Monday, September 4th, 2017

 

WTO: Boeing’s US state subsidies legal

GENEVA, Sep 4 — Subsidies given by the US state of Washington to Boeing are legal, a World Trade Organisation appeals body said today, partially overturning a victory by rival Airbus and the European Union last year.  The two aviation giants…


LEAP market may be a tough sell for Malaysia’s biggest funds

PETALING JAYA: Companies heading for a listing on the Leading Entrepreneur Accelerator Platform (LEAP) market, launched by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak more than a month ago, may have a tough time squeezing itself into the portfolios of some of Malaysia’s biggest funds.

The country’s largest funds, Employees Provident Fund (EPF) and Kumpulan Wang Persaraan (KWAP) or Retirement Fund Board, are governed by investment policies and guidelines which dictate permissible asset classes, strategic asset allocations, performance benchmarks and tactical limits.

Companies which qualify for a LEAP listing include those at seed or early growth with potential that lack assets for collateral and a track record. The risky nature of the investment has led Bursa Malaysia to limit the market to sophisticated investors only – defined as individuals with more than RM3 million in assets or more than RM300,000 in annual income, and corporates with net assets of more than RM10 million.

KWAP, the country’s second largest retirement fund with RM125 billion under management, for one will not be on the list of investors in the LEAP market.

In response to a query from SunBiz, KWAP CEO Datuk Wan Kamaruzaman Wan Ahmad confirmed that its risk appetite does not allow it to participate in the companies which are eventually to be listed on the new exchange.

EPF CEO Datuk Shahril Ridza Ridzuan, when queried, told SunBiz that they have an allocation for investments in small and medium enterprises (SMEs). However, the fund will have to assess companies eventually listed on the LEAP market to see whether any of them qualify.

“But I can’t say now whether there’s any because I’m not sure whether my team has started to look at those companies yet.

“We do a lot of investments. We have close to RM3 billion investments in small and medium companies in Malaysia. We’ll have a look and see whether there’s any thing (in the LEAP market) which qualifies for us,” he said when met at an event early last month.

The retirement fund has about RM731 billion under management.
According to Bank Negara Malaysia’s Financial Stability and Payment Systems Report, there was a financing gap of about RM22 billion faced by SMEs in 2015.

This gap was derived from statistics which showed the amount of alternative financing received by SMEs as opposed to total financing applications by small and medium firms. Financial institutions account for about 96% of total financing for SMEs, with the capital market providing less than 4%.

As an adviser-driven market, 20 Bursa Malaysia approved advisers will be entrusted to weed out the wheat from the chaff.

Eleven companies have thus far expressed their interest in taking the leap, with the first of such a company expected as early as at the end of the year.

KWAP and EPF’s potential disinvolvement in the market, however, is not a sign of lack of buy-in from investors. One company listed on the ACE Market for example, Asia Bioenergy Technologies Bhd, is raising funds via a rights issue to invest in companies to be listed on the market.

Associations, too, are doing their part to educate SMEs on the opportunities under the LEAP market, as evidenced by a seminar organised by the Associated Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Malaysia on the listing requirements for the LEAP market about two weeks ago.


Telematics company Katsana paves way to safer driving

PETALING JAYA: Connected cars and insurance-focused data analytics company Pixelated Sdn Bhd (known as Katsana) said it has managed to reduce risky driving behaviour by 62% within 12 months and has a 96% track record in recovering stolen vehicles.

Katsana captures vehicle movement data through sensors using telematics hardware or phone which is then transmitted to its platform to be processed. In addition to that motor insurers can get their data through a unified & API (application programming interface) centric automotive platform.

According to founder and managing director Syed Ahmad Fuqaha, the company has collected “over 420 million kilometres of travel data while reducing risky behaviour by over 62% in 12 months.”

Meanwhile, it has recovered 56 out of 58 vehicles reported to be stolen.
“We aim to strengthen our data analytics capability and become the de-facto scoring standard for motor insurers in Southeast Asia,” Fuqaha told SunBiz on the company’s aims.

“As a company, we hope that we can become the catalyst for safer driving and help reduce road accidents in Malaysia and the world,” he added.

The idea of Katsana was conceived by Fuqaha in 2013 after coming into a realisation of the severity of car theft in Malaysia where the cars of a friend and a family member were stolen.

After doing a study on the market, he found that the downside to existing technology was that it was either too expensive or outdated. The first version of Katsana’s solution was rolled out in January 2014 upon the development of a minimum viable product within three months.

“A few months after, the solution attracted large enterprises with substantially big fleet of vehicles. To accommodate the needs of enterprises, we started to develop features to understand driver behaviour patterns,” he said.

“Soon after, we realised that driver-scoring features are immensely useful to motor insurers, allowing them to precisely measure the risk of drivers,” he added.

The company has since come a long way from starting off as a GPS tracking system and evolving into a fleet management system to partnering motor insurers.

“Never I would (have) imagine that one day we will be partnering motor insurers and deploying our solution as a factory-fitted feature in passenger cars,” Fuqaha said.

The company secured its funding from Axiata Group Bhd’s Axiata Digital Innovation Fund (ADIF).

Fuqaha said monetary return for investors beyond the company’s growth value is not expected within the next three years.

Katsana’s revenue stream comes from monthly and yearly subscriptions. Currently, 96% of its customer base comprises enterprises which run large fleets of vehicles, such as express buses, taxis, haulier trucks, heavy machinery and ferries.

The company’s team has since involved from just three members during its initial days in 2013 to 31 today.

“We are a team of 31 now. Half of them are on engineering/IT. The rest are into operations and customer support,” Fuquha said.

Katsana is also available on mobile application and offers a series of products, such as Katsana Track, Katsana Fleet, Katsana Insight, Katsana Shuttle and UTHM Bus Tracking.


Malaysian manufacturing shows signs or recovery in August

PETALING JAYA: Malaysia’s manufacturing sector showed signs of recovery in August 2017, registering the first expansion in production and overall improvement in operating conditions since April.

The headline Nikkei Malaysia Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) rose above the 50.0 no-change mark to 50.4 in August, up from July’s 48.3.

IHS Markit said although total new orders continued to fall, the rate of contraction softened against a backdrop of rising exports.

Firms expanded workforce numbers, which enabled them to keep on top of overall workloads, while indicating a preference for destocking by opting to deplete inventories of both inputs and finished goods.

“Cost pressures continued to ease, whilst business optimism was its highest since December 2013,” IHS Markit said, highlighting that manufacturing output rose in August at the fastest rate since February.

“Although order book volumes failed to increase, the rate of contraction was the weakest since growth was last recorded in April whilst exports rose after a slight fall in July. In particular, firms highlighted growing demand from foreign markets in China, Southeast Asia and the Middle East.”

Meanwhile, purchasing activity fell for the fourth consecutive month in August as the still-underwhelming trend in overall sales encouraged firms to utilise existing stocks of purchases for production.

Workforce numbers continued to grow in August, citing positive demand projections as the primary reason for the expansion.

Commenting on the Malaysian Manufacturing PMI survey data, IHS Markit director Paul Smith said August’s survey painted a stronger picture of the Malaysian manufacturing economy compared with previous months, with overall operating conditions improving for the first time in four months.

“Growth was underpinned in the main by an improvement in new export orders, which helped to bolster output, in turn shoring up confidence and driving employment higher. However, current growth seems a little precarious given the ongoing weakness in total sales, which continue to fall on the back of underwhelming domestic demand.”


Value-added services the way forward for Malaysian manufacturers: Survey

KUALA LUMPUR: Value-added services, such as 3D printing, are a way for Malaysian manufacturers to stand out from the competition, according to a 2017 UPS Industrial Buying Dynamics survey.

In a statement, UPS, the global leader in logistics, said the survey results revealed early signs of buyers’ willingness to switch to suppliers offering 3D printing services.

“3D printing as a service is perceived to add a level of attractiveness in the form of high quality, customisation, and ability to satisfy emergency fulfilments.

“Malaysian manufacturers with the resources to invest in 3D printing as a service can leverage on this emerging trend to differentiate themselves in an increasingly crowded marketplace,” it added.

The UPS Industrial Buying Dynamics study was conducted in December 2016 with 2,500 industrial supply purchasers in China, Europe (the United Kingdom, France, Italy, and Germany) and the United States, including decision makers or strong influencers.

The survey suggested Malaysian manufacturers can take action in five other key areas to appeal to industrial buyers across the US, China, and Europe –
e-commerce, personal touchpoints, post-sales, quality and reputation.

“By understanding the behaviour and perception of industrial buyers in these three key markets, manufacturers in Malaysia can better plan and prioritise international expansion plans,” UPS said.

The survey also revealed that though online purchasing is becoming more popular, in-person relationships are still important for Malaysian manufacturers expanding their businesses overseas. – Bernama


EU approves insolvent Air Berlin’s €150m lifeline

FRANKFURT, Sep 4 — The European Commission today approved a German bridging loan for Air Berlin that will keep the insolvent airline’s planes flying while it tries to find buyers for its assets. Air Berlin, Germany’s second-largest…


McDonald’s staff stage first ever UK strike

LONDON, Sep 4 — McDonald’s workers staged the first ever strike in Britain today in protest at pay and working conditions at the US fast-food giant. About 40 workers gathered outside two restaurants in Crayford, southeast London, and in…


ABM: Robust measures in place to detect fake banknotes

PETALING JAYA: The Association of Banks in Malaysia (ABM) said its member banks have put in place robust measures to detect suspected counterfeit banknotes.

“These measures include validating the authenticity of the banknotes before they are circulated and are applied both at machine level as well as over the counter at bank branches,” it said in a statement today.

The association was responding to news reports that counterfeit banknotes allegedly withdrawn from Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) and over the bank counter have gone unnoticed.

ABM said each bank has its own specific internal procedures with regard to the processing of banknotes.

“Generally, all banknotes are scanned and validated before being loaded into ATMs and Cash Recycler Machines (CRMs). In addition, banknotes deposited at CRMs and Cash Deposit Machines (CDMs) by bank customers are scanned by the machines.

“Any counterfeit banknotes deposited would be detected and rejected on the spot,” it noted.

ABM stressed that banks are required to adhere to the guidelines issued by the regulators on the handling of suspected counterfeit banknotes.

In accordance with the guidelines, all suspected counterfeit banknotes are to be retained, reported and surrendered to the police for investigation.

“We wish to remind the public that counterfeit banknotes are not legal tender and as such, no value will be given to any such notes. Any members of the public in possession of suspected counterfeit banknotes are advised to lodge a police report and surrender the suspected notes to the police,” the association said.

It added that suspected counterfeit banknotes that are certified as genuine after investigation will be returned back to the bank customer concerned.

The public are advised to contact their respective banks’ call centres or ABMConnect at 1-300- 88-9980 for any queries.

Meanwhile, Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) reiterated in a statement yesterday that the incidences of counterfeit banknotes remain low and were isolated cases.

“Any insinuation that the incidences of counterfeit notes are prevalent will cause undue public consternation. The bank views seriously any reports on counterfeit banknotes.”

The central bank stressed that it has been working closely with the Royal Malaysian Police to promptly act on reports lodged related to counterfeit banknotes, including the cases reported in the media article.

“Contrary to the media report, the bank and the police have not detected high quality counterfeit banknotes, printed using paper resembling actual banknote paper and state-of-the-art banknote printing techniques.

“The counterfeits detected are of low quality, mostly printed on normal paper using ordinary colour printers/copiers and can be easily distinguished from genuine banknotes by using a simple sense of touch and sight. Members of the public should be able to identify these counterfeit banknotes.”

To know more about the features of Malaysian banknotes, the public can download BNM’s My Ringgit Mobile App from Apple Store and/or Google Play Store.


ABM: Steps in place to detect fake banknotes

PETALING JAYA: The Association of Banks in Malaysia (ABM) said its member banks have put in place robust measures to detect suspected counterfeit banknotes.

“These measures include validating the authenticity of the banknotes before they are circulated and are applied both at machine level as well as over the counter at bank branches,” it said in a statement today.

The association was responding to news reports that counterfeit banknotes allegedly withdrawn from Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) and over the bank counter have gone unnoticed.

ABM said each bank has its own specific internal procedures with regard to the processing of banknotes.

“Generally, all banknotes are scanned and validated before being loaded into ATMs and Cash Recycler Machines (CRMs). In addition, banknotes deposited at CRMs and Cash Deposit Machines (CDMs) by bank customers are scanned by the machines.

“Any counterfeit banknotes deposited would be detected and rejected on the spot,” it noted.

ABM stressed that banks are required to adhere to the guidelines issued by the regulators on the handling of suspected counterfeit banknotes.

In accordance with the guidelines, all suspected counterfeit banknotes are to be retained, reported and surrendered to the police for investigation.

“We wish to remind the public that counterfeit banknotes are not legal tender and as such, no value will be given to any such notes. Any members of the public in possession of suspected counterfeit banknotes are advised to lodge a police report and surrender the suspected notes to the police,” the association said.

It added that suspected counterfeit banknotes that are certified as genuine after investigation will be returned back to the bank customer concerned.

The public is advised to contact their respective banks’ call centres or ABMConnect at 1-300- 88-9980 for any queries.


Rakuten Trade ropes in 3 partners for loyalty scheme

PETALING JAYA: Rakuten Trade Sdn Bhd has launched its rewards programme with three local leading loyalty providers – AirAsia BIG, B Infinite by Berjaya Group and BonusLink.

Rakuten said in a statement today the three affiliate partners joined together under one robust ecosystem by Rakuten Trade in a bid to raise the bar in the online equity trading market, which is more accustomed to single partner programmes.

“With three of the country’s most prolific affiliate partners on board, Rakuten Trade’s rewards ecosystem intends to cater to retail investors by appealing to their digitally-savvy nature and diverse tastes by providing a wide range of reward choices,” it noted.

Rakuten Trade said the rewards ecosystem incentivises retail investors for executing trades via their online trading platform. Investors will automatically get rewarded with RT Points when signing up as a new client, trading, transferring in shares, and through a referral system. RT Points earned can then be converted into AirAsia BIG, B Infinite and/or BonusLink points of the same value.

Rakuten Trade managing director Kaoru Arai said the new ecosystem provides the group with an ideal way to not just attract retail investors who may have never traded before but to also continue to impress and entice existing traders.

Meanwhile, BLoyalty Sdn Bhd’s director of retail & innovations Yau Su Peng said as B Infinite progresses in its transformation from the physical world to the realm of mobile, it is imperative that it prepares for the growing preference amongst consumers for digital-based channels.

“We are therefore pleased to collaborate with Rakuten Trade, the country’s first completely online equity broker, in its launch of the country’s first rewards ecosystem for investors. B Infinite is constantly open to win-win partnerships that will benefit our members and believe that this collaboration with Rakuten Trade will well serve their lifestyle needs.”

Rakuten Trade is a 50:50 joint venture company between Kenanga Investment Bank Berhad and Japan-based Rakuten Securities, Inc.