By Thomas Huong
KUALA LUMPUR - The much-awaited listing of Felda Global Ventures Holdings Bhd (FGVH) got off to a flying start with the shares being the top gainer and the most actively traded on Bursa Malaysia's main market.
Shares of the agri-business powerhouse closed 75 sen higher to RM5.30, with 261.6 million shares changing hands.
This means that FGVH's stock had gained a 16.5 per cent premium to the reference price of RM4.55.
This is the second largest initial public offering in the world this year after that of Nasdaq's Facebook Inc. It is also the third largest ever IPO in Malaysia.
FGVH is the world's third largest oil palm operator, according to business research and consulting firm Frost & Sullivan.
FGVH's proposed listing had met with opposition from some quarters, and which Felda chairman Tan Sri Isa Abdul Samad expects to continue.
"I am sure these people will continue to lie and do things to tarnish the image of FGVH," he said.
"They want our share price to drop so that they can agitate the Felda settlers," he said here yesterday.
FGVH's IPO raised RM10.4bil and attracted strong demand from both foreign and domestic investors despite the volatile market conditions worldwide.
Bursa Malaysia chief executive officer Datuk Tajuddin Atan said FGVH's listing had amplified Malaysia's position in global capital markets.
"Malaysia has been widely reported to be Asia's top IPO (initial public offering) destination so far this year, ahead of Hong Kong and Shenzhen," he said.
"This has strengthened our quest to become the leading marketplace in Asia."
Meanwhile, FGVH group president Sabri Ahmad said the company had begun formulating plans and strategies to grow its business.
"We will focus on our upstream business to be among the leading players in oil palm, rubber and sugar," he added.
Cornerstone investors in FGVH include Qatar Holding LLC, Fidelity Investment Management (Hong Kong), Value Partners Hong Kong Ltd, Employees Provident Fund, Permodalan Nasional Bhd, Lembaga Tabung Haji, Kumpulan Wang Persaraan (Diperbadankan), American International Assurance Bhd and Hong Leong Foundation.
In a statement, FGVH noted that Felda's 112,635 settlers were the biggest immediate beneficiaries of the listing with a windfall cash payment of RM15,000 being paid to them in stages as well as the opportunity to own shares.