Thursday, February 22nd, 2018


US stocks bounce as Fed worries ebb somewhat

NEW YORK, Feb 22 — Wall Street stocks rose early today, bouncing after two losing sessions, as investor anxiety over higher interest rates ebbed somewhat. About 20 minutes into trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.5 per cent to…

Muhibbah clinches RM149m Qatar job

PETALING JAYA: Muhibbah Engineering (M) Bhd’s 49%-owned Muhibbah Engineering Middle East LLC has been awarded a contract worth 143 million riyals (RM149 million) by Economic Zones Co of Qatar.

Muhibbah said in a filing with Bursa Malaysia today that the contract is for the design, construction and erection of syncrolift and travel lift with ancillaries and all associated works in Marsa Um Alhoul at the Um Alhoul Special Economic Zone.

Construction work is to begin immediately and is expected to be completed by the first quarter of next year, it added.

Gas Malaysia plans RM180m Perak pipeline

PETALING JAYA: Gas Malaysia Bhd will build a RM180 million gas infrastructure in Kinta Valley, Perak under a pipeline development agreement (PDA) with the Perak state government.

Under the PDA, Gas Malaysia will develop, operate and own the natural gas distribution system pipeline with the capacity of 50,000 standard cubic metre per hour measuring 140km in length, from the take-off point located at Ayer Tawar, Perak to supply natural gas to the areas identified.

The state government has agreed to contribute RM10 million towards the development cost, in the form of capital contribution, in line with its cause to promote clean energy.

The project will be funded through a combination of internally generated funds and borrowings.

Kian Joo benefits from tax incentives

PETALING JAYA: Kian Joo Can Factory Bhd fourth quarter ended Dec 31, 2017 net profit was up 77.6% on tax incentives enjoyed by certain subsidiaries and lower tax rate in Vietnam.

The group made a net profit of RM46.9 million for the quarter under review, compared with RM26.4 million for the same quarter in 2016.

The group’s overall profit before taxation was lower in Q4’17 at RM22.8 million compared to RM36.2 million in Q4’16, despite slight improvement in gross profit. This was attributable to unrealised loss on foreign exchange amounted to RM5.3 million as compared to unrealised gain of RM4.4 million in Q4’16.

The group said faced with a multitude of costs pressures , the management will continue to review its selling price to key customers whilst stepping up its efforts to bring down its operating costs in 2018.

It will also upgrade its production equipment to improve efficiency and emphasise on growing the business operations of subsidiaries in foreign countries and to expand market overseas.

Net profit for the 12 month period ended Dec 31, 2017 was down 30.1% at RM90.0 million, compared with RM128.6 million for the same period in 2016.

This was on 7.1% higher revenue of RM1.8 billion in financial year 2017, compared with RM1.7 billion in financial year 2016.

Perak Transit wants to transfer listing to Main Market

PETALING JAYA: Perak Transit Bhd proposes to transfer from the ACE Market to Main Market of Bursa Malaysia after slightly more than a year since its listing in October 2016.

The group told Bursa Malaysia it has met the requirements of the Securities Commission Equity Guidelines based on its audited financial statements with an aggregate net profit of at least RM20 million for the past three full financial years and a net profit of at least RM6 million for the most recent financial year.

Perak Transit said the proposed transfer will enhance its credibility and reputation, and accord it greater recognition among the investors.

Meanwhile, Perak Transit also announced its latest fouth-quarter financial results ended Dec 31, 2017. Its net profit soared 7% from RM7.83 million to RM8.37 million, driven by higher contribution from all its business segments.

This brought its full-year net profit up 33.7% from RM21.57 million to RM28.83 million.

Perak Transit’s share price gained 1.7% to close at 30.5 sen today on some 7.12 million shares done.

Misif: US wrong to impose import tariffs on Malaysian steel

PETALING JAYA: The Malaysian Iron and Steel Industry Federation (Misif) which deems the US’s inclusion of Malaysia among the steel-exporting countries to face potential tariffs as “wrong,” will bring its grouses to the Ministry of International Trade and Industry and the US Embassy.

Misif president Datuk Soh Thian Lai said for the whole of last year, Malaysia exported only about 96,000 tonnes of steel to the US, compared with the country’s total steel imports of almost 30 million tonnes.

“Malaysia is not causing injury to the US with only 96,000 tonnes worth of exports. The US always stated that if the raw material is from China, they will impose trade measures.

“Malaysia exports flight products to the US. Our raw materials for this flight products are not from China because Malaysia already has anti-dumping duties on China for hot-rolled coils.Our raw materials are from other countries such as Japan and Korea. The US has put the wrong country into their Section 232,” he added.

Miti declined to respond to SunBiz’s queries on the issue.

Earlier this week, the US Commerce Department recommended the imposition of tariffs of at least 23% on all steel products from all countries or at least 53% on all steel imports from 12 countries, namely Brazil, China, Costa Rica, Egypt, India, Malaysia, Russia, South Korea, South Africa, Thailand, Turkey and Vietnam.

It also recommended a tariff of at least 7.7% on all aluminium products from all countries.

US President Donald Trump has the final say on the imposition of the duties. In January, Trump announced that the US would subject a 30% tariff on imported solar cells and modules.

Economists contacted did not see the recent announcements by the US as significant strides in its protectionist agenda, calling it more likely steps to gain political mileage ahead of the mid-term elections in November this year.

“On protectionism, the US administration’s bark has been worse than its bite. Yes, there have been some very selective tariffs imposed but don’t forget president Barack Obama had imposed tariffs on tyres and president George Bush on steel. US administrations do that from time to time for political ends.

But Trump’s campaign rhetoric had been, among other things, about a border tax and large unilateral tariffs on Chinese goods, none of which have yet to pass,” RHB Banking Group chief economist Dr Arup Raha told SunBiz via email, adding that the larger change is likely to come in reworking trade deals.
Notwithstanding that, he stated that given Malaysia’s heavy reliance on trade, any protectionist measures that dampen world trade would not bode well for the country.

“Given the existence of value chains in the region, sometimes the incidence of a tariff can be at a different place than where it is imposed. For example, a tariff on Chinese products could hurt Thai exporters that provide intermediate goods to China. That said, the solar tariffs are likely to have a direct impact (here) as PV (photovoltaic) cells and modules comprise about 1% of Malaysia’s export. It’s not big enough to hurt the economy but it is not completely insignificant,” he added.

MIDF Research chief economist Dr Kamaruddin Mohd Nor and OCBC Bank vice-president and senior investment strategist Vasu Menon agreed that with the impending mid-term elections Trump is likely to roll out more protectionist policies to score brownie points for the Republicans.

“Almost half the US trade deficit is with China, which makes it an obvious target. Some of the imbalance reflects exports from other Asian economies that are processed in China and re-exported, so the entire region is vulnerable to US-China friction,” Vasu said.

Nomura Southeast Asia economist Brian Tan said the impact of the recent tariffs on Malaysia should be limited given that they are specific to certain products. However, it could become more harmful if tariff imposition broadens to other areas, as about 9.5% of Malaysian exports are to the US.

Court strikes out Puncak Niaga’s RM14 billion lawsuit

PETALING JAYA: Selangor Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali, his predecessor Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim and the Selangor state government today secured a major victory against Puncak Niaga Bhd’s RM14 billion claim in relation to the takeover of water assets in the state.

The Shah Alam High Court allowed the trio’s application and struck out the claim with costs, according to Puncak Niaga’s filing with the stock exchange.
However, Puncak Niaga said it will file an appeal with the Court of Appeal against this decision.

As for the counterclaim filed by Azmin, the judge directed the parties to file and exchange submissions with a date for delivery of decision on March 13.

In November, Puncak Niaga filed a RM14 billion lawsuit against the trio for alleged abuse of power by threatening to cause, or attempting to cause, the federal government to invoke the use of the Water Services Industry Act 2006 to force a takeover of the state’s water industry. 

About a month later, Azmin filed a counterclaim against Puncak Niaga’s lawsuit, calling it an abuse of process.

On Bursa Malaysia today, Puncak Niaga was unchanged at 60.5 sen with 102,900 shares traded.

Toyo Ink warrants surge 1,900% on day Bursa issued UMA query

PETALING JAYA: Toyo Ink Group Bhd’s warrants soared 1,900% making it the top percentage gainer the same day Bursa Malaysia asked for an explanation for the recent spike in its share price via an unusual market query.

Its warrants closed at 10 sen, up 9.5 sen with 141.7 million warrants changing hands, making it the second most active counter today.

Meanwhile, Toyo Ink’s share price surged as much as 38.5% before closing at RM1.01 with 5.8 million shares changing hands today. It was trading at 58 sen on Feb 9 and, to date, the stock has increasded some 60.3%.

Earlier this month, Vietnam’s Natural Resources and Environment Ministry approved Toyo Ink’s environmental impact assessment report for the Song Hau 2 thermal power plant project in Hau Giang Province, Vietnam.

In November last year, it entered into a memorandum of agreement with the Department of Natural Resources and Environment of Hau Giang Province for the development of the power plant project in Vietnam.

Ford cites ‘inappropriate behaviour’ in senior executive’s ouster (VIDEO)

MICHIGAN, Feb 22 — Ford Motor Co ousted the head of its most important business unit because of unspecified “inappropriate behaviour,” the latest in a litany of setbacks to hit the US automaker. An internal probe found that Raj Nair,…

OSK Ventures International’s Q4 profit falls 62.7% on lower net fair value gain

PETALING JAYA: OSK Ventures International Bhd (OSKVI) reported a 62.7% slump in net profit to RM1.98 million for the fourth quarter ended December 31, 2017 compared with RM5.31 million in the same quarter a year ago, due to lower net fair value gain on financial instruments.

Revenue also fell 5.6% from RM22.68 million to RM21.4 million.

The group has proposed to declare a final dividend of 5 sen per share for the quarter under review.

OSKVI's full-year net profit, however, jumped more than three times from RM8.37 million to RM31.21 million, while revenue almost doubled from RM49.91 million to RM95.36 million.

For FY18, the group said it will continue to seek for good investment opportunities to be added to both its private and public investment portfolios.

“We expect to increase our private equity/venture capital investments portfolio with new deals or additional injections of funds into our existing investments for expansion purposes”

On the public investment portfolio, OSKVI noted that it will continue to pursue good investment leads while remaining cautious in view of the increasing share prices, which have led to record performances in many leading global stock markets since the second half of 2017.

OSKVI's share price rose 2 sen or 3.3% to close at 63 sen on some 76,900 shares traded.