Thursday, August 9th, 2018


US stocks little changed after media industry earnings

NEW YORK, Aug 9 — Wall Street stocks treaded water early today as second-quarter earnings season moved further into the home stretch with a flurry of media industry reports. About 30 minutes into trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up…

Turkey lira slides again as US talks end without breakthrough

ISTANBUL, Aug 9 — Turkey’s embattled lira today hit a new record low against the dollar as high-level talks seeking to slacken tensions between Ankara and Washington produced no apparent breakthrough between the two Nato allies. The lira lost…

Stanley Thai loses bid to be re-appointed as Supermax director

PETALING JAYA: Datuk Seri Stanley Thai Kim Sim’s application to be reappointed as a director of Supermax Corp Bhd has been dismissed by the High Court.

The Securities Commission Malaysia (SC) said in a statement today that the application was sought by Thai after he was disqualified as a director of Supermax following his conviction of an insider trading offence in November 2017.

To recap, Thai was sentenced by the Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court late last year to a five-year jail term and fined RM5 million for insider trading offences committed when he was CEO of now-delisted APL Industries Bhd (APLI). APLI was one of the companies under the Supermax’s group of companies.

Thai was convicted for communicating non-public information between Oct 26, 2007 and Oct 29, 2007 to former remisier Tiong Kiong Choon. Tiong was convicted of two counts of disposing of a total of 6.2 million APLI shares while in possession of the same non-public information via accounts belonging to his mother-in-law and his mother.

Meanwhile, Thai’s wife Datin Seri Tan Bee Geok and her sister Tan Bee Hong have been convicted of insider trading offences by the Sessions Court.

Bee Geok, former executive director of APLI, and Bee Hong were sentenced to a five-year jail term and fined RM7 million each after being tried together in a full trial, where 13 witnesses testified for the prosecution and four witnesses for the defence.

Bee Hong was convicted of insider trading as she was found to have disposed of 350,000 APLI shares while in possession of material non-public information.

Bee Geok, who was an executive director of APLI in charge of finance then, was convicted of communicating the said non-public information to her sister between Oct 23, 2007 and Oct 31, 2007.

According to the SC, Bee Geok tipped her sister on the audit adjustments proposed by APLI’s auditors, which resulted in APLI reporting a higher loss for the financial year ended June 30, 2007 compared with the previously reported unaudited fourth quarter results for the same financial year.

“The audit adjustments led to APLI being classified as a Practice Note 17 (PN17) company. APLI made announcements to Bursa Malaysia about the audit adjustments and its classification as a PN17 company on Oct 31, 2007,” it said.

An insider trading offence is punishable with an imprisonment term of not exceeding 10 years and a fine of not less than RM1 million.

NWP affordable housing projects scrapped

PETALING JAYA: NWP Holdings Bhd’s affordable housing projects are now shelved as it has terminated the turnkey construction heads of agreement (TCA) between wholly-owned subsidiary NWP Builder Sdn Bhd and M2B World (M) Sdn Bhd.

NWP Builder had on Sept 7, 2016 entered into a TCA with M2B World, appointing NWP Builder as the turnkey contractor for the projects. The TCA encompasses six projects to construct affordable housing under SPNB Aspirasi as well as the Perbadanan Prima Malaysia in Selangor, Sabah, Pahang and Kelantan worth RM749 million.

NWP Builder was principally envisaged to be involved in construction and development.

The board had previously said that the TCA would be instrumental in diversifying the group’s business to include the construction business and provide an alternative source of income to the group.

Russia blasts ‘unacceptable’ new US sanctions

MOSCOW, Aug 9 — The Kremlin today branded as “unacceptable” new US sanctions against Russia over its alleged role in a nerve agent attack on a former spy, as the rouble and Russian stocks tumbled. The action by the US State Department is the…

CEO: EPF uses three elements as benchmarks to ensure continuity of the organisation

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 9 ― The Employees Provident Fund (EPF) uses three key elements as benchmarks in carrying out sustainable operations in the face of economic uncertainties. Chief Executive Officer Datuk Shahril Ridza Ridzuan said they were…

Gamuda to gain from Splash deal

PETALING JAYA: Gamuda Bhd, which has accepted the RM2.55 billion takeover offer for its 40%-owned Syarikat Pengeluar Air Selangor Holdings Bhd (Splash), is likely to use the proceeds from the disposal to reduce its debts.

“We do not expect any special dividend arising from the proceeds of the disposal, as we believe that Gamuda may use it to pare down debts, which would bring down its net gearing from 0.55 times to 0.42 times,” Kenanga Research said in its report.

It said that Gamuda’s outstanding order book “comfortably” stands at RM6.4 billion with three-year visibility while its property division has raked in RM1.9 billion worth of sales for the first half of 2018, bringing its unbilled sales to RM2.4 billion with three-year visibility.

“We maintain our ‘outperform’ call on Gamuda based on a lower sum-of-parts driven target price of RM4.30 from RM4.35 as we factor in the lower-than-expected offer price into our valuation. We believe that after the resolution of the water saga in Selangor, Gamuda would be able to move on and focus on future projects like the Penang Transport Master Plan and MRT3,” it added.

It reduced its FY19E net profit by 38% and core net profit by 5%, after factoring the one-off loss of about RM300 million and the loss of recurring income arising from the sale of Splash.

On Thursday, Gamuda announced that its associate company Splash has decided to accept the takeover offer from Pengurusan Air Selangor Sdn Bhd (Air Selangor) for RM2.55 billion.

The proposed acquisition includes 100% of Splash’s ordinary shares and 100% of Splash’s redeemable unsecured loan stocks, with RM1.9 billion to be paid as upfront payment while the remaining RM650 million will be settled with nine-year instalment as part of their sale and purchase agreement (SPA) terms.

Air Selangor and Splash expect to finalise the terms and conditions of the SPA by Sept 14.

“As highlighted in our previous report dated Aug 6, the offer price of RM2.55 billion from Air Selangor represents a 26% discount to its net book value of RM3.5 billion as of December 2017, which we believe is a sweet deal for the Selangor state government,” said Kenanga Research.

That said, the current offer is still higher than the net offer made back in 2014 of RM250.6 million. Although the offer price is lower than expected, Kenanga Research said it bodes well for Gamuda as it marks the end of the water saga.

“We also believe that they could potentially benefit from the resolution as we expect more water-related projects to be dished out in the future (one to two years) as both federal and state governments could potentially allocate more budget in improving the infrastructure in the water sector, that is, more water treatment plant, pipe replacement and others,” it said.

Splash accepts Air Selangor’s RM2.55b offer for water assets

PETALING JAYA: Gamuda Bhd’s 40%-owned associate company Syarikat Pengeluar Air Selangor Holdings Bhd (Splash) has resolved to accept the RM2.55 billion offer from Pengurusan Air Selangor Sdn Bhd's (Air Selangor).

“Splash Holdings expects to commence negotiations with Air Selangor to finalise the terms and conditions for the sale and purchase of Splash through a share purchase agreement (SPA) to be executed by the parties. Both Air Selangor and Splash Holdings are expected to finalise the terms and conditions of the SPA by Sept 14, 2018 and an appropriate announcement will be released in due course upon the execution of the SPA,” Gamuda said in a stock exchange filing today.

Splash is the last pending water asset under the Selangor water restructuring exercise. Puncak Niaga Sdn Bhd (PNSB), Syarikat Bekalan Air Selangor Sdn Bhd (Syabas) and Konsortium Abbas Sdn Bhd (Abbas) sold their water assets for RM2.47 billion, RM3.11 billion and RM990 million, respectively.

Gamuda has previously said that Splash should be worth more than RM2.8 billion.

Hong Kong stocks rise for fourth day

HONG KONG, Aug 9 — Hong Kong stocks rose for a fourth straight day today as investors brushed off China’s tit-for-tat threat of tariffs against US goods. The Hang Seng Index climbed 0.88 per cent, or 248.16 points, to 28,607.30. The benchmark…

Malaysia-Thailand trade up 17pc in first half of 2018

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 9 — Trade volume between Malaysia and Thailand grew 17 per cent in the first half of this year compared with the same period in 2017, mostly through border trade activities, said a Thai official. Thailand’s Ministry of…