Thursday, December 6th, 2018


Former Tesco directors cleared of fraud over 2014 accounting scandal

LONDON, Dec 6 — Two former directors of Tesco were acquitted today of fraud and false accounting at Britain’s biggest retailer following a 2014 scandal. Christopher Bush, 52, who was managing director of Tesco UK, and John Scouler, 50, who was…

Ride-hailing firm Lyft Inc files for IPO

NEW YORK, Dec 6 — Ride-hailing company Lyft Inc today filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission for an initial public offering, ending months of speculation about the timing of its much-awaited market debut. The company, which was last…

Yasmin relinquishes position as MDEC CEO

KUALA LUMPUR: Datuk Yasmin Mahmood (pix) has relinquished her position as the CEO of the Malaysia Digital Economy Corp (MDEC) to pursue a role in a tech venture in Jakarta, Indonesia.

After spearheading the strategy and planning for 2019, Yasmin will step down from her position as CEO and all other positions within MDEC effective Jan 15, 2019.

She joined MDEC as CEO on Sept 15, 2014.

“It has been an absolute honour to have served in this position for the last four years and 3 months. I have put my heart and soul into the role to bring MDEC to a higher level of effectiveness and relevance, not only with the initiatives and strategies we’ve implemented but also with the cultural transformation of the people in MDEC,” said Yasmin in a statement today.

At the interim, a management committee will be activated as part of the transition plan to oversee the agency’s operations during the process of appointing a new CEO.

Who is China’s Huawei Technologies and why is it controversial?

BEIJING, Dec 6 — The arrest in Canada of Meng Wanzhou, a top executive at China’s Huawei Technologies Co Ltd and daughter of the founder and CEO, jolted the global business community on Thursday and raised fears that a truce in the US-China…

Arbitration notice by Emrail is invalid: MMC, Gamuda

PETALING JAYA: MMC Corp Bhd and Gamuda Bhd said the arbitration notice served by Emrail Sdn Bhd against the groups’ jointly controlled entity MMC-Gamuda Joint Venture Sdn Bhd (MGJV) is invalid.

In filings with Bursa Malaysia, both companies said Emrail is not entitled to commence arbitration proceedings against MGJV.

Further announcements will be made if there are any material developments on the matter, they said.

The arbitration notice was premised on Emrail’s alleged dispute and differences arising in the conditions of contract dated Dec 23, 2010 for the construction and maintenance of track works for the Electrified Double Track Project (EDTP). MGJV was the then contractor for the EDTP between Ipoh and Padang Besar.

Dollar, yen lifted as China exec arrest triggers trade concerns

LONDON, Dec 6 — The dollar and the yen rose today after the arrest in Canada of a top executive of Chinese tech giant Huawei prompted fears of a flare-up in US-China trade tensions. The dollar has been under pressure over concern about a possible…

EU to offer Swiss exchanges two-year reprieve if treaty with bloc agreed

BRUSSELS, Dec 6 — The European Union executive will offer Swiss stock exchanges a two-year extension of their right to operate in the bloc if an overall deal on future relations is approved by the Swiss government tomorrow, EU sources told…

GD Express sets higher capex of RM50m for FY19

SHAH ALAM: GD Express Carrier Bhd has allocated a higher capital expenditure (capex) of RM50 million for the financial year ending June 30, 2019 (FY19), from close to RM30 million in FY18.

Its managing director and group CEO Teong Teck Lean (pix) said bulk of the capex will be used to expand its fleet size to cater for the delivery volume growth especially in the e-commerce segment.

Speaking to reporters after its AGM yesterday, he said the capex will also be channeled towards the expansion of its distribution centers, hubs, branches as well as technology advancement.

The group expanded its fleet size to 1,069 units of vehicles in FY18, from 831 units in FY17, with a carrying capacity of 3,028 tonnes up from 2,289 tonnes previously. Currently, the group is operating 250 stations and 87 branches.

Asked on its investment plans going forward, Teong said the company will continue to strengthen its foothold in the region via merger and acquisitions, particularly in Asean countries such as Vietnam, Thailand and the Philippines.

Last October, the group announced the acquisition of shares in PT SAP Express in Indonesia (SAP) to tap into the Indonesian express delivery landscape.

Teong said despite the challenging operating environment in the country, SAP is on track to grow its presence in the industry and the group has been assisting the latter in terms of providing financial and technological advice.

To recap, SAP has been experiencing losses since 2015 but at a declining pace.

On its outlook, he said the intense competition within the express delivery market and rising pressure on its operating costs partly due to higher minimum wages will continue to add challenges to its financial performance in Financial Year 2019.

Going forward, Teong said the group is positioning itself to embrace the challenge by continuing to improve its operational capabilities and innovations to stay relevant and ahead of its competitors.

“We have done a lot of costs saving measures to many of our processes and strengthening our ecosystem so it can provide better solutions to our customers. Hopefully, we can continue to capture the market share,” he added.

In its latest financial results, the group’s net profit plunged 18.01% year-on-year to RM6.47 million for the first quarter ended Sept 30, 2018, from RM7.89 million previously due to increase in operating costs.

However, its revenue grew 8.3% to RM74.5 million from RM68.77 million mainly due to increase in demand of the courier services for e-commerce business.

Petronas conducting feasibility study on energy supply in Silica Valley

KUALA LUMPUR: Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas) is undertaking a feasibility study for the development of an energy supply and related infrastructure in the Terengganu Silica Valley in Marang.

President and CEO Tan Sri Wan Zulkiflee Wan Ariffin said the study, conducted together with state-owned company Terengganu Inc, would involve technical and commercial assessment to develop natural gas supply, power generation, supply of industrial gases and other related gas supply in the Silica Valley.

“We expect to complete the study within 18 months,“ he told reporters after witnessing the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between Petronas and Terengganu Inc today.

The MoU was signed by Petronas vice-president (Malaysia Petroleum Management) Muhammad Zamri Jusoh and Terengganu Inc Director Datuk A Rahman Yahya.

Terengganu Mentri Besar Dr Ahmad Shamsuri Mokhtar, who witnessed the ceremony, said the MoU also included a proposal to develop 32km of gas transmission and distribution pipeline to the project to allow supply of gas through the peninsular gas utilisation network from existing gas supply systems.

He said the Silica Valley development would be partly funded by the state government, but declined to disclose the amount, saying that the proposal was still at the preliminary stage.

With a gross development value of RM13 billion, the Silica Valley will be developed in two phases – 470ha in the first phase and 3,520ha in the second phase.

The project is scheduled for completion within 10 to 15 years and create 7,200 jobs.

On the outcome of the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries’ (Opec) meeting today, Wan Zulkiflee said Petronas’ plans were based on the continuance of the production cut.

“In the past, we have been complying with this 20,000 barrels production cut per day and we just have to see on the outcome of this meeting,“ he said.

The Opec meeting, scheduled to be held in Vienna today with the aim of reaching an accord over production levels for the next six months.

The cartel will then meet with allied non-Opec partners tomorrow, with markets widely-expecting the energy alliance to announce steep output reductions of around 1.2 million to 1.4 million barrels per day starting January.

Petronas had previously reduced its oil production by 20,000 barrels per day in line with efforts by Opec and its allies to solve the global supply glut.

Housing – Gamuda proposes levy in lieu of bumi quota

SHAH ALAM: Gamuda Bhd is proposing a levy to be paid by developers to the government in lieu of the bumiputra quota requirement, which has contributed to an overhang of unsold units and high holding cost.

Group managing director Datuk Lin Yun Ling (pix) told reporters at a press conference after the group’s AGM today that the holding cost of complying with this requirement is getting heavier. He estimates holding cost to be at 20% of revenue. He also stressed that this is unlikely to reduce house prices.

The policy requires at least 30% (varies according to states) of total units developed to be earmarked for bumiputra buyers with a holding period of three years or more. The units are to be sold at a discount of 7%.

He said it would be preferable for developers to pay a levy in place of being subjected to the bumiputra quota requirement to prevent the painful and costly process of the holding cost, which he said is causing house prices to increase.

“As a developer, we would prefer to pay a 2% levy to the government based on sales. The government can then look to build at locations suitable to the B40 (bottom 40%) group,” noted Lin.

“We think the time has come for the government to relook this practice because in the first place, the intended beneficiaries of this policy are actually not benefiting from it,” he said, adding that the number of bumiputra buyers are few.

He added that apart from holding cost, locations in which affordable housing are being developed by the private sector developers are not conducive for the B40 group, resulting in low uptake.

The government will then be able to plough back the levy contributions to subsidise the B40 group by providing loans and building homes in strategic locations as well as bridge the affordability gap.

When asked if the proposal has been conveyed to the authorities and other industry bodies, Gamuda said that discussions are currently under way.

In terms of profit for its property arm,overseas projects contribute 70% and local projects 30%.

Commenting on the outlook, Lin said the group is looking at growing its ventures overseas to maintain its revenue and profit growth which grows at a compounded annual growth rate of 15%.

Gamuda, which already has a footing in Australia via its property arm, is also setting sight on infrastructure projects there.

“We are looking at infrastructure projects overseas. For example, the state governments of Victoria and New South Wales in Australia are going to invest over AU$100 billion in railway and metro projects, mainly in Sydney and Melbourne over the next 10 years,” he added.

As for the Penang Transport Master Plan, Gamuda, which is part of SRS Consortium Sdn Bhd, is expecting to secure Putrajaya’s approvals by the first quarter of next year.