KUALA LUMPUR, April 16 (Reuters) - Malaysian state investment fund 1Malaysia Development Bhd's (1MDB) net profit jumped 17 times in the financial year before last, according to a summary of a much delayed earnings report that comes ahead of a planned IPO of its power assets.
1MDB, whose board of advisers is chaired by Prime Minister Najib Razak and which has often been criticised for lack of transparency, gave no reason for the earnings result in the summary which was filed to the Companies Commission of Malaysia.
A full report of 1MDB's earnings for that year is expected to be released next week. Representatives for the fund were not immediately available to comment.
The past two years have, however, been marked by slew of power plant acquisitions made in a bid to capitalise on growing electricity demand in Malaysia, the Middle East and South Asia. Some 15 plants are expected to be bundled together in the IPO, which is seeking to raise up to $2 billion, financial sources have said.
1MDB said net profit for the year to end-March 2013 surged to 778.2 million ringgit, which compares with 44.7 million ringgit the previous year.
It also said total liabilities grew to 42 billion ringgit from 8.4 billion ringgit, while assets grew to 44.6 billion ringgit from 9.5 billion ringgit.
The fund has been dogged by negative publicity over massive fees paid for bond sales, the near one-year delay in publishing its financial accounts, and most recently, changing auditors.
It has countered that its bond placement was done to ensure the timely completion of a real estate joint venture, that its accounts were delayed due to its change in business direction and sharp growth, and that the change of auditors was nothing special.
Prospects for the IPO of its power assets were boosted after the sovereign wealth fund won a closely contested government tender to build a $3.6 billion coal-fired power plant in Malaysia. That should help 1MDB alleviate concerns that the utilities in its current portfolio are quite old and make the case that its power business should be considered a growth stock.
1MDB also won a contract on Monday to build a 50-megawatt solar photovoltaic energy facility in the northern state of Kedah.
No timetable has yet been set for the IPO but banks have been invited to pitch for the mandate, sources have said. (Reporting by Al-Zaquan Amer Hamzah and Yantoultra Ngui; Editing by Edwina Gibbs)