Monday, April 23rd, 2018

 

Wall Street edges higher as earnings optimism eases bond worries

NEW YORK, April 23 — Wall Street edged higher today, led by technology stocks, as optimism about strength of the earnings season helped ease concerns on rising US Treasury yields. The yield on 10-year US Treasuries hit a four-year high of 2.998…


KWAP posts record 2017 gross income, warns of market volatility

KUALA LUMPUR: Kumpulan Wang Persaraan (Diperbadankan) (KWAP), Malaysia’s second largest pension fund, has warned of market volatility arising from the general election affecting its investments, after managing a record gross income of RM9.03 billion in 2017.

KWAP reported a 42% increase in gross income to RM9.03 billion in 2017 against RM6.36 billion in 2016, the highest since its inception in 2007, driven by better investment income.

The highest ever gross income was achieved on the back of improved gross return on investment to 5.77% in 2017 from 5.35% in 2016.

KWAP CEO Datuk Wan Kamaruzaman Wan Ahmad (pix) said: “2018 will be a critical year as the nation makes a significant decision on the future of our nation for the next five years. Market volatility tends to be higher during such a period compared with normal times.

“Therefore, our investments will be subject to the volatility as fear and greed of investors will impact more than earnings, so we’re ready for that,” he said at a press conference in announcing the fund’s financial performance here today.

Investment income remained the highest contributor (69%) to the pension fund, followed by employers’ contribution (27%) and the portion from the federal government (4%).

KWAP’s assets are allocated in fixed income (46%), equity (40%) and alternative investments (14%). Alternative investments comprise real estate (10%), private equity (3%) and infrastructure (1%).

Nonetheless, Wan Kamaruzaman said the pension fund is reviewing its strategic asset allocation with more exposure in the equity and alternative investments but less exposure in the fixed income segment.

“It’s a bit of tweaking, probably a little more investments in the alternative space and slightly higher in the listed equities … in the low interest rate environment, fixed income investments are not giving us returns that are commendable to the previous track record.”

Despite the expected market volatility, he said, KWAP is confident of growing its total fund size to RM150 billion by year-end from RM140.8 billion at end-2017.

“It depends on the market but it is an achieveable target. We’re hoping to do better and we always outperform.”

Sector-wise, Wan Kamaruzaman said KWAP remains optimistic on the banking and telco sectors. For the technology sector, which has gone through a correction, the pension fund will set its sights on the global market.

“We still like the technology sector. There are not many local tech companies, but on the global front, we do have specific US investment mandate to look at some of the stocks in the tech sector, but it must be within our risk appetite,” Wan Kamaruzaman said.

To support the government’s initiative to promote liquidity and trading vibrancy in the small and mid-cap segment, he said, KWAP will expand its coverage of the small-cap universe, but limited to 1% of total allocation.

The pension fund is also looking to increase its exposure in overseas markets. Currently 87% of its investments are parked locally, with the balance spread across 31 countries.

KWAP’s total collection rose 5% to RM3.51 billion in 2017 comprising RM3.01 billion pension contribution and RM500 million from the government.


Stocks in Focus (24-04-2018)

KUALA LUMPUR (April 23): Based on corporate announcements and news flow today, companies in focus tomorrow (April 24) may include the following: GuocoLand (Malaysia) Bhd,…


HK-listed Razer proposes to take over MOL Global

HONG KONG: Hong Kong Exchange-listed lifestyle brand for gamers Razer today announced plans to take a 65.1% interest in MOL Global Inc for US$61 million (R238 million) by way of a statutory merger.

While the merger is subject to the approval of shareholders of MOL Global, Razer has already secured irrevocable undertakings from other major shareholders of MOL Global to vote in favour of the merger, which together with the 34.9% interest Razer holds, is enough for the merger to be approved.

MOL Global will then be a wholly owned subsidiary of Razer.

Tan Sri Vincent Tan is a majority shareholder of MOL Global.

“This acquisition will combine Razer zGold and MOL Global’s MOLPoints virtual credits creating one of the largest virtual credit platforms for gamers in the world ,” Razer co-founder and CEO Tan Min-Liang said in a statement today.

Southeast Asia represents one of the highest gross domestic product growth regions with one of the youngest demographics in the world. Additionally, given that MOL Global already runs one of the largest e-payments networks in Southeast Asia, the integration of MOL Global's businesses represents an exciting new business segment with boundless potential that Razer can extend into, he said.

“Over and above, we will be able to leverage on MOL Global's leading technologies, as well as its massive network of content, customers and partners built over 17 years, and existing businesses by capturing the fast growing southeast region for Razer,” he added.

Given the low credit card penetration in Southeast Asia, MOL Global's unique offline-to-online payment model, with about one million offline payment points already makes it the largest virtual credits platform gamers in the region.

Upon completion of the merger, Razer's current zGold virtual credit business will be combined with MOLPoints under a single entity.


23/04/2018 22:09:50

HONG KONG: Hong Kong Exchange-listed lifestyle brand for gamers Razer today announced plans to take a 65.1% interest in MOL Global Inc for US$61 million (R238 million) by way of a statutory merger.

While the merger is subject to the approval of shareholders of MOL Global, Razer has already secured irrevocable undertakings from other major shareholders of MOL Global to vote in favour of the merger, which together with the 34.9% interest Razer holds, is enough for the merger to be approved.

MOL Global will then be a wholly owned subsidiary of Razer.

Tan Sri Vincent Tan is a majority shareholder of MOL Global.

“This acquisition will combine Razer zGold and MOL Global’s MOLPoints virtual credits creating one of the largest virtual credit platforms for gamers in the world ,” Razer co-founder and CEO Tan Min-Liang said in a statement today.

“We will be able to leverage on MOL Global’s leading technologies, as well as its massive network of content, customers and partners built over 17 years, and existing businesses by capturing the fast growing southeast region for Razer,” he added.

MOL Globals’ offline-to-online payment model, with about one million offline payment points, already makes it the largest virtual credits platform gamers in the region.

After the merger, Razer’s current zGold virtual credit business will be combined with MOLPoints under a single entity.


Public Bank shareholders pay homage to Teh

KUALA LUMPUR: In the first AGM after the announcement of Public Bank Bhd chairman Tan Sri Dr Teh Hong Piow’s retirement, shareholders took the opportunity to express their gratitude and commend him on his leadership of the group.

The AGM, which was the last AGM for Teh as non-executive chairman, saw a total of 6,030 shareholders in attendance today.

The subject of Teh’s retirement dominated the meeting, with shareholders asking about the group’s succession plan.

Shareholders took the opportunity today to thank him for his leadership and service, and wished him the best while others requested that he reconsider his decision to retire.

“I am 92 years old and you are only 88, you should stay on,” said one of the shareholders, who proceeded to sing a birthday song for Teh, who celebrated his birthday last month.

In July last year, the group announced Teh’s plans to relinquish his position as non-executive chairman of Public Bank on Jan 1, 2019, upon which he will be bestowed the title of chairman emeritus and appointed adviser.

As chairman emeritus and adviser, Teh will provide guidance to support the continued growth of Public Bank and the group.

Teh founded Public Bank on Dec 30, 1965 and has been with the group for 51 years. He retired as chairman of Public Islamic Bank Bhd and Public Investment Bank Bhd on Jan 1, 2018.

Managing director Tan Sri Tay Ah Lek, who thanked shareholders for the sentiments expressed, said Teh, who will continue to provide guidance, advice and mentorship to the group, has built a strong structure with a culture of prudence and discipline within the group over the years.

“These are the very important fundamentals that are already in place and will continue to drive the bank. The culture will stay. We can tell you that we have a very large number of long-serving staff with us. Some 45% of our staff are senior staff and also middle management staff, who have been with us for a long time.”

Tay said the chairmanship and directorship of the group are subject to the approval of the central bank. He said Teh’s successor will be announced at the appropriate time and assured shareholders that the board’s succession is always in place.

Teh was proud to note that if a shareholder of Public Bank had bought 1,000 shares in Public Bank when it was listed in 1967, and subscribed for all rights issues to date and had not sold any of the Public Bank shares, he would have 148,938 Public Bank shares worth RM3.5 million to date and received a total gross dividend of RM1.3 million.

This translates into a total value of RM4.8 million, representing a remarkable compounded annual rate of return of 19% for each of the 50 years since 1967.

“The group is confident that its strong fundamentals will enable it to stay resilient and flexible as well as seize opportunities when they arise.

“Against the backdrop of an increasingly more challenging and complex operating environment, the group’s key priorities are to accelerate business and digital innovation as well as pursue operational efficiency,” Teh said in a statement.

He said the group’s business model building on its organic growth strategy in the retail banking business, coupled with its prudent credit policies as well as strong risk management practices, will remain the group’s key strengths to sustain continued business and profitability growth.

On Bursa Malaysia today, Public Bank rose 0.41% or 10 sen to close at RM24.30 with 1.87 million shares traded.


Public Bank shareholdes pay homage to Teh

KUALA LUMPUR: In the first AGM after the announcement of Public Bank Bhd chairman Tan Sri Dr Teh Hong Piow’s retirement, shareholders took the opportunity to express their gratitude and commend him on his leadership of the group.

The AGM, which was the last AGM for Teh as non-executive chairman, saw a total of 6,030 shareholders in attendance today.

The subject of Teh’s retirement dominated the meeting, with shareholders asking about the group’s succession plan.

Shareholders took the opportunity today to thank him for his leadership and service, and wished him the best while others requested that he reconsider his decision to retire.

“I am 92 years old and you are only 88, you should stay on,” said one of the shareholders, who proceeded to sing a birthday song for Teh, who celebrated his birthday last month.

In July last year, the group announced Teh’s plans to relinquish his position as non-executive chairman of Public Bank on Jan 1, 2019, upon which he will be bestowed the title of chairman emeritus and appointed adviser.

As chairman emeritus and adviser, Teh will provide guidance to support the continued growth of Public Bank and the group.

Teh founded Public Bank on Dec 30, 1965 and has been with the group for 51 years. He retired as chairman of Public Islamic Bank Bhd and Public Investment Bank Bhd on Jan 1, 2018.

Managing director Tan Sri Tay Ah Lek, who thanked shareholders for the sentiments expressed, said Teh, who will continue to provide guidance, advice and mentorship to the group, has built a strong structure with a culture of prudence and discipline within the group over the years.

“These are the very important fundamentals that are already in place and will continue to drive the bank. The culture will stay. We can tell you that we have a very large number of long-serving staff with us. Some 45% of our staff are senior staff and also middle management staff, who have been with us for a long time.”

Tay said the chairmanship and directorship of the group are subject to the approval of the central bank. He said Teh’s successor will be announced at the appropriate time and assured shareholders that the board’s succession is always in place.

Teh was proud to note that if a shareholder of Public Bank had bought 1,000 shares in Public Bank when it was listed in 1967, and subscribed for all rights issues to date and had not sold any of the Public Bank shares, he would have 148,938 Public Bank shares worth RM3.5 million to date and received a total gross dividend of RM1.3 million.

This translates into a total value of RM4.8 million, representing a remarkable compounded annual rate of return of 19% for each of the 50 years since 1967.

“The group is confident that its strong fundamentals will enable it to stay resilient and flexible as well as seize opportunities when they arise.

“Against the backdrop of an increasingly more challenging and complex operating environment, the group’s key priorities are to accelerate business and digital innovation as well as pursue operational efficiency,” Teh said in a statement.

He said the group’s business model building on its organic growth strategy in the retail banking business, coupled with its prudent credit policies as well as strong risk management practices, will remain the group’s key strengths to sustain continued business and profitability growth.

On Bursa Malaysia today, Public Bank rose 0.41% or 10 sen to close at RM24.30 with 1.87 million shares traded.


Priceworth in MoU to supply container flooring to China’s Foshan Zhengsen

PETALING JAYA: Priceworth International Bhd has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to supply on a yearly basis 60,000 cubic metres of container flooring worth RMB192 million (RM120 million) to Chinese manufacturer Foshan Zhengsen Woodworking Co.

The company’s share price was down 1.5 sen or 7.5% to 18.5 sen with some 11.1 million shares changing hands. Its share value was fallen almost 23% in the last one year.

The deal which is expected to be finalised in six months, will see the construction of a RM10.5 million new container flooring production line that will be funded through a RMB4 million advance payment from Foshan Zhengsen and hire purchase financing of RM8 million.

Priceworth’s subsidiary Sinora Sdn Bhd signed the MoU on April 21 for the intended supply of container flooring to Foshan Zhengsen, a pioneer and manufacturer in the Chinese container flooring market based in Foshan City, Guangdong.

“This development represents an exciting opportunity for Priceworth, as we are looking at a five-year contract,” said executive director Richard Koo after signing the MoU in Singapore. “This new product opens up a huge market to Priceworth. With China’s One Belt One Road Initiative, we expect demand for container flooring to grow significantly.”

“At the agreed price and volume of 60,000 cubic meters a year, the contribution margin is about 20%. With a consistent supply of timber from our harvesting operations, the Priceworth group will be able to fully utilise and increase the production efficiency of its production assets once we finalise this contract,” Koo added.

Priceworth in the last two months has seen a jump in monthly log production with better harvests mainly from operations in Forest Management Unit 5 (FMU5), Sabah. In February, it saw the highest production volume since July 2012, up 57% from a year ago.

“For the last five months, our log production has stayed consistently above 14,000 cubic metres, and we expect our (log) production to further increase with improvement in our harvesting efficiency,” said Koo.

Priceworth has been operating in two compartments within FMU5, which it proposed to acquire in 2016, and was recently given approval to begin harvesting in another two compartments. Priceworth also has several other timber concession areas covering 27,900ha.

The group proposed to acquire FMU5 for RM260 million in October 2016, through subsidiary GSR Pte Ltd. It is also planning a Singapore Exchange-listing for GSR, which will also acquire sister company Sinora, which is Priceworth’s plywood manufacturing arm.


Priceworth signs MoU with Foshan

PETALING JAYA: Priceworth International Bhd has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to supply on a yearly basis 60,000 cubic metres of container flooring worth RMB192 million (RM120 million) to Chinese manufacturer Foshan Zhengsen Woodworking Co.

The company’s share price was down 1.5 sen or 7.5% to 18.5 sen with some 11.1 million shares changing hands. Its share value was fallen almost 23% in the last one year.

The deal which is expected to be finalised in six months, will see the construction of a RM10.5 million new container flooring production line that will be funded through a RMB4 million advance payment from Foshan Zhengsen and hire purchase financing of RM8 million.

Priceworth’s subsidiary Sinora Sdn Bhd signed the MoU on April 21 for the intended supply of container flooring to Foshan Zhengsen, a pioneer and manufacturer in the Chinese container flooring market based in Foshan City, Guangdong.

“This development represents an exciting opportunity for Priceworth, as we are looking at a five-year contract,” said executive director Richard Koo after signing the MoU in Singapore. “This new product opens up a huge market to Priceworth. With China’s One Belt One Road Initiative, we expect demand for container flooring to grow significantly.”

“At the agreed price and volume of 60,000 cubic meters a year, the contribution margin is about 20%. With a consistent supply of timber from our harvesting operations, the Priceworth group will be able to fully utilise and increase the production efficiency of its production assets once we finalise this contract,” Koo added.

Priceworth in the last two months has seen a jump in monthly log production with better harvests mainly from operations in Forest Management Unit 5 (FMU5), Sabah. In February, it saw the highest production volume since July 2012, up 57% from a year ago.

“For the last five months, our log production has stayed consistently above 14,000 cubic metres, and we expect our (log) production to further increase with improvement in our harvesting efficiency,” said Koo.

Priceworth has been operating in two compartments within FMU5, which it proposed to acquire in 2016, and was recently given approval to begin harvesting in another two compartments. Priceworth also has several other timber concession areas covering 27,900ha.

The group proposed to acquire FMU5 for RM260 million in October 2016, through subsidiary GSR Pte Ltd. It is also planning a Singapore Exchange-listing for GSR, which will also acquire sister company Sinora, which is Priceworth’s plywood manufacturing arm.


Ideal United Bintang receives takeover offer

PETALING JAYA: Property developer Ideal United Bintang International Bhd has received an unconditional mandatory takeover offer from its chairman Tan Sri Ooi Kee Liang for 54 sen per share and 1 sen per warrant.

Ooi, together with his spouse Puan Sri Phor Li Wei and ICT Innotech Sdn Bhd are the joint offerors.

This offer came after ICT Innotech, in which Ooi and Phor holds a 50% stake each, acquired a 26.9% stake in Ideal United Bintang from Bumimaju Gaya Sdn Bhd and Lakaran Asia Sdn Bhd for 54 sen per share, bringing its shareholding to 54.06%, triggering a mandatory general offer (MGO).

The offer price represents an 11.48% discount to its five-day volume weighted average price of 61 sen per share. It will remain open for acceptances until 5pm on the 21st day of the posting date.

The offeror intends to maintain the listing status of Ideal United Bintang.

Ideal United Bintang said the board will hold a meeting to deliberate the offer and make an announcement in due course.

Its share price fell 2.5 sen or 4% to close at 59.5 sen today on some 4,000 shares done, while its warrants were unchanged at 11 sen.