Shares of Federal Land Development Authority (FELDA), the Malaysian palm oil giant, soared by as much as 20 per cent on its public offering, the world's biggest share sale this year after Facebook.

State-owned Felda Global Venture Holdings hit a high of RM5.46 ($1.71) on Thursday shortly after listing on the main board of Bursa Malaysia, up from its initial price of RM4.55 ($1.43).

Its first-day jump defies an overall weakness in global stock markets and reflects investor interest in the world's third-largest palm oil company.

FELDA has raised around RM10bn ($3.1bn) in the largest IPO in Asia this year. It is the second-biggest in the world after Facebook, which raised $16bn but whose shares slumped after its public debut in May.

FELDA's commercial plantations cover more than 400,000 hectares of land.

While the public offering is set to raise $3bn for the parent company, there are fears that FELDA's original stated purpose, of helping the landless poor, will be abandoned.

There are also concerns about how profitable the company can be when more than half its trees are more than 20 years old.

Source: Al Jazeera and agencies