Substantial shareholder MAA Group hit out at poor reputation of KNM Group’s aspirant directors

MAA Group Bhd which holds 8.55 stake or 346 million shares KNM Group Bhd has made its stance clear that it shall vote to maintain the existing board of the loss making in oil & gas (O&G) outfit by voting against the appointment of the alternative board led by German billionaire Andreas Heeschen.

Currently a general insurer in the Philippines via MAA General Assurance Philippines Inc, MAA Group also raised concerned over the candidacy of Heeschen which it claimed has since 2002 been a majority shareholder of Heckler & Koch, a firearm and weapons manufacturer.

“We note with grave concern, that Heckler & Koch was accused, in 2010 of paying bribes to Bundestag members of the German parliament, in particular, members from (former chancellor) Angela Merkel’s conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and her former coalition partners, the Free Democratic Party (FDP),” the management of MAA Group pointed out in a statement.

“The bribes were to ensure that the (German) government approved the sale of guns to Mexico. Increasing corruption within the security forces in Mexico and an on-going war with drug cartels had by then caused the German government to get cold feet about selling weapons to the country.”

For the record, Heeschen who has emerged a substantial shareholder of KNM Group with a 7.91% stake or 320 million shares has alongside seven other shareholders sought to remove all nine current directors in KNM Group. Voting is slated for next Monday (Oct 16) via a virtual extraordinary general meeting (EGM).

Aside from Heeschen, MAA Group also raised red flag on two other candidates, namely Flavio Porro and William Van Vliet who were previously employed by KNM Group during the period of its financial decline.

“We wish to highlight that Porro, an Italian qualified lawyer, was one of the only two executive directors of KNM Group at the material time of the default of KNM’s Thai bonds of 2.78 bil baht (RM354 mil) on Nov 18, 2021,” noted the MAA Group.

“Executive director should take full responsibility for their inability to manage the companies under their charge and owe a fiduciary duty to always act in the best interest of the company.”

On the contrary, MAA Group which is linked to the Negri Sembilan royalty also expressed faith in the leadership of .UK-trained chartered accountant Ravindrasingham Balasingham who was appointed as the KNM Group’s executive director/CEO on Nov 8 last year.

Ravindrasingham Balasingham

“In the 11 months since leading KNM Group, the company has secured the confidence and support of creditors to ensure that the forthcoming court convened creditors meeting will secure sufficient support for the Scheme of Arrangements (SOA) to be adopted,” asserted MAA Group.

“With the SOA, an orderly monetarisation of KNM assets can be conducted to the best interest of KNM. Any change in the current management and board of KNM, will be disruptive and potentially further destroy shareholder and creditor value.”

Added MAA Group: “As shareholders of KNM, we strongly believe that the current team at KNM should remain unchanged. We are confident that the current management and board will be able to turn the company around through its strong relationship with creditors, staff and customers.”

At 10.05am, KNM Group was up 0.5 sen or 2.94% to 17.5 sen with 10.25 million shares traded, thus valuing the company at RM708 mil.

Subscribe and get top news delivered to your Inbox everyday for FREE