KUALA LUMPUR, March 22 (Reuters) - Felda Global Ventures Holdings Bhd, a Malaysian palm plantation operator, is in talks with several companies, including Chinese firms, to establish partnerships to expand its distribution networks and finance facilities.
Felda Global Chief Executive Officer Zakaria Arshad told Reuters on Wednesday that the company was looking for a partnership rather than investors, without naming any company.
A local Malaysian newspaper reported on Monday that state-run China National Cereals, Oils and Foodstuffs Corporation (COFCO) and Malaysian business tycoon Syed Mokhtar Albukhary were keen on buying stakes in Felda Global. The company's shares soared 14 percent following the report.
"We are looking for a business partner for a long term partnership. However if this partner wants to buy a stake in the open market, there is nothing I can do," Zakaria said.
He said the Felda Global was "currently talking to a few Chinese companies" but that he was also eyeing India, Middle East and North Africa.
A partnership is expected to be finalised in the next one to two months, he said.
Felda Global Ventures, the world's third-largest palm plantation operator, has lost about 60 percent of its value since it listed on the Malaysian stock market in 2012.
Zakaria said he is looking for ways to improve the profitability of the company's products through a partnership.
"We are seeing how we can distribute products, how we are going to establish facilities in the consumers' country," said Zakaria.
"We want them (partners) to input money, to build tanks for example. We want to invest and grow together," he said. (Editing by A.Ananthalakshmi and Christian Schmollinger)