KUALA LUMPUR (REUTERS) - Malaysian developer Iskandar Waterfront Holdings (IWH) has revived its ambition to go public two years after shelving a backdoor listing, with a plan to raise US$1 billion to US$1.5 billion (S$2 billion) in an IPO next year, people familiar with the deal said.
IWH is part of a consortium which bought the Bandar Malaysia transit-oriented project from scandal-hit state investor 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).
The mega-project on the fringe of Kuala Lumpur city centre was initially announced in 2011, scrapped in 2017 and reinstated this year. A person close to discussions said the initial public offering (IPO) was contingent on the project moving forward.
"Bandar Malaysia hasn't been firmed up and signed off yet. All this will have to be parallel to when that happens. Things are fluid," said the person, who was not authorised to speak with media on the matter and so declined to be identified.
The firm has begun talks with two banks for a listing aimed at 2020, the person said.
Another person said the company aims to raise its profile through the IPO as it looks to expand.
"IWH would have a more national footprint if the Bandar Malaysia project comes through. It is now very focused in Iskandar Malaysia," the person said, referring to IWH projects on the southern tip of Peninsular Malaysia.
IWH did not respond to an e-mailed request for comment. The IPO plan was first reported by Bloomberg on Tuesday.
IWH is a member of the consortium behind IWH-CREC, which bought 60 per cent of Bandar Malaysia in 2015 for RM7.41 billion (S$2.42 billion). Malaysia's Finance Ministry owns the remainder.
In 2017, IWH offered to buy all equity interest in Iskandar Waterfront City that it did not already own, and merge with the listed entity - a so-called backdoor listing. It then aimed to sell new shares in the merged firm, leveraging the appeal of its Bandar Malaysia interest, to raise US$338 million.
It suspended the plan when the government terminated Bandar Malaysia following a dispute with the consortium.
The new government reinstated the project in April, though possibly without the terminal, as initially envisaged, for a proposed high-speed rail link to Singapore which has since been put on hold.
Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said the project will have a positive economic impact as a global hub for international financial institutions and multinational corporations.
Last month, IWH said it had signed a RM371 million facility agreement with CIMB Bank to partly finance IWH-CREC's investment in Bandar Malaysia.