Friday, 8 April 2016

1MDB business model relied on debt to form capital is not sustainable


PETALING JAYA: 1MDB was unsustainable from the start, relying heavily on financial assistance to stay afloat.

The PAC observed that 1MDB’s capital financing structure and financial performance were both unsatisfactory.

“1MDB relied on debt (bank loans, bonds and sukuk) to form its capital, a chunk of which had been sanctioned or supported by the Government.

“Initially, the debt stood at RM5bil in 2009, and went up to RM42bil, compared to its assets of RM51bil in the financial year ending March 31, 2014, and it spent RM2.4bil to pay off interests.

“In January 2016, its debt was RM50bil, compared to its assets of RM53bil, where 1MDB spent RM3.3bil to pay off interests between April 1, 2013, and March 31, 2015,” said the report.

The PAC report also stated that 1MDB had paid RM3.3bil in interests on the loans it took from April 1, 2014, to March 31, 2015, which 1MDB said had yet to be audited.

“It is obvious that the debt amount and repayment of interest are too high compared to the company’s cash flow,” said the committee.

1MDB had also heavily relied on the refinancing exercise to settle matured debts and take new loans, which were used to settle interests on previous loans, among others.

The PAC report also found that 1MDB began facing an imbalance in cash flow in November 2014, five years after it started operations.

“The management and board of directors relied on the Initial Public Offerings (IPO) of Edra Energy Berhad to generate funds, but the IPO could not be carried out,” said PAC.

In the same month that year, 1MDB announced its first loss of RM665mil, resulting in its inability to pay off its almost matu­ring debts which stood at RM2bil, through its refinancing exercise.

“The company’s business model is overly dependent on loans and this caused a burden on the company as it did not have enough income to sustain operational costs and pay off its loans,” read the report.

The PAC also said that as a state investment arm, 1MDB should have focused on best practices, and raised examples of weaknesses in its administration.

“For instance, the board of directors was too dependent and often accepted explanations by the management without delving into the details.

“Indeed 1MDB’s experience is a lesson to all government-linked corporations on the importance of effective administration and integrity,” said the committee. - The Star/ANN

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