Ekuinas keen to sell Burger King franchise, says chief executive officer

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KUALA LUMPUR: Ekuinas Nasional Bhd is open to divesting its investments it has held beyond three years as part of its investment strategy, not excluding its 74.1% stake in Cosmo Restaurants Sdn Bhd, the franchise holder of Burger King in Malaysia. It also wholly owns the franchise for Singapore under Burger King Singapore.

“In order to generate a return, we will be in the process of divesting a number of investments, especially those that we have kept for more than three years, whether it’s the Burger King investment, or any other investment that we have,” chief executive officer Datuk Abdul Rahman Ahmad said during a press conference yesterday.

However, he declined to comment on the current stage of negotiations with Brahim’s Holdings Bhd on the potential sale of its Burger King franchise as the government-linked private equity fund management company has a policy of not commenting on prospective investments or divestments until formally materialised.

On the divestment of its education arm, Ilmu Group, Abdul Rahman said this would be its next big project. “The next big project is to look at the potential listing of Ilmu, which we hope to execute at end-2015 or early-2016,” he said.

Ekuinas has announced that it will be distributing RM500 million worth of its gains to the wider bumiputera community via Yayasan Pelaburan Bumiputra for the benefit of bumiputera unit holders of Permodalan Nasional Bhd.

As at Dec 31, 2013, Ekuinas generated a gross portfolio return of RM655.9 million, translating into a gross annualised internal rate of return of 25.5% through 30 investments worth over RM2.3 billion. To date, it has undertaken investments in fast-moving consumer goods, oil and gas, logistics, education and retail.

The amount has been derived from gains recorded by Ekuinas’ first fund, Ekuinas Direct (Tranche 1) Fund.

“We plan to make Ekuinas self-funded in three years,” said chairman Raja Tan Sri Arshad Raja Tun Uda, adding that Ekuinas has received RM3 billion out of RM 5 billion allocated by the government since Ekuinas’ inception in 2009.

 

This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on November 20, 2014.