Tuesday, September 25th, 2018

 

Ryanair says cancelling 190 flights over Friday strike

LONDON, Sept 25 — Ryanair will cancel 190, or eight per cent, of its flights due Friday when cabin crews strike across Europe, the Irish no-frills airline said today, attacking rivals for the disruption. The carrier said 30,000 customers would…


BMW warns on profit, blames price and trade wars

FRANKFURT, Sept 25 — German carmaker BMW warned its pretax profit would fall this year, against earlier expectations for a flat outcome, and cut its profit margin guidance for cars, blaming intense price competition following new emissions rules….


Michael Kors makes high-end fashion statement with US$2.2b Versace buy

MILAN, Sept 25 — US fashion group Michael Kors agreed to buy luxury designer Versace for €1.83 billion (US$2.2 billion/RM9.1 billion) including debt today in the latest foreign takeover of an Italian brand. Michael Kors, whose namesake label is…


Ideas CEO calls for review of policies as Malaysia slips in economic freedom ranking

PETALING JAYA: Malaysia's fall to 79th spot from 67th in the 2018 Economic Freedom of the World Annual Report shows that space for the private sector in the country has been squeezed, businesses have been obstructed and the size of the government has increased.

Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (Ideas) CEO Ali Salman said the findings based on data from 2016, the most recent year of available comparable data, measure economic freedom, that is, levels of personal choice, ability to enter markets, security of privately owned property, rule of law, etc, by analysing the policies and institutions of 162 countries and territories.

“This calls for a comprehensive review of economic policies under the Pakatan Harapan (PH) administration, spanning critical areas like GLC reforms, size of the civil service and business regulations – areas on which Ideas has researched and advocated vigorously,” Ali said.

According to research in top peer-reviewed academic journals, people living in countries with high levels of economic freedom enjoy greater prosperity, more political and civil liberties, and longer lives.

For example, countries in the top quartile (25%) of economic freedom (such as the UK, Japan and Ireland) had an average per-capita income of US$40,376 in 2016 compared with US$5,649 for the bottom quartile countries (such as Venezuela, Iran and Zimbabwe).

And life expectancy is 79.5 years in the top quartile of countries compared to 64.4 years in the bottom quartile.

“Where people are free to pursue their own opportunities and make their own choices, they lead more prosperous, happier and healthier lives,” said Fred McMahon, Dr Michael A. Walker Research Chair in Economic Freedom with the Fraser Institute.

The report was released by Ideas and produced by Canada's Fraser Institute.

The Fraser Institute produces the annual Economic Freedom of the World report in cooperation with the Economic Freedom Network, a group of independent research and educational institutes in nearly 100 countries and territories.

It is the world's premier measurement of economic freedom, measuring and ranking countries in five areas: size of government, legal structure and security of property rights, access to sound money, freedom to trade internationally and regulation of credit, labour and business.

Hong Kong and Singapore again topped the index, continuing their streak in first and second place respectively, while New Zealand, Switzerland, Ireland, the US, Georgia, Mauritius, the UK, Australia and Canada (tied for 10th spot) round out the top 10.

The 10 lowest-ranked countries are Sudan, Guinea-Bissau, Angola, Central African Republic, Republic of Congo, Syria, Algeria, Argentina, Libya and Venezuela.

Countries such as North Korea and Cuba could not be ranked due to lack of data.

Other notable country rankings include Germany (20th), Japan (41st), France (57th), Russia (87th) and China (108th).


Tune Group, ECM Libra put money in luxury home-stays

KUALA LUMPUR: Tune Group Sdn Bhd and ECM Libra Financial Group Bhd's joint venture Tune Plato Ventures Sdn Bhd has acquired a 50% stake in loss-making SubHome Management Sdn Bhd, marking their entry into the home-stay segment.

The parties involved declined to reveal the acquisition sum for the interest in the property management company, which posted a loss of RM199,242 on RM3.8 million revenue for the financial year ended Dec 31, 2017.

SubHome manages and markets a portfolio of home rentals in nine properties in three locations, namely Kuala Lumpur, Petaling Jaya and Johor.

Tune Hotels currently runs 12 hotels in Malaysia, one in United Kingdom and another in India.

Tune Hotels CEO Mark Lankester opined that the home-sharing platform is not going to cannibalise its own business because it caters to different needs. For example, he explained, families with children look for space and cooking facilities, which hotels do not cater to.

“We see this as a situation surrounding what consumer needs are. Apart from all the brands we're involved in, it's about being able to provide all the services and types of accommodation that we can put together that allows consumers to choose,” he told a press conference today.

“People may fly AirAsia but they may also stay in five-star hotels. As a hospitality group, it's our duty to provide the right kind of accommodation that people require across the board,” added Lankester.

Tune Group co-founder Tan Sri Tony Fernandes and ECM Libra chairman Datuk Seri Kalimullah Hassan were also present at the event to announce the deal.

SubHome co-founder and CEO Sandeep Singh Grewal said the home-share market has proved a popular option for investors seeking yield, but many are put off with the day-to-day operational requirements and hassles of managing and marketing the property.

The SubHome business model offers a solution to developers that have existing or unsold inventory, to convert them into revenue generators. SubHome is collaborating with property developers in Malaysia and across the region to provide a hospitality solution in their developments, just like with Gamuda in The Robertson. This gives SubHome immediate scale while alleviating developer concerns over excess inventory.

“We want to bring hotel-like services and facilities to the home-sharing industry,” Sandeep said, adding that it takes all the operational pain away from the property owner to make this a hands-off investment.

Excluding the third party commission, Sandeep said, the revenue sharing will be on a 60:40 ratio between property owners and SubHome respectively.

SubHome is targeting to operate 3,000 keys by the end of next year, including 50-100 keys in Thailand, from just 417 keys in Malaysia now. The Robertson Bukit Bintang is SubHome's flagship project, where it operates 200 keys.

“Now we are in Kuala Lumpur, Selangor (Petaling Jaya) and Johor Baru. Next we're going to Penang and Kota Kinabalu.
“By the end of next year we want to venture into Thailand, where we're in talks now, as the hospitality industry there is vibrant and we already have a base in Thailand (from a sister company),” said Sandeep.


Wall St flat as losses in Facebook, chip stocks offset bank, energy gains

NEW YORK, Sept 25 — US stocks were little changed today, as higher oil prices lifted energy stocks and banks rose in anticipation of an interest rate hike, but losses in Facebook and chipmakers weighed on the market. Facebook fell 2.5 per cent and…


PNB may become largest shareholder in Sapura Energy post-rights issue, KWAP to take up its portion only

PETALING JAYA: Sapura Energy Bhd announced Tuesday that Permodalan Nasional Bhd (PNB) and its associated funds will take up their rights issue entitlement and mop up excess shares and warrants, which may result in PNB Group holding up to 40% of the oil and gas company.

Although Sapura Energy did not mention Kumpulan Wang Persaraan (KWAP) in its announcement, the CEO of the country's second largest pension fund, Datuk Wan Kamaruzaman Wan Ahmad, told SunBiz that KWAP will subscribe to its entitlement only.

KWAP is Sapura Energy's third largest shareholder with a 6.868% direct interest.

PNB Group will also subscribe in full to the RCPS-i of RM1 billion. PNB Group may emerge as the single largest shareholder after the rights issue and it will seek an exemption from making a mandatory general offer.

Sapura Technology Sdn Bhd, a direct shareholder, will subscribe to the rights issue for a minimum amount of RM300 million as announced earlier.

PNB currently holds 12.6% interest in Sapura Energy and Sapura Technology, 15.9%.

Maybank Investment Bank and Credit Suisse will underwrite any remaining open portion of rights shares not taken up by shareholders.

“We are appreciative of PNB's readiness to embark on our next phase of growth and its confidence in our prospects for the future against the backdrop of improving industry conditions,” Sapura Energy president and group CEO Tan Sri Shahril Shamsuddin said in a statement.


Sapura Energy fails to win over KWAP, PNB may end up with 40% of oil & gas firm after rights issue

PETALING JAYA: Sapura Energy Bhd has failed to convince the country's second largest pension fund, Kumpulan Wang Persaraan (KWAP), to take up its rights issue entitlement, leaving Permodalan Nasional Bhd (PNB) and its associated funds to mop up excess shares and warrants which may result in PNB Group holding 40% of the oil and gas company.

KWAP is Sapura Energy's third largest shareholder with a 6.868% direct interest.

In a statement today Sapura Energy said PNB will subscribe to its full entitlement rights shares with warrants, and excess shares with warrants not taken up. In addition, PNB Group will subscribe in full to the RCPS-i of RM1 billion.

PNB Group may emerge as the single largest shareholder after the rights issue and it will seek an exemption from having to make a mandatory general offer for the rest of Sapura Energy.

Sapura Technology Sdn Bhd, a direct shareholder, will subscribe to the rights issue for a minimum amount of RM300 million as announced earlier.

Mention of KWAP was conspicuously missing in the statement despite a past media report that indicated the pension fund was supportive of the rights issue.
PNB currently holds 12.6% interest in Sapura Energy and Sapura Technology, 15.9%.

Maybank Investment Bank and Credit Suisse will underwrite any remaining open portion of rights shares not taken up by shareholders.

“We are appreciative of PNB's readiness to embark on our next phase of growth and its confidence in our prospects for the future against the backdrop of improving industry conditions,” Sapura Energy president and group CEO Tan Sri Shahril Shamsuddin said in the statement.


VS Industry’s Q4 net profit edges up 4.4% to RM38.4m

PETALING JAYA: VS Industry Bhd saw its net profit increase 4.4% to RM38.4 million in the fourth quarter (Q4) ended July 31, 2018, from RM36.8 million in the previous corresponding quarter on improved revenue and gross profit.

Revenue for the quarter grew marginally by 2.8% to RM1.01 billion from RM983.4 million in the same period a year ago.

The group has proposed a final dividend of 0.6 sen for the financial year ended July 31, 2018, subject to shareholders' approval at its coming AGM.

For the 12 months period, its net profit decreased 3.5% to RM150.8 million, from RM156.3 million a year ago, while revenue jumped 24.6% to RM4.09 billion, from RM3.28 billion previously.

The group told the stock exchange that its Malaysian segment posted an 8.7% increase in revenue in the quarter under review mainly due to higher sales orders from key multinational corporation customers, which offset the decline in revenue from a major US customer.

The integrated electronics manufacturing services provider said it remained positive on its overall prospects, underpinned by the anticipated growth in the Malaysian segment.

Nevertheless, it said uncertainties at the macro-environment level, including the US-China trade war, shift in consumer sentiments, fluctuations in foreign exchange rates and changes in regulations may have impact on the group's operations.

On Bursa Malaysia today, VS Industry gained 10 sen or 6.58% to RM1.62 on volume of 19.6 million shares.


Suzuki launches all new DF175A, DF150A outboard engines

SIBU: The all-new Suzuki outboard engines DF175A and DF150A were unveiled during the six-day Genoa Boat Show in Italy on Sept 20. KTS Trading Sdn Bhd general manager Augustine Ling in a statement yesterday said KTS Trading is the local distributor of Suzuki outboard engines. According to him, the DF175A and DF150A have enhanced driving […]