NCB jumps 7% after Edge FD reports Syed Mokhtar may buy stake

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KUALA LUMPUR (Nov 25): NCB Holdings Bhd rose as much as 7% after The Edge Financial Daily reported that tycoon Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar Albukhary may acquire a 15.73% stake in the port operator.

The Edge Financial Daily, quoting sources, reported that Syed Mokhtar via MMC Corp Bhd, was believed to in talks to buy the NCB stake from MISC Bhd.

At 12.30pm, NCB marched 11 sen to settle at RM2.44. The stock had earlier risen 17 sen or 7% to hit an intraday high of RM2.50.

For comparison, MMC rose two sen to settle at RM2.46. Earlier, the stock gained four sen or 1.6% to reach a high of RM2.48.

MISC gained two sen to RM7.52. It scaled as much as seven sen or 1% to RM7.57.

Maybank Investment Bank Bhd upgraded NCB shares to a "hold" from "sell" with a target price (TP) of RM2.25.

Maybank analyst Lee Yen Ling said MMC would like to gain control of NCB with a "more meaningful" stake in the latter.

Lee said the injection of Syed Mokhtar's Port of Tanjung Pelepas into NCB was a possibility. But the move hinged on NCB’s largest shareholder Permodalan Nasional Bhd's (PNB) approval.

PNB owns 47.71% in NCB.

Kenanga Investment Bank Bhd wrote in a note today assuming MMC acquired the 15.73% NCB stake, MMC would have to fork out about RM135.4 million to RM172.4 million for the shares.

Kenanga said the price range was deemed cheap. “We are comfortable if MMC Corp uses NCB as vehicle to spin off its lucrative port businesses,” Kenanga said.

ON MISC, Kenanga said the move to divest its NCB stake would enable MISC to focus on its core shipping business.

Kenanga maintained its "underperform" rating for MISC shares with a TP of RM7.49. Kenanga also kept its "underperform" recommendation for NCB with a TP of RM1.83.

On MMC, Kenanga kept its "market perform" call for the stock with a TP of RM2.81.