Friday, January 18th, 2019


Renault posts record sales as Ghosn successor sought

PARIS, Jan 18 — French carmaker Renault unveiled record sales today of nearly 3.9 million vehicles last year, even as it prepares to turn the page on the era of chief executive Carlos Ghosn who remains behind bars in Tokyo on fraud charges. The…

Tesla to cut workforce by 7pc, sees smaller Q4 profit

JANUARY 18 — Tesla Inc said it would cut thousands of jobs to rein in costs as it ramps up production of its crucial Model 3 sedan, and the electric car maker expects fourth-quarter profit to be lower than the previous quarter, sending its shares…

Scomi units in RM36.15m default

PETALING JAYA: Scomi Group Bhd’s sub-subsidiary Urban Transit Private Limited (UTPL) and subsidiary Scomi Engineering Bhd (SEB) have each received a notice of demand from India’s Axis Bank Limited for 624.63 million rupee (RM36.15 million) due to failure by UTPL (as borrower) and SEB (as guarantor) to pay under the bank facilities granted to UTPL.

“UTPL and SEB are still in the process of negotiating with Axis Bank. Currently, there are no business, financial and operational impact of the default on Scomi,“ the group said in a stock exchange filing.

This will give rise to an event of default by virtue of the cross-default provision under the financing documents in respect of a leasing facility amounting to RM1.29 million and an overdraft and foreign exchange contract facility (zero outstanding) granted to certain subsidiaries of Scomi.

Axis Bank has the right to proceed with legal proceedings against UTPL as the borrower and SEB as the guarantor. Scomi has no liability in respect of obligations incurred under the bank facilities as they are neither a borrower nor a security party.

“By virtue of the cross default provision of the financing documents, the respective financiers will have the right to declare the financing facilities therein be cancelled and will become due and payable immediately. The financiers may enforce on the securities created under the respective financing documents, if any.”

Scomi said UTPL and SEB are not major subsidiaries of the company.

BCorp inks MoU with SAIC Motor Corp

PETALING JAYA: Berjaya Corp Bhd (BCorp) has proposed to collaborate with SAIC Motor Corp Ltd’s unit to manufacture, assemble and sell British car marque, Morris Garages (MG) in Malaysia.

BCorp told the stock exchange that it had entered into a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on Jan 16, with SAIC Motor Passenger Vehicle Company (SMPV), which is a Shanghai Stock Exchange-listed branch company of SAIC Motor Corp Ltd.

The MoU was inked for a proposed collaboration to manufacture, assemble and sell the MG brand in Malaysia.

The proposed collaboration also entails the provision of after sale services and other related supporting services in Malaysia.

SMPV is involved in the manufacturing and sales of self-owned brand vehicles including ROEWE and MG. It is also involved in research and development.

BCorp is expected to make a separate announcement once the parties have entered into the definitive agreements.

Deutsche and Commerzbank: a marriage of (in)convenience?

FRANKFURT AM MAIN, Jan 18 — Will they or won’t they? If Germany is to become home to a global banking giant, as Berlin wants, then troubled Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank may be headed down the aisle — but observers say it is hardly a match…

Ringgit closes slightly higher against dollar on higher oil price

KUALA LUMPUR: The ringgit closed slightly higher against US dollar today backed by higher oil prices, said a dealer.

At 6pm, the ringgit was quoted at 4.1100/1150 compared with 4.1120/1150 against the greenback yesterday.

The dealer said the rising oil prices offered support to the ringgit as other Asian currencies fell, following global uncertainty especially involving the United Kingdom, the United States and China.

“The upcoming trade talks between the US and China at the end of this month are being monitored closely by investors. Investors are also watching closely the development in the UK on Brexit,“ he told Bernama.

At the time of writing, benchmark Brent crude was recorded at US$61.54 per barrel.

Overall, the ringgit traded mostly higher against other major currencies.

It rose against the Singapore dollar to 3.0301/0342 from 3.0318/0344 on Thursday and slightly increased versus the euro to 4.6842/6903 from 4.6844/6895 yesterday.

The local unit also appreciated vis-a-vis the Japanese yen to 3.7507/7559 from 3.7811/7850 previously, but depreciated against the British pound to 5.3179/3248 from 5.2954/2009. — Bernama

Positive sentiment lifts Bursa Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 18 — Persistent buying momentum in index-linked counters helped push Bursa Malaysia to close firmer today in tandem with the rally in global equities, boosted by positive market sentiment amid optimism over the US-China trade…

Mesiniaga bags RM1.9b Xiddig job

PETALING JAYA: Mesiniaga Bhd has accepted a RM1.9 billion contract from Xiddig Cellular Communications Sdn Bhd for the commissioning of the core, metro distribution and access network with related support systems for the EM-IIG project.

The contract is effective today and ends on March 31, 2020.

The proposed transaction is expected to contribute positively to the company’s earnings and net assets over the contract period. It is also expected to have a positive effect on the earnings per share and gearing.

“The risks relate mainly to meeting deadlines imposed by the customer and meeting the terms of the service level commitments. The company has however taken the necessary steps to mitigate the risks,“ it said.

RAM projects up to RM80b gross corporate bond issuance for 2019

PETALING JAYA: Gross corporate bond issuance is expected to come in at RM70 billion to RM80 billion this year, lower than the RM105.4 billion recorded in 2018, said RAM Ratings.

“This is primarily due to the government’s project rationalisation drive and the lengthening of project implementation time frames. This would dampen new quasi-government debt issue that had previously propped up issuance value in 2017 and to some extent, 2018,” RAM head of research Kristina Fong (pix) said in a statement today.

RAM said the change in policy direction could also, in turn, dampen the issuance activities of other infrastructure- and construction-related issuers as well as the relevant financing entities from the private sector.

However, the government bonds segment does not share the same issuance outlook as gross Malaysian Government Securities/Government Investment Issues (MGS/GII) issuance is anticipated to remain stable in 2019, with a projected range of RM110 billion to RM120 billion, which takes into account the government’s deficit financing needs and the amount of bonds set to mature this year.

RAM also expects foreign bond holdings to remain muted in 2019, given the backdrop of lingering global uncertainties, with some outflow bias on the expectation that the US Federal Reserve will keep raising interest rates in 2019.

“That said, the outflow this year is unlikely to revisit the levels of 2018, given the anticipated deceleration in the pace of rate hikes, which should moderate the risk of capital flight. The latest dot plot by the Fed shows that it now expects just two rate increases in 2019 compared to the previous forecast of three, a marked reduction from the four hikes in 2018,” it said.

In 2018, gross corporate bond issuance came in at RM105.4 billion, exceeding RAM’s projected range of RM90 billion to RM100 billion, partly supported by large front-loaded issuances in the first quarter, ahead of the expected increase in the Federal Funds Rate in March as well as the sustained momentum of issuance following the 14th General Election for Malaysia.

“That said, the bond market still declined year-on-year in 2018, having come off a bumper year in 2017, when issuance hit a high of RM124.9 billion. On the government bond space, issuance value of MGS/GII remained steady in 2018, having rose a tad bit to RM114.8 billion – which is in line with our expectation of RM110 billion to RM120 billion – from RM113.9 billion of 2017,” RAM said.

According to RAM, foreign investors had largely shorted the Malaysian fixed income market in 2018, as observed by the prevalent net foreign outflow throughout the year.

Note that net foreign selling of bonds amounted to RM21.9 billion in 2018, marking the largest outflow since 2008, when it clocked in at RM35.3 billion.

“This is not a big surprise given the faster pace of global liquidity tightening, along with a surge in investors’ risk aversion as foreign policy direction becomes more uncertain in an era of trade protectionism and myriad geopolitical concerns,” it said.

In addition, the unexpected change in the Malaysian government and a slew of consequent policy changes and resultant uncertainties also affected investor sentiment.

As a result of the stronger selloff, accompanied by the rise in short-term interest rate in the US which place larger upward pressure on shorter-term yields, MGS yield curve ended last year higher and slightly flatter compared to 2017.

Saudis cut, Russians hiked output ahead of pact, says IEA

PARIS, Jan 18 — Saudi Arabia demonstrated its resolve to lift oil prices by slashing output ahead of the entry into force of new pact limiting production while Russia boosted output to a record level, the International Energy Agency said Friday….