A silver lining for IOI Prop minority shareholders

By THE STAR

PETALING JAYA: Is there a silver lining for the minority shareholders of IOI Properties Bhd (IOI Prop) holding a combined 8.67% stake now that the privatisation and the de-listing of the company are imminent?

In a filing with the stock exchange yesterday, IOI Corp Bhd announced that at the close of its voluntary takeover offer on March 31, it now held about 742,328,471 50 sen shares, representing 91.33% of the issued and paid-up share capital in IOI Prop.

But all is not lost for minority shareholders who oppose the deal. According to Minority Shareholder Watchdog Group (MSWG) chief executive officer Rita Benoy Bushon, there are still several options. She said minority shareholders could: sell their IOI Prop shares in the market before 5pm on April 6, write to IOI Corp and offer their shares, or remain in the unlisted entity of IOI Prop.

Bushon said minority shareholders who wished to remain in the unlisted entity of IOI Prop would have their investment locked in the unlisted IOI Prop with limited exit strategy.

On a positive note, she said the minority shareholders would be entitled to dividend payments declared by IOI Prop to IOI Corp in the future, but this was at the board’s discretion.

Moreover, substantial property transactions by directors or substantial shareholders of IOI Corp would require minority shareholders’ approval at a general meeting.

“In this case, IOI Corp would have to abstain from voting. Thus, minority shareholders would still determine the outcome of the meeting,” she said.

Bushon said minority shareholders who held on to their shares and were willing to ride along with IOI Corp could benefit from IOI Prop’s performance in the long run.

“Hence, IOI Prop minority shareholders are still a force in the long run, despite IOI Prop being unlisted,” she noted.

Bushon reiterated that MSWG was neither for nor against the motion to proceed with the privatisation of IOI Corp.

“We are here to educate minority shareholders on their rights and provide a platform for meaningful dialogue between shareholders and corporations and communicate both parties’ concerns,” she added.

Under the Companies Act 1965, the rights of the minority shareholders (even in the case of the unlisted IOI Prop) are regulated.

With more than 90% of IOI Prop now held by IOI Corp, trading in IOI Prop shares would be suspended from 9am next Tuesday.

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