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GIP will not directly manage Malaysia's airport operator, Khazanah chief says

KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - Malaysia's sovereign wealth fund said its consortium partner, Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP), will not hire staff to directly manage Malaysia Airport Holdings Bhd after a deal is completed to take the country's airport operator private, state news agency Bernama reported.

Khazanah Nasional Bhd Managing Director Amirul Feisal Wan Zahir also said there would be no layoffs of MAHB's current employees following completion of the deal.

"GIP won't be directly appointing staff or secondees to manage MAHB," he was quoted as saying in an interview with Bernama on Sunday.

"Instead, the management will be jointly appointed by the consortium as a whole, and we will tap into GIP's technical expertise when needed."

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GIP and MAHB did not immediately respond to requests seeking comment on Monday.

A consortium led by Khazanah and state pension fund the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) announced on May 15 a conditional offer to acquire MAHB shares it did not already own in a deal that values MAHB around $3.9 billion.

Following the deal, Khazanah and EPF will collectively increase their ownership in MAHB to 70% from 41%, while GIP and the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority will hold 25% and 5% stake respectively.

BlackRock announced in January that it would buy GIP for $12.5 billion, with the acquisition expected to close in the third quarter.

The deal faces criticism and protests from Malaysian civil society bodies, government and opposition lawmakers over BlackRock's involvement, alleging that the U.S. company has ties with Israel.

Muslim-Majority Malaysia is a staunch supporter of the Palestinians. Some Western brands in the country have been the target of boycott campaigns over Israel's military offensive in Gaza.

Khazanah's Amirul said in the Bernama report that BlackRock was not a "direct partner" in the consortium and the U.S fund manager's acquisition of GIP "has yet to be concluded".

BlackRock did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Monday.

(Reporting by Danial Azhar; Editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise)