Sunday, September 30th, 2018


Musk escapes the worst, but Tesla still faces a bumpy road

WASHINGTON, Sept 30 — Tesla has promised to revolutionise the automobile, but the high-end electric car maker keeps hitting road blocks created by its founder Elon Musk’s erratic behaviour and considerable ego. Those traits contributed to fraud…

Failure to reform global trade rules fuels tensions, says report

WASHINGTON, Sept 30 — Long-delayed reforms to the global trading system have sparked an increase in tensions among major economies, and derailed the economic benefits most often felt by the poor, according to a new report released today. The…

Canada-style Brexit deal would make things more difficult for business, says UK’s Clark

BIRMINGHAM, Sept 30 — A Canada-style Brexit deal with the European Union would make things harder for businesses by creating friction at the border, business minister Greg Clark said today. His remarks come down on the side of Prime Minister…

Prime Minister’s Office announces slew of appointments

PETALING JAYA: Over the weekend the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) announced a slew of new appointments to high profiled positions at the Securities Commission, Social Security Organisation (Socso) and Perbadanan PR1MA Malaysia.

PMO announced that lawyer Datuk Syed Zaid Albar, who runs Albar & Partners, will replace Tan Sri Ranjit Ajit Singh as executive chairman of the Securities Commission Malaysia (SC). Ranjit, who has been with the SC for 25 years – with the last six as its head – will retire on Oct 15.

With more than 38 years of experience in legal practice, Syed Zaid was a member of the compensation fund inquiry panel and of the appeals committee in Bursa Malaysia Bhd.

A surprise announcement today was the appointment of property developer MKH Bhd managing director Tan Sri Eddy Chen to chair PR1MA, the affordable housing initiative of the government, from Oct 1. Former chairman Tan Sri Dr Alies Anor Abdul resigned on June 1.

Three new board members will join Chen, namely Datuk Faris Yahaya, Mohd Ali Abdul Karim and Ahmad Shahrul Mohamed.

On Saturday, PMO announced that Socso willhave a new chairman, Zakri Khir, who was CEO of Allianz General Insurance (Malaysia) Bhd. Zakri will replace Tan Sri Dr Aseh Che Mat on Oct 8.

These appointments follow a round of appointments made last week, namely Dr Hasnita Hashim as chairman of Majlis Amanah Rakyat (Mara) and Datuk Mohd Nageeb Abdul Wahab as chairman of Felcra Bhd.

‘Market may take dim view if Axiata bids for M1’

PETALING JAYA: Analysts warned that a possible counter bid by Axiata Group Bhd for 28.7%-owned Singapore’s M1 Ltd could lead to constraint to the group’s cash position, but the offerors Keppel Corp Ltd and Singapore Press Holdings may sweeten the deal by lifting the offer price of S$2.06 (RM6.22) per share.

“Should Axiata extend a competing offer for M1, we believe it would not go down well with the market and post downside risk to its share price,” said PublicInvest Research in a note last Friday.

The research house Axiata’s own offer for M1 will be viewed negatively by the market given the potential strain to Axiata’s cash balance as its gross debt-to-ebitda ratio is relatively high at 2.3 times as well as having to focus on transforming M1 in a tough market condition.

“Assuming a counter offer price of 5% above S$2.06, Axiata would have to fork out some RM4.3 billion to acquire the remaining M1 stake that is not already owned.”

PublicInvest Research opined that the offer price is fair considering M1’s prospects are not entirely rosy given a challenging operating environment with rising competition and continuous pressure on margin.

“We reckon that Axiata should accept the offer and divert its focus away from Singapore. It would be more beneficial for Axiata to reinvest the sales proceed (about RM1.6 billion) into other higher growth developing markets in South Asia.”

It said Axiata’s refusal to accept the offer could create some uncertainties over its long-term plan in M1, which contributed about 10% of Axiata’s normalised profit in the second quarter of FY18.

PublicInvest Research said although the premium may not be attractive to Axiata given that it holds the controlling stake as the single largest shareholder, the offer is fair considering an eroding valuation for the telco sector.

“In recent years, competition has intensified considerably owing to the entry of a new player which triggered price war and led to falling revenue and margin for all telco players in Singapore. M1, which is predominantly a mobile services provider, requires extensive business transformation in order to stay relevant in a dynamic telco industry that is moving towards convergence.”

PublicInvest Research is maintaining a “neutral” call on Axiata with an unchanged target price of RM5 a share.

Meanwhile, Kenanga Research does not discount the possibility of Keppel and SPH raising the offer price to get Axiata’s support.

“Based on the past five-year merger and acquisition deals in Singapore’s telecommunication sector, the median of the targeted company’s ebitda multiplies stood at about 8.8 times, thus suggesting that Axiata’s M1 stake could be potentially worth up to S$2.88/share,” it said.

Kenanga Research is maintaining a “market perform” call on Axiata with an unchanged target price of RM4.80.

Axiata’s share price declined 17 sen or 3.6% to close at RM4.56 last Friday, while M1 shares soared S$0.48 or 29.5% to S$2.11.

Group Lotus briefs Dr M on company's future direction

LONDON, Sept 30 — Malaysian Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad today was briefed on future direction of Group Lotus, which produce high-end sports car and racing car, in a closed-door session here. The briefing was given by Group Lotus CEO…

Ranjit Ajit Singh to step down as SC chairman Oct 15

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 30 — The Securities Commission Malaysia (SC) today announced the retirement of Tan Sri Ranjit Ajit Singh as its Chairman effective Oct 15, 2018. In a statement today, it said Ranjit has served the commission for 25 years,…

Syed Zaid Albar named new Securities Commission executive chairman

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 30 — The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) today announced the appointment of Datuk Syed Zaid Albar as Executive Chairman of the Securities Commission (SC) effective Oct 15, 2018. According to the statement issued…

Money launderers are taking EU to the cleaners, experts say

PARIS, Sept 30 — European Union nations may boast the world’s most stringent anti-money laundering rules, but recent scandals show that criminals are good at exploiting the bloc’s Achilles’ heel: A patent lack of coordination. “There are…

Elon Musk to resign as chair of Tesla board but remain CEO

Elon Musk has reached a deal over fraud charges that will see him step down as electric automaker Tesla’s chairman of the board and pay a $20 million fine but stay on as CEO, US securities regulators said Saturday. The agreement eases pressure on Tesla’s embattled CEO, who faced potentially being barred from serving as […]