Tuesday, September 12th, 2017


Malaysia Airlines to announce deal to buy eight Boeing 787 jets, sources say

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 12 — Malaysia Airlines will announce a deal to buy eight widebody Boeing 787 jets during the visit of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak to the United States, two industry sources said today. The deal, worth more than…

N. Korea hackers ‘suspected of stealing bitcoins’

BEIJING, Sept 12 — North Korea is suspected of intensifying cyber-attacks to steal virtual currency in order to obtain funds and avert tightening sanctions, according to security experts. North Korean hackers have mounted attacks on at least…

China jails 26 over US$7.6b Ponzi scheme

BEIJING, Sept 12 — Two senior executives of a collapsed peer-to-peer lender were sentenced to life in prison and 24 others punished over what has been called China’s biggest-ever Ponzi scheme, state media reported today. The company, Ezubao,…

Bank of America: Ringgit could be next to rally on early Malaysia elections

SINGAPORE (Sept 12): Demand for EM Asian bonds continues to be strong, with inflows surpassing 5-year highs in some markets, despite broad-based stock outflows, Rohit…

Lagarde: Global recovery could be derailed by policy uncertainty, protectionism risk

BEIJING, Sept 12 — The global economy is recovering, but could easily be derailed by policy uncertainty and the threat of protectionism, International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde said in Beijing today. Lagarde and the…

MARGMA warns of up to 12% increase in prices due to Hurricane Irma and other factors

PETALING JAYA: Malaysian Rubber Glove Manufacturers Association (Margma) expects the price of rubber gloves to increase by up to 12% on Hurricane Irma, rising cost of natural rubber latex, the weakening US dollar and shortage of paper.

In a statement released earlier Margma President Denis Low Jau Foo said one of the key contributing factors is Hurricane Irma, which has caused the prices of Butadiene, an important material in the production of Nitrile Latex to soar, as its production has been severely affected.

Natural rubber latex prices have also been affected by speculation as the commodity is highly volatile, especially so with the pending International Tripartite Rubber Council meet of the world's top producers of natural rubber later this month.

“Usually when this happens, prices of rubber tend to increase due to anticipation of price fixing and speculation. As manufacturers, we want natural rubber prices to be stable, and for farmers to be adequately compensated for their work, and not be subjected to unreasonable speculation and profiteering,” he said.

Prices also have to be readjusted to reflect the weakening status of the US dollar and the 15% increase in packing material prices due to the shortage of paper.

Margma said as the industry watchdog it is advising its members to raise prices to better reflect rising production cost and to limit the validity date to a shorter period so as not to get caught out in the unpredictability of rubber and Butadiene prices.

With regards to the industry's performance, Low said the demand for rubber gloves in the first 6 months of 2017 have been extremely encouraging with revenue soaring by around 25% to RM8.1 billion from RM6.0 billion in the previous 6 months. Volume has also increased significantly by 15.8% on the back of 8-10% growth usually.

“We expect the second half of the year to be even better as Europe and America are buying very strongly with Asia leading the pack in terms of
consumption. We understand from our members that most of them are in an oversold capacity position with some major players in oversold up to
December,” he added.

Sunway eyes land near new public infrastructure

KUALA LUMPUR: Sunway Group’s property arm Sunway Property, is on the lookout for more land near new public infrastructures and transit-oriented developments (TOD), said its managing director Sarena Cheah.

“We are looking for more land near TODs because we do see the potential when all MRTs and LRTs are completed, just like looking at how the more advanced countries are leveraging on that, we find that there is a lot of value,” she told reporters at a briefing on the opening of Sunway Velocity Hotel today.

The group has made five acquisitions so far this year, two of which are close to its existing projects, namely Subang Jaya and Cheras, while three are in Kampung Atap, Kajang and Wangsa Maju.

The group has 3,330 acres of land with a gross development value (GDV) of RM55 billion. Cheah said there will be more new launches next year but will only reveal the plans later this year.

“I think there is an opportunity now, when the market is slow, for us to buy and hence we are a bit more aggressive and will continue to do that, looking around the central region over the next few years,” she said.

She said the group is cautious but still confident overall due to its products and locations. Although it is not scaling back on its projects, it is able to do so due to its diversified business, which includes malls, construction, education, theme parks and hospitals.

“For some of the launches if we don’t feel it is the right time to launch, we are able to hold it back … that (diversified business) complements us very well especially in slow markets and it allows us to leverage on opportunities such as landbank or maybe even undervalued assets around town, which are in very good locations; we will also look out for that,” she added.

Meanwhile, the 351-room Sunway Velocity Hotel will begin operations on Sept 20 with a 56% occupancy target till year-end and a full year occupancy target of 75% next year. The mid-market hotel has a gross development cost of RM146 million and is located within Sunway Velocity Kuala Lumpur, an integrated TOD project in Cheras.

“For the hotel, we anticipate about 60% corporate and 40% leisure base. In 2017 and 2018, we are expecting Malaysians to constitute 60% of our guests with the balance coming from Singapore, China and guests residing in the Asia Pacific region,” said Sunway Hotels and Resorts cluster director of operations Kelly Leong.

Cheah said the hotel complements the other components within the RM4 billion project, including the mall, office towers, serviced residences and a medical centre. The RM300 million 240-bed hospital will enable the group to tap into medical tourism.

“The last component for Sunway Velocity will be the hospital, which we are looking to open at the end of 2018 or early 2019. This completes the overall concept of being integrated where you can do everything here without travelling very much and yet you are situated at the fringe of Kuala Lumpur, giving it a very good value for all tourists, shoppers, residents or even patients,” she said.

Sunway Bhd’s share price rose one sen to close at RM4.48 today with a total of 3.28 million shares traded. Its market capitalisation stood at RM9.26 billion.

Sunway Hotels targets 75% occupancy for new Sunway Velocity Hotel

KUALA LUMPUR: Sunway Hotels & Resorts is targeting 75% occupancy for its new hotel, Sunway Velocity Hotel in its first full year of operations.

Sunway Putra Hotel Sdn Bhd cluster director of sales and marketing TS Cheah said it is targeting 56% occupancy between September and December this year and 75% occupancy next year.

The 351-room hotel will progressively open its doors for operations on Sept 20. The mid-market hotel will be the only transit-oriented hotel within the Cheras vicinity.

The hotel's gross development cost is RM146 million and is located within the Sunway Velocity Kuala Lumpur integrated development.

The hotel is expected to attract 60% corporate guests and 40% leisure. The majority of its guests are expected to be Malaysians (60%) while the remaining 40% will be from overseas particularly Singapore and China.

Celcom Q2 net profit marginally higher

PETALING JAYA: Celcom Axiata Bhd saw a 3.44% jump in profit after tax, amortisation and minority interest (patami) for the second quarter ended June 30.

Celcom registered a patami of RM331 million in the quarter under review against RM320 million a year ago.

Total revenue fell by 3.63% to RM1.62 billion from RM1.68 billion.

Service revenue on the other hand inched slightly higher by 0.81% to RM1.49 billion from RM1.48 billion, driven by the postpaid segment.

The telco, which had earlier earmarked about RM1.4 billion – RM1.5 billion for capex, has only utilised about RM400 million in the first half of the year, which was spent on its spectrum re-farming exercise.

It will deploy the remaining balance of its yearly capital expenditure(capex) allocation to improvise its network coverage .

According to its CFO Jennifer Wong, Celcom will also be spending on the “preparations” it is embarking on in relation to the roll out of the 4.5G network.

She added that, Celcom will be spending more than it did in the first half of the year, in the coming quarters.

Willowglen group MD ups stake to 55%, triggers mandatory takeover offer

PETALING JAYA: Willowglen MSC Bhd’s group managing director Wong Ah Chiew has mopped up a 22.2% stake in the company at a 40% discount, bringing his interest in the company up to 55%, triggering a mandatory takeover offer.

New Advent Sdn Bhd, a company controlled by Wong, plans to maintain the listing status of the company.

In a filing with Bursa Malaysia, the company announced that New Advent had purchased interests from six shareholders for the stake at RM44.6 million or 80 sen a share, in a deal signed today.

The stock, which was halted from trading in the afternoon session, closed up seven sen at RM1.39 at the end of morning trade. The stock has gained 84% year to date. It resumes trading tomorrow.

Willowglen MSC counts veteran stockbroker Tan Sri Ong Leong Huat as a substantial shareholder with a 16.14% interest.

The offer for the remaining shares Wong does not own in Willowglen MSC will remain open for 21 days from the posting of the offer document.

For the six-month period ended June 30, 2017, the company saw a 22% jump in net profit to RM9.3 million on the strength of its Singapore operations. This was on a 24% jump in revenue for the period to RM72.7 million from RM58.5 million.