It was a revealing article in The Edge where Jerneh Asia spokeswoman said "We are concentrating on the corporate exercise of the insurance business ... we are still in the midst of talking to the relevant parties on a stake sale.." How to deny but not really deny!
Robert Kuok does not "play up" his counters. Jerneh Asia was below RM1.50 as early as November last year. There were two big ramp up sessions, the first was a couple of months back when it went to RM2.40, and the recent one which we are in the midst of - which went above RM2.80.
There was a corporate announcement in December last year that Bank Negara had no objection in principle for it to commence talks with relevant parties keen to acquire its 80% stake in Jerneh Insurance Bhd. That looked pretty clear to me.
There could two options, a sale or a privatisation. Robert Kuok has been streamlining its business activities in Malaysia disposing the sugar unit to Felda for RM1.29bn. I think Robert is getting out of businesses where he cannot see the ability to be a major player regionally. Looking at where his net worth has been getting the bulk of the incremental wealth from - its, properties and palm oil.
There are plenty of interest now in Jerneh's business, in particular after Prudential scooping AIA. Read the Great Eastern (Overseas Assurance) article in the link below:
The final question is what price. Its NTA is RM2.41. Looking at similar deals, they have been between 1.5x to 2.5x. Jerneh' insurance business is well managed and should be priced at a premium to recent deal but probably would be closer to 2.0x. This makes for a range of between RM3.61-RM4.82. Caveat emptor people, but it looks good.
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