No news yet on Bernas relisting, says Ismail Sabri

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KUALA LUMPUR (Nov 20): The Government has not received any update on plan to re-list Padiberas Nasional Behad (Bernas) which is controlled by tycoon Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar Al Bukhary.

Accoding to Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob,  Minister of Agriculture and Agro-based Industry, Bernas is undergoing a restructuring process and it is unclear when the company will go public again.

"I don't know how long the restructuring will go on. I have yet to receive a report from them [Bernas]," Ismail Sabri told Parliament when wrapping up the Budget 2015 committee stage debate.

As long as Bernas fulfilled its obligations under the concession agreement, there is no issue on when they re-list on Bursa Malaysia, he said.

Bernas was privatised after Syed Mokhtar's Tradewind Corp Bhd made a mandatory takeover on Bernas and subsequently de-listed the company in March this year.

In a written reply to Alor Setar MP Gooi Hsiao Leung in June, the minister said the government had waived RM2.25 billion worth of duty on rice imported between 2008 and 2013 by Bernas.

According to the latest Bernas' annual report, for the financial year ended Dec 31, 2012, the company made a net profit of RM117.44 million.

Previously a government body, Bernas was corporatised and subsequently privatised in 1996 and went public a year later. Among the obligations undertaken by Bernas include managing the national rice stock pile, rice importation and distribution, and paddy price subsidy scheme.

Bernas was given a sole permit to import rice into Malaysia which has been extended to 2021.