Sunday, December 10th, 2017


Felcra disburses RM101.48m dividend to 70,856 settlers

BANTING, Dec 10 —  Felcra Berhad (Felcra), an agency under the Rural and Regional Development  Ministry (KKLW), today announced the distribution of RM101.48 million in the second interim dividend payout this year to 70,856 participants of its…

Loob unfazed by arbitration, focuses on expanding Tealive

PETALING JAYA: Loob Holding Sdn Bhd is unfazed by the ongoing arbitration with La Kaffa International Co Ltd, owner of the Chatime brand, and is instead aggressively expanding its own bubble tea business, Tealive, internationally.

Tealive was created following a dispute between Loob and La Kaffa early this year that saw the Taiwanese franchisor terminate its Chatime master franchisee contract with Loob.

Loob CEO Bryan Loo (pix) expects the outcome of the arbitration, which is being conducted in Singapore, to be known only towards the end of next year, which he said will result in either monetary compensation or fine to the company. From now until the arbitrator’s decision next year, he said, Tealive can be expanded to more than six countries.

“The results will not affect us, because arbitration is straight forward. It’s dollars and cents. The arbitration is ongoing and lengthy but that doesn’t stop us from what we wish to do. It’s business is as usual now,” he told SunBiz in an interview recently.
Loo said following the news of the dispute, the company received many overseas enquiries in the last six months, likening it to a blessing than a crisis.

“Reputation is not our biggest worry. We’ve gained reputation from creating the business from scratch. But people is everything. We owe it 100% to our people … what we’ve created over the last six years is not only a brand and a business. We managed to create a soul behind the business and when we lost the brand (Chatime), people are still able to recognise us,” said Loo.

He said Tealive’s same-store sales growth in Malaysia spiked 20% in the first three months to average at 5% a month now compared with its Chatime sales last year.

Loob manages nine food & beverage (F&B) brands under its umbrella, including Tealive, Llaollao, Tino’s Pizza, Gindaco, Croissant Taiyaki, Soda Xpress, and Define: Food. About 65% of the company’s revenue is derived from Tealive.

Loob was previously a multi-brand company with a vision to become one of the most dynamic regional multi-label F&B organisations. But as Tealive’s brand owner now, Loo said its vision and mission are clearer.

“This year, we got the opportunity to own our brand, so the next thing is all about overseas expansion. Our current focus is to deliver Tealive into an international lifestyle tea player in the region,” said Loo.

Over the next three years until 2020, Loob wants to grow Tealive to 1,000 outlets globally. It aims to expand to 15 countries by 2020, including Vietnam, Australia, and others in Asia and Europe. It expects to close the year with 180 outlets in Malaysia and four outlets in Vietnam, with plans to open Tealive in six countries next year.

Loo said its mandate for going overseas is that it has to hold a majority stake there, such as in Vietnam where it is a substantial shareholder in the joint venture company.

“If that market is run by our operator, they deserve the majority. But if we’re going in ourselves, then we deserve the majority. It’s like who runs the show,” said Loo.

He said Tealive’s stores in Vietnam are five to 10 times bigger than Malaysia’s and that its product price point in Vietnam is 20% more than that here, due to its large young population and high disposable income.

“As a principal now, there’s also a lot more responsibility on our shoulders. A lot of effort is put in to build the foundation of the company, including R&D and technology, rolling out self-service kiosks by the first quarter next year.”

Locally, it is expanding into petrol stations and transport hubs and expects the ratio of company-owned and franchisee outlets to reach 50:50 by 2020, from 70:30 now.

Loo said as long as it has 50% of company-owned stores, it is able to have a solid franchise system to support its franchisees.

As for Loob’s other brands, he said its objective is market dominance and it will continue to make deeper inroads into the domestic market.

Digital economy in the spotlight as Malaysia commits to tech expansion, education

Malaysia has taken another step towards expanding its digital economy, with the newly tabled 2018 budget containing a series of initiatives designed to promote growth in tech companies and ICT skills development. Included in the budget, submitted to Parliament on October 27, was a RM250 million (US$59.1 million) pledge to improve the digital education of […]

BLand unit demands payment of RM601m from China firm

PETALING JAYA: Berjaya Land Bhd’s (BLand) 51%-owned subsidiary Berjaya (China) Great Mall Co Ltd (GMOC) has issued a notice of demand to Beijing SkyOcean International Holdings Ltd for RMB974.07 million (RM601.78 million).

This is the amount due in relation to BLand’s disposal of Berjaya (China) Great Mall Recreation Centre to Beijing SkyOcean for RMB2.04 billion cash.

“Pursuant to the relevant agreements signed in respect of the Great Mall disposal, the remaining adjusted cash consideration of RMB974.07 million was due for payment by Beijing SkyOcean on or before Nov 28 2017,” BLand said in a Bursa Malaysia filing last Friday.

BLand said GMOC has given Beijing SkyOcean and its guarantors to pay the outstanding payment and accrued late payment interest within three days upon receipt of the notice of demand issued on Dec 7, failing which, will see GMOC taking legal actions against Beijing SkyOcean and the guarantors.

Berjaya Land’s shares gained 1.28% to close at 39.5sen last Friday with some 137,800 shares done.

Bermaz Auto posts RM22m net profit in second quarter

PETALING JAYA: Bermaz Auto Bhd’s (BAuto) earnings fell 27.5% to RM22.2 million for the second quarter ended Oct 31, 2017, from RM30.6 million in the previous corresponding quarter.

The group said in a statement, the lower profit was primarily due to lower sales from the domestic market, tight profit margin, slight decrease in margin due to the weak Peso in the Philippines operations and losses incurred by associate company Mazda Malaysia Sdn Bhd due to lower production volume prior to the launch of the new CX-5.

Revenue for the quarter fell slightly by 0.3% to RM471.7 million, compared with RM473.2 million in the same period last year.

The board has recommended a second interim dividend of 1.60 sen single-tier dividend per share for the financial period ended Oct 31, 2017, to be payable on Jan 26, 2018.

For the six months period, BAuto’s net profit dropped 40.9% to RM42.4 million, against RM71.7 million a year ago, while revenue declined 10.7% to RM862.9 million from RM966.8 million previously.

Commenting on its prospects, BAuto said the market trading conditions remain challenging with a competitive trading environment and weak consumer sentiment as a result of uncertainties in the local and global economy.

“Although the group’s sales volume deteriorated in the first ten months of calendar year 2017 as compared to the corresponding period in 2016, the management will continue to remain disciplined and focus on driving sales at full selling price with value offerings as this will, in the longer term, augur well for the Mazda brand image and popularity.”

However, the group said it is cautious with the potential impact of the new excise duty expected to be introduced early next year and have taken measures in stocking up purchases of the latest CX-5 and CX-9 models from Mazda Japan.

Going forward, the group expects its performance in the second half of the financial year to improve, in view of the new launches for the CX-5 and CX-9.

BAuto shares gained 6 sen or 2.87% to RM2.15 last Friday with some 3.35 million shares done.

Global brewers line up bids for Vietnam’s Sabeco sale, say sources

SINGAPORE, Dec 10 — Brewing groups including Thai Beverage, Anheuser-Busch InBev and Kirin Holdings are gearing up to bid for a stake in Vietnam’s largest brewer, Sabeco, people familiar with the matter said, with the US$5 billion (RM20.4…

Labour wants closest UK ties with EU’s single market post-Brexit, says Starmer

LONDON, Dec 10 — Britain’s opposition Labour Party supports keeping the closest possible trading ties with the European Union after Brexit and will lobby Prime Minister Theresa May to stick to that, the party’s Brexit policy chief Keir…

After bitcoin’s wild week, traders brace for futures launch

NEW YORK, Dec 10 —The newest way to bet on bitcoin, the cyptocurrency that has taken Wall Street by storm with its stratospheric price rise and wild daily gyrations, will arrive on today when bitcoin futures start trading. The first bitcoin…

Crude Palm Oil Weekly Update – December 9, 2017

Malaysian palm oil futures plunged to a five-month low, on expectation of rising palm oil stockpiles and weakening demand outlook, and weighed down by stronger ringgit. The benchmark crude palm oil futures (FCPO) contract plunged 4.88 per cent to RM2,477 on Friday, which is RM127 lower than RM2,604 during the previous week. The average daily […]

Malaysia bond market weekly update 10 December 2017

Over the week, the Thomson Reuters BPAM All Bond Index rallied to close at 155.411 points, an increase of 0.027 per cent. The MGS yields ended the week mixed with 10-year curve point increased by 9bps. The Malaysian Ringgit appreciated marginally to close at 4.0855 from 4.0875 against the greenback. On December 6, 2017, the […]