Buck up on investment returns, Shahrir tells FGV, FIC

Felda currently makes an annual gross income of over RM200 million from its 40,000 hectares of plantations, in addition to FGV’s contribution and nearly RM1 billion from monetisation of assets. — Reuters pic
Felda currently makes an annual gross income of over RM200 million from its 40,000 hectares of plantations, in addition to FGV’s contribution and nearly RM1 billion from monetisation of assets. — Reuters pic

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KUALA LUMPUR, April 17 — The Federal Land Development Authority (Felda) wants better investment returns from its two subsidiaries — Felda Global Ventures Bhd (FGV) and the Felda Investment Corp (FIC) — to benefit its settlers more.

Felda chairman Tan Sri Shahrir Abdul Samad said FGV should return to its core competency in managing plantations, amid controversies surrounding the latter’s investments, The Star reported today.

“The returns can be improved. We used to own the plantations [currently held by FGV] and we know what kind of returns that can be given to the shareholders,” Shahrir was quoted as saying.

“They have to look at ways to improve. They can collaborate with other plantation companies to increase profits. As the major shareholder we want to see better returns.”

Felda holds a 33 per cent stake in FGV, but the latter only contributes around RM300 million back to the former annually, The Star reported.

Shahrir also lamented that after three years of its incorporation, FIC was still not giving desired returns from investments in hotels, properties and listed-companies, even as Felda invested RM2 billion in the company.

“I leave it to the new board to decide on investment matters. It comprises industry professionals and most of them are outside of Felda so there are no inherent conflicts.

“They will be accountable for FIC’s future performance,” he said.

Felda currently makes an annual gross income of over RM200 million from its 40,000 hectares of plantations, in addition to FGV’s contribution and nearly RM1 billion from monetisation of assets.

Shahrir also said that Felda will be returning to its roots to serve its 112,000 settlers, including providing them with 20,000 affordable homes in a partnership with Syarikat Perumahan Negara Bhd.

“In previous housing schemes Felda used to do everything by itself. There are some problems by doing this because it then became contractor-driven and at the same time we forgot about the state having to get involved too because land is a state matter.

“To avoid delays, we decided to do this as a programme, not just as something that is part of the group’s profit and loss,” Shahrir was quoted as saying.

The report said each settler can live in a 1,000-square feet house for 25 years by paying RM270 a month. Second-generation settlers are also eligible to apply for the RM45,000 house via a ballot.

Shahrir, the MP for Johor Baru, was named the new Felda chairman on January 6 replacing Tan Sri Mohd Isa Abdul Samad whose term has ended. Isa, however, remains FGV chairman.

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