KNM Group director aspirants stand better chance to turnaround European units

CONTRARY to popular belief, the new management/board of KNM Group Bhd – should it be able to unseat the existing management/board at the upcoming extraordinary general meeting (EGM) – has no intention to acquire crown jewel Borsig GmbH on the cheap but instead plan to grow the oil & gas (O&G) engineering outfit to its fullest potential.

Spokesman Andreas Heeschen (main pic) who currently leads a team of eight director candidates to take over the current KNM Group management/board said the new board will prioritise as its first goal debt repayment for the KNM Group via bridging loan, special issuance of bond, inter-government financing, appropriate corporate exercise or combination of the above.

“Until after the EGM, we wish to send all creditors and stakeholders a reassuring message of continuity, meaning that the new leadership will not disrupt or delay the currently already taken decisions until only when a better solution (under the timeframe and the financial standpoint of view) shows up in the starting blocks.”

The German billionaire who has emerged a substantial shareholder of the O&G outfit with a 7.91% stake or 320 million shares alongside seven other shareholders have sought to remove all nine current directors in KNM Group. Voting is slated for Oct 16 (Monday) via a virtual extraordinary general meeting (EGM).

Speaking at a virtual media conference, Heeschen further denied that the exercise is a hostile takeover attempt but merely “to inject financial support for the company”.

In so doing, he said the new management/board aspires to set up a crystal-clear strategy which is to settle the group’s debt with fund raising options at hand, exit the PN17 status, keep and enhance the group’s key assets, re-vitalise those assets in need of CAPEX and sustain a long-term growth.

Flavio Porro (middle) with some of the aspirant directors of KNM Group Bhd at yesterday’s virtual media conference in Petaling Jaya

“Obviously, the final goal is to reflect true value in the share price of KNM Group. In this regard, Borsig has a far greater potential under the right leadership via new businesses and possibly new acquisition,” asserted director-aspirant Flavio Porro who was previously KNM Group’s former executive director.

In a media statement, the new management/board further stressed that it does not intend to tolerate prolonged idleness or asset stripping which only deprive KNM Group’s NTA (net tangible asset).

Even as the current management has declared to have “spearheaded the monetisation of the group’s assets to repay lenders”, the new management/board claimed that it has only managed to trace “the announced ill-advised decision to liquidate FBM Hudson Italiana SpA for a mere €22 mil”.

“Such value unfortunately reflects the vertical and unprecedented decline experienced by the former KNM Group’s wholly owned subsidiary over the last 10 months,” it lamented.

“This is not just a financial misstep if we consider that the assets are worth more than €40 mil. This is ultimately a damage to the group’s creditors as well as a legal quagmire in that the transaction falls within the mandatory Italian assets protection law whereby a clearance has not been obtained.”

Commenting on its global rehabilitation plan, the new management/board said as far as FBM Hudson is concerned, it will have to “first meet the announced potential buyer to understand the next course of action”.

“We look at the Thai asset (Impress Ethanol Ltd) merely as a matter of CAPEX with the aim to re-starting 200,000 litre./day production and re-financing (the project). Phase 2 may entail a possible increase to 500,000 litre/day. This is all about a completely new high-level approach to manage-to-perform while enhancing local content and connections.”

The ill-fated Peterborough Green Energy Ltd project in UK also deserves a saga conclusion with an option of disposing the land and another option of disposing the land together with the project.

“Offers are already available,” claimed the new team. “Finally, the re-starting of the Malaysian factories which encompass intra-KNM Group new branding; technology shifting and sharing; manpower enhancing and optimisation.”

At the close of today’s trading, KNM Group was down 0.5 sen or 2.86% to 17 sen with 130.55 million shares traded, thus valuing the company at RM688 mil. – Oct 6, 2023

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