Thursday, December 6th, 2018


Guan Eng: Observe highest corporate reporting standard

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 6 — The corporate sector has been urged to practise the highest standard of corporate reporting and embrace transparency in order to rebuild good governance, international reputation and global goodwill, which would eventually…

US trade deficit hits 10-year high on record imports

WASHINGTON, Dec 6 — The US trade deficit hit a 10-year high in October as Americans used a stronger dollar to snap up record imports, the government reported today. The result showed the trade gap has continued to swell despite the punitive…

Dow falls 2pc as Huawei arrest revives US-China fears

NEW YORK, Dec 6 — Wall Street fell sharply early today, joining a global stocks sell-off after the arrest of a key Chinese executive at Washington’s request revived worries over trade tensions. About 25 minutes into trading, the Dow Jones…

More belt-tightening at VW to fund electric new start

FRANKFURT, Dec 6 — German car giant Volkswagen said today it is looking for €3 billion (RM15.8 billion) in new savings to help fund its pivot towards electric vehicles, adding that it could not rule out job cuts. Without more savings,…

SMRT sued by minority shareholders of subsidiary

PETALING JAYA: SMRT Holdings Bhd is being sued by minority shareholders of its subsidiary N’osairis Technology Solutions Sdn Bhd (NTSSB) for allegedly oppressing the minority shareholders.

In a filing with Bursa Malaysia, SMRT said it received a notice of commencement of legal proceedings from the solicitors acting for three minority shareholders of NTSSB namely Stalin Thangaiah Vijaya Kamaraj, Balasubramaniam Manikam and Navindra Sivaratnam, by way of an originating summons and an affidavit dated Nov 28.

The plaintiffs alleged that SMRT had used its position as the majority shareholder in NTSSB to oppress the minority shareholders.

“The company firmly denies the allegations made by the minority shareholders and is of the view that they are without basis. The company has accordingly instructed its solicitors to defend and protect the company’s rights and interests in the matter,” it said.

EPF: 23% of members contribute less than minimum wage

PETALING JAYA: About 1.64 million or 23% of 7.11 million active Employees Provident Fund (EPF) members contribute less than the current minimum wage of RM1,000, which would result in lower retirement savings.

According to EPF statistics, 64% of members who have reached age 54 years have savings below RM50,000, which is a meagre sum considering the rising cost of living and household debt.

To address this issue, the EPF minimum contribution of both the employees’ and employers’ share will be aligned with the Minimum Wages Order (Amendment) 2018 of RM1,100 beginning Jan 1, 2019 nationwide.

“Low wages, particularly among low-income earners, is one of the primary causes that many Malaysian workers retire with insufficient funds. Alignment of the minimum wage should help EPF members achieve sufficient savings for their retirement and help strengthen their future financial resilience,” EPF CEO Tunku Alizakri Alias said in a statement.

With the alignment, the expected monthly contribution to be received by EPF for every worker who earn monthly wages will be at least RM264, subject to the worker being employed for the full month.

Different minimum contribution may also apply to members who are salaried on a weekly, daily or hourly basis.

EPF said it has sent notices to all employers registered with the EPF on the new measure, and will work closely with employers to ensure the smooth implementation of the policy.

“We are confident that employers will benefit from this in the long run as it will help to increase productivity, loyalty as well as incentivise employees to do their best for the organisation,” said Alizakri.

AirAsia reiterates intention to set up low-cost carrier in Vietnam

PETALING JAYA: AirAsia Bhd has signed a memorandum of cooperation reaffirming its intention to set up a low-cost carrier in Vietnam with local partners, Thien Minh Travel Joint Stock (TMG) and Hai Au Aviation Joint Stock Co (HAA).

AirAsia Group CEO Tan Sri Tony Fernandes said AirAsia is an Asean airline and Vietnam is one of the last remaining countries with a large population within the region that AirAsia is not in.

“Today’s memorandum reaffirms our commitment to making AirAsia in Vietnam happen. Last year, when we announced this joint venture (JV), we were bullish about Vietnam and we remain incredibly bullish about serving one of the most dynamic, fastest-growing economies in Asia,” he said at the signing ceremony, which was conducted on the sidelines of the Vietnam Travel and Tourism Summit 2018 in Hanoi today.

Fernandes said AirAsia is already the largest foreign airline group in Vietnam by capacity, currently operating to five destinations in the country, including its latest addition of Phu Quoc.

“We will continue to expand our network to connect Vietnam to Asean and beyond, something our local JV will be able to accelerate. We couldn’t be more excited about the prospect of bringing more visitors to this amazing country and delivering true low-cost air travel to 95 million Vietnamese in the near future,” he added.

TMG CEO and HAA general director Tran Trong Kien said the number of international arrivals in Vietnam has doubled over the last three years while domestic and outbound travel have also grown.

“The sector has contributed greatly to recent economic development and social progress. Vietnam as a country needs better connectivity to continue this trend and for tourism to reach its full potential.

“Adding a new airline, especially at this stage and with an experienced operator like AirAsia, is a much-needed and welcomed move. This new airline will bring more and better choices to our people in the years to come,” he said.

AirAsia operates 141 return flights weekly on 13 routes, connecting Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Da Nang, Nha Trang and Phu Quoc with Kuala Lumpur, Penang and Johor Bharu in Malaysia, Bangkok and Chiang Mai in Thailand and Manila in the Philippines. The airline has carried 12 million passengers to and from Vietnam since entering the market in 2005.

Sapura Energy’s Q3 net loss narrows

PETALING JAYA: Sapura Energy Bhd’s net loss narrowed to RM31.09 million in the third quarter ended Oct 31 from RM274.41 million a year ago, in line with a higher revenue, which rose 17.36% to RM1.50 billion from RM1.28 billion a year ago.

During the quarter, the group registered a pre-tax profit of RM40.3 million compared with a pre-tax loss of RM209.7 million, marking the first profit recorded by the group since the second quarter ended July 31, 2017.

The group attributed the higher revenue to its engineering and construction (E&C) and exploration and production (E&P) business segments.

Increased E&C activities during the quarter resulted in a 17% rise in revenue to RM959.8 million from RM822.3 million while the drilling segment’s pre-tax loss narrowed to RM11.7 million from RM93.1 million a year ago.

The E&P segment recorded higher pre-tax profit of RM37.1 million from RM28.3 million a year ago while revenue rose 43% to RM296.2 million from RM207.7 million a year ago due to higher production liftings and the effects of the higher average realised oil and gas prices achieved.

For the nine months ended Oct 31, Sapura Energy’s net loss widened to RM292.88 million from RM217.95 million a year ago while revenue fell 18.89% to RM3.82 billion from RM4.71 billion a year ago.

“The improved results indicate the group’s initial signs of a turnaround. We are seeing an upward trend in all segments, in particular the E&C business, driven by an increase in global investments and activities. As our orderbook grows, revenue will move up in tandem with project completion from commencement to book recognition,” said president and group CEO Tan Sri Shahril Shamsuddin.

Meanwhile, Sapura Energy and its consortium partner have won a RM3 million contract from Oil and Natural Gas Corp Ltd (ONGC) in India.

The consortium partners comprising Sapura Energy’s wholly owned subsidiary Sapura Fabrication Sdn Bhd and Afcons Infrastructure Ltd, will be jointly undertaking engineering, procurement, construction, installation and commissioning works for a Central Processing Platform and Living Quarters for KG-DWN 98/2 NELP block.

The block, located offshore the Godavari Delta on the east coast of India, covers an area of about 7,295km of the Krishna-Godavari basin with water depth ranging between 300m to 3,200m.

Sapura Fabrication’s share in the consortium is 48.3 which translates to about RM1.47 billion in contract value. The works are expected to be completed by January 2021.

Sapura Energy said the new contract win enhances the group’s presence in the growing market.

“The project is an opportunity for Sapura Energy to participate in a key development for ONGC, leveraging on the company’s established deepwater knowledge and capabilities.”

Afcons is the construction arm of India’s engineering and construction conglomerate Shapoorji Pallonji Group.

Sapura Energy expects the contract to contribute positively towards its earnings for the financial year ending Jan 31, 2019, and for the financial period thereafter within the duration of the contract.

Shell reviews deals involving ex-executive accused of bribery

LONDON, Dec 6 — Royal Dutch Shell has concluded that a Nigerian oilfield sale where it suspects an executive took bribes was not linked to a separate court case in which he and Shell face corruption charges over a US$1.1 billion (RM4.5 billion)…

Trading Trump: Wall Street stresses over White House comments

NEW YORK, Dec 6 — JPMorgan Chase & Co’s trading desk was not buying what US President Donald Trump was selling this week. On Tuesday, major stock indexes plummeted more than 3 per cent on renewed fears of a trade war with China — just days…