Monday, December 11th, 2017


Asia Knight proposes change of auditors

PETALING JAYA: Asia Knight Bhd proposes to change its auditors to Messrs Crowe Horwath subject to the approval of its shareholders at an EGM to be convened.

“The board of directors of Asia Knight confirm that there were no disagreements with the existing auditors Messrs Baker Tilly Monteiro Heng on the accounting treatment within the last 12 months and that Asia Knight is not aware of any other circumstances in relation to the proposed change of auditors that should be brought to the attention of the shareholders of the company,” Asia Knight said in a stock exchange filing today.

The company had on Dec 3, 2017 received a nomination letter from shareholder See Han Liong of his intention to nominate Crowe Horwath as auditors of the company for the financial year ending June 30, 2018 (FY18) in place of the existing auditors Baker Tilly, and to hold office until the conclusion of the forthcoming AGM of the company at a remuneration to be fixed by the directors.

The company had subsequently on Dec 5, 2017 received a letter from Baker Tilly informing them of their resignation with immediate effect.

Asia Knight proposed that the resignation of Baker Tilly be accepted, and Crowe Horwath appointed in their stead for FY18 and to hold office until the conclusion of the next AGM. Authority is also sought for the directors to determine their remuneration.

Gamuda upbeat over high-speed rail project

PETALING JAYA: Gamuda Bhd believes its joint venture (JV) with Malaysian Resources Corp Bhd (MRCB) has a technical advantage over the consortium formed by IJM Corp Bhd, Sunway Construction Sdn Bhd, Maltimur Resources Sdn Bhd and Jalinan Rejang Sdn Bhd for the KL-Singapore HSR project.

Maltimur Resources and Jalinan Rejang are controlling shareholders of Lebuhraya Utara Sdn Bhd (LBU), the PDP appointed for the Pan Borneo Sarawak Highway.

At an analyst briefing last Friday, Gamuda said its JV with MRCB has a strong track record as project delivery partner (PDP) for rail projects such as the MRT1 and MRT2 for Gamuda and the LRT3 for MRCB, while the IJM-Sunway-LBU JV’s PDP track record is in road projects including the West Coast Expressway for IJM and the Pan Borneo Sarawak Highway for LBU.

AmResearch said it will not be surprised if YTL Corp decides to join the fray in the bidding for the KL-Singapore HSR PDP role given that it was the one who first mooted the project back in the 1990s.

However, Gamuda doubts that its competitors will undercut the PDP fee (vs the current benchmark of 6%) given the much higher risks of execution, cost overrun and liquidated and ascertained damages arising from late delivery for the HSR project.

AmResearch has also reiterated its “buy” call on Gamuda with a fair value of RM5.95.

Meanwhile, PublicInvest Research came away positive on Gamuda’s job prospects despite recent setback in MRT3 project, which is now foreign-financed using the design, finance, build model from the PDP model in the previous two phases.

“That said, the group is still eyeing sub-contracting roles which could be substantial as well, with about 40-50% of MRT3’s contract value allocated for local contractors.”

Tenders are to be called soon with outcome likely in mid-2018.

With three mega-rail projects estimated at a combined value of RM150 billion to be implemented from 2018 to 2025, Gamuda is expected to bid for all three projects, with jobs replenished said to be around RM6 billion to RM8 billion per annum.

PublicInvest is maintaining an “outperform” call on Gamuda with an unchanged target price of RM6.20.

“We still like Gamuda and expect earnings to pick up pace from FY18 and to continue to benefit from the large infrastructure projects expected to be rolled out over the next two to three years.”

AmResearch continues to like Gamuda given its market leader position in the local construction market backed by its tunnelling expertise and track record as PDP in rail projects; its resilient property profits underpinned by overseas projects and local township projects that are well received by the market; and its recurring earnings from toll road and water concessions.

Gamuda’s share price closed five sen higher at RM4.8 with some 4.3 million shares done.

SGSH to dispose carpark block for RM13m

PETALING JAYA: KPJ Healthcare Bhd’s 60%-owned subsidiary Selangor Specialist Hospital Sdn Bhd (SGSH) has proposed to dispose of its five-storey carpark block together with a half basement level and an open roof level (building only) in Shah Alam to Amanahraya Trustees Bhd, trustee for Al-’Aqar Healthcare REIT, for RM13 million.

SGSH has entered into a sale and purchase agreement (SPA) with the REIT Trustee for the proposed disposal.

The REIT Trustee is the registered owner of the leasehold land in Section 20, Shah Alam, together with a six-storey hospital building KPJ Selangor Specialist Hospital erected there, which is operated by SGSH.

KPJ said the REIT Trustee gave SGSH the rights to develop and construct the property and a new consultant block on the vacant part of the land, which were completed in 2012 and 2016, respectively.

“The proposed acquisition will only consist of the property (the car park). The new consultant block is proposed to be injected into Al-’Aqar at a future date to be agreed by both parties,” said KPJ.

As a condition to the exercise, SGSH will enter into a lease agreement with the REIT Trustee on behalf of Al-’Aqar, and Damansara REIT Managers Sdn Bhd, being the manager of Al-’Aqar, on the completion date of the SPA.

KPJ closed unchanged at 91 sen, with some 1.9 million shares traded.

Britain steps up battle against money laundering

LONDON, Dec 11 — Britain’s government said today it will create a new national economic crime centre to crack down harder on money laundering by drug dealers and people traffickers who are expected to net £90 billion pounds (RM489.9 billion)…

Shukrie Salleh steps down as Pos Malaysia CEO

PETALING JAYA: Pos Malaysia Bhd yesterday announced the resignation of its group CEO Datuk Mohd Shukrie Mohd Salleh effective December 31, 2017.

“Shukrie has expressed his desire to make a career change for quite some time having served DRB-Hicom Bhd, the parent company of Pos Malaysia for 12 years including serving Pos Malaysia for five years,” it said in a filing with the stock exchange.

Pos Malaysia noted that Datuk Azlan Shahrim has been appointed as covering CEO and he will report to the board until a suitable candidate is appointed.

The stock rose 1 sen or 0.2% to close at RM5.39 on some 4.46 million shares done.

Pos Malaysia group CEO resigns

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 11 — Pos Malaysia Bhd’s Group Chief Executive Officer (GCEO), Datuk Mohd Shukrie Mohd Salleh has tendered his resignation, which will take effect on Dec 31, 2017. In a statement, the company said during his tenure, Shukrie…

Singapore Exchange to hike derivatives trading fees starting 2018

SINGAPORE, Dec 11 — Singapore Exchange Ltd plans to increase its trading fees for derivatives by up to ten times starting next year, the Financial Times reported today. Annual fees paid by proprietary trading members including international…

Govt still weighing need for another cost benefit analysis for TPP minus the US

KUALA LUMPUR: International Trade and Industry (MITI) Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed said the government is aware of the calls for a renewed cost-benefit analysis on the rebranded Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement, noting the authority is still looking at it.

The TPP11 (minus the US) is now known as the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) following a discussion in Da Nang, Vietnam last month.

“Well we are not there yet. But we certainly have to do calculation on the benefits and costs. It’s not too difficult because we just have to take away the US’ part of it. We are still thinking about that and how to go forward,” Mustapa told reporters at MITI’s Hi-Tea event here today.

He said the government is also aware that the benefits of the TPP11 will not be as substantial as when US intended to be part of the trade deal.

“US is the biggest economy in the world with 20% of the world production comes from the country. But going forward, some countries have (also) expressed (their) interests to join the TPP11. “

“So from our point of view, putting the cost-benefit analysis aside, if Malaysia is not part of this deal then our country will seriously be disadvantaged,” Mustapa added.

Malayan United Industries on active trade with change in management

PETALING JAYA: Local tycoon Tan Sri Khoo Kay Peng’s Malayan United Industries Bhd (MUI) was among the most active stocks yesterday following the new appointment of Kay Peng’s son Andrew Khoo Boo Yeow as the new CEO.

At market close, MUI’s share price gained 1 sen or 4.8% to 22 sen on some 31.94 million shares done.

Kay Peng, which holds a 47.58% stake in MUI, has been redesignated as executive chairman.

MUI told Bursa Malaysia yesterday that Kay Peng will take on a more strategic role while Boo Yeow will focus on the day to day operations and the implementation of strategies of the group.

“The separation of executive chairman and CEO is also in line with good corporate governance practice enabling the respective individuals to better focus on their respective roles and responsibilities. It is also part of the group’s effort on succession planning for its directors and key management.”

MUI said the board is confident that under the leadership of Boo Yeow coupled with his exemplary qualifications and diverse backgrounds, will be able to bring the group to the next level.

“The board will give its full support to his management team to implement the going-forward strategy of transforming the group from a diversified and asset-rich conglomerate into a focused and profitable business group.”

Ringgit closes higher on positive trade data

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 11 — The ringgit closed higher against the US dollar, on the back of encouraging October trade data amid expectation that Bank Negara Malaysia will raise interest rates next year, a dealer said. At 6pm, the local unit was…