Thursday, March 22nd, 2018


Stocks in Focus (23-03-2018)

KUALA LUMPUR (March 22): Based on corporate announcements and news flow today, companies in focus on Friday (March 23) may include: Eversendai Corp Bhd, UMW…

Facebook investors fret over costs as Zuckerberg apologises (VIDEO)

NEW YORK, March 22 —  Facebook Inc Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg’s apology for mishandling user data and some limited proposals for change at the social network drew mixed responses today, while Wall Street analysts worried about costs and a…

Blockbuster antitrust trial over AT&T, Time Warner merger begins

WASHINGTON, March 22 — Fans will be glued to the “March Madness” college basketball tournament as the joint owner of rights for the games, Time Warner Inc, goes before a judge today to defend a proposed takeover by AT&T Inc. With some 12…

US to sue China at WTO for alleged trade violations, says WSJ

WASHINGTON, March 22 — The Unites States is expected to sue China at the World Trade Organisation over alleged trade law violations as part of its planned trade announcement later today, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing a person with…

China’s CEFC investigation hits $9 billion Russian oil deal

LONDON, March 22 — Chinese conglomerate CEFC had already started paying for a stake in Russian oil giant Rosneft when the economic crime police took its chairman Ye Jianming away, halting the US$9.1 billion (RM35.6 billion) deal in its tracks,…

Khazanah Nasional buys Prince Court Medical Centre from Petronas

PETALING JAYA: Khazanah Nasional Bhd is acquiring Prince Court Medical Centre (PCMC) from Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas) for an undisclosed sum, with plans to collaborate with IHH Healthcare Bhd to transform the medical centre.

The strategic investment fund said in a statement today that its wholly owned subsidiary Pulau Memutik Ventures Sdn Bhd has signed a share sale and purchase agreement with Petronas’ wholly owned subsidiary Petronas Hartabina Sdn Bhd for the acquisition.

“This strategic acquisition marks another milestone for Khazanah in its mission to build up the healthcare services sector in Malaysia. Khazanah will leverage all of its experience and expertise to transform PCMC into a world-class medical tourism focused hospital, and work towards turning Kuala Lumpur into a destination of choice for quality healthcare in the region,” it said.

It added that the acquisition is a result of and in line with national level aspirations under, among others, the National Key Economic Areas of the Economic Transformation Programme to boost medical tourism.

Khazanah will acquire PCMC at an agreed price comparable to market assessment, which it did not disclose. The transaction is expected to be completed by the end of the second quarter this year.

In addition to the acquisition, Khazanah has also entered into a term sheet for a collaboration agreement with IHH for shared services support and operational improvement initiatives at PCMC. IHH will be given a right of first offer to acquire PCMC during a pre-agreed period.

“We are delighted with this rare opportunity to acquire PCMC. We invested in Pantai Holdings Bhd back in 2006, and transformed this platform into what is now known as IHH, the largest emerging markets listed hospitals operator with over 10,000 beds in 10 countries.

“Working together with IHH, we aim to elevate PCMC into a leading hospital that delivers world-class healthcare for medical tourists,” said Khazanah managing director Tan Sri Azman Mokhtar.

Petronas president and group CEO Tan Sri Wan Zulkiflee Wan Ariffin said PCMC is ready for its next phase of growth to become the leading healthcare provider in Asia.

Accept Ekovest’s takeover offer, Iskandar Waterfront City minority shareholders advised

PETALING JAYA: Independent adviser BDO Capital Consultants Sdn Bhd has advised the minority shareholders of Iskandar Waterfront City Bhd (IWCity) to accept the conditional voluntary takeover offer by Ekovest Bhd.

In its independent advice circular, the adviser said that the cash option is “not fair but reasonable” while the share exchange option is “fair and reasonable”.

Based on its analysis, the cash option is “not fair” as the cash consideration of RM1.50 represents a discount of RM1.56 or 51% to its fair value of RM3.06.

However, the share exchange option is “fair” as the exchange ratio ranges from 1.26 to 1.33, indicating that the value of Ekovest shares to be received by the holders represents a premium of about 26% to 33% over the value of the IWCity shares to be surrendered.

Both the cash option and share exchange option are “reasonable” as IWCity shares have not traded above the offer price of RM1.50 per share for the past three years.

The offer price also represents premiums ranging between 9 sen and 22 sen or 6.4% and 17.2% against the five-day, one-month, three-month, six-month and a discount of 35 sen or 18.9% against the one-year volume-weighted average price.

Although the share exchange option is deemed as more favourable, BDO said the decision to be made would rest entirely on the individual risk appetite and the shareholders are advised to be mindful of possible continuous fluctuations in IWCity and Ekovest share prices.

To recap, Ekovest issued a takeover notice on Dec 18, 2017 to buy a 62% stake in IWCity at RM1.50 per share via a cash option or share exchange option. The takeover offer came after Iskandar Waterfront Holdings Sdn Bhd aborted the planned merger with IWCity.

IWCity’s share price rose 3 sen or 2.2% to close at RM1.37 today, while Ekovest fell 1 sen or 1% to 96 sen.

Higher export sales boost Scientex Q2 earnings

PETALING JAYA: Scientex Bhd’s net profit grew 4.3% to RM67.98 million in the second quarter ended Jan 31, 2018, from RM65.19 million in the previous corresponding quarter on higher export sales.

Revenue for the quarter increased 8.3% to RM634.8 million from RM586.2 million in the same period a year ago.

For the six-month period, its net profit jumped 19.7% from RM117.2 million to RM140.4 million, while revenue rose 15.4% from RM1.12 billion to RM1.29 billion.

On its prospects, managing director Lim Peng Jin said the group is eyeing continued growth in both its manufacturing and property operations.

Scientex said it is set to launch RM600 million worth of new properties in the second half of the financial year ending July 31, 2018.

The group is on track to completing the RM190 million acquisition of Klang-based Klang Hock Plastic Industries Sdn Bhd in the second quarter of 2018, which will boost its production capacity to 455,000 tonnes from 356,000 tonnes currently.

On Bursa Malaysia today, Scientex fell 9 sen 1.1% to RM8.03, on volume of 158,600 shares.

Berjaya Land’s Q3 revenue rises to RM1.56b

PETALING JAYA: Berjaya Land Bhd’s (BLand) revenue rose 2.1% to RM1.56 billion in the third quarter ended Jan 31, 2018, from RM1.53 billion in the previous corresponding quarter.

In a filing with Bursa Malaysia today, the group said this was mainly due to higher revenue from new and used car sales achieved by HR Owen Plc and the hotels and resorts segment.

The group’s pre-tax profit declined by 4.3% to RM86.84 million, from RM90.75 million in the same quarter a year ago, dragged by lower share of profit from associate companies, mainly from Berjaya Kyoto Development (S) Pte Ltd due to lower number of Four Seasons Residences sold.

For the nine-month period, revenue went up 1.6% to RM4.78 billion from RM4.7 billion a year ago, while pre-tax profit fell 79.6% to RM90.5 million from RM443 million a year ago.

On its prospects, BLand said it remains confident that BToto Group will continue to maintain its market share in the number forecast operation segment despite the continued illegal gaming activities and weaker consumer sentiments.

BLand expects the performance of the hotels and resorts business to remain satisfactory while prospects for the property market are expected to remain lukewarm.

“Under the foregoing circumstances, the directors are of the view that the operating performance of the group will continue to remain challenging in the remaining quarter of the financial year ending April 30, 2018,” it added.

Household spending to moderate this year: ICAEW

PETALING JAYA: Household spending is likely to moderate this year as debt servicing costs increase in line with the rise in domestic borrowing rates, and fading fiscal support post-election, said the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW).

However, it said the improving labour market conditions, rising manufacturing wages and the many populist measures announced in the 2018 budget should continue to support household spending this year.

According to ICAEW's latest Economic Insight: South-East Asia Report, Malaysia is expected to see broad-based and resilient growth, backed by domestic demand and healthy investment spending.

This year, ICAEW said Malaysia’s gross domestic product (GDP) is expected to grow at 5.2%, easing slightly from a 5.9% close in 2017 on the back of slightly tighter credit conditions and moderation in export growth.

It anticipates the domestic demand to remain the mainstay of the country’s growth this year, noting that the outlook for investment spending is also healthy.

For the first three quarters of 2017, Malaysia recorded a 12.3% growth in private investment, almost triple that of average annual growth from 2012 to 2016.

Meanwhile, ICAEW said the export sector staged an impressive recovery, noting that with the signing of the CPTPP, Malaysian firms will be provided with preferential access to 10 markets accounting for 13% of global GDP. However, this positive development is dampened by news that the European Union plans to ban the use of palm oil in motor fuels from 2021.