Khazanah Nasional Bhd managing director, Shahril Ridza Ridzuan (centre) said the sovereign wealth fund is targeting a record pre-tax profit of least RM5 billion (or US$1.2 billion) this year, after posting its first loss in a decade in 2018. NSTP photo by Nurul Syazana Rose Razman

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia’s sovereign wealth fund Khazanah Nasional Bhd said on Monday it is targeting a record pretax profit of least RM5 billion (US$1.2 billion) this year after posting its first loss in a decade in 2018.

“For this year, we hope to achieve profitability of at least RM5 billion,” Shahril Ridza Ridzuan, Khazanah’s managing director, said in brief comments to reporters at the fund’s annual conference on Monday.

Shahril did not elaborate on the reasons for the stronger outlook.

Last year Khazanah swung to a pretax loss of RM6.3 billion from a profit of RM2.9 billion in 2017, hit by higher impairments and lower dividend income.

Shahril also said the fund was on track to achieve this year’s target of cutting debt to RM47-RM48 billion from RM50 billion.

He added that over the 3-5 years, the fund is aiming to reduce debt to RM40 billion.

Khazanah is the majority shareholder of several government-linked companies including state utility Tenaga Nasional Bhd, banking group CIMB Group Holdings Bhd Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd and Telekom Malaysia Bhd.

Khazanah said in March the realisable asset value of its portfolio fell to RM136 billion in 2018 from RM157 billion a year prior. -- Reuters