February, 2018


Employees Provident Fund’s statement on Sarawak Report postings

The Employees Provident Fund (EPF) strongly refutes the statements by Sarawak Report in its blog and Facebook posting today.

The EPF has never had any dealings nor entered into any agreements of any sort with Limage Holdings SA, Limage Southwest Holdings, the individual known as Mr Matrai nor any parties as stated by the Sarawak Report.

As such, no transfer of bonds nor funds of any kind to any of the aforementioned companies, parties or individual could have occurred as alleged.

The chronological order of events known to the EPF are as follows :

– A fake ‘Letter of Indemnity’ dated August 20,2015 addressed to Gyorgy Matrai of Limage Holding S.A. alleging an agreement between the EPF and Limage Holdings S.A. was made known to the EPF on October 26, 2015. As this was clearly a falsified
document, the EPF lodged a police report on October 28, 2015.

– A ‘Letter of Award’ titled “Development and Construction of Integrated Medical City Project For EPF” from TripleNiceTales Sdn Bhd dated May 18, 2015 was made known to the EPF on February 24, 2016. As there were third parties misusing the EPF name
and suspicion of fraud involved, the EPF lodged a police report on February 26, 2016 stating that the EPF has no knowledge nor involvement in the transaction referred to in the ‘Letter of Award’.

– The involvement of Ladylaw Securities Pte Ltd and Nic Manikis was made known to the EPF on January 20, 2017 and a police report was made on January 23, 2017 stating that the EPF has no knowledge nor was involved in any investment transaction with
Ladylaw Securities nor Nik Manikis.

The EPF states that any schemes of these nature would not pass the EPF’s strong and robust governance framework. Before any investment decisions are made, our governance process requires all proposals to be subject to stringent risk assessment and due diligence by management.

All approvals must go through the Management Investment Committee for endorsement before being put up to the Investment Panel for final approval. The Investment Panel comprises industry professionals, senior members of EPF management, Bank Negara Malaysia and the Government.

The EPF remains steadfast in fulfilling our mandate to protect and safeguard our members’ savings.

US stocks bounce back from Fed-prompted losses

NEW YORK, Feb 28 — Wall Street stocks bounced early today, recovering some of the losses from the prior session that were prompted by worries over higher US interest rates. About 15 minutes into trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up…

Crypto players relieved, say BNM policy paper gives more certainty

PETALING JAYA: Digital currency exchangers are somewhat relieved by Bank Negara Malaysia’s (BNM) release of its policy document on digital currencies as it gives more certainty to the development of the digital currency industry in Malaysia.

With no prohibition on bank dealings with digital currency exchangers or businesses, digital currency players say the move can strengthen the market and investors’ confidence in digital currencies.

Luno Malaysia marketing/community lead Aaron Tang said the guidance provided by BNM’s policy document is a positive development.

“We welcome collaboration with banks and other financial institutions. We believe that the latest news from BNM will further encourage financial institutions to get involved in the digital currency ecosystem,” he said in an email reply to SunBiz.

When contacted, PinkExc co-founder Fitry Daud lauded the 50-page policy document outlining proper processes, from reporting obligations to the dealing with banks and the verification of a customer’s identity.

He said PinkExc, one of the most active digital currency exchangers in the country, will slowly migrate its customer verification process, which is currently done over-the-counter through thumbprint and identity card, to one that is web-based.

BNM’s policy paper allows for the use of electronic means for customer due diligence or verification of a customer’s identity, only stipulating that the methods must satisfy the requirement under Section 9.3.3, which calls for the process to be as effective as one that is done face-to-face.

As for Luno, Tang said it has already been practising identity verification procedures that fully meet BNM’s requirements.

Fitry noted that BNM’s move of releasing the policy document, despite not recognising digital currencies as legal tender, will at least not keep the investors away from the new era of digital and fintech. “It’s a sad story if we don’t embrace the advanced technology of blockchain.”

Nonetheless, Fitry said the central bank has to address the issue of money laundering and terrorist financing activities through digital currencies, which would have a negative impact on the country.

On the imposition of tax on currency trading profits, Fitry is hoping that the Inland Revenue Board could provide clarity on the issue. “We need to know whether it is a income tax or GST (Goods and Services Tax).”

US growth in Q4 revised down a notch

WASHINGTON, Feb 28 — The world’s largest economy grew more slowly at the end of 2017 than first reported, with lower sales of durable goods and consumer items, official data showed today. The downward revision underscored the modest result…

CIMB targets 6% rise in FY18 lending

KUALA LUMPUR: CIMB Group Holdings Bhd, which posted a 25.6% jump in its net profit for the financial year ended Dec 31, 2017 (FY17), is targeting a loan growth of 6% for FY18 despite posting a weaker-than-expected loan growth of 0.2% in FY17 that came in below its target of 7%.

Group CEO Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Aziz said its FY17 loan growth of 0.2% was dragged down by its Indonesian business, the second largest market after Malaysia in terms of balance sheet, as well as impact from the foreign exchange (forex). Excluding forex effects, loan growth would have been 3.1%.

The group’s loan loss charge at 0.69% also missed its target of 0.60%-0.65%, mainly due to higher-than-expected provisions in Singapore and Thailand.

“The worse is over for us in those markets. We’ve seen the books and the books look good for this year. What’s important is to make sure the loan growth comes in for those countries,” he told reporters after announcing its financial results today.

But loan growth for its Malaysian business exceeded the industry’s loan growth in FY17, coming in at 6.5%.

Zafrul said its FY18 loan growth target of 6% will be largely driven by Malaysia, which is expected to see its loan growth strengthen to 8% this year, attributable to the consumer and corporate segments. Loan growth in Indonesia is also expected to come in at mid single digit in FY18 from 2.8% in FY17 while Thailand and Singapore are expected to post a high single digit loan growth this year, from 2.9% and -2.7% respectively in FY17.

“We’re optimistic about 2018. We see momentum in Malaysia and improvement in asset quality and loan growth in Indonesia, Thailand and Singapore,” said Zafrul.

Despite the group’s weak loan growth in FY17, he said that the bank’s revenue increased 9.7% while net interest income grew 8.4%.

“The numbers are still showing improvement,” Zafrul said.

For FY18, it is also targeting for the group’s cost-to-income ratio to improve to 50%, from 51.8% in FY17 and for loan loss charge to improve to 0.55%-0.60%. The group’s net interest margin (NIM) was unchanged at 2.63% in FY17 in line with continued liability management, but it is expecting a NIM compression of 5-10bps mainly from Indonesia.

CIMB’s net profit for the fourth quarter ended Dec 31, 2017 jumped 24.1% to RM1.06 billion from RM854.39 million a year ago thanks to its better overall performance. Revenue increased 4.7% higher at RM4.52 billion compared with RM4.31 billion in the previous year’s corresponding quarter underpinned by the 17.3% improvement in non-interest income.

For FY17, CIMB’s net profit rose 25.6% to RM4.48 billion from RM3.56 billion a year ago underpinned by growth in operating income and improved cost management. Revenue grew 9.7% year-on-year to RM17.63 billion from RM16.07 billion largely driven by a 12.8% growth in non-interest income, in line with better capital market activity and improved fee income and an 8.4% growth in net interest income.

The group declared a second interim net dividend of 12 sen per share. For FY17, the total dividend amounted to 25 sen or RM2.28 billion, translating to a dividend payout ratio of 51% of FY17 profits.

Ahmad Zaki slips into the red in 4th quarter

PETALING JAYA: Ahmad Zaki Resources Bhd fell into the red in the fourth quarter ended Dec 31, 2017 after reporting a net loss of RM3.77 million against a net profit of RM8.45 million a year ago, due to additional tax from the Inland Revenue Board of RM12.2 million.

Its engineering and construction division received a notice of additional assessment from the tax authority for the years 2011 to 2016.

Meanwhile, for the quarter under review, revenue halved to RM178.26 million from RM356.99 million in the preceding year’s corresponding quarter due to lower contribution from its engineering and construction division.

The group said the oil and gas sector has shown signs of improvement despite continued challenges, as the price of crude oil has seen a steady increase during the recent months and sustained above US$60 per barrel.

“From being only a pure bunkering operator out of Kemaman Supply Base, the division’s prospects are positive with the inclusion of Tok Bali Supply Base (TBSB) as a full fledged supply base in East Coast of Peninsular Malaysia during the year. Going forward, the group intends to continue to invest and install more facilities to better accommodate current customers as well as to attract more customers to set up their base of operations at TBSB,” its board of directors said.

The group said it is actively tendering for more projects to replenish its engineering and construction order book which stands at RM3.8 billion, which will keep it busy for the next three to four years.

The group also expects its ongoing concession for maintenance and facilities management at IIUM Medical Centre in Pahang, plantation and property divisions to continue to contribute positively to the group.

The group saw a slight increase of 3.76% in its full-year net profit of RM28.23 million against the RM27.20 million recorded in the previous year due to better construction project mix, IIUM Hospital, concession income and lower losses from the plantation division.

Revenue for the period fell to RM960.68 million from RM1.2 billion in the previous year, due to slower stages of completion for key construction projects, which was mitigated by increased concession and plantation division revenue.

DRB-Hicom records net loss in Q3

PETALING JAYA: DRB-Hicom Bhd sank into a net loss totalling RM58.15 million for the third quarter ended Dec 31, 2017, compared to earnings of RM351.86 million a year earlier, mainly due to one-off impairment charges of certain intangible assets and potential claims relating to Proton.

Revenue for the quarter declined 11.2% to RM3.05 billion, from RM3.43 billion in the same period in 2016.

In a statement, the group said the automotive sector revenue mirrors the industry’s soft climate, with the anticipated traditional December sales slipping by almost 16% compared to the year before.

Furthermore, it said the lower loan approvals as well as higher interest rates also continue to affect sales for the industry.

“With the entry of Zhejiang Geely Holding Group (Geely) as a shareholder of Proton Holdings Bhd, the national carmaker intends to deploy Geely’s wide array of technology and family of engines in Proton’s current range of vehicles, while other models in Geely’s range is also being considered for local consumption,” it added.

However, the group said its services sector saw revenue rise by 35% in the nine months period, coming in at RM3.28 billion, driven by improved numbers from Pos Malaysia’s courier and logistics segments.

It added that the property sector contributed a revenue of RM638.8 million, with the sector’s construction related projects boosting the performance.

For the nine-month period, the group posted a net profit of RM508.7 million, against a net loss of RM127.07 million a year ago, while revenue up 13% to RM9.73 billion, from RM8.58 billion previously.

With the improving economy, DRB-Hicom said it will continue to strengthen its core businesses and pursue various opportunities to expand its business interests, with a key focus on growth in logistics, e-commerce, aerospace and banking.

Nevertheless, for the automotive industry, it said stiff market competition, stringent hire purchase approvals, higher interest rates, among others, remain as challenges.

“In this light, the on-going cost and financial management efforts across all sectors will provide stability for the long-term prospects of the group.”

“DRB-Hicom’s full year results ending March 31, 2018 is expected to be better than the previous year, as a result of cost management and operational efficiency initiatives that are currently on-going across the group,” it added.

UEM Sunrise partners Australia’s WOTSO

PETALING JAYA: UEM Sunrise Bhd is partnering Australia’s workspace provider WOTSO Workspace Pty Ltd to form a 50:50 joint-venture company to manage the operations for the lease of co-working space and serviced office suites in Malaysia.

The group told the stock exchange that its unit UEM Sunrise Properties Sdn Bhd has entered into a joint-venture agreement with WOTSO’s subsidiary WOTSO SEA Pty Ltd.

The JV company will explore leasing opportunites and identify potential commercial and/or retail developments for co-working spaces in Malaysia.

WOTSO is a pioneer in the leasing of co-working spaces in Australia. It is a wholly owned unit of Australian listed real estate company Blackwall Ltd Co.

UEM Sunrise said the proposed JV is not expected to have a material effect on the group’s earnings or net assets for the financial year ending Dec 31, 2018.

UEM Sunrise fell 4 sen or 3.54% to RM1.09 with 2.08 million shares traded today.

Datasonic Q3 net profit jumps 84%

PETALING JAYA: ICT solutions provider Datasonic Group Bhd’s net profit jumped 84% to RM14.65 million in the third quarter ended Dec 31, 2017, from RM7.97 million a year ago, due mainly to contribution from a new passport booklets project and effective cost control.

Revenue for the quarter decreased 18% to RM60.3 million, compared with RM73.2 million in the previous corresponding period attributed to lower revenue contribution from the supply of consumables, passports and personalisation services.

“We are pleased with the performance for this quarter as compared to the corresponding period last year. We are optimistic on the business outlook and future growth of the group, especially for financial year 2019 onwards,” its group chairman General Tan Sri Mohamed Hashim Mohd Ali (Rtd) said in a statement.

“We will continue to work hard and work smart to secure new big projects and to improve shareholder value,” he added.

Mohamed Hashim said the group is determined to expand its business locally, regionally and globally to bring the company to greater heights.

Datasonic said it has an outstanding order book of RM750 million as at Dec 31, 2017.

Mohamed Hashim said the group is determined to expand its business locally, regionally and globally.

For the nine-month period, the group’s net profit increased 11% to RM49.8 million, versus RM44.7 million a year ago, despite a 14.1% drop in revenue, which was mainly due to lower contribution from personalisation services of financial cards.

Datasonic registered a revenue of RM193.96 million compared with RM225.74 million in the corresponding period last year.

The group has declared a third interim single-tier tax-exempt dividend of 1.0 sen per share in respect of FY2018, amounting to RM13.50 million.

China Ouhua back in black in Q4, narrows full-year loss

PETALING JAYA: China Ouhua Winery Holdings Ltd has returned to the black, registering a net profit of RM2.38 million for the fourth quarter ended Dec 31, 2017 against a net loss of RM14.89 million in the previous corresponding period.

In a filing with Bursa Malaysia, the group said this was mainly attributed to a reduction in provision for bad debts, inventories impairment and marketing and distribution expenses.

Revenue for the quarter increased slightly by 0.2% to RM3.98 million, compared with RM3.97 million in the same period in 2016.

For the full year, its net loss narrowed to RM1.2 million, against RM23.2 million a year ago, while revenue was up by 2% to RM8.76 million, from RM8.6 million previously.

The group said the smaller loss was mainly due to the reduction in marketing and distribution expenses as well as administrative expenses.

Commenting on its prospects, China Ouhua said the group has confidence in its future, noting its business has improved and sales of wine have increased during the quarter under review mainly due to several China’s important festivals and the stock-up before the Spring Festival.

“We must find a way and a project that will revive the group. The group should be re-developed and strengthened if given more time,” it added.