Friday, August 18th, 2017


Wall Street dragged down by industrial, discretionary stocks

NEW YORK, Aug 18 — US stocks opened lower today, extending losses from a day earlier, as losses in industrial and consumer discretionary stocks weighed. Ten of the 11 major S&P indexes were lower, with the industrial sector’s 0.41 per cent…

MBSB receives green light from Bank Negara, Ministry of Finance for merger with Asian Finance Bank

PETALING JAYA: Malaysia Building Society Bhd (MBSB) has received Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) and the Finance Ministry's approval for its proposed merger with Asian Finance Bank Bhd (AFB).

MBSB told Bursa Malaysia that it had received notification from BNM vide its letter dated August 18, that the Minister of Finance has granted approval for the proposed acquisition by MBSB of 100% interest in AFB shares pursuant to the Islamic Financial Services Act 2013.

“Further details will be announced upon the finalisation and execution of the definitive agreement,” the group added.

The proposed merger will create the second largest Islamic bank in the country with total assets of around RM48 billion.

MBSB aims to become an Islamic financial institution by 2020 through its merger with AFB. The full bank licence will allow MBSB to tap into new financial services segments which it cannot offer at the moment, such as trade facilities, collecting current account savings account (CASA) deposits and offering other interbank instruments to expand its business.

AFB, a full-fledged Islamic bank that was incorporated in November 28, 2005, has a branch each in Kuala Lumpur and Johor Baru as well as a representative office in Jakarta, Indonesia, according to its website.

MBSB shares fell one sen to close at RM1.27 on Friday, with some 1.59 million shares done, giving it a market capitalisation of RM7.52 billion.

China to curb ‘irrational’ overseas Belt and Road investment, says state planner

BEIJING, Aug 18 — China will strengthen rules to defuse risks for domestic companies investing abroad and curb “irrational” overseas investment in its Belt and Road initiative, the state planner said today. The National Development and…

Getting to the core of global inflation

LONDON, Aug 18 — Stock markets have spent the year rising on bets of a resurgence in inflation, while central bankers trying to manage the global economy have spent the same time repeatedly reassuring everyone it’s just around the corner….

Tune Protect Q2 net profit down 50.87% on higher net claims

PETALING JAYA: Tune Protect Group Bhd's net profit for the second quarter ended June 30, 2017 fell 50.87% to RM13 million from RM26.47 million a year ago due to an increase in net claims.

In a filing with Bursa Malaysia, the group said the increase in net claims was mainly from the motor class of its general insurance business, but was offset by a minor improvement in share of profits of overseas ventures.

The decline in net profit was also due to the subdued topline of its Digital Global Travel as a result of the Malaysian Aviation Commission's opt-in ruling on ancillary offerings online.

Revenue for the quarter rose 6.65% to RM133.88 million from RM125.54 million a year ago due to an increase of RM11.9 million in gross earned premiums (GEP) mainly from the motor class of general insurance business.

For the general reinsurance business, operating revenue was lower at RM27.5 million during the quarter, compared with RM32.5 million a year ago due to lower GEP in Malaysia, Australia and China markets.

The segment's profit was also lower at RM13.2 million compared with RM14.5 million a year ago, due to a decrease of RM4.6 million in net earned premiums (NEP) mainly in Malaysia, China and Australia markets.

This was offset by decreases in net commission, net claims and management expenses totaling RM3.3 million.

For the general insurance business, operating revenue was higher at RM116.5 million compared with RM107.8 million a year ago due to improvement of RM12.1 million in GEP of the motor class, offset by a decrease of RM3.4 million in investment income due to lower share of MMIP investment income and marginally lower interest income.

The segment's profit plunged to RM2 million from RM24.3 million a year ago due to higher net claims of the motor class.

For the six months ended June 30, 2017, Tune Protect's net profit fell 49.20% to RM24.94 million from RM49.10 million a year ago while revenue rose 3.48% to RM263.96 million from RM255.08 million a year ago.

Moving forward, the group said it has rolled out a number of pricing and marketing initiatives for the global travel business and these are expected to gain traction in the topline in the second half of the year.

In addition, new products such as annual plans and migrant plans are scheduled to be launched later in the year.

“We also expect to formalise a new partnership with an Asean airline, bringing us closer to becoming a leading travel insurer in the region,” it said. The partnership with Cambodia Angkor Air is slated to commence in 3Q2017.

In terms of the general insurance business, the group will continue efforts to address the high claims from the motor class with its strategies focusing on providing further online accessibility and product differentiation via risk-adjusted pricing.

The group's share price fell 0.98% to close at RM1.01 on Friday with a total of 2.33 million shares traded, giving it a market capitalisation of RM759.28 million.

Deputy minister urges online food entrepreneurs to apply for halal certification

ALOR SETAR, Aug 18 — Online entrepreneurs, especially those who sell food products are encouraged to meet international standards, including obtaining halal certification, to penetrate overseas markets. International Trade and Industry Deputy…

Eduspec proposes private placement again to raise up to RM18.42 million

PETALING JAYA: Eduspec Holdings Bhd proposes another round of private placement to raise up to RM18.42 million for its business activities after having raised RM20.67 million earlier.

Eduspec said in a Bursa Malaysia filing that the exercise will see the placement of up to 131.55 million new shares, representing up to 10% of its total issued shares. The placement shares will be placed out to third party investors to be identified at a later date.

Proceeds raised will be used for working capital requirements as well as the migration of group’s current information technology learning and robotics classes and to localise the language curriculum for its Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics education using Robotics and Computer Science for Schools Programme.

Recall that Eduspec had on July 24 completed the previous placement with the issuance of 84.8 million shares raising RM20.67 million, a shortfall of about RM3.03 million and RM14.98 million under the minimum scenario and maximum scenario, respectively.

At its AGM held on February 27, the group had obtained a new mandate from its shareholders for the issuance of new shares not exceeding 10% of the total issued shares.

Eduspec said at this juncture, the proposed private placement exercise is the most appropriate avenue of fund raising without incurring additional interest expense, and minimising any potential cash outflow as compared with other financing methods such as bank borrowings.

“The proposed private placement will strengthen the group's financial position and capital base and may potentially enhance the liquidity and marketability of Eduspec shares,” it added.

Eduspec's shares remained unchanged at 13.5sen on Friday on some 827,100 shares done. Its market capitalisation stood at RM 125.93 million.

Fitch: Malaysia’s rating kept at ‘A-’ with stable outlook

KUALA LUMPUR: Fitch Ratings has affirmed Malaysia’s long-term foreign- and local-currency issuer default ratings at ‘A-’ with a stable outlook. In a statement yesterday, Fitch said…

IHS Markit: Malaysia’s GDP growth expected to surpass 5pc this year

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 18 — Malaysia’s economy is expected to maintain its rapid growth this year and the next two years, with full year Gross Development Product (GDP) growth surpassing 5.0 per cent annually, said IHS Markit. IHS Markit Asia…

Investors sell global stocks, dollar on fears Trump agenda is foundering

SINGAPORE, Aug 18 — Asian stock investors joined a global retreat from riskier assets today and the dollar wavered on rising doubts about US President Donald Trump’s ability to deliver his economic agenda. European stock markets are also set…