Japan to invest further in Malaysia`s infrastructure assets

Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng (third from right) and Japan Ambassador to Malaysia, Dr Makio Miyagawa (third from left), JOIN managing executive officer Noriyoshi Torigoe (second from left) and Tasco Bhd executive chairman Lee Check Poh (second from right) pose for a photocall with Tasco Bhd chief executive officer Freddie Lim (far right) and JOIN director Rikiya Kanamori (far left). NSTP photo by MOHD FADLI HAMZAH

Japan government is keen to invest more in Malaysia, following its maiden investment here in Tasco-Yusen Gold Cold Sdn Bhd (TYGC), a unit of Tasco Bhd, which is listed on Bursa Malaysia.

Japan Overseas Infrastructure Investment Corp for Transport and Urban Development (JOIN) managing executive officer Noriyoshi Torigoe said: "This is our first investment in Malaysia upon the invitation of Yusen Logistics. It`s a kickoff to many more, in view of the good relations between Japan and Malaysia."

JOIN, incorporated in Japan in 2014 to support Japanese corporations investments in the global infrastructure market, counts Japan`s Minister of Finance as its controlling shareholder, owning 87.19 per cent. The remaining shareholders in JOIN consists of 17 Japanese corporations.

So far, JOIN has pumped money into infrastucture-related projects and assets in Indonesia (January 2017), Thailand (December 2018) and Myanmar (March 2019).

Torigoe was speaking to reporters here today, after the signing ceremony between Tasco Bhd and JOIN for the latter`s RM125 million acquisition of a 30 per cent stake in Tasco`s cold chain logistics unit TYGC.

Also present to witness the signing ceremony were Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng and Japan ambassador to Malaysia Dr Makio Miyagawa.

Earlier this year, Mitsui & Co completed its acquisition of Khazanah Nasional Bhd`s 16 per cent stake in IHH Healthcare Bhd, Asia`s largest private hospital group, for RM8.4 billion.

In his speech, Lim wooed more Japan investments into Malaysia`s healthcare sector, following Mitsui & Co Ltd`s tightening of its grip on IHH to 33 per cent, having invested in the hospital group since 2011.

"Of course, we hope that perhaps JOIN can look at further investments into our healthcare sector. I am sure the [Japan] ambassador [Dr Makio Miyagawa] is working very hard to make this a reality," said Lim, without elaborating.

When asked to comment, JOIN`s Torigoe said: "If there are certain projects here which Japanese companies are interested in, then we can consider co-investing."

When asked how much money JOIN has allocated to further invest in Malaysia, Torigoe said: "Please don`t worry about the quantum, we have the money and the mandate. So far, JOIN`s investments are in projects and assets related to airports, rail, tolled roads and urban development."

Torigoe did not want to comment when asked on whether Mitsui & Co had invited JOIN to co-invest in IHH.

Tasco executive chairman Lee Check Poh expressed optimism that the strategic partnership with JOIN would help raise TYGC`s market share of the cold chain logistics sector in Malaysia.

"This investment from JOIN is a vote of confidence in the Malaysian economy and the potentials of TYGC to further expand here," Lee said.

Last month, Tasco told the stock exchange that it was buying seven parcels of leasehold industrial land measuring 16.3 acres in Port Klang, Selangor for RM25.83 million from Hai San Holdings Sdn Bhd and Hai San & Sons Sdn Bhd.

The deal is expected to be completed by September and Lee expressed optimistim of Tasco securing more businesses in the second half of the year.

Todate, TYGC has a combined cold storage capacity of 37,000 pallet space at the Berjaya Industrial Logistics Centre in Shah Alam and Westports Logistics Centre in Port Klang.

Source : Pulse News