Thursday, October 25th, 2018


Affordable housing expenditure should not exceed RM1,400 a month: Speedrent CEO

KUALA LUMPUR: A key indicator for renting or buying houses in the Klang Valley is RM1,400 a month, according to home rental platform Speedrent.

Speedrent chief executive Wong Whei Meng said if the government intends to build more affordable housing in the future, after deducting the initial payment, the monthly instalment figure should not exceed the RM1,400 level.

“Tenants using the Speedrent platform to find a house for rent usually have a rental budget of between RM1,400 and RM1,500, accounting for about 27% of the median household income of RM5,228,” he said in a statement.

According to the latest report released by Khazanah Research Institute, the mean household income in Greater Kuala Lumpur is nearly twice the national average at RM10,427.

Those who have the need to rent a house or buy a house are from outside Greater Kuala Lumpur. Therefore, the price of affordable housing should be based on the national income level and should be set below RM300,000.

If families outside the state want to get a house in Kuala Lumpur, after deducting 10% of the first instalment of the house, they need to borrow RM270,000 from the bank. If the annual interest rate is 4.9%, the monthly installment amount is about RM1,433.

In contrast, Kuala Lumpur's household income is generally high. The housing loan should not exceed 30% of a household's income. Theoretically, Kuala Lumpur households can generally afford more than RM3,000 monthly instalment properties.

Wong stressed that the government's intention to increase the supply of affordable housing is brilliant, but noted that people will not buy properties in remote locations with poor public transport.

He also pointed out that those who see real estate as investment tools have to be more realistic about their rent, otherwise, the property will be vacant for a long time.

“Unless the home owner is willing to furnish the place fully, it will be difficult to find a tenant. A landlord asking for rental higher than RM1,400 with incomplete furnishings and amenities will put off potential tenants,” said Wong, adding that houses with full furnishing are more welcomed compared to partially furnished houses.

Taiwan Expo 2018 targets US$50m trade leads from Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: The Taiwan Expo 2018 in Malaysia, which runs until Saturday, is targeting to achieve over US$50 million (RM208 million) in trade leads, a 39% jump from US$36 million last year with the increase in both scale and scope in this year's event.

Taiwan External Trade Development Council chairman James Huang said both Taiwan and Malaysia will be able to achieve a win-win situation with Taiwan, offering the best technology, solutions and products, collaborating with Malaysian partners.

“We hope we can connect Taiwan and Malaysia in the fields of trade, investments, culture and technology cooperation. Taiwan and Malaysia are important trading nations in Southeast Asia. If we work together, we can connect to the whole world,” he told reporters at the Taiwan Expo 2018 opening ceremony here today.

The three-day exhibition features 250 booths by 200 Taiwanese companies and showcases Taiwan's internationally renowned bicycles, intelligent robotic arms, gifts, food and halal products, among others.

Taiwan Expo 2018 in Malaysia features 12 theme pavilions and eight exhibit areas at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre. This year's theme is Connect Taiwan, Connect The World, which unites the six key areas of smart city, green tech, healthcare, halal Taiwan, Taiwan lifestyle and tour Taiwan.

This year's event received the support from 17 trade organisations across Malaysia as stakeholders look forward to bringing the best of Taiwanese technologies and products to Malaysia to form strategic partnerships with Malaysian counterparts.

Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Malaysia representative Anne Hung said Taiwanese investors view doing business in Malaysia to have several advantages such as market openness, sound infrastructure and investment policies, multi-lingual workforce, political stability and a gateway to the rest of the region, all of which have attracted them to invest in Malaysia since the 1990s.

International Trade and Industry Ministry senior director of bilateral economic and trade relations Datuk Bahria Mohd Tamil said in 2017, Taiwan was Malaysia's sixth largest trading partner with a total trade of US$18.3 billion. Malaysia was Taiwan's second largest trading partner among Asean countries. This positive trend continued in the period of January to August, whereby exports to Taiwan rose by 21.2% to US$15.5 billion.

In terms of investments, she said Taiwan is Malaysia's fifth largest investor in the manufacturing sector. As at June 2018, a total of US$5.8 billion worth of investments have been implemented from 1,600 manufacturing projects, which generated 221,319 employment opportunities.

“Taiwan's New Southbound Policy is in line with the key thrusts announced under the mid term review of the 11th Malaysia Plan. This is because the policy focuses on areas such as human capital development, medical care, technology, agriculture and development of SMEs that is similar to the thrusts. Thus, Malaysia is keen to explore new opportunities that arise amid this challenging yet exciting time,” said Bahria.

Only World Group drops plan to manage Movie Animation Park Studios in Meru

PETALING JAYA: The Movie Animation Park Studios (MAPS) in Meru, Ipoh, is facing another setback as Only World Group Holdings Bhd (OWG) has decided not to go ahead with its plan to manage the animation theme park.

In filings with the stock exchange, OWG and Perak Corp told Bursa Malaysia that the heads of agreement (HoA) for the management contract lapsed on Oct 22 following a six-month extension, and both parties had on Oct 23 executed a mutual termination agreement. The HoA was entered into in January this year for potential collaboration to manage and operate MAPS.

Animation Theme Park Sdn Bhd, a subsidiary of Perak Corp Bhd, is the developer, operator and owner of MAPS, a joint venture between Perak Corp's subsidiary PCB Development Sdn Bhd and RSG MAPS Sdn Bhd.

MAPS, which opened in June 2017, has over 40 attractions in six thematic zones.

However, Perak Corp in August announced that DreamWorks Animation's was dropped as an anchor brand for the theme park, which led to it having to write off a total of RM33.2 million in the current financial year.

Earlier, the state government called for a forensic audit of the theme park, which has incurred RM474.4 million in losses.

Takaful Malaysia Q3 earnings soar 73%

PETALING JAYA: Syarikat Takaful Malaysia Keluarga Bhd's net profit for the third quarter ended Sept 30, 2018 rose 73% to RM83.96 million from RM48.57 million a year ago mainly attributable to increase in net wakalah fee income.

The group generated revenue of RM648.95 million, 36% higher than RM476.24 million in the corresponding quarter of the preceding year, mainly attributable to higher sales generated by the family and general takaful business.

For the nine months period, its net profit jumped 36% to RM204.35 million from RM150.40 million a year ago mainly attributable to higher net wakalah fee income arising from business growth in the family and general takaful business.

The group recorded revenue of RM1.94 billion, an increase of 19% compared to the same period last year of RM1.62 billion, mainly attributable to higher sales generated by both family takaful and general takaful business.

Takaful Malaysia told Bursa Malaysia in its filing that in 2018 it will remain focused on sustaining its position as the market leader in the family takaful business while expanding its market share in the general takaful business to establish a strong foothold in the industry. It will continue to emphasise on customer reach, operational agility, cost competitiveness and stakeholder confidence to establish the company as the preferred choice for insurance amongst the consumers.

Serba Dinamik clinches 13 operations & maintenance jobs

PETALING JAYA: Serba Dinamik Holdings Bhd has secured 13 operations and maintenance (O&M) contracts from the Middle East and Malaysia.

In a filing with Bursa Malaysia, the group said its wholly-owned subsidiaries Serba Dinamik International Ltd (SDIL) and Serba Dinamik Sdn Bhd (SDSB) have secured four and nine O&M contracts respectively.

The four contracts secured by SDIL are from Qatar, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates, with a combined value of RM512.17 million. The duration of the contracts are up till 2019 and 2020.

The jobs include the provision of turbo machinery specialist, specialised maintenance of rotating machinery and instrument systems in operation areas, maintenance, repair and overhaul works.

The nine contracts secured by SDSB are local jobs with various duration up till 2021. These contracts are on a “call-out” basis whereby the work orders will be awarded at the discretion of the respective clients. The jobs include provision of weather forecast services; provision of manpower supply for operation and maintenance; provision of manpower equipment and tools, among others.

The clients include BASF Petronas Chemicals Sdn Bhd, PRPC Utilities and Facilities Sdn Bhd, Sapura Exploration & Production Inc. and JX Nippon Oil & Gas Exploration (Malaysia) Ltd.

The contracts secured are expected to contribute positively to the group’s earnings for the financial year ending Dec 31, 2018.

Serba Dinamik rose 5 sen or 1.28% to close at RM3.95 today with 9.67 million shares traded.

WTO members hold talks to tackle challenges to its future

OTTAWA, Oct 25 — Senior officials from 12 countries gathered in Canada today for talks to find ways of reforming the World Trade Organisation and to address US grievances which are threatening the body’s future. The administration of US…

Cypark proposes 1-for-2 bonus issue

PETALING JAYA: Cypark Resources Bhd has proposed a one-for-two bonus issue of up to 157.15 million shares.

The exercise aims to reward the existing shareholders of the company for their loyalty and continuous support by enabling them to have greater participation in the equity of the company in terms of the number of shares held, while maintaining their percentage of equity interest in Cypark.

Cypark said there will be a corresponding dilution in the earnings per share of the group as a result of the increase in the number of Cypark shares in issue pursuant to the exercise.

It is subject to the approvals being obtained from Bursa Malaysia Securities and the shareholders of Cypark at an EGM to be convened.

The proposed bonus issue is expected to be completed in the fourth quarter of 2018.

Paramount selling three campuses for RM420m

PETALING JAYA: In a bid to streamline assets to achieve a more efficient capital structure and realise investment value, Paramount Corp Bhd is selling three of its campuses in Penang and Selangor to Dynamic Gates Sdn Bhd (DGSB) for RM420 million.

DGSB will pay RM294 million cash and the balance RM126 million through the issuance of new cumulative redeemable non-convertible preference shares at an issue price of RM1 in DGSB.

Subsequently, Paramount will lease back the properties from DGSB. The terms of the master lease agreement are being finalised.

In a filing with the stock exchange, Paramount told Bursa Malaysia that it had entered into three agreements for the sale of two premises of KDU Penang University College Campus in GeorgeTown and Batu Kawan as well as Utropolis Glenmarie Campus in Shah Alam for RM50 million, RM120 million and RM250 million, respectively.

The proposed transaction will not give rise to any gains accruing to Paramount as it will be undertaken via a securitisation exercise whereby the control of the campus will remain with the group.

DGSB was incorporated as the special purpose vehicle for the purpose of the securitisation exercise. Its sole shareholder is Asia International Trust Bhd.

DGSB will finance the acquisition through the issuance of medium-term notes of up to RM300 million, and also grant a call option in favour of Paramount. Paramount will grant a put option in favour of DGSB for the purpose of acquiring the campuses at the then prevailing market value.

Of the cash proceeds of RM294 million, Paramount said some RM191.5 million will be used for financing/refinancing of borrowings and RM100 million for partial redemption of private debt securities. As at end-September 2018, its total borrowings and PDS amounted to about RM913.24 million and RM200 million, respectively.

CCM Duopharma ventures into regenerative medicine via stake in S. Korean firm

PETALING JAYA: CCM Duopharma Biotech Bhd is acquiring about 5.8% of South Korea's SCM Lifescience Co Ltd for 5.5 billion won (RM20.24 million) to venture into regenerative medicine.

SCM Lifescience specialises in stem cell therapeutics with proprietary platform technology in the field of high-purity isolation and cultivation of mesenchymal stem cells.

CCM Duopharma told Bursa Malaysia that a share subscription agreement has been entered into for the acquisition of common shares and redeemable preference convertible shares in SCM Lifescience.

CCM Duopharma and SCM Lifescience have also entered into an exclusive marketing and commercialisation agreement whereby CCM Duopharma has the rights to market and commercialise products developed by SCM Lifescience in selected territories in Southeast Asia.

“CCM Duopharma has been looking very closely at potential strategic investments in regenerative medicines as well as stem cells and today's agreement has laid the groundwork to penetrate the Southeast Asia market and could provide a driving force for global expansion of both entities” said CCM group managing director Leonard Ariff Abdul Shatar.

“This is our first foray into regenerative medicine, specifically in allogeneic stem cells, in line with our strategy to enter niche areas which will enable the company to expand its product portfolio to move into high value therapeutics and gain early access to the technology and the rights to market products by SCM Lifescience in Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei and Philippines with the first right of refusal for all other Asean countries excluding Indonesia,” he added.

CCM Duopharma's share price closed down 6 sen or 5.4% at RM1.06 on 1.04 million shares traded.

FGV starts arbitration against Twin Wealth Macao, claims US$13.25m

PETALING JAYA: FGV Holdings Bhd has commenced arbitration proceedings under the auspices of the Palm Oil Refiners Association of Malaysia against Twin Wealth Macao Commercial Offshore Ltd over the US$13.25 million (RM55.15 million) debt owed to it.

FGV's subsidiary FGV Trading Sdn Bhd entered into various contracts in November and December 2017 with Twin Wealth for the sale of 21,765 metric tons of refined, bleached and deodorised palm olein in bulk for US$14.62 million.

Pursuant to the free-on-board obligations under the sale contracts, the cargo was shipped by the FGV Trading in November and December 2017 respectively on board the ships/vessels MT Yue You 901 and MT Global Uranus.

To date, FGV Trading has only made a part payment for about 2,000 metric tons of the cargo in the sum of US$1.37 million. The balance of US$13.25 million remains due and outsstanding.

FGV said the arbitration proceedings are not expected to have any operational impact on the group, but may have financial impact on the group if it fails to recover the same amount.

“The company will make the necessary announcements on further developments of the arbitration proceedings as and when there is a material update,” it added in its filing to the stock exchange.

On Bursa Malaysia today, FGV closed 0.7% lower at RM1.39 on volume of 5.75 million shares.