Wednesday, June 13th, 2018

 

VW to give up to US$1,000 payments to polluting diesel owners in Vermont, Arizona

WASHINGTON, June 13 — Volkswagen AG is paying owners of polluting diesel-powered vehicles up to US$1,000 in additional payments to settle state lawsuits in Vermont, the state’s attorney general said today. VW agreed to a US$6.5 million…


GM names female CFO as Barra broadens diversity of top ranks

SOUTHFIELD (Michigan), June 13 — General Motors Co is about to have two of the auto industry’s highest-ranking women in the upper echelons of its management team. Dhivya Suryadevara, GM’s vice president of corporate finance for the last 11…


All eyes on Opec as Trump gripes over prices

NEW YORK, June 13 — Just nine days before a big Opec meeting, US President Donald Trump joined the oil-market fray yesterday, blaming the group for high prices. “Oil prices are too high, Opec is at it again. Not good!” the US president said on…


Musk’s Model 3 miscalculation culminates in major Tesla job cuts

SAN FRANCISCO, June 13 — Elon Musk has finally been forced to rethink his vaulting ambitions for Tesla Inc. The news yesterday that Musk will dismiss more than 3,000 employees, or about 9 per cent of the company’s workforce, underscored what…


Natural gas tariff for non-power sector to go up from July 1

PETALING JAYA: Gas Malaysia Bhd has announced a higher average effective natural gas tariff for the non-power sector in Peninsular Malaysia at RM32.69/MMBtu from July 1 to Dec 31, 2018, 17 sen or 0.5% higher than the RM32.52/MMBtu from Jan 1 to June 30, 2018.

It said in a filing with the stock exchange that the average natural gas base tariff is set at RM31.92/MMBtu for the second half of the year. However, under the gas cost pass through (GCPT) mechanism, a surcharge of 77 sen/MMBtu will apply to all tariff categories due to the higher actual gas costs against the reference gas costs in the base tariff.

The natural gas tariff revision was approved by the government via a letter from the Energy Commission dated June 12.

For Category A (Residential), the effective tariff rate, however, fell 0.5% to RM23.80/MMBtu from RM23.92/MMBtu. For the other categories, the effective tariff rate will range from RM30.50/MMBtu to RM33.32/MMBtu.

Gas Malaysia said the tariff revision has no material impact on its business operations and is expected to contribute positively towards its financial position for the financial year ending Dec 31, 2018.

On Bursa Malaysia today, Gas Malaysia rose 4 sen or 1.4% to RM2.94 on volume of 107,000 shares.

The government has prescribed the Incentive Based Regulation Framework which sets the base tariff for a regulatory period of three years from January 2017 and allows changes in the gas costs to be passed through via GCPT every six months.

In a statement today, the Malaysian Gas Association said it supports the revision to the natural gas tariff for the non-power sector and applauds the government's market liberalisation efforts including deregulation of gas price to achieve a market-based pricing.


US stocks edge up as Time Warner, Fox surge

NEW YORK, June 13 — Wall Street stocks rose modestly today, absorbing a sweeping court ruling approving the merger of AT&T and Time Warner that was seen as clearing the way for further media consolidation. US markets also were on alert for a…


Human Resource Development Fund to seek legal advice

PETALING JAYA: The Human Resource Development Fund (HRDF) said it is well aware of the report lodged with the Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission (MACC) against it by SG Education Group CEO Datuk Seri Ganes and it will be seeking legal advice on the matter.

“HRDF would like to reiterate that it will continue to adhere to the principles of good governance,” it said in a statement today.

The fund said it is aware of allegations over misappropriation of funds made on social media, which had also appeared on mainstream media.

HRDF said it takes all allegations seriously and has pledged its full cooperation to the Human Resources Ministry and relevant authorities.

The fund added that the funds are secure and employers can continue to utilise their contribution for the upskilling, reskilling and multiskilling of their employees, apprentices and trainees.

On Monday, Human Resources Minister M. Kulasegaran announced that three HRDF board directors who were involved in training projects had resigned from the board.


HRDF to seek legal advice

PETALING JAYA: The Human Resource Development Fund (HRDF) said it is well aware of the report lodged with the Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission (MACC) against it by SG Education Group CEO Datuk Seri Ganes and it will be seeking legal advice on the matter.

“HRDF would like to reiterate that it will continue to adhere to the principles of good governance,” it said in a statement today.

The fund said it is aware of allegations over misappropriation of funds made on social media, which had also appeared on mainstream media.

HRDF said it takes all allegations seriously and has pledged its full cooperation to the Human Resources Ministry and relevant authorities.

The fund added that the funds are secure and employers can continue to utilise their contribution for the upskilling, reskilling and multiskilling of their employees, apprentices and trainees.

On Monday, Human Resources Minister M. Kulasegaran announced that three HRDF board directors who were involved in training projects had resigned from the board.


Investors challenge WPP over Sorrell’s departure

LONDON, June 13 — The world’s biggest advertising agency WPP faced a shareholder revolt today over its handling of the departure of former CEO Martin Sorrell, who quit under a cloud but is still entitled to share awards worth millions. The most…


ZTE shares slump 40%

HONG KONG: Shares in Chinese telecoms equipment maker ZTE collapsed more than 40% today as trading in the company resumed after it reached a settlement with the United States over its handling of a sanctions violation.

Dealing in the firm was suspended in April after Washington said it had banned US companies from selling crucial hardware and software components to it for seven years.

The decision came after US officials said ZTE had failed to take action against staff who were responsible for violating trade sanctions against Iran and North Korea. The company was fined US$1.2 billion (RM4.8 billion) last year for those violations.

The move in April put the company's future in doubt and it became a key issue in a wider trade spat between Washington and Beijing.

And soon after the sanctions were announced US President Donald Trump said he was working with Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping to prevent the firm from going out of business, tweeting “Too many jobs in China lost. Commerce Department has been instructed to get it done!”

The two sides then worked together and last week reached a deal to replace the sanctions with a US$1 billion penalty, plus another US$400 million in escrow to cover possible future violations.

Shenzhen-based ZTE will also be required to change its entire board of directors and hire outside legal compliance specialists who will report to the US Commerce Department for 10 years.

Despite the firm's future being ensured, it dived 41.56% to end at HK$14.96 in Hong Kong, while it also plunged by its 10% daily limit to 28.18 yuan in Shenzhen.

“While the nightmare is now over, ZTE will likely have to deal with many changes,” analysts Edison Lee and Timothy Chau at Jefferies wrote in a note. “We expect significant near-term selling pressure and a volatile stock price.”

However, there are already fears over the deal after a cross-party group of senators voted to include an amendment in the National Defense Authorization Act that will keep the seven-year ban in place. The lawmakers say ZTE's access to the US market endangers national security.

The settlement came days after Beijing reportedly offered to ramp up purchases of American goods by US$70 billion to help cut the yawning trade imbalance with the US – moving part-way towards meeting a major demand of Trump.

Trump has demanded a US$200 billion reduction in the trade deficit with China over two years.

Despite the settlement, there was no sign Trump had veered from plans to impose billions of dollars in tariffs on Chinese imports to punish Beijing for its alleged theft of US technology and know-how.

“The US agreement with ZTE with fine and change of management, in other words, is a political deal,” said analyst Dickie Wong at Kingston Securities.

“If the US didn't 'free' ZTE in this way, US companies would find it very difficult in any moves in China, including decisions on mergers and acquisitions,” Wong added.

Citi analyst Bin Liu warned in a note that the firm “should have a significant loss” in its full-year earnings because of the penalty as well as the impact of its management changes. – AFP