Monday, January 29th, 2018

 

Wall Street slips at open, Apple weighs

WASHINGTON, Jan 29 — Wall Street eased today from record levels hit last week, weighed down by a drop in Apple shares after a report said it would maker fewer iPhone Xs. Apple fell 1.42 per cent in early trading after the Nikkei reported the…


MIDF allocates RM800m for local company financing

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 29 — The Malaysia Industrial Development Finance (MIDF) will provide loans totalling RM800 million for local companies this year, International Trade and Industry deputy minister Datuk Ahmad Maslan said today. “The…


Top Dutch banks, revenue service hit by cyber attacks

THE HAGUE, Jan 29 — The top three banks in the Netherlands have been targeted in multiple cyber attacks over the past week, blocking access to websites and internet banking services, they said today. The Dutch Revenue Service was also briefly…


Alibaba to take on KL traffic with AI system

KUALA LUMPUR: Alibaba Group will set up a traffic control system harnessing artificial intelligence for Malaysia’s capital Kuala Lumpur, its first such service outside China, as the e-commerce giant pushes to grow its cloud computing business.

Alibaba Cloud, the cloud computing arm of Alibaba Group, said today it plans to make live traffic predictions and recommendations to increase traffic efficiency in Kuala Lumpur by crunching data gathered from video footage, traffic bureaus, public transportation systems and mapping apps.

It is partnering with state agency Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) and the Kuala Lumpur city council to roll out the technology, which would be localised and integrated with 500 inner city cameras by May.

The partnership comes after Alibaba founder Jack Ma and Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak launched an “e-hub” facility last year, part of an initiative aimed at removing trade barriers for smaller firms and emerging nations.

Alibaba Cloud, which set up a data centre in Malaysia last year, is considering a second one to further develop a local ecosystem, its president Simon Hu said today.

He declined to elaborate on the company’s total investments made and planned for in Malaysia, but said it was “no small amount” and that the investments would continue if there was demand for cloud computing technologies.

MDEC’s CEO Datuk Yasmin Mahmood said there was no estimate of City Brain’s impact on traffic in Kuala Lumpur yet. The traffic management system in the Chinese city of Hangzhou had resulted in reports of traffic violations with up to 92% accuracy, emergency vehicles reaching their destinations in half the time and overall increase in traffic speed by 15%.

Najib has forged close ties with China in recent years. Last year, the Malaysian leader announced a slew of infrastructure projects, many funded by China, as he worked up momentum towards a general election he must call by the middle of this year. – Reuters


HLT Global to use IPO money to upgrade dipping lines, set up new line

PETALING JAYA: HLT Global Bhd, which was listed in January 2017, proposes a variation to its initial public offering (IPO) proceeds to upgrade its eight glove-dipping lines and set up a new line, which are in line with its plans to diversify into the downstream glove manufacturing business.

Today, HLT also signed a conditional sale of shares agreement with Suntel International Co Ltd, AXG Capital Sdn Bhd and Lee Sow Yin for the acquisition of a 55% stake in HL Rubber Industries Sdn Bhd (HLRI) for RM33 million, to be satisfied via the issuance of 113.79 million new shares at an issue price of 29 sen per share.

This follows a heads of agreement that was entered two weeks ago.

In view of the proposed diversification and acquisition, HLT decided to defer the acquisition of land and factory construction and use the unutilised balance of about RM10.5 million from its IPO, for the upgrade of its glove-dipping lines.

Through the proposed acquisition, HLT would be able to integrate its existing business in the fabrication of glove-dipping lines with the downstream business operations of HLRI in the manufacturing and trading of rubber gloves.

“This is consistent with the group’s plan to diversify its revenue and income stream so as to mitigate the risk of overdependence on its existing fabrication business.”

Barring any unforeseen circumstances, HLT said the proposed diversification is expected to contribute more than 25% of its net profits and may result in a diversion of more than 25% of the group’s net assets to the manufacturing and trading of rubber gloves.

Its share price fell 1.8% to close at 28 sen today on some 132,600 shares done.


HLT to use IPO money on upgrade, new line

PETALING JAYA: HLT Global Bhd, which was listed in January 2017, proposes a variation to its initial public offering (IPO) proceeds to upgrade its eight glove-dipping lines and set up a new line, which are in line with its plans to diversify into the downstream glove manufacturing business.

Today, HLT also signed a conditional sale of shares agreement with Suntel International Co Ltd, AXG Capital Sdn Bhd and Lee Sow Yin for the acquisition of a 55% stake in HL Rubber Industries Sdn Bhd (HLRI) for RM33 million, to be satisfied via the issuance of 113.79 million new shares at an issue price of 29 sen per share.

This follows a heads of agreement that was entered two weeks ago.

In view of the proposed diversification and acquisition, HLT decided to defer the acquisition of land and factory construction and use the unutilised balance of about RM10.5 million from its IPO, for the upgrade of its glove-dipping lines.

Through the proposed acquisition, HLT would be able to integrate its existing business in the fabrication of glove-dipping lines with the downstream business operations of HLRI in the manufacturing and trading of rubber gloves.

“This is consistent with the group’s plan to diversify its revenue and income stream so as to mitigate the risk of overdependence on its existing fabrication business.”

Barring any unforeseen circumstances, HLT said the proposed diversification is expected to contribute more than 25% of its net profits and may result in a diversion of more than 25% of the group’s net assets to the manufacturing and trading of rubber gloves.

Its share price fell 1.8% to close at 28 sen today on some 132,600 shares done.


Mercedes-Benz Malaysia: 2,469 vehicles sold in 2017

PETALING JAYA: Mercedes-Benz Malaysia Commercial Vehicles (MBM CV) sold 2,469 vehicles in 2017 despite a dip of 7.9% in total industry volume (TIV).

The luxury-car maker said the sales were supported by FUSO light-duty and heavy-duty trucks as well as Mercedes-Benz trucks and vans.

Its market penetration rose 13.06%, driven by new customers in haulage industry’s small and medium operator category.

MBM CV’s best-selling products are the FUSO Truck FE71PB (light-duty segment), FM65FJ (heavy-duty segment) and Mercedes-Benz Actros 2644LS 6×2 (L-cab).

“We enjoyed a productive year in 2017, securing and setting a record of fleet deals for both our FUSO trucks and Mercedes-Benz prime movers. Our steadfast focus on flexible after-sales packages and solutions, continuous improvement of our technicians’ skills and knowledge, and service outlet enhancements has proven successful,” said MBM CV’s vice-president Albert Yee.

For the whole of 2017, MBM CV recorded a 7.47% increase in throughput compared with 2016, with a total of 26,820 vehicles serviced, comprising 4,820 Mercedes-Benz commercial vehicles and 22,000 FUSO trucks.


Malaysia is AI-enabled stethoscope’s production base

KUALA LUMPUR: M3DICINE, an Australian private medical device design and manufacturing company, has made Malaysia the production base for Stethee – the world’s first Artificial Intelligence (AI)-enabled stethoscope system.

In a joint statement yester, the Malaysian Investment Development Authority (Mida), M3DICINE and Collaborative Research in Engineering, Science and Technology (CREST) stated that M3DICINE Technology Sdn Bhd, the Malaysian unit of M3DICINE, together with its strategic partner, CREST, has launched the high technology product.

Mida CEO and CREST chairman Datuk Azman Mahmud said the venture would not only increase export earnings for Malaysia, but also provide business and job opportunities for the country.

“The project augurs well with our drive towards embracing the fourth industrial revolution (Industry 4.0), and we encourage more companies to explore similar mutually beneficial collaboration towards cementing Malaysia’s reputation as a country which can churn out innovative and creative products and services,” he said.

The statement said M3DICINE had chosen Malaysia as its production base after a careful evaluation of several locations, which included Taiwan, South Korea and China.

CREST CEO Jaffri Ibrahim said Stethee was a combination of AI, Internet of Things (IoT) and medical device.

“This is a most serendipitous relationship and we think it is the start of greater things to come,” he said.

Meanwhile, Health Ministry director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said the potential for the cutting-edge technology to be used in rural and remote areas in the country was enormous, bringing high quality healthcare of the urban to the rural areas.

The Stethee Pro stethoscope is currently undergoing clinical evaluation by a group of medical practitioners and clinical researchers at the Clinical Research Centre (CRC), Perak.

The Stethee was designed to work as easily as a traditional stethoscope, allowing users to listen to heart and lung sounds with sophisticated amplification and filtering technology.

Unlike the traditional stethoscope, Stethee employs machine learning, becoming more intelligent with use.

It can identify patterns while monitoring the progress of individual patients’ health and help to uncover new trends in the fight against heart and lung disease globally. – Bernama


AKPK ready to come to rescue of debtors on brink of bankruptcy

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysians at risk of being declared bankrupt can now seek the help of Credit Counselling and Debt Management Agency (AKPK), a unit of Bank Negara Malaysia, as a get-out-of-jail card.

One of eight policy changes under the revised Insolvency Act 1967 now allows AKPK the legal right to intervene on behalf of such individuals by stalling bankruptcy action and bringing banks to the negotiation table.

AKPK will be able do so under the “voluntary arrangement” (VA) mechanism which allows it to act as a nominee for the individual. According to AKPK CEO Azaddin Ngah Tasir (pix), it is yet to handle its first case under the mechanism which came into effect in October 2017, with the enforcement of the Insolvency Act 1967 (which incorporates major amendments to its predecessor, the Bankruptcy Act 1967).

Based on Insolvency Department statistics, a total of 100,610 individuals were made bankrupts between 2013 and December 2017, in which 34% bankrupts were between 35 and 44 years old. Of this number, almost 70% are men.

The VA involves an application to the court for an interim order, where during its effective period, no bankruptcy petition and other legal process may be commenced or continued against the debtor without permission from the court.

Accordingly, Azaddin said, the agency will be given 90 days from the interim order to assist the debtor to prepare a debt repayment plan for his creditor.

“They (borrowers) can come to us and we will evaluate whether they are eligible for us to represent them as a nominee. We will look into their affairs and see how best they can make payments. We will then talk to the creditors and restructure the loans for them, once we’ve got the approvals from the court,” he added.

Debtors will be charged up to 5% of the outstanding debt as a fee for AKPK’s service.
In the event a debtor fails to comply with any of the obligations under the VA, Azaddin said, the creditors bound by the Act can continue to proceed with the bankruptcy petition against the debtor.

Other core changes to the Act include the setting up of the Insolvency Assistance Fund to improve the administration of bankruptcy cases and a release from bankruptcy without objection by the creditors for certain groups of people.

These include social guarantors made bankrupt under the Bankruptcy Act 1967, those who have died, categorised as people with disabilities by the Welfare Department and certified by government medical officers as suffering from chronic diseases.

The amendments also include raising the debt threshold to RM50,000, at least, for bankruptcy declarations, from RM30,000 previously, and to automatically release bankrupts within three years after meeting the target contribution.

From 2013 to December 2017, the courts cleared 1,447 bankruptcy cases while 12,459 more cases were terminated upon annulment of the bankruptcy order. A total of 46,329 cases were discharged via insolvency certificate from the director-general. As of December 2017, AKPK has helped resolve 15,439 cases involving debts of RM617.4 million.

According to AKPK, the reasons that contribute to debt problems include poor financial planning, high cost of living, failure/slowdown in business, high medical expenses as well as job loss.


Britain sees first Bitcoin armed robbery

LONDON, Jan 29 — Armed robbers have raided the house of a British virtual currency trader, forcing him to transfer Bitcoins after tying up his wife and threatening him with a gun, British media reported today. The robbery happened on January…