Wednesday, November 8th, 2017
PETALING JAYA: Foreign companies operating in Penang faced considerable disruption, especially in manpower, during the floods which hit the state over the weekend.
The American Malaysian Chamber of Commerce (Amcham) told SunBiz in an email there had been considerable disruption for US firms operating in the flood-hit state in terms of labour, with workers either having to deal with the damage to their homes or being unable to commute to work.
“Many of our members have risk mitigation plans in place to help them prepare for these types of events to limit the impact on their production and supply chains, though of course there will still be some disruption. At this early stage, it is difficult to estimate the overall costs incurred and what would be the total impact on business,” said Amcham executive director Siobhan Das.
As at press time, Amcham was still collecting feedback from its members in the state on the impact of the big flood.
Malaysian-German Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MGCCI) executive director Daniel Bernbeck echoed the sentiments of Amcham, saying a few German companies were “rightly affected” in manpower mainly, but also in factory and office operations.
Bernbeck said he does not see the natural disaster having any influence on the flow of German investments into the state, both in the short and long term. German investments “are usually very long-lasting and sustainable”, he added.
“Typically, German investors do not change their mind on political or natural upheavals in a short time. Malaysia is generally a country of stable conditions, both in natural and political circumstances. Because of this Malaysia has become a preferred location for German investments in Southeast Asia, particularly the SMEs,” he said.
About 15% of Amcham’s 280 member companies operate out of Penang.
MGCCI which has 400 member companies, has about 20 member companies operating in the north of Peninsular Malaysia.
According to the Malaysian Investment Development Authority, Penang received the highest foreign direct investments for the first half of 2016, with RM6.22 billion.
The industrial hub in northern Peninsular Malaysia, which is the base for many foreign companies especially those in the manufacturing sector, was hit by what was dubbed as the “worst” flood in its history.
On a separate note, the Penang Freight Forwarders Association Honorary Secretary Ali Ahmad told SunBiz that freight operations both for sea and air were unaffected as the worst of the floods were over the weekend and after office hours.
Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers Penang branch chairman Dr Ooi Eng Hock reportedly told a local business daily that loss are estimated at RM200 million, with smaller businesses affected the most.
SINGAPORE/MUMBAI: A Qatari investor sold its entire 5% stake in top Indian telecoms carrier Bharti Airtel today for 96 billion rupees (RM6.2 billion), adding to the sanctions-hit Gulf nation’s recent stake sales in foreign companies.
An affiliate of the Qatar Foundation Endowment (QFE) sold about 199.9 million shares in the phone carrier at 481 rupees each via a block trade, it said in a statement.
The sale price was a 6.4% discount to Bharti Airtel’s Tuesday closing price, but will still give the Qatari investor a significant return over its 68 billion-rupee investment in the Indian company in May 2013.
QFE will reinvest the proceeds from Bharti Airtel stake sale as part of growth of its global portfolio and diversification, it said in the statement.
Rashed Fahad Al-Noaimi, chief executive of investments at Qatar Foundation will step down from Bharti Airtel’s board after the settlement of the sale.
The sale comes at a time when other Qatari firms, including its sovereign wealth fund, are cutting stakes in foreign companies to raise cash and withstand pressure on the economy, which has been hit by sanctions imposed by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt since early June.
The Gulf countries cut diplomatic and transport ties with Doha on June 5, accusing it of backing terrorism, a charge which Doha denies.
Bharti Airtel shares closed 3.7% down at 495.30 rupees. Still, the stock is up 62% in 2017 on signs of an end to a bruising price war in the Indian telecoms space and hopes that industry consolidation would benefit established players. – Reuters
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PETALING JAYA: The government has guaranteed a RM4.53 billion loan taken to fund the entire cost of the Trans Sabah Gas Pipeline (TSGP) project, according to Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Abdul Rahman Dahlan.
“While the project will be funded by a soft loan from the Export and Import Bank of China, there’s no truth in the allegations that the loan amount would be RM100 billion and oil and gas blocks off Sabah were collaterised to China in order to secure the loan,” he said in a statement today in refuting a WhatsApp message making the claims.
The owner-cum-developer of the TSGP is Suria Strategic Energy Resources Sdn Bhd, a company wholly owned by the Ministry of Finance, while The China Petroleum Pipeline Bureau is the project’s engineering, procurement, construction and commissioning contractor.
Rahman also said,considering that land matters are under the state’s jurisdiction, it is also not conceivable for the project to go ahead without the engagement and cooperation of the Sabah state government.
“With this key energy infrastructure project, Sabah will be able to move up the value chain and add value to local commodities and raw materials, thus reducing state’s dependency on primary industries and creating employment for the people throughout the state and increase their income levels,” he said.
Meanwhile, Rahman said the RM14.31 million feasibility study for the Labuan – Menumbok bridge announced under Budget 2018 is critical to determine the technical feasibility and address the financial and economic appraisal of the project. The study will involve comprehensive data collection and engineering studies to develop the technical concept for the project. The scope will include evaluation of the risks involved, action required for mitigation measures and recommendations for a Private Finance Initiative (PFI) procurement model.
In 2010, a feasibility study was carried out by Universiti Malaysia Sabah, Universiti Sains Malaysia and Universiti Malaysia Sarawak which highlighted the need for the Labuan – Menumbok Bridge Link. However Rahman said, the feasibility study did not address the financial and economic appraisal of the project. The feasibility study was also very preliminary and insufficient to render itself for the development of possible PFI procurement models.