KNM Group: New substantial shareholder Mahmud Abu Bekir Taib is on our side

LOSS making KNM Group Bhd which is currently embroiled in a boardroom tussle has shot down unfounded claims that its new substantial shareholder Datuk Seri Mahmud Abu Bekir Taib is favouring the takeover board led-by German billionaire Andreas Heeschen.

In this regard, the oil & gas (O&G) engineering outfit has furnished the media with an official quote attributed to the son of Sarawak Yang di-Pertua Negeri Tun Abdul Taib Mahmud who on last Friday (Oct 6) acquired 203.47 million shares or a 5.03% stake in KNM from the open market as follows:

“I have the fullest confidence in the current board of directors under the strong leadership of Tunku Datuk Yaacob Khyra. They have formulated a very strong sound plan for KNM Group Bhd.”

Abu Bekir is currently the deputy group chairman and non-independent and non-executive director of Sarawak-based cement manufacturer Cahya Mata Sarawak Bhd (CMS).

Describing Mahmud’s statement as an “unequivocal support for Tunku Yaacob and the current KNM management and board”, the cash-strap O&G outfit further regarded “any statement otherwise by any other party as “cheeky, willful and a deliberate attempt to mislead KNM’s shareholders”.

This is in light of the ‘showdown’ on Oct 16 (coming Monday) whereby Heeschen who teamed up with other shareholders who jointly hold a 10.68% stake (his portion is 7.91%) has proposed to unseat the current nine-member board via voting at an extraordinary general meeting (EGM).

Among others, the group is seeking to appoint Johor Princess Tunku Kamariah Aminah Maimunah lskandariah Sultan Iskandar as chairman to replace Tunku Yaacob who has a 9.44% indirect stake (via MAA Group Bhd).

To re-cap, the elder sister to Johor ruler Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar while extending an olive branch to Tunku Yaacob yesterday (Oct 10) had reportedly welcome her “favourite businessman” Mahmud Abu Bekir “to vote in the EGM and assist in getting KNM out of PN17”.

KNM shareholders will decide if they prefer to retain the current board or favour the Heeschen-led takeover board which comprised the group’s former executive director Flavio Porro and employee William H Van Vliet III.

At the close of today’s trading, KNM continued its slide by shedding 1 sen or 8.33% to 11 sen, thus valuing the company at RM445 mil. Since Friday’s (Oct 6) close, the group’s market capitalisation has dipped 35.3% (Oct 6: RM688 mil at 17 sen) – Oct 11, 2023

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