Monday, January 7th, 2019


Brazil government not looking to interrupt Embraer-Boeing tie-up, says official

BRASILIA, Jan 7 — The Brazilian government is not poised to interrupt plans for a tie-up between national planemaker Embraer and US giant Boeing, a senior official said today, days after President Jair Bolsonaro expressed wariness over the…

US Supreme Court rejects Exxon in climate change document fight

WASHINGTON, Jan 7 — The US Supreme Court today cleared the way for the attorney general of Massachusetts to obtain records from Exxon Mobil Corp to probe whether the oil company for decades concealed its knowledge of the role fossil fuels play in…

US stocks open flat ahead of week’s economic data

NEW YORK, Jan 7 — Wall Street stocks were little changed early today following last week’s volatility and ahead of key US economic data releases later in the week. About 10 minutes into trading, the Dow Jones Industrial was down 0.2 per cent at…

Trade war ‘certainly’ hurting China economy, says US official

WASHINGTON, Jan 7 — China’s economy is more vulnerable to the fallout in the current trade stand-off with Washington and already has been hurt by the dispute, US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said today. Ross’s remarks emphasised President…

UK’s no-deal Brexit truck ‘war game’ prompts scorn

MANSTON (England), Jan 7 — Britain’s government sent a convoy of 87 trucks on a test-run from a little-used airport to the country’s main trading gateway to continental Europe today — a rehearsal for the upheaval of a no-deal Brexit that was…

US, China could settle immediate trade issues, says Ross on CNBC

WASHINGTON, Jan 7 — The United States and China are likely to reach a good settlement over immediate trade issues while agreement on structural trade issues and enforcement will be harder, US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross said today as…

Malaysian businesses less optimistic on prospects for next six months: RAM Ratings

PETALING JAYA: Malaysian businesses are displaying less optimistic sentiment on prospects for the next six months as the RAM Business Confidence Index (RAM BCI) fell to its lowest level since its inception two year ago.

RAM said in a statement today that the corporate and the SME indices of the RAM BCI declined to 55.1 and 51.0 respectively, although the reading above 50.0 still denotes positive sentiment.

The RAM BCI is a comprehensive survey jointly conducted by RAM Holdings Bhd and RAM Credit Information Sdn Bhd, on business sentiment in Malaysia. Released quarterly, the index is based on data from a survey of close to 3,500 SMEs and corporates across five main industry segments respectively.

The cooler sentiment is attributable predominantly to the weak economic prospects in the next six months, with a number of firms citing this as the main challenge, rising to 41.2% and 41% both corporate and SME segments.

Decelerating domestic growth, uncertain global demand and investment activities and a lack of positive catalysts, including the relatively neutral Budget 2019, all play a part in the generally weaker business sentiment on the next six months.

On a sectoral basic, the construction sector appeared the least bullish with the SME sector recording a reading at 49.7 while the corporate sector declined for the third time in a row to 53.0.

Without any new growth catalyst amid the property overhang, plus the shelving of new big-ticket infrastructure projects, it is not surprising that the construction sub-indices have hit record lows, RAM said.

Another sector that showed pessimism in the Q1-Q2 2019 survey is SME retail as its performance outlook slipped back into negative territory after a brief expansionary momentum that had been aided by the tax-free window from June to August 2018.

“Faced with uncertain global and domestic economic prospects, consumers are once again more prudent with their spending, leading to weaker sentiment on retail consumption in 2019,” it added.

On the back of weaker prospects, the firms are also holding back from capacity building with the sub-indices tracking corporate business expansion, capital investment and hiring recording a fall in three consecutive surveys.

Likewise, the capacity-building sub-indices for SMEs pulled back from the last survey and remain below those of corporates.

RAM noted that firms’ expressed reticence on capacity building remains the most prominent downside risk, as it could weigh on the momentum of economic growth in 2019 and potential economic output over the longer run. This is particularly true in respect of SMEs, which are more vulnerable and sensitive to immediate economic challenges.

“That said, more guidance on future economic policies that will shape the overall business environment will be crucial to building business confidence among firms, potentially being the game changer for a more resilient growth trajectory this year,” it added.

Eli Lilly to acquire Loxo Oncology for US$8b

WASHINGTON, Jan 7 — Pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly will acquire cancer treatment specialist Loxo Oncology in a cash deal valued at around US$8 billion, the companies said today. The firms “announced a definitive agreement for Lilly to acquire…

DPI Holdings makes bullish debut on ACE Market

PETALING JAYA: DPI Holdings Bhd made a bullish debut on the ACE Market of Bursa Malaysia today, opening at 34.5 sen, a premium of 9.5 sen or 38% over its offer price of 25 sen, and subsequently rose as much as 40% or 10 sen to 35 sen at one stage.

The stock’s gains, however, were pared in the afternoon session. DPI’s share price closed at 27 sen for a premium of 2 sen or 8%, giving the company a maket capitalisation of RM131.42 million. It was the most actively traded stock today with 128.49 million shares changing hands.

DPI’s initial public offering (IPO) raised RM31.6 million, which will be used to double the capacity of its aerosol can production. The group is looking to develop a new range of aerosol paint products fordifferent markets.

“Going forward, we are looking towards increasing our range of products, with either the introduction of new colours or complementary products to aerosol paints. The new products will be geared towards entering new markets.

“We are doing this to accommodate the differing demands to keep up with requirements in each country. With this, we hope to position ourselves to capture this larger market potential,” said DPI executive chairman and managing director Peter Chai @ Choy Mui Seng.

Of the IPO proceeds, RM1.3 million is set aside for evelopment of new products.

The group recently acquired a new fully automated aerosol-filling machine for the existing plant, which is part of its plan to fully automate the existing three production lines. In addition, DPI will build a factory with four fully automated aerosol-filling lines, which will begin operations by the first half of 2020. The new factory and upgraded lines will double the annual production capacity to 20.0 million cans, from 9.7 million cans currently.

Sapura Energy units bag RM760m worth of jobs

PETALING JAYA: Sapura Energy Bhd’s wholly owned subsidiaries have clinched several contracts and contract extensions with a combined value of RM760 million.

The jobs include one contract in Angola and two contract extensions in Malaysia for the drilling segment and two local contracts for the engineering and construction segment.

In a filing with Bursa Malaysia, the group said the contract in Angola is for the provision of a semi-submersible tender assisted drilling rig and drilling services for Cabinda Gulf Oil Company Limited under a two year contract with two possible extensions of six months.

The two contract extensions are for the provision of a semi-submersible tender assisted drilling rig with Sarawak Shell Bhd/Sabah Shell Petroleum Company Limited and provision of semi-tender assisted drilling rig with Petronas Carigali Sdn Bhd.

Meanwhile, the engineering and construction contracts involve the provision of engineering, procurement, construction and commissioning (EPCC) of PFLNG 1 Relocation and Tie In by Petronas Floating LNG 1 (L) Ltd and provision of EPCC plus installation for full field development Phase 2 Facilities by Hess Exploration and Production Malaysia B.V.

Sapura Energy said the latest achievements have lifted the value of contract wins to RM9.3 billion for its current financial year ending Jan 31, 2019.