Friday, September 30, 2011

The Liew factor in SP Setia

KUALA LUMPUR: Tan Sri Liew Kee Sin will be a major force in deciding whether or not SP Setia Bhd accepts the offer made by Permodalan Nasional Bhd (PNB), analysts said.

And the view is Liew, who helped to build SP Setia, is likely to stay on with the company even if PNB's offer is accepted.

"His (Liew's) decision will sway whether other investors will take up the offer," Jupiter Securities head of research Pong Teng Siew said.

On Wednesday, PNB offered to gain control of the property company for RM3.90 a share and 91 sen per warrant. It also wants to keep SP Setia listed.

But this was rejected by SP Setia's board on the same day, saying the offer "fundamentally undervalues" the property developer and that it will seek rival bidders.

As the one who built the company, it is unlikely that Liew will leave SP Setia, because of sentimental reasons and the fact that no one wants him to leave.

"Since PNB wants to maintain SP Setia's listing status, Liew's stake is also protected, compared to if the company was not listed. This is his business," another analyst said.

Last night, PNB expressed its confidence in the existing management team and its intention to continue to work with them to deliver value to shareholders.

PNB now has 33.17 per cent of SP Setia, Liew holds another 11.26 per cent and SP Setia's foreign shareholding is some 21 per cent.

Meanwhile, Pong opined that it was unlikely that a management buyout could happen.

"Given the sheer size of the company, I doubt that there is anyone who can outdo the offer," Pong said.

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