UIE appoints SHB for Aarhus stake sale

United International Enterprise Ltd. (UIE) has appointed Denmark-based merchant bank Svenske Handelsbanken (SHB) as facilitator for the possible disposal of its 45.9 percent stake in Aarhus United A/S, a world leader in speciality fats.
     UIE vice-chairman Carl Bek-Nielsen told Malaysian newspaper The Star recently that the UIE board was open to all options or discussions with any parties interested in bidding for the stake in Aarhus. Plantation giants such as Golden Hope Plantations Bhd, the Kuok Group and the Wilmar Group of Indonesia are reportedly potential suitors for the shares.
     In August, a decision was taken by the UIE board to initiate a review on its relationship with Aarhus and whether UIE should in future maintain its shareholding in the firm. The company announced in October that it would actively seek to divest its shareholding in Aarhus and this process was anticipated to be completed in January next year.
     At end-June this year, UIE and Aarhus owned 19 percent and 23.4 percent respectively of United Plantations Bhd., one of the major plantation groups in Malaysia.
     United Plantations supplies palm oils to Aarhus. The connection is seen as an important business strategy in providing the ability to control the raw materials from the agricultural source to the final product.
     Bek-Nielsen who is also United Plantations vice chairman and executive director (corporate affairs) said UIE’s intention with the review was healthy and should not be looked upon in a negative light as Aarhus was performing well above expectations.
     Based on the preliminary results for the third quarter this year, consolidated operating income is expected to amount to DKK 177 million and pre-tax and post-tax profits are expected to amount to DKK 172 million and DKK 118 million respectively. These results are significantly above those achieved in the equivalent period last year, when operating income was DKK 82 million and pre-tax and post-tax profits were DKK 67 million and DKK 37 million respectively.
     For the full year, Bek-Nielsen said pre-tax and post-tax profits were expected to be between 210 million and 230 million and between 140 million and 160 million respectively.

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