Businessman says Khairy non-factor in ECM Libra’s RM330m valuation

(The Malaysian Insider) – Businessman Datuk Seri Kalimullah Hassan denied today Khairy Jamaluddin’s involvement with ECM Libra Bhd resulted in the investment bank’s valuation to rise to RM330 million in the reverse takeover of South Peninsular Industries (SPI) in March 2004.

The former New Straits Times Press (NSTP) deputy chairman told the High Court here in his defamation suit against lawyer Matthias Chang that the son-in-law of then-Prime Minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi only joined the company as “a junior staff” after the deal was done.

Chang’s lawyer Datuk R. Kamalanathan had said that ECM Libra was preparing to make the Rembau MP a shareholder “on the basis of his relationship with the prime minister, who was also the finance minister”, allowing the board of directors to value the company at 10 times its projected earnings for the year.

“Absolutely not true. Khairy is not relevant. That is untrue and scurrilous,” Kalimullah said.

He said the valuation was based on “industry norms and a willing buyer, willing seller basis,” citing Kencana Petroleum’s recent 25 times valuation in its merger with SapuraCrest.

Kalimullah said “there is nothing wrong” with hiring Khairy as a director in ECM Libra for his connections but stressed that this was “not just politicians but with industries, this is how business is done.”

“Wouldn’t you agree that this is entirely corrupt? Stealing a march on an ordinary person who has no connections?” Kamalanathan asked.

“Then every investment banker in town is corrupt,” Kalimullah replied.