Tabung Haji pares down stake in DRB-Hicom amid Proton stake sale talks

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KUALA UMPUR (May 19): Lembaga Tabung Haji has been progressively paring down its stake in business tycoon Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar Al-Bukhari’s DRB-Hicom Bhd following the proposed stake disposal in Proton Holdings Bhd to a foreign partner.

The pilgrims’ fund disposed of 4.38 million shares on May 17, bringing its direct interest in DRB-Hicom to 5.3%, a Bursa Malaysia filing showed today.

According to DRB-Hicom’s Annual Report 2016, Tabung Haji owned 91.4 million shares or 4.73% stake as at June 30, 2016.

However, it began acquiring more shares starting March 6 this year before hitting its highest level of interest in DRB-Hicom at 5.69% on April 26, before it went on to dispose of the shares.

The group’s wholly-owned Proton is on the lookout for a foreign strategic partner to ensure its sustainability. Parties comprising Chinese automaker Geely Automobile Holdings Ltd, and French companies PSA Group and Renault SA have shown interest.

While Proton has previously maintained that majority stake would remain with it, a recent news report in Bloomberg revealed that up to 51% stake of the national carmaker would be sold to a foreign party.

The proposed disposal has gained much interest, placing the stock among top active counters.

At 12.30pm, its share price rose nine sen or 5.29% to RM1.79 with 20.2 million shares transacted for a market capitalisation of RM3.48 billion. Year to date, the counter has increased 55.65%.