Thursday, October 5th, 2017

 

Wells Fargo executives, board must face lawsuit over fake accounts

SAN FRANCISCO, Oct 5 — A federal judge said current and former Wells Fargo & Co officers and directors, including Chief Executive Officer Tim Sloan, must face nearly all of a lawsuit by shareholders seeking to hold them personally liable for…


Commission finds US makers of washers harmed by South Korean imports

WASHINGTON, Oct 5 —The US International Trade Commission today announced a preliminary finding that US manufacturers of washing machines are being harmed by imports from South Korea. The case, brought by appliance giant Whirlpool Corp, asked…


Netflix increases monthly subscription fees for two plans

NEW YORK, Oct 5 — Netflix Inc has raised the monthly subscription fees for two out of its three main US plans by US$1 (RM4.23) and US$2 respectively, according to details published on the company’s subscription page on today. The company’s…


More support for house buyers expected in Budget 2018

PETALING JAYA: AmBank Research (AmResearch) said Budget 2018 could see some measures to support home buyers, including allowing Employees Provident Fund (EPF) contributors to withdraw a maximum of 50% of their funds in Account II to purchase houses, up from 30% currently.

AmResearch chief economist Anthony Dass said in a note today the incidental costs of owning an affordable home will likely be reduced by extending the full waiver of stamp duty for first-time house buyers beyond Dec 31, 2018, and raising the threshold to a maximum of RM500,000 from RM300,000 currently.

In addition, he said, the research house believes the government will likely retain the existing Real Property Gains Tax at 30%, 20% and 15% for properties sold within the third, fourth and fifth anniversary of the purchase respectively to curb speculative activities in the property market.

“We expect a focus on the commercial viability of affordable homes with targeted measures and waivers to support property developers,” he added.

On another note, Dass said AmResearch sees a low possibility for another tax increase on tobacco and tobacco products in Budget 2018, which will be tabled in Parliament on Oct 27 by the prime minister, who is also finance minister.

Dass said further increases in excise duties will only elevate illicit trades at the expense of legal sales, which will hurt rather than boost the government’s tax receipts from the industry.

Meanwhile, the auto sector, which is hurt by high input costs due to the ringgit’s weakness, could get relief in the form of further tax exemption for localisation, and a reduction in excise duties and/or import duties.

Dass said these savings could help lift carmakers’ margins from the doldrums, as well as lower car prices to stimulate demand.

“While the current incentives on hybrid and electric vehicles play a role in contributing to a cleaner environment, the impact is very limited given that hybrid and electric vehicles in the market currently are largely premium models that sell in low volumes.

“We believe the incentives may be extended to include more mass-market energy-efficient vehicles (EEVs). After all, EEVs offer lower emissions and better fuel efficiency.”

For the financial sector, Dass said AmResearch hopes the government will extend the 20% stamp duty exemption on the principal or primary instrument of financing in accordance to syariah principles, and further tax incentives for loan instruments under syariah principles, particularly for small and medium enterprise borrowers.

Moreover, he said, the government is likely to reaffirm its support for small and mid-cap stocks listed on Bursa Malaysia by mandating government-linked funds to actively invest in them again, as well as forking out allocation to expand the Mid and Small Cap (MidS) Research Scheme.

To recap, under Budget 2017, the government mandated GLC funds to allocate up to RM3 billion to invest in this space. The MidS Research Scheme was launched with an initial funding of RM75 million.

“We foresee more incentives to boost participation in private retirement schemes,” Dass said.


Petronas’ Canada unit to sell oil and gas asset in Alberta

KUALA LUMPUR: Calgary-based Progress Energy Canada Ltd, a unit of Malaysian state energy firm Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas), said today it was looking to sell its Deep Basin oil and gas asset in the Canadian province of Alberta.

Reuters reported on Wednesday that Petronas had enlisted BMO Capital Markets to advise on the sale of the asset, citing documents on the bank’s website.

“Progress regularly reviews its assets to ensure alignment with the company’s strategy,” it said in an emailed statement to Reuters, adding that it decided to sell its Deep Basin asset following the most recent evaluation.

The sale would allow Progress Energy to focus on future investments in its North Montney assets in Canada’s province of British Columbia, which represents “significant growth opportunity” for the company, it said.

The potential sale marks a further retreat by Petronas in Canada after it scrapped plans for the US$29 billion (RM123 billion) Pacific NorthWest liquefied natural gas export project in British Columbia in July.

While Progress Energy’s Alberta asset produces oil and gas, the North Montney asset is rich in gas resources. Petronas acquired Progress Energy for US$5.87 billion in 2012.

After the cancellation of the Pacific NorthWest project, Petronas had said it was looking at other ways to generate revenue from its North American gas assets.

“Despite what it looks like, Petronas’ reported intent to sell off its Alberta oil and gas assets does not appear to signal that the firm is looking to exit from the Canadian upstream entirely,” said Peter Lee, Asia oil and gas analyst at BMI Research.
He said the Alberta asset could be considered “non-core” as Petronas is focusing on developing its gas resources in Canada.

The funds raised from the Alberta sale will likely be reinvested in North Montney, Lee said.

Separately, Petronas said it has set the price factor for Malaysian Crude Oil (MCO) for October at US$3.95 (RM16.70) per barrel, up US$0.60 from the previous month.

The October price factor is the highest since March.

The monthly price factor is added to the average of Platts' dated Brent prices published in the month to derive the Malaysian crude official selling price (OSP).

Petronas changed its OSP mechanism effective from January 2017, basing its benchmark price on a basket of four Malaysian crude grades Labuan, Miri Light, Kikeh and Kimanis. – Reuters


Bison in ready-to-eat food, bakery product joint ventures with Japanese firms

PETALING JAYA: Bison Consolidated Bhd will spend RM35.7 million on its 51% stake each in two joint ventures with Japanese partners to develop, produce and sell ready-to-eat (RTE) food and bakery products at its new food preparation and packaging facility in Rawang, Selangor. It expects its RTE segment to contribute 15% of its revenue in the first year upon the commencement of food production in the first quarter of 2019, from 11%.

Bison executive director and CEO Dang Tai Luk said it is optimising margin by focusing on products such as RTE and bakery, which generally have better margins. He added that the bakery and RTE food market growth has huge potential in Malaysia, similar to the market expansion of convenience stores’ bakery product offerings in Japan.

“We expect the 130,000 sq ft centre to be completed by end of 2018, so from now, it’s about construction, training … the pre-operational process has started,” he told reporters after the signing ceremony today.

The Rawang facility is targeting to supply 150 myNEWS.com’s stores in 2019 and will subsequently roll out to other stores. At full capacity it can supply up to 600 stores. It is a halal manufacturing facility that will produce affordable and quality RTE food.

Bison today inked a joint venture agreement with Gourmet Kineya Co Ltd to produce ready-to-eat food via a new joint venture company Mynews Kineya Sdn Bhd.

Bison’s unit Mynews Food Sdn Bhd also entered into a joint venture agreement with MRA Bakery Sdn Bhd to produce bakery products via a new joint venture company Mynews Ryoyupan Sdn Bhd.

Gourmet Kineya operates various chains of restaurants with over 400 stores in Japan and overseas, and is one of the largest in-flight meal caterers in Japan; while MRA’s parent Ryoyu Baking Co Ltd operates 95 bakeries in Japan.

Dang said the joint ventures are in line with Bison’s growth and expansion strategy as they will contribute to an increase in quality of myNEWS.com’s food offerings with an increased range of high quality and attractive product offerings. In turn, this is expected to support store traffic growth and reinforce customer loyalty.

The news and convenience retail chain has over 360 outlets now, with brands such as myNEWS.com, Newsplus, Magbit, The Front Page, as well as WH Smith. It plans to open 90 new outlets in 2018.


Bison in joint ventures with Japanese partners

PETALING JAYA: Bison Consolidated Bhd will spend RM35.7 million on its 51% stake each in two joint ventures with Japanese partners to develop, produce and sell ready-to-eat (RTE) food and bakery products at its new food preparation and packaging facility in Rawang, Selangor. It expects its RTE segment to contribute 15% of its revenue in the first year upon the commencement of food production in the first quarter of 2019, from 11%.

Bison executive director and CEO Dang Tai Luk said it is optimising margin by focusing on products such as RTE and bakery, which generally have better margins. He added that the bakery and RTE food market growth has huge potential in Malaysia, similar to the market expansion of convenience stores’ bakery product offerings in Japan.

“We expect the 130,000 sq ft centre to be completed by end of 2018, so from now, it’s about construction, training … the pre-operational process has started,” he told reporters after the signing ceremony today.

The Rawang facility is targeting to supply 150 myNEWS.com’s stores in 2019 and will subsequently roll out to other stores. At full capacity it can supply up to 600 stores. It is a halal manufacturing facility that will produce affordable and quality RTE food.

Bison today inked a joint venture agreement with Gourmet Kineya Co Ltd to produce ready-to-eat food via a new joint venture company Mynews Kineya Sdn Bhd.

Bison’s unit Mynews Food Sdn Bhd also entered into a joint venture agreement with MRA Bakery Sdn Bhd to produce bakery products via a new joint venture company Mynews Ryoyupan Sdn Bhd.

Gourmet Kineya operates various chains of restaurants with over 400 stores in Japan and overseas, and is one of the largest in-flight meal caterers in Japan; while MRA’s parent Ryoyu Baking Co Ltd operates 95 bakeries in Japan.

Dang said the joint ventures are in line with Bison’s growth and expansion strategy as they will contribute to an increase in quality of myNEWS.com’s food offerings with an increased range of high quality and attractive product offerings. In turn, this is expected to support store traffic growth and reinforce customer loyalty.

The news and convenience retail chain has over 360 outlets now, with brands such as myNEWS.com, Newsplus, Magbit, The Front Page, as well as WH Smith. It plans to open 90 new outlets in 2018.


Deleum upgraded as fundamentals, prospects intact

PETALING JAYA: MIDF Research has upgraded its call on Deleum Bhd to “neutral” with downside bias from “trading sell”, as the group’s fundamentals and prospects remain intact.

On Wednesday, Deleum announced the award of Petronas’ maintenance, construction and modification (MCM) package, which was within expectation. The duration for the contract is five years, with works likely to begin in the second quarter of FY18.

The scope of works will generally include topside structural maintenance, hook up and commissioning and facilities improvement programmes.

Deleum will be partnering Icon Offshore Bhd to provide offshore support vessels for the works to be undertaken under the MCM contract. Icon Offshore will work under the capacity of a sub-contractor to Deleum.

MIDF Research has not made any changes to Deleum’s earnings estimates as the contract win was within expectation.

It noted that since news of the impending contract win was rife on newswires, Deleum’s share price has appreciated more than 26%.

“We therefore recommended a ‘trading sell’ position on this stock. Since our call, Deleum’s share price has retreated over 3% and we continue to expect further share price weakness. Our view is largely due to the fact that earnings accretion from the MCM jobs will most likely be recognised towards the latter part of FY18 only.”

As the bulk of activity and earnings will most likely take place in FY19, the research house is revising its call on Deleum to “neutral” with further downside bias while reiterating that its fundamentals remain intact. Its target price, however, is unchanged at 77 sen.

“Investors may consider accumulating the stock on share price retracements to benefit from earnings upcycle in H2 FY18 onwards.”

Deleum shares were up three sen to close at 94.5 sen today on some 1.4 million shares done.


Financial Services Professional Board launches guidance notes to code of ethics

KUALA LUMPUR: The Financial Services Professional Board (FSPB) has launched guidance notes to the code of ethics to instil a culture of professionalism in the industry through the development and advocacy of professional and ethical standards. The FSPB was launched in January 2016.

The code of ethics outlines a set of five broad fundamental principles to which institutions and individuals should adhere to, namely, competence, integrity, fairness, confidentiality and objectivity.

“The guidance notes provide additional guidance and explanation on how each of the principles in the code of ethics applies in practice through appropriate policies, procedures and processes within an organisation,” said chairman Tan Sri Mohd Munir Abdul Majid.

“These notes explore how the five principles can be achieved and applied in organisations across the FSI. The code of ethics complements the formal system of regulation and contributes towards public oversight of the industry through a code developed by the industry, for the industry, in the public interest,” he said.

Munir pointed out that the guidance notes do not replace any existing laws, regulations and codes, whereby individuals and organisations must refer to the relevant industry standards and applicable laws. Organisations can use the code ethics principles to assess if they have the proper policies and procedures in place.

The guidance notes include a summary of recommended policies, procedures and processes under each ethical principle, a list of do’s and don’ts, common scenarios faced in the industry and suggested responses as well as questions to be asked in situations where a principle might be compromised.

According to Munir, the guidance notes were drafted and revised following consultations with the industry, including a two-day workshop with members of the industry in February 2017, and reviewed by Bank Negara Malaysia and the Securities Commission Malaysia.

FSBP is a voluntary industry-wide initiative focused on the development and advocacy of professional and ethical standards across the financial services industry.


FPSB launches guidance notes to code of ethics

KUALA LUMPUR: The Financial Services Professional Board (FSPB) has launched guidance notes to the code of ethics to instil a culture of professionalism in the industry through the development and advocacy of professional and ethical standards. The FSPB was launched in January 2016.

The code of ethics outlines a set of five broad fundamental principles to which institutions and individuals should adhere to, namely, competence, integrity, fairness, confidentiality and objectivity.

“The guidance notes provide additional guidance and explanation on how each of the principles in the code of ethics applies in practice through appropriate policies, procedures and processes within an organisation,” said chairman Tan Sri Mohd Munir Abdul Majid.

“These notes explore how the five principles can be achieved and applied in organisations across the FSI. The code of ethics complements the formal system of regulation and contributes towards public oversight of the industry through a code developed by the industry, for the industry, in the public interest,” he said.

Munir pointed out that the guidance notes do not replace any existing laws, regulations and codes, whereby individuals and organisations must refer to the relevant industry standards and applicable laws. Organisations can use the code ethics principles to assess if they have the proper policies and procedures in place.

The guidance notes include a summary of recommended policies, procedures and processes under each ethical principle, a list of do’s and don’ts, common scenarios faced in the industry and suggested responses as well as questions to be asked in situations where a principle might be compromised.

According to Munir, the guidance notes were drafted and revised following consultations with the industry, including a two-day workshop with members of the industry in February 2017, and reviewed by Bank Negara Malaysia and the Securities Commission Malaysia.

FSBP is a voluntary industry-wide initiative focused on the development and advocacy of professional and ethical standards across the financial services industry.