Friday, July 23, 2021

Hotel Istana: Syed Mokhtar-Fakhri Yassin cooking somethin'?

Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar AlBukhary plan to take MMC private. He did so on Tradewind Corporation in 2013 and delisting completed in 2017

With shares extremely low and no premium in valuation, it is only natural to do so. It is no big a news. There is not much of a buzz too on the announcement to close the operations of 30-year old iconic Hotel Istana too. 

It is only expected for Hotel Istana whose been competitively on the decline. With hotels across the country closing up, one can only expect so from a highly leveraged owner. The 5-star hotel is a now quarantine centre, thus one can expect it is bleeding money. 

Seemingly it is no news, but it is rather curious that unlike other hotel closure, which tend to be immediate, Hotel Istana announce on July 1st to close three months later for September 1st. 

Is it buying time to do something?

Extracting RM300 million?  

A tipster claimed Hotel Istana is being sold to the Prime Minister's son, Fakri Yassin Mahiaddin controlled PLC, Thriven Global Berhad for RM150 million. 

Apparently, it comes with a back-to-back forward agreement to sell the hotel to a company named Perspective Lane Sdn Bhd for RM450 million.  

Perspective is the registered owner of delisted Tradewind Corp, which apparently owned Hotel Istana. Before anyone jump and cry illegal, related party transaction, and make allegation of kickback, bear in mind that it looks legit. 

After all, Tradewind is private company and company is indirectly disposing its asset to company owner. With proper documentation and corporate governance process adhered to, it is legit too for Thriven. 

That is unless the tipster got his info screwed up and it turned out not to be Thriven, but Fakhri's private company, then it can or cannot be legit.  

The obvious reaction would be to accuse Syed Mokhtar channeling RM300 million to "Mahiaddin". Naturally, there will be speculation on the nature of the money. 

Going by a 2017 blog post on Captain M here, Fakhri and his brother in law, Adlan Berhan were the conduit for PPBM political fund raising for GE14. 

There have been talk within the corporate circle that these days Syed Mokhtar runs a new business called EPU. Though it is speculated but it is not Economic Planning Unit under the Prime Minister's Department. More the old pun for EPU as Electronic Photostating Unit. 

It is not sure how this info will fit in, but all these info and analysis are still speculative and mere talk. However, the tipster swore that all agreements have been signed. Presumably he or his source sighted the documents and its a matter of waiting  for execution. 

Obviously, Syed Mokhtar would not be delisting PLCs, and closing up Hotel Istana without a purpose or plan. Does it make sense?

Political Intrigues

There is not much public information on Tradewind except its last published account for 2012 on Bursa Malaysia website here. But, the accounts here are mere broad stroke and hardly not reveal much on the hospitality assets, particularly Hotel Istana.

To read, click on image 

The media reported Hotel Istana as owed by Tradewind, but strange that the not quite updated and informative Tradewind Corporate page mentioned Hotel Istana as under their hotel management. 

There is no mention of their ownership. A market source claimed Hotel Istana is not owned by Syed Mokhtar or his companies, but a rich Malay Sultan whose not bothered to liquidate his portfolio for reinvestment. Could it be Tradewind is merely managing the hotel?

Something must have ticked off the Sultan to sell this asset and more so, if the info is correct, selling it for a song. And, again if it is correct, Syed Mokhtar and Mahiaddin via his son is merely taking advantage of an opportunity. 

Thriven used to be called Mulpha and owned by Syed Mokhtar. There is a lot more to expand for analysis and speculation, but lets leave it there for others to figure out.  

Only this time, it may not meant for the election war chest. It does not seemed Mahiaddin will call it quit and the hype is he got his vote of confidence wrapped up. One Pejuang leader refrained from acknowledging he could survive beyond the July 26th to 30th Parlimentary session

Could the RM300 million be a pay off or payback for advances the then Muhyiddin made to finance PPBM early establishment as claimed by this blog before 2018 GE14?       

One inner circle once claimed that Tun Dr Mahathir held the majority in stakes held under Syed Mokhtar in Tradewind and MMC. Since its unbecoming of miserly Mahathir to give money freely, it could be him forced to give financial compensation for Mahiaddin to make way and resign.  

Mahathir recently said Azmin Ali and Mukhriz as among the few choices available as next PM. Quite sure the next PM could not be the highly unpopular Azmin and forever blurr Mukhriz

Before he bring down another PM and installing his new flavour, guessing Mahathir's preference for next PM will be Hishamuddin for the time being.    

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