Monday, November 26th, 2018


Wall Street rises on gains in retailers as Cyber Monday begins

NEW YORK, Nov 26 — US stocks gained today, helped by shares of retailers on expectations of blockbuster sales on the largest online shopping day of the year, and as technology shares rose after taking a beating last week. Shoppers who missed out…

Saudi energy giant Aramco signs deals worth US$27.5b

RIYADH, Nov 26 — Saudi energy giant Aramco has signed 31 agreements and memoranda of understandings worth US$27.5 billion (RM115.2 billion) with local and international suppliers, CEO Amin Nasser said today. “We signed US$27.5 billion in a total…

European stock markets rally on Brexit deal, Italy budget hopes

LONDON, Nov 26 — European stock markets rallied today after Britain sealed a Brexit deal with the EU and as Italy said it could cut its budget deficit. The euro rose against the dollar but was down versus sterling. Oil prices rebounded meanwhile,…

Mitsubishi Motors sacks Ghosn as chairman

TOKYO, Nov 26 — Mitsubishi Motors executives ousted Carlos Ghosn as chairman today following his shock arrest for alleged financial misconduct, capping a stunning fall from grace for the tycoon credited with saving the scandal-hit Japanese firm….

Petrol companies have two months to switch to B10 biodiesel

KUALA LUMPUR: Petroleum companies have two months to switch from the current B7 (a blend of 7% palm methyl ester and 70% petroleum diesel to B10 biodiesel before its mandatory implementation on Feb 1, 2019.

Primary Industries Minister Teresa Kok said B10 biodiesel (a blend of 10% palm methyl ester and 90% petroleum diesel) programme for the transport sector would be implemented in phases beginning Dec 1.

“The current low price of palm oil (environment) is the right time to implement the expanded biodiesel programme which was deferred in 2016,” she told a press conference yesterday to announce the B10 biodiesel programme for the transport sector and B7 for the industrial sector.

Kok said the B7 programme for the industrial sector would be implemented starting July 1, 2019.

“The increased domestic consumption of crude palm oil (CPO) will help reduce the current high stock and increase CPO prices, driven by higher demand and subsequently benefit smallholders through increased price of fresh fruit bunches.”

Kok said the decision to implement both B10 and B7 biodiesel programmes was prompted by the positive impacts and benefits to the country’s economy, palm oil industry, as well as the environment.

“This measure will promote domestic palm oil uptake as it is expected to use 761,000 tonnes of palm oil annually and contribute towards greenhouse gas (GHG) emission savings of 2.2 million tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) yearly.

“The current B7 biodiesel programme for the transportation sector was introduced in November 2014, utilising annually 350,000 tonnes of palm biodiesel, contributing to a reduction of GHG emissions of 1.05 million tonne of CO2.

“This biodiesel programme is in line with the Pakatan Harapan government’s goal to reduce 40% of the country’s carbon emissions by 2020,” Kok said.

The Ministry of Primary Industries engages with stakeholders as part of the implementation programme, she said, adding that they included government agencies, vehicle manufacturers, petroleum companies, the Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers, Malaysian Biofuel Association, and Selangor and Federal Territory Engineering and Motor Parts Traders’ Association.

Malaysia is Airbnb’s fastest growing market in Southeast Asia

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia, one market in the region which has not stifled the growth of short-term accommodation, is Airbnb’s fastest growing market in Southeast Asia, welcoming over two million guests in the past 12 months as of July 1, marking a 99% growth year on year.

Airbnb head of public policy for Southeast Asia Mich Goh said that Airbnb, as a platform, is not illegal in Malaysia and there is no clear consensus on what the policy is for short-term rental here as it is a new phenomenon.

There are now 44,000 listings in Malaysia on Airbnb, which is almost a 60% year-on-year increase.

Goh said the Malaysian government has been consultative and open to dialogue with the home-sharing platform, where there has been willingness to listen to insights and to hear about how it could help Malaysia to evolve its tourism industry.

“We treat every country differently. We’ve seen countries all around the world where they reach a moment when they decide whether or not they need to regulate short-term rental. Where we see these discussions go well is where governments are open to discussing this with multiple stakeholders, not just us but open to speaking with hosts, guests, hotel group, local communities and neighbourhoods.

“Where these discussions have been holistic and involve multiple stakeholders, we’ve seen it reach a stage where smart and innovative policies are implemented that allow the short term rental activity to continue and to thrive to the benefit of the community while making sure any concerns that groups may have are addressed through the regulatory framework,” said Goh.

Airbnb has signed a memorandum of collaboration (MoC) with the Malaysian Productivity Council (MPC) and a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Malaysia Digital Economy Corp (MDEC) to drive inclusive, sustainable development of tourism in Malaysia.

As part of the MoC with MPC, Airbnb will share relevant data and best practices to inform recommendations on short-term accommodation policy in Malaysia, and will assist MPC in shaping national policy plans related to the development of Malaysia’s tourism industry and infrastructure, as well as local communities.

Airbnb’s MoU with MDEC is focused on promoting digital inclusion and empowering local hospitality entrepreneurs in Malaysia, while building capacity in both homes and experiences throughout the country.

In Malaysia, Airbnb is having discussions with authorities including the Ministry of Finance, the Royal Malaysian Customs and the Ministry of Tourism and Culture to discuss the implementation of Voluntary Collection Agreements (VCAs) to collect and remit tourist tax.

The VCA is a tool designed by Airbnb to collect taxes from its host and guest community and remit them on their behalf. This helps to facilitate a streamlined process and lighten the administrative burden for local and state governments, as well as Airbnb hosts.

Asked on plans by the government to tax e-commerce, Goh said Airbnb will comply once it is implemented. “We’re waiting to see how it would apply in Malaysia and how we would comply when the time comes.”

In 2017, the Airbnb community contributed RM200.4 million to the local economy. Its typical host earned US$1,200 (RM5,200) renting out their space 19 nights a year. The top five inbound markets for Airbnb in Malaysia are Singapore, China, the US, Indonesia and Australia. Seniors (aged 60 and above) make up Airbnb’s fastest growing age group of guests in Malaysia.

IJM Corp’s earnings down 80% in Q2

PETALING JAYA: IJM Corp Bhd saw its net profit for the second quarter ended Sept 30, plunge 80.8% to RM21.92 million from RM114.23 million due to weaker earnings posted by the group’s construction, property development, manufacturing & quarrying, plantations and infrastructure divisions.

Revenue declined 10.03% to RM2.75 billion from RM3.06 billion due to lower revenue contributed from the aforesaid divisions.

Commenting on prospects, the group’s board of directors said that its construction division expects continued growth based on an outstanding order book of RM8.8 billion, underpinned by the implementation of ongoing domestic projects.

“The local property market is expected to remain challenging, with the key issues of price affordability, the overhang of high priced properties, rising costs of living and tight financing continue to have a dampening effect. Nonetheless, the Property Development division remains steadfast in its efforts to grow its business in view of the strategic locations of its properties and the brand premium that it has established. With unbilled sales of about RM2.0 billion, the division is expected to maintain a satisfactory performance in the current financial year,” it added.

Given a difficult operating environment both domestically and overseas, the group’s Industry division expects a lower performance for the current financial year.

As for its plantation division, a challenging year is expected due to the weakening of the commodity prices, volatile foreign exchange rates particularly that of the Indonesian Rupiah against the US dollar and higher borrowing costs.

“Notwithstanding the anticipated recovery of crop production from the effects of the prolonged dry weather and increased young mature areas, the division continues to be affected by the start-up yields whilst incurring full plantation maintenance costs and overheads,” it added.

Its toll and port operations continue to provide recurrent revenue streams as existing concessions mature thereby further enhancing the earnings of the group’s Infrastructure division.

“Based on the above-stated factors and given the constantly changing business environment, the group expects the current financial year to be challenging.”

For the cumulative period of six months, the group ’s net profit slumped 64.02% to RM84.68 million from RM235.40 million.

Revenue fell to RM2.75 billion from RM3.06 billion a year ago.

Chin Hin’s Q3 net profit dips on startup costs

PETALING JAYA: Chin Hin Group Bhd’s net profit for the third quarter ended Sept 30, dipped 0.43% to RM6.04 million from RM6.01 million in the same quarter last year, dragged by the gross losses, and finance cost incurred by its new start-up companies.

Revenue rose 6.82% to RM278.70 million from RM260.90 million, driven by higher revenue from the autoclaved aerated concrete (AAC) blocks, precast concrete products, Starken drymix products, green cement, distribution of building materials and ready-mixed concrete sector.

“The operating environment is envisaged to remain even more challenging after the tabling of the 2019 Budget. Our new AAC production line with 600,000 m3 installed capacity located at Kota Tinggi, Johor, which has started its testing and commissioning in early June 2018 has ramped up to 25% capacity as of end October 2018,” the company said.

“Nonetheless, the hiccups faced at this new plant since its commissioning have yet to be resolved. This plant has been scheduled to produce higher margin wall panels to meet the growing demand from Singapore.”

Chin Hin’s acquisition of metal doors and window frames manufacturer Kempurna for RM4.14 million will complement the group’s fire-rated door business besides enabling Chin Hin to enhance its involvement and market share in the door manufacturing business.

As for its Ultra High Performance Concrete business, Chin Hin managed to secure some sizeable projects in November 2018 with the total contract value of about RM10 million. These projects are expected to kick start and contribute positively to the bottom line of the group in 2019.

For the cumulative period of nine months, the group’s net profit stood at RM15.29 million, 27.51% lower than the same period last year. Revenue for the period declined by 9.03% to RM828.34 million from RM759.73 million.

MyEG breaks into Indonesian e-govt market

PETALING JAYA: My E.G. Services Bhd (MyEG), through wholly owned sub-subsidiary My EG (Indonesia) Sdn Bhd, yesterday signed a memorandum of understanding on investing in the leading e-government services provider in Indonesia, PT Cartenz Technology Indonesia, marking the group’s entry into the e-government space there.

The partnership, subject to the fulfilment of certain terms and conditions, will entail an investment by MyEG of US$10 million (RM41.9 million) for up to a 40% interest. Further, MyEG and Cartenz will jointly implement real-time monitoring of business transactions for tax computation purposes across Indonesia.

MyEG’s proprietary solutions alongside Cartenz’s track record and insights into the local operating landscape will accelerate the present base of 5,000 installations to a targeted one million installations. In addition, MyEG and Cartenz will collaborate to roll out other solutions that MyEG has deployed in Malaysia and the Philippines.

Headquartered in Jakarta, Cartenz is an information and communications technology company that is principally involved in the provision of information systems to all levels of government agencies for more efficient management, including in the administration of regional taxes. To date, Cartenz has deployed its tax monitoring system to some 5,000 business outlets and has provided its tax revenue system to 76 local governments, including Jakarta and Bali.

MyEG managing director T.S. Wong believes that in Cartenz it has found a like-minded partner that shares its vision of harnessing the power of technology to advance government and commercial service delivery for the benefit of consumers.

“Even as we were rolling out our tax monitoring system in Malaysia over the last two years, Cartenz has been doing likewise in Indonesia, which is proof enough that we share a common vision. Obviously, Indonesia’s vast economic potential is undeniable, and we look forward to being very aggressive in deploying to one million outlets within three years,” said Wong.

MyEG’s foray into Indonesia is the third joint venture overseas for the group, having been active in the Philippines since 2017 and having more recently set foot in Bangladesh.

Along with its home market of Malaysia, where the group has been operating since 2000, MyEG’s presence will thus span four countries with a combined population of over half a billion people.

MyEG executive chairman Datuk Dr Norraesah Mohamad said the group will continue to replicate its model and export its system to other populous emerging markets. She described the MoU as a testimony of the international recognition of MyEG’s capability and credibility as a technology company, which underscores MyEG’s leading position as a regional flag bearer in e-government products and service

Kerjaya Prospek wins deals worth RM282m

PETALING JAYA: Kerjaya Prospek Group Bhd’s wholly owned Kerjaya Prospek (M) Bhd has bagged two contracts worth RM282.25 million from Nusmetro Group for construction works in Kuala Lumpur.

The two contracts will increase Kerjaya Prospek’s outstanding order book to RM2.86 billion, and provide the group with a steady stream of revenue over the next four years, the company said in a filing with Bursa Malaysia today.

The first contract, worth RM29.82 million, is for substructure works for a proposed commercial development at Mont Kiara, which comprises a three-storey basement car park and a 51-storey office building. Work was to begin yesterday for completion by Sept 25, 2020.

The second contract, worth RM252.43 million, is for the construction of the main building of a commercial project on Jalan Cheras.