May, 2018


Gamuda, MRCB receive HSR termination letters

PETALING JAYA: The Malaysian government has issued termination letters with regard to the scrapping of the multi-billion ringgit Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High Speed Rail (HSR) project despite not having concluded talks with Singapore.

Gamuda Bhd and Malaysian Resources Corp Bhd (MRCB) told Bursa Malaysia that they had on May 31 received the cancellation letter from MyHSR Corp Sdn Bhd with suspension on any further negotiations.

“Consequently, the signing of the articles of agreements and conditions of contract scheduled on June 1, 2018 will no longer take place.” Meanwhile, YTL has yet to announce the project termination.

Gamuda-MRCB consortium was appointed as the project delivery partner for the northern section of the HSR project, while the southern section was given to the joint venture of YTL Corp Bhd and TH Properties Sdn Bhd.

Shares of Gamuda, MRCB and YTL rebounded yesterday to close 5%, 3.5% and 2.2% higher at RM3.34, 59 sen and 95 sen, respectively.

Foreign rehiring to cease on June 30

PETALING JAYA: The Ministry of Home Affairs will terminate the Immigration Department ’s foreign workers rehiring programme on June 30,2018.

Home Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said in a statement yesterday that between the period of Feb 15, 2016 and May 28 some 744,942 illegal immigrants and 83,919 employers were registered.

After June 30, the services of third-party vendors appointed to oversee the program will be terminated.

Employers and members of the public will liaise directly with the Immigration Department for all services pertaining to the employment of foreign workers.

The Immigration Department will take action on illegals foreign workers and employers who had not register their employees under the Rehiring program, after the deadline.

RHB posts record quarterly earnings

PETALING JAYA: RHB Bank Bhd recorded the best quarterly performance ever for the first quarter ended March 31, 2018 with a net profit of RM590.82 million, 18.1% higher than the RM500.28 million made in the previous corresponding period, thanks to higher net fund-based and non-fund-based income as well as lower allowance for expected credit losses. The bank’s revenue rose 6.1% to RM2.78 billion from RM2.62 billion.

It told Bursa Malaysia that net fund based income increased 13% to RM1.23 billion, while gross fund based income grew 6.1% underpinned by growth in loans and financing.

Net interest margin for the quarter improved to 2.28%.

Non-fund based income was 15.7% higher at RM534.5 million, contributed largely by higher net foreign exchange gain and higher trading and investment income, partially offset by lower insurance underwriting surplus and lower brokerage income.

RHB’s gross loans and financing expanded 4.3% to RM161.2 billion, with domestic loan market share standing at 9.1% as at end-March 2018.

Gross impaired loans was at RM3.7 billion, while gross impaired loans ratio reduced to 2.29% from 2.39% as at end-March 2017. Loan loss coverage for the group, including regulatory reserves improved to 107.4%.

Allowances for credit losses was lower by 15.8% at RM114.5 million, in the absence of one-off impairment provided for certain corporate accounts relating to the oil and gas industry in the corresponding period last year.

RHB said its common equity tier-1 and total capital ratio after the proposed final dividend remained strong even after the implementation of MFRS 9 at 13.5% and 16.7% respectively.

Looking ahead, RHB group managing director Datuk Khairussaleh Ramli said it is targeting to grow top line, especially from the key growth areas amid improvement in fundamentals with loan loss coverage exceeding 100% as well as robust capital levels, healthy liquidity position and normalisation of credit cost.

BNM sets record straight on RM2 billion land purchase

PETALING JAYA: In response to allegations that Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) overpaid for a RM2 billion land purchase from the Ministry of Finance (MoF), the central bank stated that the benchmark used was not appropriate considering that it is not located within the same vicinity.

A local daily quoted sources as saying that the central bank overpaid for the land transaction, which is earmarked for development of a financial education hub. The land purchase is in the spotlight again after Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng confirmed that the ministry, under the rule of the previous government, had used proceeds from the deal to pay for 1Malaysia Development Bhd’s debts.

“The use of the Jakel land sale as the market benchmark is not an accurate comparison as the land purchased by Jakel is located over 3km away, whereas Lot 41 is contiguous to BNM’s existing land and has 453,851 sq ft of functional built-up space in existing buildings,” the central bank said on its “Fact Watch” website.

BNM also confirmed that Suleiman & Co was appointed as the independent private sector valuer of the land on Aug 21, 2017 to determine the market price of the property.

Calling it an arms-length transaction, Bank Negara Malaysia governor Tan Sri Muhammad Ibrahim has repeatedly denied that political pressure had led to the land deal.

BNM further clarified that the land is classified as “institutional” under the KL City Plan 2020, and not under the agriculture, building or residential category.

It said the land does not require any conversion of title as there is no restriction for the land to be used for institutional purposes.
Following that, the central bank also said no valuation adjustment is required.

Meanwhile, BNM highlighted that Tan Sri Irwan Serigar Abdullah, who was a member of the central bank’s board of directors, had recused himself from all meetings as well as deliberations on the land acquisition in view of his common directorship and conflict of interest in the matter.

The deal was done through MoF’s special purpose vehicle Hartanah Mampan Sdn Bhd, in which Irwan Serigar held a directorship.

Sumatec Resources back in the black in first quarter

PETALING JAYA: Sumatec Resources Bhd posted a net profit of RM457,000 for the first quarter ended March 31, 2018 compared with a net loss of RM743,000 a year ago thanks to revenue derived from consultation contract billing.

Revenue, however, was 64% lower to RM1.49 million compared with RM4.17 million in the previous year’s corresponding quarter.

Sumatec said the Rakushechnoye Concession is a quality asset. It is an onshore oil and gas field, which requires modest capital expenditures. Rakushechnoye’s projected capital expenditure per well being just a fraction compared to offshore production, the production cost per barrel for its operation will be low.

“The company is now exploring several funding options to increase production at Rakushechnoye. The company expects to materialise this effort and move ahead with the proposed field development plan to increase production by the end of the year.”

Notwithstanding the prospect ahead, at the same time, the company will have to deal with legacy debt issues while moving forward, it added.

Alliance Bank Q4 net profit slips

PETALING JAYA: Alliance Bank Malaysia Bhd saw its net profit drop 3.8% to RM112.87 million for the fourth quarter ended March 31, 2018 against RM117.39 million in the previous corresponding period.

The decline was due to higher allowance for impairment losses on loans, advances and financing and other receivables.
Revenue, however, went up 9.9% to RM403.53 million from RM367.25 million.

Alliance Bank’s full-year net profit sank 3.7% to RM493.23 million from RM512.12 million.

Revenue came in at RM1.57 billion, 7% higher than the RM1.47 billion registered a year ago.

The bank has proposed a second interim dividend of 6.8 sen, bringing its total dividend declared for FY18 to 15.3 sen with a dividend payout ratio of 48%.

EU-US trade tensions at fever pitch as steel deadline looms

BRUSSELS, May 31 — Trade tensions between the European Union and the United States ran high today as the clock was ticking for US steel and aluminium tariffs against European producers to kick in. US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross yesterday…

WTO chief agrees on need to reform organisation

NEW YORK, May 31 — The head of the World Trade Organisation agreed today with a call from French President Emmanuel Macron for reform, saying he saw a need to “strengthen” the body and “make it more effective”. WTO Director-General Roberto…

DRB-HICOM returns to the black in FY18

KUALA LUMPUR, May 31 — DRB-HICOM Bhd returned to the black, after three years, posting a net profit of RM295.30 million for the financial year ended March 31, 2018 (FY18), compared with FY17’s net loss of RM264.59 million last year. Revenue…

IGB net profit eases to RM70.21m in first quarter

KUALA LUMPUR, May 31 — IGB Bhd’s net profit eased 48 per cent to RM70.21 million in the first quarter ended March 31, 2018 (1Q18) due to a one-off write-back of deferred tax arising from the disposal of asset, classified as held-for-sale….