Thursday, August 3rd, 2017


Bank of England cuts growth forecasts as Brexit weighs

LONDON, Aug 3 —The Bank of England cut today its forecasts for British growth due to Brexit, as it left interest rates at a record-low 0.25 per cent. The news, which followed a regular monetary policy meeting, sent the pound slumping as…

Versatile Creative to explore RM62.5 million e-concept stores for IRISPAY station

PETALING JAYA: Versatile Creative Bhd has entered into a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with Iris World Marketing Sdn Bhd for both parties to explore the development of 250 IRISPAY station E-Concept Stores throughout Malaysia with an estimated gross development value of about RM62.5 million.

Upon entering into the MOA, Versatile will conduct an evaluation of the viability and feasibility of the project and a due-diligence exercise on Iris World.

The company expects the project to contribute positively to its earnings and earnings per share for the financial year ending March 31, 2018 and 2019 should the project materialise in due course.

Versatile is involved in trading business and acts as a commissioned agent to do project management consultancy works of business of property development and building construction.

However, the project appears to be different from Versatile’s core business and approval from proposed diversification might be required in embarking on the new business after obtaining shareholders approvals.

The definitive agreement is to be drawn up within a period of three months.

Versatile shares were up by half a sen to close at 88.5 sen yesterday on some 459,500 shares done.

Tesla shares rise as investors bet on Model 3 success

NEW YORK, Aug 3 — Tesla Inc’s shares rose 6 per cent today as investors continued to bet on CEO Elon Musk’s ability to successfully take the company out of “manufacturing hell” as it ramps up production of its mass-market Model 3 sedans….

Wall Street set to open flat after Dow breaches 22,000

NEW YORK, Aug 3 — US stocks looked set to open little changed today, a day after the Dow industrials breached the 22,000 mark for the first time, powered by Apple’s strong quarterly results. However, the Nasdaq and the S&P 500 were held back…

Malaysia not fully ready to tackle climate change: Study

PETALING JAYA: As the threat of severe flooding continues to rise in Southeast Asia, Malaysia’s business sustainability practitioners are the most concerned about the country’s resources to guard against extreme weather events and floods, compared to their regional counterparts.

This is according to a study released by global pump leader Grundfos and sustainability-focused social enterprise Eco-Business Research titled “Flood controls in Southeast Asia”.

The study surveyed 417 sustainability industry leaders across Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam. About 20% or 86 respondents, were from Malaysia.

The study revealed, nearly 70% of respondents across Southeast Asia predicted that their home country will continue to face extreme weather events over the next decade, taking a significant toll on local economies and infrastructure. The majority of respondents believe average temperatures have become higher and monsoon seasons have become more unpredictable.

These predictions are particularly worrying for a country like Malaysia with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development already estimating that by 2070 the country’s most exposed cities could lose up to US$84 billion (RM359.8 billion) in combined assets due to severe weather events.

Although Malaysia has not suffered as many severe floods as some of its neighbours in recent years, incidences such as in January and May this year, can cause devastation and massive disruption to livelihoods. Unfortunately, the situation is predicted to get worse, with more intense rain predicted in the coming decades.

Malaysia respondents were also less likely to agree that their country was working adequately with neighbours to address the issue, although other countries also shared the same concern.

Some of the best practice solutions could involve natural methods such as replanting of mangroves or the application of smart technologies such as sensors, rain animation charts, and intelligent pumping solutions, some of which are already in use by Malaysia.

Key findings from Malaysia respondents include 60% of respondents did not believe rural and urban planning for extreme weather events in their country was effective, the highest as compared to their regional counterparts; 74% believe that Malaysia has not allocated sufficient government funding to tackle extreme weather events and climate conditions; and 66% did not agree that their country works well with neighbours to produce solutions for climate change.

FGV sees positive results from labour hiring programme

PETALING JAYA: Felda Global Ventures Holdings Bhd (FGV) has seen positive results from its intensive recruitment programme to overcome labour shortage amid the crackdown on illegal foreign workers in the country.

FGV officer-in-charge Datuk Khairil Anuar Aziz said in a statement, the programme is progressing smoothly and workers from Bangladesh and Indonesia have begun to arrive in stages this month to cover the current shortage of about 8,000 workers.

To date, FGV has hired almost 600 foreign workers and it hopes the labour shortage issue to be addressed within the next few months, will ensure optimum production from its plantations.

Last week, the group also announced that it has embarked on a recruitment drive to employ local workers to reduce dependence on foreign workers. It is highly dependent on foreign labour, with more than 35,000 across the country.

FGV operates over 450,000ha of plantations across the country including Sabah and Sarawak. The plantation sector contributes 70% towards FGV’s income.

Strong performance from Genting Singapore

PETALING JAYA: Analysts maintained their bullish view for Genting Bhd’s stock, as 52.7% subsidiary Genting Singapore reported a 13 fold increase in net profit on lower impairment in trade receivables, and stronger than expected improvement gaming operations.

Public Investment Bank maintained its “outperform” call for Genting Bhd with an unchanged target price of RM11.15, while Affin Hwang Capital Research reiterated its “buy” call with a target price of RM12.06.

Genting Singapore’s net profit grew to S$143.3 million (RM451.5 million) for Q2’17, a sharp improvement from a S$10.5 million net loss in Q2’16.

Public Investment said lower impairment of receivables were achieved following the execution of a more measured credit policy to reduce high risk VIP business.

“In the medium to long-term, catalysts for Genting include Genting Singapore’s possible venture into the Japanese gaming market, expansion of Resorts World New York and the completion of an integrated resort in Las Vegas,” it said.

Genting Singapore’s redemption of S$2.3 billion perpetual bonds in Sept/Oct 2017 is also estimated to boost Genting’s FY18-FY19F earnings by about 6-7%, Public Investment Bank said.

“The risk of potential impairment at Genting Malaysia (49%-owned by Genting) due to the ongoing legal issue in Massachusetts and delay in the launching of 20th Century Fox theme park are seen as potential downside risk to its share price performance,” it said.

Cumulative 1H17 results made up of 63% of Public Investment’s full-year forecast.

“Although 1H17 has captured the effect of a seasonally stronger Q1’17, we believe Genting Singapore would continue to deliver stronger profit due to a more stable operating environment and rigorous credit policy. As such, we raise our FY17F earnings forecast by 6%.

Genting Singapore declared an interim dividend of 1.5 cents per share (no dividend was declared in Q2’16).

Affin Hwang which expects Genting Singapore’s financial performance to continue as long as it is willing to increase the availability of credit to its VIP patrons, see unfavourable luck factor as a key risk to its estimations.

Malaysia Marine and Heavy Engineering’s Q2 net loss widens to RM13.7 million

PETALING JAYA: Malaysia Marine and Heavy Engineering Holdings Bhd's (MMHE) net loss widened to RM13.7 million for the second quarter ended June 30, 2017 against RM2.56 million in the previous corresponding period, due to fewer projects in progress and higher losses incurred for its joint ventures.

Revenue for the quarter under review fell 13.5% from RM297.44 million to RM257.27 million.

MMHE said in a filing with the stock exchange that the outlook remains challenging for the group with oil price not moving in line with the OPEC and non-OPEC voluntary cuts in production.

“Shale production activities is still robust resulting in a supply overload that will keep the price of oil subdued over the year and next,” it noted.

With that, the group foresees the deferment of upstream projects to prolong and cost cutting measures will be enhanced further.

Nonetheless, MMHE said it remains committed to its strategy in managing cost, optimising its resources and improving operational efficiency in line with the challenging environment.

“While the group has successfully secured several contracts during the period, it is mindful that majority of the contribution will only be realised in 2018 and beyond. Diversification into new revenue streams that provide recurring income is a priority while efforts to replenish the order book continues,” it added.

MMHE also saw a widened net loss of RM30.31 million for the first half of the year compared with RM10.14 million in the same period last year, with revenue declining 11% from RM554.16 million to RM493.11 million.

At 12.30pm, the stock was down by half a sen to 72.5 sen on some 196,000 shares done, giving it a market capitalisation of RM1.16 billion.

TNB issues RM2b Sukuk Wakalah

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 3 — Tenaga Nasional Bhd (TNB) has issued a RM2 billion Sukuk Wakalah pursuant to its Islamic Medium Term Note Programme of RM5 billion in nominal value based on the Shariah principle of Wakalah. On behalf of TNB, Maybank…

Chinese bike-sharing company Ofo enters Malaysia

TIANJIN, Aug 3 — China’s leading bike-sharing company, Ofo, today announced its expansion into Malaysia, two days after it entered the Thai market, China’s Xinhua news agency reported. A total of 500 of Ofo’s signature yellow bikes have…