Thursday, July 12th, 2018

 

Papa John’s shares surge as founder exits for using slur

NEW YORK, July 12 — Shares of US pizza chain Papa John’s International surged today after embattled founder John Schnatter resigned as chairman for using an inflammatory racial slur on a conference call. The company’s shares price rocketed…


TM launches cheaper broadband plans, says more to come

KUALA LUMPUR: Telekom Malaysia Bhd (TM) unveiled new broadband plans Thursday and pledged that it will continue to come up with more packages in line with the government's aspiration for cheaper services by year-end.

“We will continue, of course. This is the continuation of giving better and better (plans) to our customers, be they households or businesses. We started back in 2010 (launched unifi), then we had the upgrades in 2016 and 2017. So it is a continuation,” said acting group CEO Datuk Bazlan Osman.

Speaking at a briefing on the new plans, Bazlan said it will consider feedback from customers, stakeholders and the government, and will continue to come up with more packages, based on demand.

TM unveiled unifi Basic, a broadband-only plan at 30Mbps with a 60GB monthly usage quota for RM79 per month. This plan is only for households with monthly income of RM4,500 and below.

The RM79 per month is 56% lower than the current 30Mbps unifi Home plan, which is priced at RM179 per month. Unifi Basic is available starting Aug 15 and pre-orders open on July 15.

TM will provide upgrades of up to 800Mbps for existing unifi Home customers under its unifi turbo plan. Starting Aug 15, they will be upgraded in phases up to 10 times the current broadband speed, for the same price.

For example, an existing 30Mbps unifi Home customer will be upgraded up to 300Mbps while a 100Mbps unifi Home customer will be upgraded up to 800Mbps. New customers who subscribe to any existing unifi plan before Dec 31 will also enjoy the speed upgrade in phases, beginning 2019.

In addition, TM will upgrade over 340,000 Streamyx customers in unifi coverage areas to unifi while those who are not in unifi coverage areas will have double the speed they get now.

Executive vice-president Imri Mokhtar said TM will continuously invest in fixed and wireless technologies to bring high speed broadband to its customers with more than 350,000 Streamyx customers expected to enjoy faster broadband soon.

“Though the broadband plans unveiled today are primarily for home customers, we certainly have not forgotten our SME customers,” he said, adding that new plans for its business/SME customers will be announced in the next few months.

Meanwhile, the unlimited unifi Mobile postpaid plan was announced today at a promotional price of RM99 per month, available from July 15 exclusively for its existing broadband customers.

“These new plans mark our commitment to bring better affordability/price, speed and coverage for all Malaysians to enjoy a seamless digital experience with unifi. We expect the new broadband plans to place Malaysia alongside the top broadband nations in the region,” said Bazlan.


Foreign inflows into Malaysia in second half if dollar weakens: Standard Chartered

KUALA LUMPUR: Standard Chartered (StanChart), whose investment strategy is to stay bullish and diversified, said foreign inflows into Malaysia should be coming through in the second half of the year assuming the US dollar weakens.

Its head investment strategist Manpreet Gill said outflows in the first half of the year had more to do with the US dollar strengthening, adding that the outflows are not unique to Malaysia.

“We’ve seen it happening across Asia and emerging markets outside Malaysia and not because of the election in Malaysia. It’s a global picture where equity and bond flows have gone out of emerging markets to developed markets. That’s why we’re emphasising the US dollar so much because we think that’s what turning investment flows.

“If we’re right about the US dollar weakening, foreign investments should come back to Malaysia in the second half of the year,” he told reporters at a media briefing on its global market outlook here today.

Manpreet, who is based in Singapore, said a big part of this global context is particularly important for the Malaysian market today, more so than in the past.

StanChart has a bullish view on equities, given that global equities typically outperform in the late stages of an economic cycle, and this also translates to the Malaysian equity market. This period of late stage of the economic cycle is usually characterised by a gradual heating up of inflationary pressures, increase in policy rates and strong equity performance.

“In the stage of economic cycle we’re in, it can be very expensive not to be invested in global equities. It will also be unusual for Malaysian equities not to do well when most regional equity and global markets are doing well,” said Manpreet.

Within equities, the US remains its most preferred region, supported by strong earnings growth, though it expects most markets to perform well. 

Manpreet said late-cycle investing is one of the hardest points of the cycle to invest, hence a diverse approach makes the most sense, which is to have a counterbalance in one’s investment allocation. He said bonds remain a core holding, preferring emerging market US dollar bonds because of attractive yields.

As it expects the dollar to weaken on US trade deficits and narrowing real interest rate differentials, Manpreet said, the ringgit can be a support, estimating it to come in at RM3.90 against the dollar over a 12-month period.

On the implications of a US-China trade war, StanChart’s Global Market Brief said both bonds (at least initially) and equities would likely be hit. Given the heavy weight of equities and bonds in most portfolios, investors can allocate to areas that will do well in this scenario (such as gold), and ensuring sufficient “dry powder” to take advantage of market weakness. However, it believes a full-blown trade war is unlikely.


There is no sugar monopoly in Malaysia, say refiners

KUALA LUMPUR: MSM Malaysia Holdings Bhd and Central Sugars Refinery Sdn Bhd (CSR) have clarified that there is no sugar monopoly in Malaysia and that the price of the commodity is controlled by the government and is among the lowest in the world.

The two refiners said the local players operate within a challenging business environment to ensure a steady supply of sugar to Malaysian consumers while maintaining a decent sugar stockpile for the nation.

“The facts to date, while the costs of doing business have increased, such as minimum wage, gas and electricity tariffs, the ceiling price of refined sugar has remained at RM2.95/kg,” they said in a joint statement.

As sugar is gazetted under the Price Control and Anti-Profiteering Act 2011, sugar in Malaysia is among the cheapest in the world. Currently, the ceiling price for coarse grain sugar is set at RM2.95/kg and fine granulated sugar at RM3.05/kg.

Despite that, the industry is adversely affected with illegal activities such as sugar smuggling and infiltration of illicit sugar, which are threats to matters concerning halal, quality control and other mandatory certification requirements.

“Nevertheless, the local refiners are committed to provide a stable environment for the consumer whilst maintaining highest standards of sugar quality even at the current controlled price.”

In Malaysia, there are two sugar refiners – MSM under FGV Holdings Bhd and CSR under Tradewinds (M) Bhd – operating five sugar refineries, including a new one in Tanjung Langsat, Pasir Gudang, Johor, which is scheduled for commissioning this month.

The current total capacity of the existing four refineries is 2.0 million tonnes a year. Domestic demand in Malaysia is 1.5 million tonnes a year, leaving Malaysia with an excess capacity of 500,000 tonnes annually. With the new refinery in Johor, total capacity will be 3.0 million tonnes a year.

Apart from local brands, they said, there are importers that bring in and market a variety of sugar brands in Malaysia including SIS, Taikoo, Waitrose, Billington, Tate & Lyle, which provides for a competitive landscape.

Food and beverage manufacturers buy sugar through the NY#11, the global commodity trading platform for raw sugar. Local refiners will then execute the buying on behalf of these companies, import the sugar that has been procured and refine it for them for a fee.

As part of the local refiners' duties, a certain amount of sugar is stockpiled to ensure adequate supply in the country during times of high global prices, the refiners said.

“Due to the relatively lower world raw sugar prices today, many opportunistic parties that operate without the overheads and responsibilities that local refiners have, are trying to import sugar and profit from the low prices. These companies may not have the necessary certifications such as the halal certification and will cease operations once world raw sugar prices go higher than the ceiling price. It will then be left to local sugar refiners to address the instability by the void left behind by these opportunistic players.”


Wall Street rebounds as technology, industrial stocks rise

SHAH ALAM, July 12 — Technology and industrial stocks led Wall Street higher today as some big deals and optimism about the earnings season helped offset fears about a US-China trade war. CA Inc jumped 18.1 per cent, the most on the benchmark…


WCT Berhad to build next stage of TRX Lifestyle Quarter

KUALA LUMPUR, July 12 — Local company WCT Berhad (WCTB) has been awarded an RM555 million contract to construct the next phase of work of the TRX Lifestyle Quarter at the Tun Razak Exchange (TRX), Landlease Malaysia said today. In a statement,…


UK’s Brexit plan is ‘real blow’ to city

LONDON, July 12 — The British government’s new blueprint for Brexit is a “real blow” to London’s all-important finance sector as it will damage jobs, tax revenues and growth, a City official said today. “Today’s Brexit white paper is a…


UK clears way for 21st Century Fox to buy Sky

LONDON, July 12 — Britain today cleared the way for Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox to take full control of pan-European TV giant Sky after Fox agreed to address media plurality concerns. Despite the clearance, satellite pay-TV group Sky could…


Yinson hopes to seal Nigerian FPSO deal in Q3

KUALA LUMPUR: Yinson Holdings Bhd, which is in exclusive talks to supply a floating production storage and offloading (FPSO) unit to Nigeria’s First Exploration & Petroleum Development Co Ltd (First E&P), expects to conclude the negotiations in September this year.

Previously, the FPSO specialist said it expects to seal the deal by June 30.

“We intend to close the deal as soon as possible, but it is a very long-term contract and there is another party across the table that we need to negotiate with,” its group CEO Lim Chern Yuan told reporters after its AGM today.

“We don’t know whether it is a realistic target but we will try our best to come to a conclusion within the next quarter, by September,” he added.

Last month, Yinson announced that it had entered into an exclusive negotiation with First E&P to discuss the supply of an FPSO unit along with operations and maintenance works for the Anyala & Madu field located 40km offshore of Nigeria.

Tentatively, the contract is to have a firm period of seven years with an option to renew for up to eight years.

On its outlook on the industry, Lim said the group remained optimistic on the demand for FPSOs in the next two years as it sees increasing bidding activities globally.

“We believe there was an under-investment in the oil and gas business in the past few years, and it is catching up now. We also see a lot of projects being awarded in a shorter period of time.

“Over the last one to two years, we have built up our balance sheet and human resources. That, coupled with the current level of oil prices, we believe that we are in a very good position to take on projects,” he added.

Lim said the group has secured one project this year-to-date. Its order book currently stands at US$4.3 billion (RM17.3 billion) and will keep it busy until 2037.

He added that Yinson will continue to bid for jobs in its core geographical areas, namely Asia and Africa, noting that the group had also started to bid for projects in new areas such as the US region. However, he declined to disclose the value of its tender book.

Yinson is the sixth largest FPSO company in the global FPSO market having a geographical presence in Malaysia, Vietnam, Singapore, Norway, the US and Africa.

Its shares closed unchanged at RM4.52 yesterday with 598,000 shares changing hands.


Yinson hopes to seal Nigerian deal by Q3

KUALA LUMPUR: Yinson Holdings Bhd, which is in exclusive talks to supply a floating production storage and offloading (FPSO) unit to Nigeria’s First Exploration & Petroleum Development Co Ltd (First E&P), expects to conclude the negotiationS in September this year.

Previously, the FPSO specialist said it expects to seal the deal by June 30.

“We intend to close the deal as soon as possible, but it is a very long-term contract and there is another party across the table that we need to negotiate with,” its group CEO Lim Chern Yuan told reporters after its AGM yesterday.

“We don’t know whether it is a realistic target but we will try our best to come to a conclusion within the next quarter, by September,” he added.

Last month, Yinson announced that it had entered into an exclusive negotiation with First E&P to discuss the supply of an FPSO unit along with operations and maintenance works for the Anyala & Madu field located 40km offshore of Nigeria.

Tentatively, the contract is to have a firm period of seven years with an option to renew for up to eight years.

On its outlook on the industry, Lim said the group remained optimistic on the demand for FPSOs in the next two years as it sees increasing bidding activities globally.

“We believe there was an under-investment in the oil and gas business in the past few years, and it is catching up now. We also see a lot of projects being awarded in a shorter period of time.

“Over the last one to two years, we have built up our balance sheet and human resources. That, coupled with the current level of oil prices, we believe that we are in a very good position to take on projects,” he added.

Lim said the group has secured one project this year-to-date. Its order book currently stands at US$4.3 billion (RM17.3 billion) and will keep it busy until 2037.

He added that Yinson will continue to bid for jobs in its core geographical areas, namely Asia and Africa, noting that the group had also started to bid for projects in new areas such as the US region. However, he declined to disclose the value of its tender book.

Yinson is the sixth largest FPSO company in the global FPSO market having a geographical presence in Malaysia, Vietnam, Singapore, Norway, the US and Africa.

Its shares closed unchanged at RM4.52 yesterday with 598,000 shares changing hands.