Sunday, May 21st, 2017


Apec trade ministers omit protectionism pledge in statement

HANOI, May 21 — Asia-Pacific trade ministers issued a diluted “actions” statement after a weekend meeting in Vietnam, suggesting further pressure from the US to avoid explicit pledges to combat protectionism. The statement came after a…

Saudis see all ‘on board’ to extend oil cuts for nine months

RIYADH, May 21 — All oil producers participating in a deal to limit output agree on extending the cuts by nine months to help trim a supply glut, according to Saudi Arabia’s energy minister. An extension through the first quarter of 2018…

Kedah customs targets 580 potential applicants to register for GST this year

ALOR SETAR, May 21 — The Kedah Customs Department is aiming to get 580 potential applicants statewide to register for the Goods and Services Tax (GST) this year. State customs director Datuk Johari Alifiah said through operations, the…

IHH Healthcare Q1 net profit doubles to RM470m

PETALING JAYA: IHH Healthcare Bhd (IHH) saw its net profit in the first quarter (Q1) ended March 31, 2017 double to RM470 million, from RM235.5 million in the previous corresponding quarter, following a RM313.4 million gain from its divestment of a non-core 6.07% stake in Apollo Hospitals.

Revenue increased 8.5% to RM2.7 billion, compared with RM2.5 billion in the same period last year, attributed to organic growth from its existing operations and continuous ramp up of the hospitals opened in 2015.

In a statement on Friday, the healthcare provider said the acquisition of Tokuda Group and City Clinic Group in June last year contributed to higher revenue.

IHH said earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, amortisation, exchange differences and other non-operational items (Ebitda) declined 8% to RM565.6 million, mainly due to start-up costs from the newly opened hospitals, as well as higher operating and staff costs.

Nevertheless, IHH said it remained in a strong financial position as at end-March 2017, with a cash balance of RM2.8 billion and improved net gearing of 0.20 times, from 0.21 times as at end of last year.

“Amid persistently challenging market conditions, we delivered a resilient performance,” its managing director and CEO Dr Tan See Leng said.

“In the year ahead, we will build on our successes by enhancing service offerings and executing well on the projects in our pipeline. We will also continually rebalance our portfolio to optimise returns and focus on our core operational strengths,” he added.

On prospects, IHH said it continues to believe in the sustained demand for quality private healthcare in its home markets and key growth markets of India and Greater China.

However, the group said it expects to face cost pressures on several fronts in the year ahead, including continued competition for talent, pre-operational and start-up costs from new operations, and higher purchasing costs with the stronger US dollar.

Nevertheless, IHH said it will mitigate these through prudent cost management, taking on higher revenue intensity procedures and ramping up new facilities to achieve optimum operational efficiencies.

IHH said the group remains confident that its brands and network of hospitals, supported by strong financial position, will enable it to successfully navigate the challenging operating environment.

On a separate note, IHH said its unit Integrated (Mauritius) Healthcare Holdings Ltd (IMHHL) has disposed its remaining 4.78%-stake in Apollo, for RM551.1 million (INR8.2 billion) via a book-building process.

IHH said the disposal were undertaken as part of an ongoing and regular review of the group's investment portfolio to maximize return to its stakeholders.

In addition, it said having acquired Ravindranath GE Medical Associates Private Ltd (Global Hospitals) and Continental Hospitals Private Ltd group in 2015, the group is consolidating and rationalising its investment to these operating companies in India as its fourth home market.

The proceeds from the disposal will be utilised for the group's working capital, it added.

HLT Global suffers net loss in first quarter post-listing

PETALING JAYA: HLT Global Bhd, which was listed on the ACE Market of Bursa Malaysia in January this year, suffered a net loss of RM206,000 for the first quarter ended March 31, 2017 (Q1 FY17).

This is the second consecutive quarter of net loss for the group, which reported a net loss of RM1.74 million in the fourth quarter ended Dec 31, 2016 (Q4 FY16). Prior to listing, the group reported a net profit of RM1.65 million in the third quarter ended Sept 30, 2016.

In a filing with Bursa Malaysia last friday, the group said the Q1 FY17 net loss was due to lower revenue and the listing expenses incurred. Revenue for the quarter stood at RM9.56 million, 38.9% lower than RM15.64 million in Q4 FY16.

“The decrease in revenue was mainly attributable to decline in revenue from sale of new lines. The revenue from sale of new lines was mainly contributed by five customers, made up of a combination of three local orders and two foreign orders,” it said.

The group said it recorded lower revenue from sale of new lines as most of the orders are near completion.

However, it said that it achieved higher gross profit margin of 12.89% during the quarter compared with 10.12% in the preceding quarter. It also secured a new foreign order from Vietnam which is expected to contribute positively to its revenue.

“The above, coupled with the incurrence of listing expenses of RM295,000 during the current financial quarter, has resulted in the group recording a pre-tax loss of RM197,000 for the current financial quarter,” it said.

Moving forward, it said that it is “cautiously optimistic” of its performance and will continue to execute its business strategies. It has also put in place a series of future plans to strengthen its position in the glove-dipping line industry in Malaysia and overseas.

Singapore supports efforts by 11 signatories to sustain TPP

SINGAPORE, May 21 — Singapore supports the joint efforts by the 11 remaining signatories of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) to sustain the trade deal, said its Trade and Industry Minister Lim Hng Kiang. “It is important that we keep up…

US trade rep says no return to TPP deal and wants bilateral deals in Asia

HANOI, May 21 — US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said today that the United States would not return to the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal after 11 remaining countries earlier agreed to look at how they could move ahead without…

US says no to TPP. What’s now for the TPP?

HANOI, May 21 — It was billed as the world’s biggest trade deal, a feather in the cap of globalisation advocates that promised to re-write the rules for 21st century commerce. But the Trans-Pacific Partnership was tossed into disarray in…

TPP countries keep trade deal alive without Trump’s US

HANOI, May 21 — Countries in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreed today to look at ways to move the trade deal forward without the United States after President Donald Trump pulled out in favour of an “America First” policy. The…

Apec’s MSME needs specific initiatives to grow, says Mustapa

KUALA LUMPUR, May 21 — Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) member countries should identify specific initiatives to promote growth and development of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs). International Trade and Industry…