Boustead exits University of Nottingham Malaysia, sells controlling 66% stake for RM137mil

Boustead exits University of Nottingham Malaysia, sells controlling 66% stake for RM137mil
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KUALA LUMPUR (Aug 17): Conglomerate Boustead Holdings Bhd is exiting its venture in the University of Nottingham Malaysia (UNM) by selling its 66.41% controlling stake in the UNM and the campus in Semenyih, Selangor for £23.5 million (approximately RM137 million) to University of Nottingham, United Kingdom.

In a statement, Boustead said this exit is part of its Reinventing Boustead Strategy that focusses on rationalising non-strategic assets and accelerating the group's performance improvement by capitalising on emerging opportunities for value creation within its existing core businesses, while managing its costs well to maximise returns to shareholders.

“In line with that direction, Boustead has decided to enter a conditional share sales agreement with the University of Nottingham, United Kingdom, releasing its 66.41% controlling stake and a campus in Semenyih, Selangor for £23.5 million.

“The University of Nottingham now aims to become the majority shareholder in UNM by purchasing, through a wholly-owned Malaysian subsidiary, Boustead’s shares in UNM,” Boustead said.

A private university branch campus of the University of Nottingham and the first campus of a British university in Malaysia, Boustead has been the majority shareholder of UNM since its campus establishment in 2000, while YTL Corp Bhd reportedly has about 4% and University of Nottingham holds 30%.

It was reported in December last year that Boustead had been working with an adviser on the planned sale of its majority stake in the offshore campus of the British university. Bloomberg wrote, quoting sources, that discussions were ongoing and that YTL could also follow Boustead's exit. At the time, it said the sale could value the education provider at about RM500 million. 

In Boustead's statement today, group managing director Datuk Seri Mohammed Shazalli Ramly said the exit will allow the group to further capitalise its strengths and resources more effectively in supporting the development of education in Malaysia on a wider scale.

“As a government-linked company, Boustead will continue to create other forms of collaboration and partnerships that will help prepare valuable future talents, particularly in digital technologies, renewable energy and internet of things, among others.

“We will continue to build on the established relationship with UNM, while nurturing relationship with other local tertiary institutions including Universiti Teknologi MARA and Universiti Pertahanan Nasional Malaysia, focussing on research and development in the areas of pharmaceutical, plantation, marine and aerospace, as well as oil and gas which are aligned with Boustead’s core strengths,” he said.

He added that by placing UNM under the full stewardship of the University of Nottingham, the group trusts that UNM will continue to accomplish great things in the future.

In the same statement, UNM vice-chancellor Professor Shearer West said the transaction will allow the university to build exceptional foundations in teaching and research to develop new, innovative teaching programmes and research that support sustainable development locally, regionally and globally.

Boustead shares settled two sen up at 59 sen today, giving it a market capitalisation of about RM1.2 billion.

Tan Choe Choe