Sunday, August 27th, 2017


China needs clear boundaries between state and markets, says central bank researcher

BEIJING, Aug 27 — China needs clear boundaries between the government, markets and companies to avoid distortions and “chaos” in financial markets, the head of research at China’s central bank said according to remarks published today….

Libya’s oil disruptions widen as two more fields halt output

CAIRO, Aug 27 — Two more oil fields in Libya are being closed after an armed group took over pipelines to both deposits, further disrupting the Opec nation’s plan to boost crude production. El Feel, or Elephant, stopped production, Wessam…

Bubbly times keep flowing at Chatime

KUALA LUMPUR: Sales at four Chatime outlets which continued with the brand following the fallout between franchisor La Kaffa International Co Ltd and master franchisee Loob Holding Sdn Bhd have soared 200%, according to new master franchisee Will Group Sdn Bhd.

Average sales per Chatime outlet were RM170,000 in July, compared with an average of RM48,000 monthly under Loob previously. In July, Chatime had 13 outlets. As at August, the number has grown to 17.

Group managing director Aliza Ali said Will Group made an informed business decision to stick with bubble tea specialist Chatime following a dispute that escalated between Chatime franchisor La Kaffa International and Loob earlier this year.

She said Will Group was offered the role of master franchisee for Chatime Malaysia as two of its outlets (in Genting and KL Sentral) have posted the highest sales of all Chatime outlets worldwide for the past six years.

While 161 former Chatime outlets have been rebranded as Tealive after La Kaffa terminated its contract with Loob, directly outnumbering the Chatime outlets here, Aliza said Will Group is not playing a quantity game and does not see Tealive as competition.

“From a business point of view, we can give better service when that outlet is able to make a certain revenue; our staff will be taken care of and the quality of the outlet will be something we can concentrate on. We’re averaging RM170,000 per outlet, which is a vast difference under the previous management, which was about RM48,000 per outlet. It’s a threefold increase,” she told SunBiz in an interview recently, adding that the group had a good business relation with Loob.

Aliza said the 13 outlets raked in sales of RM2.2 million in July or 27% of the monthly RM8 million sales that Chatime did with 165 outlets.

“For us to claim RM2.2 million with 13 outlets is pretty encouraging. The sales of all the outlets that stayed with Chatime increased 200%,” said Aliza.

As part of its plan to open 30 outlets by end-November, she said the group is more than halfway through that. It has allocated RM35 million to open 70 Chatime outlets by mid-2018, with an expected sales of RM8 million a month.

Will Group is focusing on direct-owned outlets and is particular about the location and potential of its outlets, with minimum monthly sales of RM120,000 as a prerequisite.

“We see a lot of potential in Chatime. We believe in the business. When we talk about customers and sales, we know that the strength is there. The loyalty towards the brand is there. We’re focusing on claiming back the market and providing customers more outlets to go to,” said Aliza.

She said having Chatime at petrol stations is not a business plan for the new management of Chatime Malaysia. It instead has a partnership with Aeon and will be present in almost all Aeon outlets in Malaysia.

As part of La Kaffa’s plan to make Malaysia the regional hub for Chatime’s raw ingredients, it will invest RM25 million-RM30 million to set up a manufacturing facility near Port Klang or Kuantan Port by year-end. The hub will be supplying the raw ingredients to countries in Southeast Asia such as Indonesia, Brunei, the Philippines and Thailand.

“When we see there’s a possibility that we can save more by making Malaysia the regional hub for raw ingredients, that’s another industry that we can add on (to our coffers).

“We’ll be able to save cost, about 200%, as raw products were previously sourced from Thailand or Malaysia and then brought to Taiwan and then back to Malaysia. By changing how we want to move ahead to manufacture (the ingredients) here, we’ll be able to save costs and be more efficient.”

Will Group expects to see a 50% revenue contribution from its food and beverage business thanks to Chatime by end of 2018, from 40% now. The remaining contribution comes from its mining and dredging business, as well as construction.

Will Group’s major shareholder and director Julita Aisah Abdul Latiff is the wife of the Tengku Muda of Pahang. The company was incorporated in 2011.

“We don’t use the connection … how we’re expanding is literally from funds from Chatime. There’s no injection from a third party. Chatime is self-funding. We look at it as another business venture, where we have profits and we roll it from there,” said Aliza.

Private consumption expected to be resilient

PETALING JAYA: PublicInvest Research is positive on the outlook for private consumption in Malaysia, which it expects to continue being resilient, in line with Malaysia seeing an improvement in Nielsen’s Global Survey on consumer confidence and spending.

This is expected to be supported by factors such as rising wages, full employment and rising commodity prices. The research house has forecast full year private consumption growth to be at 6.4%, before advancing to a year on year (y-o-y) growth of 6.5% next year.

However, it also noted that y-o-y growth projection for private consumption is expected to reach 6.4% in 2017, which is still below its full potential given its 10-year (2007-2016) average growth rate of 6.9%.

Citing the Nielsen survey, which stated that Malaysia’s consumer confidence index in the second quarter of 2017 (Q2’17) hit its highest level since 2015, having risen by 7 points since 2016 to 94 points, PublicInvest opined that this could be a precursor to better consumer spending in the second half of the year.

Consumers may also loosen their purse strings in the absence of major shocks to the economy and spending, which will also be supported by stabilisation of the ringgit.

“A few factors will support consumer spending in the near-term including the expectation of stronger economic growth, the absence of exogenous shocks to the economy, undervalued ringgit and transitory nature of inflation. Reducing negative political news flow could also induce a sense of calm for consumers to spend, be it on non-discretionary or discretionary items,” the research house said.

AIG returns to pre-bailout paydays for CEO, top executives

NEW YORK, Aug 27 — American International Group Inc’s new Chief Executive Brian Duperreault has pledged to revive the insurer’s glory days of top talent, underwriting discipline and fat profit margins. One thing he has already brought…

Draghi’s drama-free Jackson Hole speech reaffirms slow QE exit message (VIDEO)

WASHINGTON, Aug 27 — Mario Draghi’s message in Jackson Hole may not have been dramatic as three years ago but was clear nonetheless: the European Central Bank will go extremely slowly about removing its monetary stimulus. While the ECB…

Crude Palm Oil Weekly Update – 26 August 2017

Malaysian palm oil futures reversed last week losses and rose, surging to five month high, on expectations that production growth will be slower than previously forecast and tracking soyoil surges on Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT). The benchmark crude palm oil futures (FCPO) contract rise 2.57 per cent to RM2,751 on Friday, which is RM69 […]

Harvey’s second act could drive up economic damage for Texas

HOUSTON, Aug 27 — As Harvey’s winds die down, trouble for Texas may have just begun with forecasts for unprecedented flooding across the heart of US energy production and in Houston, the nation’s fourth-largest city. Harvey smashed ashore…

Toughest vigilante on street is stock market as bonds lose bite

NEW YORK, Aug 27 — There’s a new sheriff in town and it’s stocks. So says Strategas Research Partners LLC, which argues that equities have supplanted bonds as the market to watch as drama builds around funding the US government. The New…

Malaysia bond market weekly updates 27 August 2017

This week, the local bond market, yields continued to ease following the healthy second quarter GDP reported last week, in conjunction with the stronger ringgit. Meanwhile, risk aversion stemming from President Donald Trump’s threat for a government shutdown also sent MGS bond yields south, tracking the overnight US Treasury yields. As a result, MGS yields […]