UPDATE 1-1MDB asks banks to pitch for roles in $2 bln power IPO-sources

Wed Jan 15, 2014 4:28am EST

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* Closing date for submissions on Jan 27 - source

* IPO may match IHH Healthcare's $2 bln IPO in 2012

* Malaysia set for record IPO year in 2014 (Adds details On IPO market, background on 1MDB)

By S.Anuradha and Yantoultra Ngui

Jan 15 (Reuters) - State investor 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) has invited investment banks to pitch for advisory roles for an up to $2 billion IPO of its power assets, the country's biggest listing in nearly two years, sources said on Wednesday.

The IPO is expected to include 15 power plants in Malaysia, South Asia and the Middle East, sources with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters. They declined to be identified as the process is private.

Banks received the request for proposals this week with the closing date for submissions scheduled for Jan 27, one of the sources said.

News of the invitation comes as Malaysia's equity markets kicked off a potentially record year for IPOs with property developer IOI Properties jumping 42 percent in its debut on Wednesday.

With a deal size of up to $2 billion, 1MDB's energy IPO would be as big as IHH Healthcare that listed on July 2012.

The 1MDB IPO will include power plants that 1MDB acquired in a two-year shopping spree from gaming-to-plantations conglomerate Genting Bhd, Malaysia's second-richest man, Ananda Krishnan, and the royal family in central Negri Sembilan state.

The sovereign wealth fund, chaired by Prime Minister Najib Razak, has attracted controversy for taking on $6.5 billion of debt to fund its purchases of power plants and a joint venture with Abu Dhabi's Aabar Investments PJS.

The bond offerings, managed by Goldman Sachs, were launched with few public details and included massive fees for the Wall Street bank, according to Thomson Reuters publication IFR.

Officials at 1MDB, which is controlled by Malaysia's finance ministry and has sizable holdings in real estate and tourism, did not respond to requests for comment.

(Additional reporting by Saeed Azhar; Writing by Niluksi Koswanage; Editing by Matt Driskill)

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