Westports Malaysia which is owned by entities linked to Hong Kong tycoon Li Ka-Shing, is looking to raise about US$1 billion through an initial public offer in Malaysia, three people familiar with the deal said. The group-which operates one of Asia's busiest shipping terminals at Port Klang on the west coast of peninsular Malaysia-has invited banks to pitch for the IPO, which is expected to take place toward the end of this year or early next year, two of the people said.
Hutchison Port Holdings-which is controlled by Hong Kong's Mr. Li and operates 52 ports in 26 countries-has a 31.5% shareholding in Westports Malaysia. The privately held Westports Malaysia was formed by industrialist G. Gnanalingam-a second-generation Malaysian of Sri Lankan descent and currently listed as the country's 24th richest person, according to Forbes-from the privatization of government port assets in the early 1990s. Mr. Gnanalingam's oldest son, Ruben, is now chief executive.
The IPO will be the second equity-capital raising for groups linked to Mr. Li in Southeast Asia in as many years. Hutchison Port Holdings Trust. (NS8U.SG), which owns deepwater port assets in Hong Kong and Shenzhen, raised US$5.5 billion in Singapore's largest ever IPO in early 2011.