Payah or the other CEOs. That's why he's pissed.

    As for the other Sime Darby unit/businesses, I can see some of the cronies already salivating over them.

    A. Sariji

  6. Anonymous7:12 pm

    The great smokescreen merger
    Or how to filch billion ringgit companies while everyone’s watching

    THERE are serious reservations over the dismantling of the Malays’ corporate soul – Sime Darby, Golden Hope and Guthrie – through a perfect corporate smokescreen: their merger. They are as cynical as they come, this merger that allows the legal and opportunistic filching of billion ringgit companies that would be hived off by the heralded amalgamation. The filching is as obvious to comprehend as the Pantai and other Malaysian corporate sell-outs to Singapore.
    No cheap Datukship for guessing who’s going to gobble up the non-plantation concerns: the rapacious hands of known cronies of the 4th floor cabal, better known as the crisis-prone puppeteers of a drowsily decrepit Prime Minister. We can safely assume that they are already fine-tuning the relevant takeover vehicles.
    To be sure, the merger of the “plantation concerns” within these three companies has longstanding merit and may be prudent for Malaysia’s well-established foray in the global palm oil and bio-fuel matrix for a generation to come. But that’s not the point.
    Every tired clich̩ had been frothily mouthed on the unification Рmother of all mergers, mega and massive Рbut unastonishingly, attention had been scrappily steered away from what would happen to the non-plantation companies that would be hived off and which predators, now circling like vultures over the corporate wasteland, would swoop into the billion ringgit businesses.
    At RM9 billion worth culled from nine listed companies, it would be the biggest pay dirt for even the savviest corporate player, a gobsmacking, drooling prospect for the cronies who would be specially selected to purloin these veritable cash cows in power, auto, property, heavy equipment and utilities..
    Although the smokescreen merger was hatched some years back, the real action started last week on Monday, Nov 20, which for everyone’s convenience is the start of the merger timeline. I suspect, like everyone else in Kuala Lumpur, Permodalan Nasional Berhad Chairman Ahmad Sarji Abdul Hamid would have likened the bleak, monsoon-mad stormy weather lately to the reservations many right-thinking people have on the consolidation.
    There were several precursors to the merger – the maddeningly difficult Golden Hope-Island & Peninsular rationalisation exercise in 2003-2005, the word that Kalimullah Hassan, no matter how incredulous it sounds, was gearing up for a PNB chairmanship (that job may instead go to 2nd Finance Minister Nor Mohamed Yakcob, seen as the co-architect of the merger) and the strong one-year market chatter that Golden Hope and Guthrie was priming up for a takeover by Sime Darby.
    The motions switched to overdrive when Ahmad Sarji received a call from the Prime Minister’s office – an executive summon to meet up with Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.
    Off went Ahmad Sarji, perhaps with a pre-supposed notion that this was a routine summon to accept another routine directive that needs execution. But the former Chief Secretary to the Government, like executives of the trifecta companies, had no real inkling of the stunner that the PM was to dump. Whether he was stunned or not, Ahmad Sarji listened attentively to Abdullah as he laid out the impending coalescence that is now dancing with the subtlety of hissing pit viper.
    Ahmad Sarji played the situation with an admirably straight poker-face, never unmasking his emotion nor sentiment, even if he disapproved of the merger. Among the senior management of the three companies, he had made it known that if he had his way, he would not have allowed this merger on the faith that the trifecta companies can be major global players in their own right. Anyway, the timing and the swiftness of its unravelling sucks.
    No matter. The next day, on Tuesday the Nov 21, PNB chief executive Hamad Kama Piah Che Othman and his senior staff were summoned by Putrajaya to get the primer on the merger on how it would be prodded. Hamad Kama Piah was taken aback at how the merger sounded and looked. He unflatteringly made his resentment categorically known days after in the Press but it now appears contrived because PNB does not want to the exercise to be seen as a related party transaction.
    Then came the bombshell: on Wednesday, the Nov 22, the three chief executives of Sime Darby (Ahmad Zubir Murshid), Golden Hope (Sabri Ahmad) and Guthrie (Wahab Maskan) were summoned in a private meeting by CIMB CEO and the merger’s grand wizard Nazir Abdul Razak. Like the proverbial magician popping out a rabbit from a hat, Nazir brusquely told the three chief executives that their companies were going to be merged.
    Sabri and Wahab took the news stunned and thunderstruck – they knew of Sime Darby’s overture in wanting to eat up Golden Hope and Guthrie but the magnitude of the amalgamation was equivalent to the rudest bitch slap to their faces. Except for Ahmad Zubir, who may have taken Nazir’s pronouncement with the coolness of someone who knew what was coming.
    Months back when the Sime Darby takeover scuttlebutt was percolating, Ahmad Zubir privately hired merger and acquisition experts and human resources consultants to crunch the numbers for the big-ass merger. It would seem the cabal found in Ahmad Zubir (the younger of the three CEOs at 40ish) a soul-mate for the threesome, a corporate hack to smoothen things out during the heady corporate transition (executive pink slips, VSS, staff shedding etc.) and to placate opposition from directors of the three companies rebelling cantankerously against the merger.
    The merger plans, it would seem, were calculatingly pre-meditated. But as artful as the cabal are, they still haven’t figured out everything. One of the grievances that would be made public in due time is how the whole shebang unravelled unprofessionally and why far too many days were imposed in suspending shares trading.
    In the aftershock of the merger quake, grunts of disapproval, reservations and other misgivings from directors and senior management of the three companies began seeping out, private or otherwise. Sime Darby had their board of directors meeting almost immediately and any director, or for that matter, any senior executive who acted like a wet blanket during that meeting may be pushed to the sidelines, if not already shoved there.
    Their major concern is the realisation that the proud history and traditions of these three giants will be relegated to the gutters and trash of history, which won’t unnerve the decision-makers, the 4th floor cabal of punks and wannabes who probably never even set foot in an oil palm plantation. The only greenery they immerse themselves in was the colour of money.
    Ahmad Zubir is already positioning himself to lead the new company after Synergy Drive completes the transaction while fashioning Sime Darby as the lead company to manage the merged juggernaut.
    However, if the merger were to be guided professionally, it would be logical that Golden Hope take the lead, seeing that they have got the palm oil business covered in every conceivable angle – upstream, downstream, oleo-chemicals, bio-diesel, global outfits, R&D, sound management…the works. Their reach limited, Sime Darby has sizeably smaller hectarage but no global palm oil-related tentacles to speak of while Guthrie’s plantation business is pock-marked with problems in Indonesia.
    Now that I’ve elaborated the background of the merger, the focus should be to:
     Identify the vultures green-lighted to swoop on the non-plantation businesses and inherit cash cows (You can put your mortgage on companies linked to the SIL);
     Ensure that Golden Hope assumes primacy of the merger. Nazir’s pronouncement of a “new business direction” is bizarre when Golden Hope has already travelled that path. All Sime Darby and Guthrie need to do is just tag along;
     Whether the board of directors will accept Synergy Drive’s offer to buy out the shares at a 5% premium based on the stocks’ closing prices (I strongly doubt it. Seeing how the share prices are spiking higher and faster than premature ejaculation, Nazir will be compelled to revise the offer by at least 15-20% to meet the recommendation by merchant bankers assigned by the three companies to evaluate SD’s offer. Besides, minority shareholders like EPF and KWAP won’t stand for that 5%).

  7. Anonymous10:36 pm

    bro, what is the significant of merging the companies that has been doing well, unless if they are in dire straits. Alexander Guthrie, Simon Darby and Harison Crossfield has been worked hard to developed their companies 180 years ago, but now, look what these idiots has done. They turned it into a rojak company and named it after a petronas lubricant oil. Kah...kah..kah