Thursday, December 27th, 2018

 

US jobless claims signal labour market strength after rough patch

WASHINGTON, Dec 27 — The number of Americans filing applications for jobless benefits fell marginally last week in a sign of labour market strength, with claims appearing to stabilise after drifting higher in recent months. Initial claims for…


Malton, partner make progress in Taipei project bid

PETALING JAYA: Malton Bhd’s joint bid with Hong Kong-listed Nan Hai Corp Ltd for the construction of a superstructure in Taipei, Taiwan, has been selected as the best bid by the local authority and the parties are set to enter into the next phase of negotiations.

Malton told Bursa Malaysia that the Department of Rapid Transit Systems, Taipei City Government, announced that the bid submitted by Nan Hai and Malton has been selected as the best applicant for the project.

The project involves the development of a landmark high-rise multipurpose complex comprising hotel, retail and prime office space above the airport express train station that has a base area of about 31,700 sq m. This complex will have direct access to Taipei’s express rail service station to Taoyuan International Airport.

With that, both Nan Hai and Malton will proceed into the next phase of the bidding process and will commence negotiations on the terms of an investment agreement with the Taipei City authorities and are expected to enter into such agreement in March 2019.

To recap, Nan Hai and Malton had jointly submitted a bid to the Taipei city authorities on Oct 1. Nan Hai holds 80% interest in the bid and Malton the remaining 20%.


Zurich Takaful CEO to step down on Jan 13

PETALING JAYA: Zurich Takaful Malaysia Bhd CEO Salim Majid Zain (pix) will be stepping down from his position on Jan 13, 2019, according to a source.

SunBiz understands that an internal announcement on Salim’s departure was made to the company’s 1,400 staff last Friday.

The source said, Salim, 49, is headed to another company in the same industry, “to help build” the organisation. However, he declined to reveal the new organisation Salim is headed to.

Salim, who has more than two decades of experience in the industry has served as the CEO of Zurich Takaful since 2007. He was involved in key processes, including operational set-up, business strategy development, hiring, product development, marketing and sales.

Prior to his current role, Salim worked in various capacities under MAA Assurance which is now Zurich Takaful since 1992.

Zurich Insurance Group acquired MAA Takaful Bhd from MAA Group Bhd and Solidarity Group Holding BSC in June 2016.

MAA Takaful was then renamed Zurich Takaful Malaysia Bhd.

Under Salim’s leadership, Zurich Takaful grew into an agency with a workforce of 6,000 with an annual turnover of RM600 million and assets worth more than RM1 billion in 2017.


US stocks resume retreat after huge rally, Dow -2.1pc

NEW YORK, Dec 27 — Wall Street was back in sell-off mode early today, with the Dow falling 2 per cent amid worries over slowing economic growth that have dented sentiment for most of December. A day after notching its biggest-ever point gain, the…


zuirch

PETALING JAYA: Zurich Takaful Malaysia Bhd CEO Salim Majid Zain (pix) will be stepping down from his position on Jan 13, 2019, according to a source.

SunBiz understands that an internal announcement on Salim’s departure was made to the company’s 1,400 staff last Friday.

The source said, Salim, 49, is headed to another company in the same industry, “to help build” the organisation. However, he declined to reveal the new organisation Salim is headed to.

Salim, who has more than two decades of experience in the industry has served as the CEO of Zurich Takaful since 2007. He was involved in key processes, including operational set-up, business strategy development, hiring, product development, marketing and sales.

Prior to his current role, Salim worked in various capacities under MAA Assurance which is now Zurich Takaful since 1992.

Zurich Insurance Group acquired MAA Takaful Bhd from MAA Group Bhd and Solidarity Group Holding BSC in June 2016.

MAA Takaful was then renamed Zurich Takaful Malaysia Bhd.

Under Salim’s leadership, Zurich Takaful grew into an agency with a workforce of 6,000 with an annual turnover of RM600 million and assets worth more than RM1 billion in 2017.


TA Securities maintains ‘buy’ call on Genting despite new lawsuit

PETALING JAYA: TA Securities, which maintained a positive outlook on Genting Bhd, said it would be a big negative surprise to the market if the group fails to defend itself in the latest US$4 billion (RM16.7 billion) copyrights infringement lawsuit slapped against it.

“If Genting fails in defending this case, it will be a big negative surprise to the market as it is hard to imagine that all project designers and consultants involved in the project failed to identify the possible trademark infringement,” it said in a research note today.

Nonetheless, TA Securities believes that the recent sell-off in Genting shares on the back of the risk emanating from the termination of the 20th Century Fox theme park and the infringement of copyright of the Wynn Resorts Holdings buildings was overdone.

On that note, it is maintaining a “buy” call on Genting with a target price of RM8.80.

Genting’s share price rebounded 7 sen or 1.2% to RM6.09 today, while Genting Malaysia was up 2 sen or 0.7% to RM2.97.

To recap, Wynn Resorts, which owns the Wynn and Encore Resorts in Las Vegas, Nevada in the US, has filed a US$4 billion lawsuit against Resorts World Las Vegas (RWLV), which is accused of copying Wynn’s building design for the casino that it is building just across the road.

Wynn claimed that RWLV wants to mislead the public into believing its new 3,000-room project is affiliated with Wynn.

“We reserve our comments on the litigation. However, we would like to highlight that Genting’s interest in Las Vegas started with this abandoned Echelon project from Boyd Gaming, where Genting bought over the site in 2013 for US$350 million. It is believed that Echelon’s foundations and partially built hotel towers as well as an unfinished parking garage on the property’s southwest corner, would be incorporated into the new project,” said TA Securities.

Phase one of RWLV is expected to commence by end of 2020. However, if the court granted the injunction to Wynn, this project would likely be delayed.

TA Securities has not changed its earnings forecasts for Genting pending the final outcome of the litigation. Based on its projections, the group is expected to record a net profit of RM1.32billion, RM1.97billion and RM2.23 billion for FY18, FY19 and FY20 respectively.


Singapore vendors demand over S$700,000 from Ofo

SINGAPORE, Dec 27 — At least two companies here have sent letters of demand to beleaguered bike-sharing firm Ofo to claw back money owed for logistic services, TODAY has learnt. The two local vendors have not been paid for their services for at…


Ranhill aims to reduce NRW in Johor to 5% by 2025

PETALING JAYA: Ranhill Holdings Bhd’s subsidiary Ranhill SAJ Sdn Bhd is undertaking several measures to reduce non-revenue water (NRW) in Johor to 5% by 2025 from the current 24.12%, including a seven-year programme to address physical and commercial losses.

Ranhill SAJ operates and maintains a combined production capacity of 1,827 millions of liters per day (mld).

It has reduced the state’s NRW from 45% in 1999 to 24.12% at present, with a physical loss of only 17.5 cu m per kilometre of pipe per day.

The group said in a statement that Ranhill SAJ and Pengurusan Aset Air Sdn Bhd (PAAB) have allocated RM3.4 billion over the next seven years for the “Accelerated NRW Reduction Programme” in Johor in a bid to address physical and commercial loses.

Ranhill SAJ will repay the capital expenditure from PAAB through a lease rental arrangement with the company. The programme has been approved in principle by the Suruhanjaya Perkhidmatan Air Negara (SPAN).

There are also approximately 94 pipe rehabilitation projects to be completed by Ranhill SAJ by 2020.

“While Ranhill SAJ is already in full compliance with meeting the KPIs set by SPAN to reduce water loss in the state and has achieved the lowest NRW per kilometre of pipe in Malaysia, we must now fast track the reduction as demand for water continues to rise in tandem with growth in population, industrialisation and property development projects in Johor,” said Ranhill president and CEO Tan Sri Hamdan Mohamad.

“We have identified areas, where physical and commercial losses are most evident and these will be addressed by the programme. Given our reputation for consistency and reliability, we are confident of sustainably managing our water resources to meet our 5% NRW target by 2025,” he added.

As Ranhill SAJ accounts for approximately 77% of the Ranhill Group’s total revenue, the seven-year programme is expected to contribute positively to Ranhill SAJ’s as well as the group’s bottom line in the long term.


Vietnam posts decade-high growth of 7.1pc in 2018

HANOI, Dec 27 — Vietnam’s growth soared to more than 7 per cent this year, its highest in a decade, helped by a surge in its manufacturing sector. The country has long been one of Asia’s fastest growing economies — GDP growth topped 5 per…


EPF: Contributions up 11.56 % in Q3

KUALA LUMPUR: The Employees Provident Fund (EPF) saw an 11.56% increase in contributions in the third quarter ended Sept 30 to RM16.91 billion from RM15.16 billion in the same quarter last year, in tandem with the growth in memberships.

The total accumulated members’ contributions stood at RM785.59 billion as at end-Sept, representing an increment of 9.72% from RM715.97 billion in Q3 2017.

As at the end-Sept 2018, the number of EPF members totaled to about 14.09 million, of whom 7.2 million were active contributors, with 138,376 newly registered members.

The quarter under review also saw an increase of 10.74% in the number of newly registered employers to 17,791 from 16,065 in Q3 2017, bringing the total number of registered employers to 504,090.

During the quarter under review, the total number of approved applications for all withdrawals increased 6.93% to 616,835 from 576,836 in the same quarter last year.

The amount withdrawn however decreased slightly to RM11.52 million from the RM11.68 million recorded in the corresponding period last year.

The total number of approved applications for Age 55 Full Withdrawal in Q3 2018 dropped 53.60% to 16,726 (RM907.35 million) from 36,045 (RM2 billion) in the corresponding quarter in 2017.

Meanwhile, approved applications for Age 60 Full Withdrawal recorded an increase of 15% to 14,733 (RM217.77 million) in Q3 2018 from 12,811 (RM280.66 million) in Q3 2017.

The EPF also reported a marked increase in the number of applications for flexible withdrawal, compared to full withdrawal in the period under review, with approved applications for Age 55 Flexible Withdrawal increasing 57.76% to 70,955 from 44,976 in the corresponding period in 2017.

Total amount withdrawn under Age 55 Flexible Withdrawal was RM2.72 billion in Q3 2018, compared with RM1.80 billion in Q3 2017.

Approved applications for Age 60 Flexible Withdrawal, meanwhile, recorded a 45.7% increase to 43,289 (RM791.95 million) in Q3 2018 from 29,712 (RM662.05 million) in Q3 2017.

As for the usage of its electronic service, i-Akaun surged 83.45% to 11.09 million in Q3 2018, compared with 6.04 million in the corresponding quarter last year.