KUALA LUMPUR (Sept 14): Authorities should make it compulsory for public listed companies to revalue their assets prior to any privatisation exercise so that minority shareholders can better evaluate buyout offers, a shareholder watchdog group said Friday.
"We reiterate our call to authorities to mandate the revaluation of properties prior to any privatisation exercise," Rita Benoy Bushon, the CEO of the Minority Shareholder Watchdog Group (MSWG) wrote in a weekly newsletter dated Friday.
Her comment was in reference to the privatisation of Glenealy Plantations Bhd, which was passed by shareholders at a court-convened meeting earlier this week, where Bushon said some queries by minorities weren't sufficiently addressed.
"The most apparent was on the issue of the group's landed properties, comprising mainly plantation land which have not been re-valued since 1998," she wrote in the newsletter.
On Wednesday, Bushon told The Edge Financial Daily that an updated valuation report on assets like plantations land would make it easier for minority shareholders to make educated decisions with regards to takeover offers. The valuation reports should be within a six month period prior to the privatisation exercise to ensure validity of the numbers, she added in an emailed reply.
"Though the law is silent on the revaluation of land in cases of privatisation, we urge companies to embrace transparency by undertaking such revaluations especially when most assets are land-based," Bushon said.
In Friday's newsletter, Bushon also asked that independent advisors "play their role in advising minority shareholders with greater sense of responsibility". When advising minority shareholders, Bushon said advisors should, for instance, "be transparent" about material parameters such as how the absence of an up-to-date asset revaluation exercise could impede decision-making.