Malakoff Corp., Malaysia’s largest independent power producer, plans to raise over US$ 800m in an initial public offering. If successful this will be Malaysia’s largest share offering in over a year. But Malakoff, which manages several power generation and water desalination plants throughout Malaysia and the Middle East, has cancelled IPO offerings twice in the past two years due to weak demand. “Challenging” is the politically correct word most often used to describe the current investment environment in Malaysia; falling oil prices and a 10% fall in the ringgit’s value against the US dollar have forced many other companies to postpone stock flotation plans.
Interestingly, Malakoff’s parent company is owned by tycoon Syed Mokhtar al-Bukhary, one of Malaysia’s richest men who is closely linked to the ruling UMNO political party. Al-Bukhary is routinely accused of maintaining a monopoly over Malaysia’s sugar industry, and recently achieved notoriety when his Tradewinds refinery profited handsomely after the government suddenly reduced a price subsidy that substantially improved the company’s profits.