Halim Saad’s ex-aide in NFC takeover

Cynthia Blemin and Terence Fernandez, fz.com

Businessman Datuk Anuar Othman is making a comeback to the corporate world in the potential takeover the National Feedlot Corporation (NFCorp) Sdn Bhd’s cattle farming project.

Anuar, the right-hand man of corporate kingpin, Tan Sri Halim Saad (picture), back in the 90’s is said to have vested interest in the takeover via an investment-linked company, VC Mahawangsa Sdn Bhd.
A source close to the deal said Anuar who holds the position as the executive chairman of VC Mahawangsa, has offered to takeover NFCorp’s assets and liabilities.
It is not known if this news confirms that Anuar and Halim have kissed and made up following their acrimonious parting of ways. 
However, according to sources, Halim Saad was present in at least one meeting with senior NFC officials.
“The beef business is a RM2 billion a year industry and annual profits are RM400 million.
“So even if NFC gets 10%, you are talking about RM40 million,” said an industry source.
The business could have taken off if the government had fulfilled its obligations of the agreement by building the abattoirs as it was supposed to, the source added.  
A press conference to announce the sale of shares between NFCorp and VC Mahawangsa was scheduled to take place at Doubletree by Hilton here yesterday. However, the event was called off by organisers.
“The press conference was called off because the deal has yet to be properly finalised. 
“There are still issues that need to be trashed out and once those concerns are addressed, a proper announcement would be made.
“One party was probably too eager to make the announcement … which is premature at this point,” the source added.
NFCorp, the company that runs the controversial National Feedlot Centre (NFC) is owned and operated by Wanita Umno chief Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil’s family.
On March 12, last year, Shahrizat’s husband Datuk Seri Dr Mohamad Salleh Ismail, in his capacity as the director of NFCorp was charged with CBT amounting to RM9,758,140 to fund part purchase of two units of condominium in Kuala Lumpur and transferring RM40 million into the account of National Meat & Livestock Corporation Sdn Bhd in 2009.
Mohamad Salleh who is also NFCorp executive chairman, has maintained that not all the RM250 million soft loan from the government was utilised, and the company was in fact still servicing the loan.
He had argued that the purchases of high-end condominiums were investments to reap profits to service the loan.
Supporters of Salleh and his wife have blamed the failure of the Agriculture Ministry to build export quality abattoirs for NFC’s inability to make the project a success.
The resurfacing of both Umno-linked businessmen Halim and Anuar in NFCorp, is a clear indication that Putrajaya’s had given their nod in an attempt to make the company commercially viable.  
In October, this year, the Finance Ministry announced the potential takeover of NFCorp by Japanese company Kirimitonas Agro Sdn Bhd (KASB). But the deal fell through and ended due to failure to reach an agreement.
In 2006, both Halim and Anuar made headlines when Justice Sri Gopal Sri Ram, in his judgment, remarked that the duo from Metramac Corp Sdn Bhd, had enjoyed the patronage of former finance minister Tun Daim Zainuddin. Halim who was the executive chairman of Renong and in turn controls UEM Group, was  highly connected to former Prime Minister Tun Mahathir Mohamad and Daim.
Halim also denied that he and his former business partner, Anuar had siphoned RM32.5 million from toll operator Metramac (formerly Syarikat Teratai KG Sdn Bhd or STKG). 
He also denied that they had patronage of Daim, who was said to have conspired with them to oppress a construction company.
It is interesting to note that when Umno was deregistered in 1998, all of its assets were vested in the Official Assignee. 
Following the de-registration of Umno, the Official Asignee not only took over Fleet Group, Umno’s main investment arm, but also Hatibudi Sdn Bhd, which had acquired a significant stake in politically-linked United Engineers Malaysia (UEM) Bhd, which was then awarded the privatised North-South Highway project. 
The shareholders of Hatibudi were Halim and Anuar, who held the shareholdings in trust for Umno leaders.
But by early 1994, Anuar had already relinquished his interest in Renong and UEM, reportedly after a disagreement with Halim.