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Malaysia’s Airport Owner Gets A Makeover, But Jobs Are Safe

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What’s going on here?

Khazanah Nasional Bhd confirmed that Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP) won’t manage Malaysia Airport Holdings Bhd (MAHB) directly after privatization, and no staff cuts are planned.

What does this mean?

On May 15, a consortium led by Khazanah and the state pension fund Employees Provident Fund (EPF) made a conditional offer to acquire MAHB shares, valuing the firm at around $3.9 billion. Post-deal, Khazanah and EPF will boost their stake to 70%, while GIP and the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority will hold 25% and 5% respectively. Importantly, the team managing MAHB will be collectively appointed by the consortium, leveraging GIP’s technical smarts as needed, but without direct staffing changes from GIP. This should maintain operational stability and ensure no layoffs.

Why should I care?

For markets: Keeping steady hands.

Investors can rest easy knowing that the management of MAHB will remain steady despite the shakeup. GIP’s expertise will be tapped indirectly, ensuring operational efficiencies are enhanced without disrupting the current workforce, which could otherwise impact market confidence in the short-term.

The bigger picture: Context matters.

This takeover hasn’t been without controversy. BlackRock’s planned $12.5 billion acquisition of GIP, set to conclude by Q3, spurred protests over alleged ties to Israel. In Malaysia, a predominantly Muslim country, this has generated significant backlash due to its support for Palestine. However, Khazanah has clarified that BlackRock is not directly involved with the MAHB consortium and that its acquisition of GIP is pending, calming some of the political tensions surrounding the deal.

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