Friday, January 25th, 2019


IMF urges Greece to continue reforms, shore up banks

WASHINGTON, Jan 25 — In order to sustain hard-won gains, Greece should continue its economic reform programme and work quickly to shore up its banks, the International Monetary Fund said today. In the wake of the severe downturn, the Greek economy…

Wall Street opens higher on upbeat earnings

NEW YORK, Jan 25 — Wall Street rallied at the open today as upbeat earnings and political news helped buoy investor sentiment at the end of the week. Markets were also cheered by a Wall Street Journal report that the Federal Reserve could cease…

Munir Majid: Malaysian economy on the right track

GEORGE TOWN, Jan 25 — The country’s economy following the 14th General Elections (GE14) in May last year has been deemed by CIMB Asean Research Institute chairman, Tan Sri Munir Majid, as being on track for greater heights. He said this…

Sterling set for biggest rise in a year on Brexit hopes

LONDON, Jan 25 — The pound held near a 11-week high today and was poised for its biggest weekly rise in more than a year on growing optimism that Britain will avoid a no-deal Brexit. A newspaper report that the party that props up the minority…

MAHB: No counterclaim made in suits against AirAsia, AirAsia X

PETALING JAYA: Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) has clarified that there is no counterclaim made for the alleged sum in excess of RM400 million or details particularising the same in the civil suits against AirAsia X Bhd and AirAsia Bhd.

“The defendants will be availing itself of the statutory provisions for dispute resolution within the Malaysian Aviation Commission Act 2015 (Mavcom Act) to claim for the same,” it said in a filing with Bursa Malaysia today.

MAHB said its wholly owned subsidiary Malaysia Airports (Sepang) Sdn Bhd (the plaintiff), strongly refuted the allegations made by AirAsia X and AirAsia, and will be filing statements of reply.

“The plaintiff will respond to the defendants’ alleged loss and damage at the appropriate junction when details of the same are made available to the plaintiff and/or company,” it said.

Last month, the low-cost carrier group was sued by the airport operator for refusing to collect the additional RM23 passenger service charge (PSC) per passenger at klia2, with claims amounting to RM9.4 million from AirAsia and RM26.7 million from AirAsia X.

On Wednesday, AirAsia and AirAsia X filed a statement of defence against Malaysia Airports (Sepang), seeking over RM400 million in counterclaims.

Japan’s Asahi takes Pride in Fuller’s beer purchase

LONDON, Jan 25 — Japanese brewer Asahi has agreed to buy the beer business of London Pride-maker Fuller’s for £250 million (RM1.35 billion), the pair announced today. As well as purchasing the production and distribution operations of…

Suiwah to be privatised by SCR, repayment exercise

PETALING JAYA: Suiwah Corp Bhd’s major shareholder Suiwah Holdings Sdn Bhd intends to privatise the group by way of a selective capital reduction (SCR) and repayment exercise.

The proposed SCR entails a capital repayment which is equivalent to a cash amount of RM2.80 per ordinary share each in Suiwah held by the entitled shareholders on an entitlement date to be determined later.

The SCR cash amount represents a premium ranging from 23.35% to 38.61% over the closing price of Suiwah shares.

Suiwah founder and managing director Datuk Hwang Thean Long, the ultimate offeror for the exercise, together with the parties acting in concert, collectively hold a 30.91% stake in the group.

In a stock exchange filing, Suiwah said it has received a letter from Suiwah Holdings and parties acting in concert, requesting for the group to undertake a SCR and repayment exercise.

The exercise will be funded by internally generated funds and financing facilities.

“The privatisation of Suiwah by way of the proposed SCR would provide greater flexibility to Suiwah in managing and developing the existing businesses of Suiwah without the regulatory restrictions and cost associated with being listed on Bursa Securities,“ it said.

The offer will remain open for the board’s acceptance until Feb 11, 2019.

“The non-interested directors will deliberate on the proposed SCR and upon consultation with an independent adviser to be appointed will decide on the next course of action.”

Seventy-five countries launch WTO e-commerce talks

DAVOS, Jan 25 — Ministers from 75 countries launched talks towards drawing up global e-commerce rules amid growing calls for technology to be more closely regulated internationally. The talks were announced by the EU’s top trade official,…

EcoFirst earnings fall 86.27% in Q2

PETALING JAYA: EcoFirst Consolidated Bhd’s net profit for the second quarter ended Nov 30, 2018 plunged 86.27% to RM4.06 million from RM29.61 million a year ago, due to a gain from disposal of land recognised a year ago.

In a filing with Bursa Malaysia, the company said the higher profit last year included a RM28.38 million gain from the compulsory disposal of land for the Sg Besi Ulu Kelang Elevated Expressway.

Revenue for the quarter rose 41.68% to RM57.29 million from RM40.43 million a year ago due to progress at its RM606.8 million Liberty project at Ampang Ukay, which boosted core operating income.

For the six months ended Nov 30, 2018, net profit fell 75.19% to RM8.76 million from RM35.30 million a year ago while revenue rose 19.70% to RM102.00 million from RM85.22 million a year ago.

Excluding gain from the land disposal, EcoFirst posted a 14% rise in core operating income to RM14.5 million during the period, against RM12.7 million in the first half of 2017.

“The increase in our core operating income reflects our improving ability to generate organic growth. Liberty is progressing well according to schedule and we’re on track to meet its full completion in November 2019,” said EcoFirst Group CEO Datuk Tiong Kwing Hee.

Meanwhile, EcoFirst is broadening its development activities beyond Ampang Ukay, with a joint venture with the Penang-based Lone Pine group which developed the award-winning One Tanjong luxury seafront condominium in Tanjung Bungah.

In December 2018, EcoFirst proposed to acquire a 70% stake in the Lone Pine group’s Geo Valley Sdn Bhd, which is developing a RM1.25 billion mixed residential and commercial project in Paya Terubong.

“While Ampang Ukay will remain the prime mover in EcoFirst’s growth over the long term, our strategy is to partner reputable and well-known brands such as the Lone Pine group for more impact over the short and medium term,” said Tiong.

“We are assessing a number of other projects in the Klang Valley that will boost EcoFirst’s bottom-line in the next two to three years. We will make the necessary announcement once the deals are concluded in accordance to the Bursa listing guidelines,” he added.

Ranhill targets 174 mld water treatment capacity in Thailand

PETALING JAYA: Ranhill Holdings Bhd aims to increase its capacity in Thailand to 174 million litres per day (mld) by 2022 by securing more water and wastewater projects from major industrial parks.

Ranhill Group president and chief executive Tan Sri Hamdan Mohamad said the group is set to expand its international footprint in the long term, with Thailand being one of its two primary markets alongside China.

“Our plants have gained a stellar reputation for meeting the standards set by local authorities and for efficient, technology driven, cost-effective water management. Given Ranhill Group’s expertise, track record and sustainable practices, clearly there are opportunities to be tapped in water and wastewater management in Thailand,” he said in a statement today.

With 10 water treatment, wastewater treatment and water reclamation plants in operations, Ranhill’s total water treatment aggregate capacity in Thailand now stands at 114 mld.

“Water reclamation is a growing component of our environment business overseas, with reclaimed or recycled water as an alternative water source that can efficiently meet the growing industrial demand as the volume of wastewater discharge increases.

“We see tremendous prospects in Thailand especially with the Thai government’s focus on regulating the water sector and continued growth expected in industrial projects in the Eastern Seaboard region, viewed by the World Bank as one of the most successful sites for massive industrial developments,” said Hamdan.

Ranhill’s new 7 mld reclamation water treatment plant in Thailand’s Amata City Rayong Industrial Estate has commenced operations.

The build, operate and transfer (BOT) project with a 20-year concession agreement was signed between Ranhill’s indirect subsidiary AnuRAK Water Treatment Facilities Co Ltd and Amata Water Co Ltd in March 2018.

The completion of this BOT project brings the group’s investment in the water treatment, wastewater treatment and water reclamation plants in Thailand to THB992 million (about RM129 million), capable of generating water, waste water and reclaim water sales of over THB4,100 million (about RM534 million) throughout the concession period.

The group currently has two water reclamation projects in Thailand with a total capacity of 17 mld. In addition to the 7 mld plant, Ranhill also ‘build and operate’ a similar 10 mld facility in Amata City Chonburi (formerly known as Amata Nakorn), which has been in operation since 2008.