MPHB Capital gets privatisation offer from Surin Upatkoon

Surin Upatkoon said MPHB’s listing status brings minimal benefit to the group and its shareholders.

PETALING JAYA: MPHB Capital Bhd has received a privatisation offer from its controlling shareholder and chairman Surin Upatkoon via a selective capital reduction (SCR) exercise involving a total capital repayment of RM748.11 million.

In a filing with Bursa Malaysia, the credit services provider said it received an offer letter from Upatkoon’s private vehicle Casi Management Sdn Bhd (CMSB) today with the privatisation offer at RM1.70 per share.

The offer price represents an 4.1% premium to its closing price of RM1.63 today but is a 30.8% premium to the three-month volume-weighted average price of RM1.30.

The Thai national and his family together control 43% of MPHB, according to an accompanying statement.

CMSB stated that the entitled shareholders, who collectively hold over 440.01 million MPHB shares, representing about 62.68% of the total issued shares, will receive a total capital repayment of RM748.11 million, equivalent to RM1.70 per share in cash.

Upatkoon’s vehicles CMSB owns a 32.92% stake while MWE Holdings Sdn Bhd has 4.4% stake.

CMSB also said that since the proposed SCR exceeds the current issued share capital of MPHB, a bonus issue of 146.06 million MPHB shares will be undertaken by capitalising RM123.022 million from MPHB’s retained earnings.

The bonus shares will not be credited to entitled shareholders and will be cancelled under the proposed capital reduction and repayment to be undertaken subsequently.

“The proposed SCR would provide a good opportunity for entitled shareholders to exit and realise their holdings in MPHB,” added CMSB.

The low-profile tycoon does not plan to maintain MPHB’s listing status on Bursa’s Main Market.

On the rationale for the privatisation, Upatkoon said MPHB’s listing status brings “minimal benefit to the group and its shareholders” as it has not undertaken any fundraising activity from the capital market over the past decade.

He said taking MPHB private will provide the group greater flexibility to develop its existing business without regulator restrictions and improve its utilisation of resources, prospects and future growth.

The 75-year-old Upatkoon made his fortune across sectors from insurance to telecom. Most of his wealth comes from selling a 10% stake in Thai telecom company InTouch in 2013.

He is in 19th position on Forbes’ Malaysia’s 50 Richest list with a net worth of US$1.05 billion (RM4.93 billion).

Upatkoon moved to Penang for school, completing his secondary education in Han Chiang High School in 1970. He started his career as a manager at MWE Weaving in 1971 and rose through the ranks, and has been in Malaysia ever since, according to Forbes.

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