Felda Global Ventures Chairman Resigns -- Update

By Yantoultra NguiFeaturesDow Jones Newswires

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia--Malaysian state-owned palm oil firm Felda Global Ventures Holdings (5222.KU) said Monday that Chairman Isa Samad has resigned, and that it has appointed Sulaiman Mahbob as acting chairman, effective immediately.

Mr. Sulaiman, chairman of telecom company Telekom Malaysia Bhd. (4863.KU), was an independent non-executive director at Felda Global.

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The board changes come amid infighting in the company's management following the suspension of senior executives, including President and Chief Executive Zakaria Arshad, earlier this month to facilitate an investigation into one of its subsidiaries' transactions. The suspension led to a disagreement between Mr. Isa, who also stepped down Monday as a government-appointed director at Felda Global, and Mr. Arshad.

Shares of Felda Global, the world's third-largest palm plantation operator, slipped to their lowest in more than five months on June 6 after the announcement of the suspension. Since then, the stock has climbed back gradually following government's intervention on the issue.

The government said in a statement Monday that an independent probe found sufficient facts and reasonable grounds warranting the Felda Global's board to initiate disciplinary proceedings against Mr. Zakaria and three others.

But the government said that "no one is guilty of any wrongdoing at this juncture."

Mr. Zakaria said he was confident that he would be proven innocent and had retained a lawyer to deal with the matter.

The government added that the decline in the financial performance of Felda Global and its parent Felda over the last few years warrants a comprehensive business review.

Poor financial results have resulted in Felda Global's shares losing more than half their value since the company's IPO in 2012, when it had one of the largest listings in the world after Facebook that year.

Shares of Felda climb 5.7% to MYR1.86 Monday afternoon, bringing its year-to-date gains to around 15%.

Write to Yantoultra Ngui at yantoultra.ngui@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

June 19, 2017 05:01 ET (09:01 GMT)