UK Battersea deal was through ‘competitive process’, Malaysian property firms say

The River Thames flows by the Battersea Power Station in London, March 13, 2014, site of the SP Setia Malaysian-owned Battersea Power Station Development Co project. — Reuters pic
The River Thames flows by the Battersea Power Station in London, March 13, 2014, site of the SP Setia Malaysian-owned Battersea Power Station Development Co project. — Reuters pic

KUALA LUMPUR, June 13 — Sime Darby Property and SP Setia today asserted that they had acquired Battersea Power Station (BPS) in the UK through “a competitive tender process”. 

In a joint statement, the two property companies said funding for the project came solely from “a combination of equity from shareholders”, in response to Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s remarks reported in The Guardian that the project was funded with state funds.

“The site acquisition and the subsequent costs of the BPS development have been fully funded by a combination of equity from the shareholders together with development debt provided on commercial terms,” the statement reads. 

This, it said, was carried out through a mixed group of nine Malaysian and 60 per cent international lenders.

Sime Darby, and SP Setia, which is owned largely by Permodalan Nasional Berhad (PNB), also said that the RM2.4 billion loan for Phase 1 of the project had been repaid ahead of schedule, while the initial capital for the project and profit from the first phase has been reinvested for the development of the subsequent phases. 

The two property developers, holding 40 per cent shares each, added that the proposed reorganisation of ownership between PNB and the Employees Provident Fund (20 per cent ownership) was “purely an investment consideration”. 

“As previously assured by all parties, the decision to explore the potential reorganisation of ownership is purely an investment consideration initiated by the BPS Board and management team, together with the EPF and PNB,” the statement read. 

“From the perspective of Sime Darby Property and SP Setia, as property developers, the transaction will enable them to continue to reallocate capital to other areas of their development businesses.”

“PNB and the EPF view this as a strategic opportunity to secure ownership of a unique and iconic real estate asset which will be able to deliver sustainable income streams into the future to meet their respective income needs,” it added. 

On 18 January, preliminary negotiations began between PNB, EPF and BPS for the former two to purchase the project’s commercial assets at roughly RM8.6 billion. 

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