Thursday, November 29th, 2018


Sterling heads towards two-week lows as Brexit jitters rise

LONDON, Nov 29 — The pound fell towards a two-week low today amid growing concerns about the UK parliament’s vote on Brexit and after the Bank of England warned of risks to the currency if Britain leaves the European Union in a disorderly…

Japan’s Mitsui to raise stake in IHH Healthcare to 32.9%

PETALING JAYA: Japan’s Mitsui & Co Ltd is set to emerge as IHH Healthcare Bhd’s largest shareholder via an acquisition of an additional 16% stake from Khazanah Nasional Bhd at RM6 a share, valuing the group at RM49.4 billion.

IHH’s share price hit a high of RM5.79 on the news before closing 25 sen up at RM5.50 with some 15.6 million shares done today.

Mitsui will hold a 32.9% interest in the healthcare group, while Khazanah will be left with 26.05%.

The two parties on Wednesday entered into a share purchase agreement for the transaction involving 1.40 billion shares, for RM8.42 billion.The deal is expected to be completed by the first quarter of next year. Mitsui’s last investment in IHH was in 2011.

The acquisition is subject to and conditional upon regulatory requirements and the completion of the issuance of new shares in IHH to Mehmet Ali Aydinlar, Hatice Seher Aydinlar and/or their nominees and Pulau Memutik Ventures Sdn Bhd in its capacity as the nominee of Bagan Lalang Ventures Sdn Bhd.

Khazanah said proceeds from the disposal will be used for new investments and capital requirement and that it will continue to be a significant shareholder with representation on the board of IHH, and provide stability to the shareholder base of IHH for the foreseeable future.

“The transaction clearly shows the confidence of Mitsui in the growth of the IHH platform. Khazanah remains committed to supporting the group and looks forward to the future success of IHH. The divestment is part of Khazanah’s strategy to grow the businesses that we are invested in and to find the appropriate times and value to create liquidity for our future capital and investment needs,” said its managing director, Datuk Shahril Ridza Ridzuan, in a statement.

Mitsui said in a separate statement that it will further support IHH’s growth and pursue opportunities that anticipate high growth such as ancillary service business and other new business in areas such as disease prevention and management, telemedicine and personalised medicine by effectively utilising digital transformation and innovative technology.

Healthcare has been identified as a target growth area in its medium-term management plan announced in May 2017.

Wall St falls as investors turn cautious ahead of G20

NEW YORK, Nov 29 — US stocks fell today as investors turned risk averse in the run up to US-China trade talks at the upcoming G20 Summit after President Donald Trump said there was “a long way to go” on tariffs with Beijing. The dip in markets…

edotco partners Huawei to deliver solutions for MNOs

PETALING JAYA: Malaysia is unperturbed by actions abroad against China’s tech giant Huawei, with edotco Malaysia signing a partnership agreement with Huawei Technologies (Malaysia) to deliver network solutions for mobile network operators (MNOs), a day after New Zealand blocked the Chinese group’s participation in its 5G (fifth generation) rollout, for national security reasons.

Asked whether the Western nations’ actions to avoid doing business with Huawei is a cause for concern to the group, edotco group chief regional officer Wan Zainal Adileen responded by saying that the group is a technology adopter and it wants to keep up with the technology level.

“So until such time we have (been) notified or otherwise if there is no objection from the regulator we should continue to work with whomever we believe that fits our technological requirement,” he said at a press conference today.

In response to a question to clarify why edotco has chosen Huawei as its technology partner, Wan Zainal noted that the latter fits one of the group’s key principles of its business model, which is multi-tenant.

“For edotco, we have always venture out and look for new technologies to partner with. Huawei has been very proactive and forefront about their technology,” he added.

Meanwhile, Huawei’s small cell product line president Ritchie Peng, while explaining that he is not the right person to comment on the issue, highlighted that Huawei currently serves more than 100 countries for its 4G equipment. “It is safe, but nobody talks about that. This is a technology evolution, that’s it. This (5G network) is the continuous evolution from the 3G and 4G, and Huawei is one of the contributors for the 5G technology,” he added.

The memorandum of understanding (MoU) between Huawei Technologies and edotco was signed in the presence of Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission chairman Al-Ishsal Ishak and communications and digital ecosystem sector chief officer Datuk Mohd Ali Hanafiah Mohd Yunus.

Under the two-year MoU, which leverages on both parties’ expertise to develop viable go-to-market strategies, commercial offerings, technical architecture as well as deployment plans, MNOs are set to benefit from a full spectrum of indoor and outdoor mobile network solutions.

edotco, a unit of Axiata Group Bhd, provides end-to-end solutions in the tower services sector from tower leasing, co-locations, and operations and maintenance, while Huawei offers products and solutions across communications networks, IT, smart devices and cloud services.

At the event, the world’s first multi-operator, multi-technology indoor solution, which has been installed in KL Sentral, was also launched.

Deployed in September, the in-building solution that is capable of improving data coverage and throughput speed by up to four times, is a significant step towards 5G readiness in Malaysia, Wan Zainal said.

AirAsia third quarter net profit soars 81%

PETALING JAYA: AirAsia Group Bhd’s net profit for the third quarter ended Sept 30, 2018 rose 81.24% to RM915.88 million from RM505.33 million a year ago due to a one-off gain on the sale of Expedia and reversal of deferred tax liabilities arising from the disposals of aircraft.

In August, the group had disposed of its remaining 25% stake in online travel agency AAE Travel Pte Ltd to Expedia Inc for US$60 million (about RM240 million), resulting in a gain on disposal of RM230.4 million.

Operating profit for the quarter was lower at RM253 million compared with RM494 million a year ago, mainly due to the increase in fuel expenses. The total fuel consumed during the quarter rose 5% to 2.66 million barrels from 2.54 million barrels a year ago.

Average fuel price during the quarter was 50% higher at US$95 per barrel from US$63 per barrel a year ago. Excluding fuel expenses, costs were fairly well controlled, showing a reduction of 2% of CASK ex-fuel.

Revenue for the quarter rose 6.58% to RM2.61 billion from RM2.45 billion a year ago due to a 9% increase in total passengers carried to 10.80 million from 9.89 million a year ago.

Overall unit passenger revenue rose 1% to RM222 from RM221 a year ago, as a result of average fare increase of 3% to RM177 from RM172 a year ago. Capacity grew 16% to 13.23 million from 11.40 million a year ago while seat load factor fell to 82% from 87% a year ago.

For the nine months ended Sept 30, 2018, net profit rose 90.90% to RM2.42 billion from RM1.27 billion a year ago while revenue rose 10.30% to RM7.78 billion from RM7.05 billion a year ago.

The group has declared a special dividend of 40 sen per share for the financial year ending Dec 31, 2018 amounting to RM1.34 billion, payable on Dec 28, 2018.

AirAsia said the operating environment has improved in the fourth quarter of 2018 compared with the third quarter. Combined with the upcoming year-end holiday season, the group said load factor is holding strong while overall average fares have increased year-on-year.

“For the full year, we are on track to achieve a group load factor target of 85%. We will continue to emphasise our One AirAsia initiatives to further reduce costs, while improving the overall operational efficiencies and actively monitor each route’s profitability,” it said.

KPS slips into the red in Q3

LNG Canada investor Petronas signs gas supply deal with Vitol

LONDON: LNG Canada, the US$30 billion (RM125.7 billion) liquefied natural gas (LNG) export project, has bagged another client after project shareholder Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas) signed an initial sales deal with trading house Vitol.

Royal Dutch Shell decided in October to construct the export terminal. It was the first major investment decision in a new North American LNG export project for two years and was expected to launch a new wave of such projects in the region.

Petronas, the Malaysian state-owned oil and gas company that bought a 25% stake in the project in May, will supply Vitol with 0.8 million tonnes per year (mtpa) of LNG starting from 2024 for 15 years, Vitol said in a statement.

“The primary supply to Vitol will come from LNG Canada as well as from (Petronas’) other global LNG supply portfolio,“ Vitol said.

Vitol joins Asian utilities Tokyo Gas, Toho Gas and Korea Gas Corp (Kogas) as buyers, committing to offtake around 2.4 mtpa collectively.

Such long-term agreements normally underpin project finance and are critical before a final investment decision is taken. But because Shell and partners Petronas, PetroChina, Mitsubishi and Kogas are such large players in the LNG market, they can absorb the output into their global portfolios without needing to find significant other buyers.

Under previously announced deals, Toho Gas will buy 0.3 mtpa, Tokyo Gas 0.6 mtpa and Kogas 0.7 mtpa from LNG Canada. – Reuters

Key US inflation index holds steady at 2pc Fed target

WASHINGTON, Nov 29 — The US Federal Reserve’s favoured measure of inflation stayed right on target last month, another sign that for now price pressures remain tame, according to government data released today. The Commerce Department report…

MyEG incurs net loss of RM97.5m July-Sept quarter

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 29 — MY EG Services Bhd (MyEG) posted a net loss of RM97.47 million for the three-month period to Sept 30, 2018, against a net profit of RM56.11 million in the preceding quarter. Revenue, however, increased to RM138.33 million…

Malaysia records RM41.6b investments in manufacturing sector

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 29 — Malaysia has recorded approved investments of RM41.6 billion in the manufacturing sector for the period from May to September this year since the Pakatan Harapan government took over the country’s…