November, 2018


Boustead Holdings’ Q3 earnings plunge 98% to RM7.3m

PETALING JAYA: Boustead Holdings Bhd’s net profit in the third quarter ended Sept 30, 2018 plunged 98% year-on-year to RM7.3 million, from RM310.6 million previously as it has benefitted from the sale of plantation land of RM554.9 million in the previous corresponding quarter.

The group declared a third interim dividend of 1.5 sen per share for the financial year ending Dec 31, 2018, to be paid on Jan 8, 2019.

Revenue for the third quarter grew 3% to RM2.54 billion, from RM2.47 billion in the same period last year.

For the nine months period, it registered a net loss of RM14.2 million compared with a net profit of RM359.1 million a year ago.

Its revenue declined slightly by 1% to RM7.16 billion, from RM7.23 billion previously.

The group said in a statement that its diversified nature continues to drive the group forward.

“Testament to this, several of our core businesses recorded improved results, namely the finance and investment, pharmaceutical and trading and industrial divisions,” it said.

The trading and industrial division recorded an improved profit of RM117 million for the nine-month period, compared with RM87 million in the previous year’s corresponding period due to stockholding gains as well as better operating margins and sales volumes by Boustead Petroleum Marketing Sdn Bhd.

The finance and investment division turned in a higher profit of RM77 million for the first nine months, compared with RM48 million in the same period last year attributable to a stronger contribution from Affin Bank Bhd and the division’s other investments.

The pharmaceutical division delivered a profit of RM45 million for the nine-month period, up from RM39 million in the previous year’s corresponding period, as a result of higher demand from government hospitals and lower operating costs.

However, the property division recorded a loss of RM13 million for the nine-month period, compared with the deficit of RM6 million in the same period last year impacted by weaker contributions from the hotel segment as a result of lower occupancy rates.

The plantation division registered a deficit of RM42 million for the first nine months, compared with a profit of RM656 million in the previous year’s corresponding period impacted by declining palm product prices.

UMW sells Shah Alam land for RM287.7m

PETALING JAYA: UMW Holdings Bhd is selling 10 plots of leasehold industrial land in Shah Alam measuring a total of 38.803 acres for RM287.7 million cash.

In a filing with Bursa Malaysia, the group said its wholly owned subsidiaries have entered into six sale and purchase agreements (SPA) with Strategic Sonata Sdn Bhd, a wholly owned subsidiary of Mapletree Dextra Pte Ltd for the proposed disposal.

The proposed disposal is subject to the letting of part of the land by Strategic Sonata to UMW’s subsidiaries who will be entering into separate tenancy agreements with Strategic Sonata.

The proposed tenancy entails the rental of the tenanted lots by the subsidiaries for a tenure not exceeding three years at a yearly rental totalling RM12.6 million. The proposed tenancy is intended to commence upon completion of the respective SPAs.

UMW said the proposed disposal will enable the group to fully unlock and realise the value of its long-held assets in Shah Alam as part of its broader strategic thrust of sustainable value creation for shareholders.

“The proposed disposal will also facilitate the planned relocation of ongoing business operations in Shah Alam to the proposed UMW High Value Manufacturing Park in Serendah, Selangor,” it said.

It added that the migration of the group’s businesses to Serendah would provide a firm foundation for its next phase of growth and will further strengthen and enlarge the emerging ecosystem for high-value, innovative manufacturing at the site.

The move is also expected to boost and support greenfield and brownfield manufacturing investments by top-tier investors, which would significantly elevate the value of the group’s land in Serendah.

The expected gain from the proposed disposal is RM171.4 million based on the net book value as at June 30, 2018 before deducting estimated taxation and expenses related to the proposed disposal. The original cost of investment for the properties is about RM157 million from 1970 till 2014.

The proceeds arising from the proposed disposal, which is expected to be completed by end of the second quarter of 2019, would be used as working capital requirements for the group.

The proposed land disposal was done via a bidding process, including an expression of interest (EOI) marketing exercise which was carried out for four weeks.

A total of 353 local and international prospects were invited to participate in the sale exercise, after which, six bidders submitted their interests at the closing date of July 27, 2018. During the final bid process, three out of the six bids were submitted and Strategic Sonata was selected as the highest bidder with the lowest tenancy charges.

The disposal consideration is 3.16% higher than the average market value of the properties of RM278.88 million based on independent valuation carried out by Messrs Raine & Horne International Zaki + Partners Sdn Bhd and Messrs C.H. Williams, Talhar and Wong Sdn Bhd.

Turnaround pace continues for UMW Holdings in Q3

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 30 — The turnaround pace for UMW Holdings continued in the third quarter ended September 30, 2018 when it recorded a net profit of RM128.1 million against a net loss of RM29.4 million chalked up in the same quarter a year ago….

Bitcoin falls over 7pc, heads towards one-year low

LONDON, Nov 30 — Bitcoin fell as much as 7 per cent today, heading towards a recent one-year low in a broad-based selloff in cryptocurrencies. The world’s biggest and best-known cryptocurrency fell to US$3,920.35 (RM16,401.18) in late morning…

Alam Maritim bags contract

PETALING JAYA: Alam Maritim Resources Bhd’s wholly-owned subsidiary Alam Maritim (M) Sdn Bhd has been awarded with a contract for the provision of PAN Malaysia underwater services for petroleum arrangement contractors (PACs) – Package A by Petronas Carigali Sdn Bhd and Enquest Petroleum Production Malaysia Ltd.

The duration of the contract is for five years effective Aug 13, 2018 and will expire five years thereafter.

The contract is on a regular or “call-out” basis whereby work orders will be issued by client based on the schedule of rates as set forth in the contract. The total value of the contract will be contingent upon the actual work orders and the scope of work performed by the Alam.

The contract is expected to contribute positively to the earnings and net tangible assets of Alam and its group of companies for the financial year ending Dec 31, 2018 to 2023.

7-Eleven’s Q3 earnings rise 4.1%

PETALING JAYA: 7-Eleven Malaysia Holdings Bhd’s net profit for the third quarter ended Sept 30, 2018 rose 4.1% to RM16.76 million from RM16.10 million a year ago on the back of higher revenue, gross margin improvement and other operating income.

The group said in a statement that revenue for the quarter rose 1% to RM568.52 million from RM563.12 million a year ago, driven by the growth in new stores, higher average spend per customer and better consumer promotion activity.

Gross profit for the quarter rose 3% year-on-year to RM184.1 million mainly due to the increase in revenue and improvement in gross margin by 0.7% points.

“The improvement in gross margin was attributed to higher gross profit margins across most categories,” it said.

Selling and distribution expenses for the quarter was 4% higher year-on-year mainly due to new store expansion resulting in higher staff costs, rental costs, store depreciation and maintenance expenses.

For the nine months ended Sept 30, 2018, net profit rose 13.3% to RM38.82 million from RM34.25 million a year ago driven by higher profit contribution among most product categories and higher other operating income.

Revenue for the period rose 1.3% to RM1.66 billion from RM1.64 billion a year ago driven by the growth in new stores and consumer promotion activity.

Gross profit improved 4% year-on-year, mainly due to the revenue growth and gross profit margin expansion of 0.9% points while other operating income grew 8.2% year-on-year.

On its future prospects, the group said that trading conditions for the remaining quarter of the year are expected to improve with the anticipated heightened consumer sentiment and it expects to see further improvements by pursuing its core strategy pillars of operations excellence, cost management and commercial innovation.

CEO Colin Harvey said he is confident that the strategy roadmap, which is focused on strengthening key areas of assortment, supply chain, operational excellence, store base and digitally enabling the organisation, will bear fruit in terms of financial performance and overall customer shopping experience.

“I look forward to the challenges ahead in ensuring that 7-Eleven Malaysia remains the customers first choice convenience store,” he said.

European insurers set to break into Chinese market

BEIJING, Nov 30 — Two European insurance giants are moving towards having wholly-owned companies in China, marking a big step in the opening-up of the country’s financial sector that experts say could send a positive signal amid tense US trade…

PPI for local production increases 0.7pc in October

PUTRAJAYA, Nov 30 — Malaysia’s producer price index (PPI) for local production expanded by 0.7 per cent in October, 2018 against a 0.2 per cent decline in September. The index provides a short-term indicator that measures the average changes in…

Star Media Group’s MD/CEO to step down

PETALING JAYA: Star Media Group Bhd’s Datuk Seri Wong Chun Wai (pix) will step down from his role as managing director and CEO on Jan 1, 2019.

He will remain as the company’s group advisor starting Jan 1, 2019, while his successor will be named at an appropriate time.

“The role of a CEO in a Malaysian media company is certainly very different from that of my counterparts in other companies, which is much more straight forward,“ Wong said in a statement.

The 57-year-old joined The Star in 1984, earning only about RM300 a month. He went through the company’s suspension for five months in 1987 when its printing permit was revoked but participated in its subsequent take off and eventual pole position in the English media circles.

Wong, who assumed the managing director and CEO post in 2013, was The Star’s youngest group chief editor at 46 in 2007.

He said the company was previously known as Star Publications Bhd but has now evolved to become Star Media Group to reflect its wider assets.

“From print to online to radio, to events and exhibitions, and now over the top video service provider, Star has transformed.

“It’s not the end of an era for me. I just want to return to my passion – journalism and writing. After all, this is part of succession planning and transformation,” he said on the cusp of stepping down from his position as Star’s top executive, a call he made to do much earlier than contractually obligated until 2020.

Pakistan rupee hits record low, no news on IMF lifeline

KARACHI, Nov 30 — Pakistan’s rupee plunged almost five per cent to a record low today after what appeared to be a sixth devaluation by the central bank in the past year as the country struggles with an acute balance of payment crisis. The unit…