Wahid Omar: ‘Mischievous’ to say PNB, EPF to pay 1,000 times more for Battersea project

A general view shows Battersea power station in London on February 26, 2012. — AFP pic
A general view shows Battersea power station in London on February 26, 2012. — AFP pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 20 — It is “mischievous” to claim that Permodalan Nasional Bhd (PNB) and the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) will be paying 1,000 times more than the original price to acquire the Battersea Power Station (BPS) in London, PNB chairman Tan Sri Abdul Wahid Omar has said.

The former Cabinet minister said that he believed those who were against Malaysian firms buying over the decommissioned power station were the ones alleging so and have shopped such a narrative to news organisations.

“The reference to 1,000 times the original price is mischievous. I believe the (news report) piece was propagated by some people in UK who are unhappy with the iconic Battersea Power Station regeneration being successfully developed by Malaysian consortium of Sime Property, SP Setia and EPF [sic],” he said in a statement.

Abdul Wahid, however, did explain the differences nor did he state the exact amount EPF and PNB will be paying for the takeover.

According to news reports, both EPF and PNB will be paying £1.6 billion (RM8.76 billion) to buy out the stakes of Sime Darby Bhd and SP Setia after the derelict power station is transformed into a mixed development that is set to gentrify the area.

PNB is already an indirect stakeholder in the ambitious project via its equity in both Sime Darby and SP Setia while the EPF currently owns 20 per cent of the project.

Under the deal, the EPF will also drop its role as a developer to become the asset manager of the partnership with PNB.

Explaining further about the project, Abdul Wahid said the main commercial BPS building will include a shopping mall and offices.

He said Apple Inc will be among the main tenants, adding that the US-based company has already signed up a 500,000 square foot tenancy space at the upcoming development.

“This is potentially the future happening place in London. The American Embassy has just moved into the adjacent Nine Elms neighbourhood,” he said.

 In terms of connectivity, Abdul Wahid said the Thames water taxi service is already operational while construction for an underground Battersea station was underway.

 Construction officially began on July 2013, with the overall development anticipated to finish by 2025, although the Battersea Power Station will open to the public in 2019.

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