Tuesday, August 29th, 2017


Google faces Tuesday deadline as clock ticks toward EU fines

BRUSSELS, Aug 29 — Google faces a deadline today to tell the European Union how it plans to comply with an order to stop discriminating against rival shopping search services under threat of new fines that would add to a record €2.4 billion…

Forex gain boosts TM’s second quarter earnings

PETALING JAYA: Telekom Malaysia Bhd’s (TM) net profit for the second quarter ended June 30, 2017 rose 50.94% to RM210.48 million from RM139.45 million a year ago, on a foreign exchange gain.

In a filing with Bursa Malaysia yesterday, the group reported a foreign exchange gain on its borrowings during the quarter compared with foreign exchange losses reported a year ago.

Revenue for the quarter fell 2.14% to RM2.98 billion from RM3.05 billion a year ago despite a continuing RM77.4 million or 8.6% increase in internet and multimedia revenue, due to lower revenue from data, voice, other telecommunication and non-telecommunication related services.

Internet and multimedia services registered higher revenue of RM982.3 million compared with RM904.9 million a year ago, due to increase in its UniFi customer base at more than one million customers compared with 900,245 a year ago.

The lower revenue led to operating profit before finance cost decreasing 7.8% to RM258.2 million from RM280.0 million a year ago.

For the six months ended June 30, 2017, net profit fell 4.54% to RM440.92 million from RM461.89 million a year ago while revenue rose marginally to RM5.94 billion from RM5.90 billion a year ago.

To date, TM has over 2.7 million high-speed broadband ports nationwide and its LTE coverage has expanded to more than 80% in major cities. It has 2.36 million broadband customers and 88% of its UniFi customers are on packages with speeds of 10Mbps and above, compared with 68% a year ago while webe’s penetration of TM’s household stood at 5.6%.

Total capital expenditure for the first six months amounted to RM899 million or 15.1% of revenue, as the group continued with its investments in high speed broadband, sub-urban broadband and mobility.

TM has declared an interim single-tier dividend of 9.4 sen per share or about RM353.2 million for the financial year ending Dec 31, 2017, payable on Oct 13, 2017.

Group CEO Datuk Seri Mohammed Shazalli Ramly said the group will focus on empowering digitisation in its daily operations to optimise processes and productivity.

“We are expediting our fibre rollout and expanding our reach with our ongoing investments, for example to high-rise buildings; and made some key execution leadership appointments to facilitate this, amongst others,” he said in a statement yesterday.

TM is also working towards liberating its WiFi Access Points and continues to strengthen its mobility presence with its continued expansion of LTE. On the business front, it is consolidating its managed accounts organisation into TM One.

North Korea missile stuns global markets

LONDON, Aug 29 — World stock markets spiralled lower today after North Korea fired a ballistic missile over Japan, deepening geopolitical worries but sending the euro and gold hurtling higher. Pyongyang fired the missile over Japan and into…

SC wins suit in Iris share manipulation case

PETALING JAYA: The High Court has declared in favour of the Securities Commission Malaysia (SC) against six foreign defendants for their role in the manipulation of Iris Corp Bhd shares in 2006, marking the end to the civil suit filed by the SC in 2008.

The SC said in a statement today, the outcome is in addition to the High Court’s earlier decision on June 16, 2017 in favour of the SC against another defendant in this suit, namely Richard Benjamin Cohen for his role in the same manipulation.

Cohen, a former research analyst at Aeneas Capital Management L.P was also ordered to pay the SC a sum of RM50,000 in costs.

Cohen and the six defendants, namely Aeneas Capital Management L.P, Priam Holdings Limited, Aeneas Portfolio Company L.P, Acadian Worldwide Inc, Thomas R. Grossman and John Suglia, are now permanently barred from trading in any counter on Bursa Malaysia.

Iris, a manufacturer of smart cards for electronic passports and electronic identification cards, was, at the material time and is still listed on Bursa Malaysia.

The SC had alleged that the defendants had colluded in the manipulation of Iris shares over a period of 44 days, causing the price of Iris shares to rise from 8 sen to a closing high of RM1.36 per share with an average of 200 million shares being traded daily over that period.

All seven defendants were declared to have conspired to manipulate the share price of Iris in breach of Sections 84(1), 85(1)(a) and 87A of the Securities Industry Act 1983.

Meanwhile, Iris reported a net profit of RM5.21 million for the first quarter ended June 30, 2017, compared with a net loss of RM3.95 million a year ago on lower administrative, operating and other expenses and finance costs.

Revenue for the quarter rose 28.78% to RM102.71 million from RM79.76 million a year ago due to higher revenue from the trusted identification division, which recorded a 99.2% jump in revenue to RM100.6 million from RM50.5 million a year ago.

Iris attributed the increase in revenue to higher delivery of Senegal eID cards and Nigeria ePassports during the quarter.

Iris’ share price closed unchanged at 17 sen today with a total of 1.63 million shares traded, giving it a market capitalisation of RM420.22 million.

7-Eleven Malaysia posts RM10m profit

PETALING JAYA: 7-Eleven Malaysia Holdings Bhd reported a 32.7% decline in net profit to RM10.15 million for the second quarter ended June 30, 2017 compared with RM15.07 million in the previous corresponding period, due to higher selling, distribution, administrative and other operating expenses.

However, revenue for the quarter under review expanded 9.8% from RM505.7 million to RM555.21 million, thanks to Hari Raya festive period and new store growth.

The group said in a filing with the stock exchange that it foresees the trading conditions for the remaining period of the current financial year to remain challenging.

“We expect to see continued improvements in the next two quarters by pursuing our core strategy pillars of operations excellence, cost management and commercial innovation,” it noted.

Acting CEO Ho Ming said 7-Eleven is confident that its strategic review of the business and the implementation of the “Back to Basics” program will strengthen and solidify 7-Eleven as the customer’s first choice of convenience store operators.

“This will be achieved via, the effective leveraging of our supply chain operations, and the sharpening of our offerings to our customers, with a key focus on fresh food and in-store services,” he added.

For the first half of the year, its net profit fell 41.4% from RM31 million to RM18.15 million. Revenue came in at RM1.08 billion, 4.4% higher than the RM1.03 billion it made in the same period a year ago.

7-Eleven shares rose one sen to close at RM1.39 today, with some 1.38 million shares changing hands. It has a market capitalisation of RM1.71 billion.

Nexgram drops RM338m project

PETALING JAYA: A unit of Nexgram Holdings Bhd, Intra Binaraya Sdn Bhd (IBSB), has terminated a US$77 million (RM338.8 million) job to construct the vaccine fill and finish plant and pharmaceutical and neutraceutical plant and research centre in Negri Sembilan.

Nexgram in a filing with Bursa Malaysia said it had backed out from the job as engineering, procurement and construction main contractor, after Oriental Mace Sdn Bhd (OMSB) was not able to furnish all relevant documents and information required to facilitate and complete the due diligence undertaken by IBSB.

The projects, according to a filing with Bursa Malaysia, was through a series of agreements between AJ Biologics Sdn Bhd, AJ Research & Pharma Sdn Bhd and AJ Research Center Sdn Bhd with OMSB.

This is the second time the development of the projects in Negri Sembilan have failed to take off. In January this year, OMSB had terminated its appointment of Versatile Creative Bhd as the main contractor.

Nexgram’s share price was up half a sen to close at four sen today. It has a market capitalisation of RM75 million.

KPSB maintains profits in Q2

PETALING JAYA: Kumpulan Perangsang Selangor Bhd maintained its net profit for the second quarter ended June 30, at RM34.67 million against the RM34.48 million recorded in the same period last year.

This was despite revenue increasing by almost three fold to RM75.95 million from the RM26.91 million registered last year, driven by revenue contributions from its manufacturing, trading and licencing businesses.

The manufacturing business of Century Bond Bhd acquired in November 2016 contributed about RM39.5 million to revenue. Higher expenses for the quarter however led to profit largely staying flat.

The group will be primarily focusing on its manufacturing segment for which it is also planning to enter into new product segments, such as paper packaging for minerals and other construction materials.

Besides that, it is also looking to gain by tapping into the increasing infrastructure and capital projects in the region.

The group which displayed a positive outlook on the infrastructure and utilities segment, is also confident in the long-term prospects of the oil and gas sector from which it expects an increase in demand for liquefied petroleum gas.

For the trading segment, in addition to the three new contracts bagged by its outfit Aqua Flo Sdn Bhd from PNSB Water Sdn Bhd, Konsortium ABASS Sdn Bhd and Konsortium Air Selangor Sdn Bhd, with a combined value of RM30 million– the division will continue to bid for contracts in the supply of water treatment chemicals and equipment segment.

Besides that, KPSB which is the licence holder for the King Koil brand, is also hoping to benefit from King Koil Licensing Company Inc's (KKLC) future growth which is expected to stem from the expansion of direct distribution to its retailers and consumers in the US.

As for earnings in the first six months of the financial year under review, its net profit declined by 63.63% to RM54.88 million from RM150.91 million.

Revenue however, increased by more than three folds to RM152.70 million from RM46.10 million.

KPSB's share price closed unchanged at RM1.30. It has a market capitalisation of RM648.7 million.

Petronas LNG to supply gas to S. Korea’s S-Oil for 15 years

KUALA LUMPUR: Petroliam Nasional Bhd’s (Petronas) subsidiary, Petronas LNG Ltd, will be supplying up to 700,000 tonnes of liquefied natural gas (LNG) annually for 15 years to South Korea-based S-Oil Corp.

Petronas LNG said in a statement it entered into the 15-year sale and purchase agreement today to deliver LNG to petroleum, petrochemical and lubricant products producer S-Oil beginning next year. The contract sum was not disclosed.

S-Oil will use the LNG from Petronas as fuel for its new plant operations and feedstock for hydrogen production.

“This SPA is testament to Petronas’ focus in building long-term relationships with committed partners. Petronas looks forward to create further value with S-Oil to ensure that we can deliver the most value-comprehensive solution. To date, we have delivered cargoes without fail and will continue to ensure security of supply and reliability to all of our buyers,” said Petronas LNG chairman Ahmad Adly Alias.

Tropicana Corp sees Q2 earnings up 58.6%

PETALING JAYA: Tropicana Corp Bhd's net profit soared 58.6% to RM52.85 million for the second quarter ended June 30, 2017 versus RM33.32 million in the same quarter a year ago, buoyed by higher contribution from its key projects across the Klang Valley and Northern region.

Revenue rose 24.1% from RM358.08 million to RM444.4 million.

The property developer has proposed an interim dividend of two sen per share for the quarter under review.

Its six-month net profit jumped 76.1% from RM48.49 million to RM85.37 million. Revenue came in at RM826.26 million, 28.1% higher than RM645.01 million in the previous corresponding period.

Tropicana told Bursa Malaysia that it achieved total new sales of RM508.6 million for the first half, with unbilled sales at RM2.1 billion as at June 30, 2017.

For FY2017, the group said it will continue to focus on being market driven and unlock the value of its strategic landbank located in the Klang Valley, Northern and Southern Regions.

“Despite the softening consumer outlook, the group believes there will be continued demand for its properties in prime locations given its accessibility, good amenities and attractive pricing,” it opined.

Tropicana shares fell one sen to 95 sen today, on some 129,100 shares done. It has a market capitalisation of RM1.39 billion.

E&O net profit up six-fold in Q1

PETALING JAYA: Eastern & Oriental Bhd's (E&O) net profit for the first quarter ended June 30, 2017 jumped more than six-fold to RM21.24 million from RM3.24 million a year ago, due to lower selling and marketing as well as other expenses incurred during the quarter.

In a filing with Bursa Malaysia, the group reported lower selling and marketing expenses of RM5.47 million compared with RM10.40 million a year ago. Other expenses were also lower, at RM12.62 million compared with RM26.41 million a year ago.

Revenue for the quarter rose 6.20% to RM173.44 million from RM163.31 million a year ago due to the property segment which generated RM148.89 million in revenue compared with RM137.09 million a year ago and operating profit of RM48.82 million compared with RM37.70 million a year ago.

However, its joint venture projects contributed RM1.25 million profit during the quarter, lower than the RM3.83 million achieved a year ago.

The hospitality segment recorded a lower revenue of RM23.80 million compared with RM25.62 million a year ago, due to the disposal of The Delicious Group Sdn Bhd in the previous financial year.

The segment recorded an operating profit of RM1.04 million compared with an operating loss of RM1.27 million a year ago.

The investments and others segment recorded an operating profit of RM222,000 during the quarter compared with an operating loss of RM14.49 million a year ago, due to a fair value gain on investment securities of RM3.23 million compared with a fair value loss of RM141,000 a year ago.

In addition, the strengthening of the Sterling pound against the ringgit resulted in an unrealised foreign exchange gain of RM3.10 million, compared with an unrealised foreign exchange loss of RM14.29 million a year ago.

The group attributed its overall positive performance to the property segment, which registered higher revenue recognition from ongoing projects namely The Tamarind, the Amaris Terraces and the Ariza Seafront Terrace in Seri Tanjung Pinang (STP), Penang as well as higher sales of completed properties.

“Notwithstanding the prevailing property market conditions, there has been encouraging support for our properties in STP which has buoyed the group's performance in the first quarter,” managing director Kok Tuck Cheong said in a statement.

In terms of upcoming projects, he said timing is important and the group is monitoring the market closely.

On STP Phase 2A, Kok said reclamation works is progressing with more than 75% of the island being reclaimed above the two meter chart datum level, which is eligible for title application.

The group is targeting its first launch at STP Phase 2A by 2019, following completion of reclamation works which is expected in the second half of 2018.

E&O's share price fell 2.58% to close at RM1.51, with a total of 222,800 shares traded, giving it a market capitalisation of RM2.01 billion.