New shareholders to emerge in Masterskill?

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KUALA LUMPUR: It appears new substantial shareholders will be emerging in Masterskill Education Group Bhd (MEGB) following a sale of 30 million shares in two off-market transactions yesterday.

The blocks of shares, representing a 7.97% stake, were transacted at 60 sen apiece, for a total of RM18 million.

When contacted by The Edge Financial Daily, Masterskill’s major shareholder and executive director Siva Kumar M Jeyapalan said he had not been involved in the transactions — and that his stake in the group is intact — but said he is “open to new shareholders coming in”.

While the buyers and sellers of the shares were not stated, it seems that the group’s former chief executive officer (CEO) Datuk Seri Dr Edmund Santhara could be one of the vendors, as he held 25.6 million shares or 6.25% as at May 3 this year.  

Market talk suggests that the new shareholders could be a group of businessmen buying collectively.

There is also speculation that technology solutions provider SMRT Holdings Bhd could be one of the new shareholders, but The Edge Financial Daily understood that this is untrue.

Meanwhile, in several Bursa Malaysia filings yesterday, the group’s CEO Gary How Soong Khong, his wife Yap Yoke Chuan, and non-independent non-executive director Liew Kok Wai, have resigned from their positions.

Additionally, in a separate filing, the group said it will embark on an asset light strategy and proposed to dispose of all its assets.

Siva Kumar will be making an offer for four of its properties, namely the group’s Cheras, Kuching, Kota Kinabalu and Johor campuses, and then lease them back to MEGB for 10 years, with an option to extend another five years.

“The price of how much I offer for the buildings will be subject to an independent valuation as well. I have to be the one to make an offer since it would be hard to convince people to buy my buildings as we are currently a loss-making business. The Johor Baru campus will be reactivated if our turnaround plan is a success,” he told The Edge Financial Daily.

The group’s four new and non-operating buildings in Kota Baru (two buildings), Petaling Jaya and Kota Kinabalu in Sabah will be sold to outside bidders for a sum that is close to their book value of RM118 million, said Siva Kumar.

Part of the sale proceeds will used to settle the group’s existing borrowings, which stood at RM42 million as at June 30 this year, while the remainder will be for working capital or distributed to shareholders as dividends, MEGB said in its filing with Bursa.

The stock closed 4.5 sen or 7.83% higher yesterday to 62 sen, giving it a market capitalisation of RM225.65 million.


This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on November 7, 2014.