KUALA LUMPUR/SINGAPORE (Reuters) - State investor 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) has won a six-month extension on a US$1.9 billion (S$2.4 billion) bridge loan, giving it more time to launch a planned initial public offering (IPO) of its power assets to cut debt, people familiar with the matter said.
The IPO, which aims to raise as much as US$2 billion and is seen as critical to reducing the fund's debt load, is now expected in the second half of this year, the people said.
Bankers had initially said the IPO could come by mid-year, but it has been pushed back due to delays related to a tender to build a coal-fired power plant that it ultimately won, as well as delays in publishing its financial accounts after a change in auditors.
It is the second six-month extension on the loan for 1MDB , whose advisory board is chaired by Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak. The 6.17 billion ringgit loan from Maybank Investment Bank is now due in November, said the people, who declined to be identified as the matter is private.
Shahriza Embi, senior vice-president of corporate communications at 1MDB, said in an email that the company would not comment on the matter.
Maybank did not reply to an email seeking comment.
The fund has been dogged by negative publicity over massive fees and charges it paid for bond sales through Goldman Sachs , a near one-year delay in publishing its 2012-13 financial accounts and, most recently, changing auditors for the second time since 2009, with Deloitte replacing KPMG.
In its IPO, 1MDB is expected to bundle 15 power plants it bought over a two-year shopping spree in a bid to a capitalise on growing electricity demand in Malaysia, the Middle East and South Asia, as well as the greenfield US$3.6 billion 2,000 megawatt coal-fired plant that it won the tender for in February.
It had total borrowings of 36.2 billion ringgit (S$14.1 billion) at the end of March 2013, according to its latest financial accounts filed with the Companies Commission of Malaysia.