June 27, 2008

UMW May Delay Listing of Oil and Gas Division

By Rupinder Singh

UMW Holdings Bhd said it may not be able to list its oil and gas business by September this year, and will seek a six-month extension if the market remains sluggish.

Group managing director Datuk Dr Abdul Halim Harun told reporters the company is continuously reassessing the situation and will submit a fresh proposal if it passes the six-month deadline.

The company, which has approval to list UMW Oil & Gas Bhd, has stalled the move following the weak performance of the stock market that has fallen by over 15 per cent so far this year.

Abdul Halim said UMW will re-look the proposal, including the finances, valuations and performance of its oil and gas companies.

He said the delay will not offset UMW's expansion in the oil and gas arena as it is financially sound.

The proposed listing exercise, upon the completion of an internal restructuring, involves a public issue of 250 million new 50 sen shares in UMW O&G. The exercise is expected to raise over RM400 million.

The internal restructuring involves UMW injecting most of its oil and gas companies into UMW O&G.

"We will also add newly acquired oil and gas companies (into UMW Oil & Gas Bhd)," he said.

Oil and gas accounts for about 30 per cent of UMW's earnings, making the business the group's second largest contributor after automobiles.

On its motor vehicle division, UMW expects to sell more Toyota and Perodua cars this year and help maintain revenue.

It said total sales has grown double digits in the first five months of this year.

On the recent fuel price hike, UMW said it has seen increased interest in compact cars with lower capacity.

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