Monday, February 11th, 2019


MAHB tells AirAsia to remove online articles

PETALING JAYA: A week after Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) rejected AirAsia’s offer of mediation, the airport operator has served a letter of demand on the low-cost airline group to remove several articles published on the latter’s online portal, AirAsia Newsroom.

In a statement today, the airport operator said it has, together with its wholly owned subsidiary Malaysia Airports (Sepang) Sdn Bhd, jointly issued and served a letter of demand on AirAsia Bhd, its long-haul affiliate AirAsia X Bhd and their respective CEOs Riad Asmat and Benyamin Ismail in respect of several inaccurate and misleading articles.

In response, AirAsia said it is puzzled that MAHB continues to use its dominant position and the threat of legal action to stifle and suppress fair comments.

MAHB has demanded that AirAsia remove the articles immediately from the online portal, and cease and desist immediately from making further false, inaccurate and misleading statements about MAHB and its unit.

“While MAHB takes no issue with AirAsia informing its shareholders of the progress and status of court suits in accordance with the law, AirAsia has overstepped its boundaries by publishing false, inaccurate and misleading statements in the media aimed at damaging the reputation of MAHB.

“Following this, MAHB has no choice but to necessarily issue the letter of demand to protect its interests,” it said.

MAHB said it maintains its long-standing position that the relevant dispute and related matters have all been presented before the courts for determination and parties should let the matters be decided by the courts.

“Hence, there is no necessity for AirAsia to make disparaging remarks about MAHB,” it added.

MAHB said it has reserved all its rights to take further necessary action should AirAsia refuse to comply with the letter of demand and/or persist in making further false, inaccurate and misleading statements about the group.

The parties have been embroiled in a dispute over passenger service charge (PSC) imposed on passengers at klia2, with MAHB taking AirAsia to court for refusing to collect the additional RM23 PSC per passenger.

E&O raising up to RM550.3m for STP2, cutting debt

PETALING JAYA: Eastern & Oriental Bhd (E&O) is looking to raise up to RM550.3 million via a private placement and rights issue with warrants to fund the Seri Tanjung Pinang Phase 2 (STP2) project and repayment of bank borrowings.

STP2 is E&O’s key development project which will be completed in phases over 15 to 20 years.

The project is divided into three phases and the first phase will be developed over a period of 15 years with an expected gross development value of over RM17 billion.

In a filing with Bursa Malaysia, E&O said the proposed fundraising exercise, which will enable the group to achieve a balanced capital structure, is estimated to raise at least RM250 million or up to RM550.3 million.

Under the maximum scenario, RM200 million will be used for repayment of borrowings, RM300 million for property projects, RM48.8 million for general working capital and RM1.5 million for estimated expenses of the proposed exercise.

As at Sept 30, 2018, the group has total loans and borrowings amounting to RM1.48 billion, including a RM350 million redeemable convertible medium term notes due in March and April 2020.

“Upon partial repayment of the borrowings, the group is expected to enjoy interest savings of between RM7.8 million to RM10.5 million per annum based on an average interest rate of 5.23% per annum assuming the partial repayment under the minimum and maximum scenario of RM150 million and RM200 million respectively,” it said.

The proceeds raised will also be used to fund The Conlay and The Peak projects in Kuala Lumpur.

IRB slaps UOA units with notices for RM40 extra tax, penalties

PETALING JAYA: UOA Development Bhd’s wholly owned subsidiaries Windsor Triumph Sdn Bhd and Sunny Uptown Sdn Bhd were served by the Inland Revenue Board (IRB) with notices of additional assessment for the Year of Assessment 2013, for additional income tax of RM25.56 million and penalty of RM14.06 million.

Windsor Triumph and Sunny Uptown have filed an appeal to dispute the additional assessment.

Windsor Triumph was served an additional assessment of RM8.99 million and penalty of RM4.94 million which were due to an adjustment by the IRB of the market value of properties that Windsor Triumph had withdrawn as a stock-in-trade to hold as investment property.

Meanwhile, Sunny Uptown was served an additional assessment of RM16.57 million and penalty of RM9.11 million on the back of an adjustment by the IRB of the selling price at market value, of properties that Sunny Uptown had assigned to another wholly owned subsidiary of the company on an “as is” basis.

UOA said both subsidiaries relied on valuations by a professional, independent and experienced registered valuer. These valuations were adjusted by the IRB by substituting them with valuations subsequently conducted by the Valuation and Property Services Department.

SC reviews proposals for venture capital industry

PETALING JAYA: The Securities Commission Malaysia (SC) is reviewing recommendations proposed by the Institute for Capital Market Research (ICMR) which aims to drive the venture capital (VC) industry.

In its independent report, ICMR highlighted the need for targeted government interventions to catalyse greater private sector participation, more integrated cooperation among the VC ecosystem stakeholders and adoption of a global mindset.

The report proposed eight interconnected recommendations to be considered including the restructuring of existing public VCs to be more commercially-driven, facilitation of the expansion of the venture debt sector and further liberalisation of VC tax incentives.

It also recommends the establishment of a dedicated government agency to bridge the funding gap for nascent and high-growth ventures as well as the creation of a single platform for market access to assist domestic entrepreneurs overcome developmental challenges.

The recommendations are based on an in-depth study by ICMR, which was commissioned by the SC as part of its ongoing efforts to facilitate the intermediation of risk capital and enhance access to financing for start-ups and early stage companies in the Malaysian capital market.

The SC said it will engage with relevant industry stakeholders directly as well as through the Malaysian Venture Capital and Private Equity Development Council, which it chairs, on the operationalisation of these recommendations.

UOB: Malaysia’s GDP growth to edge up to 4.7pc in Q4 2018

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 11 — Malaysia’s gross domestic product (GDP) growth is likely to edge up to 4.7 per cent in the fourth quarter (Q4) of 2018, from the 4.4 per cent reported in Q3, in line with Bloomberg’s market consensus, says United…

Foreign buying on Bursa picks up slightly

PETALING JAYA: Foreign funds acquired RM163.2 million net of local stocks last week, compared to RM146.8 million net in the week before, according to MIDF Research.

The increase in foreign buying was partially due to the 0.53% appreciation of the ringgit against the greenback on Thursday, bucking the weakness in emerging Asian currencies, as it continues to track a recovery in crude oil and palm oil prices this year, the research house said in its fund flow report today.

The ringgit retained its positive momentum as it appreciated 0.7% against the greenback for the week to 4.0688.

“The momentum of foreign funds entering into Bursa inched higher last week despite the festive period. The eve of Chinese New Year recorded a decent foreign net inflow of RM49.1 million net despite the half-day trading session,” MIDF said.

“The momentum of foreign net inflows picked up to a tune of RM89.4 million as markets reopened from the Chinese New Year break on Thursday,” it added.

The FBM KLCI inched 0.2% higher for the week after closing at 1,687 points.

MIDF said offshore funds continued to make their way into Malaysian equities for the fifth straight day on Friday at a slower pace of RM24.6 million net.

“It was noteworthy that other Asian peers such as South Korea, Thailand and Indonesia experienced a sizeable foreign net outflow on the same day amidst renewed trade concerns after President Trump said he will not meet Xi Jinping before the March 1 deadline,” it said.

On a year-to-date basis as of last Friday, MIDF said Malaysia has seen a foreign net inflow of RM1.19 billion, which is more than half of what was seen during the same period last year.

In comparison with other four Asean markets that it tracks, MIDF said Malaysia currently has the second lowest foreign net inflow with Indonesia remaining the leader with a foreign net inflow of US$997.7 million (RM4.1 billion).

Additionally, it said participation amongst all investor groups declined during the week, noting that foreign investors recorded the biggest weekly drop in average daily traded value, declining by 43.2% to drop below the RM1 billion mark.

Manufacturing sales in December up 7.5%

PETALING JAYA: Malaysia’s manufacturing sales posted an increase of 7.5% in December 2018 to RM72.3 billion, from RM67.3 billion a year ago, the Statistics Department said.

The growth was supported by the increase in electrical and electronics products (12%), transport equipment and other manufactures products (9.1%) and petroleum, chemical, rubber and plastic products (5%), the department said in a statement today.

It added that the total employees engaged in the manufacturing sector in December 2018 was 1.08 million persons, a rise of 1.7% or 18,044 persons as compared with 1.06 million persons in December 2017.

The department also stated that salaries and wages paid rose 10.1% or RM381.5 million to RM4.16 billion, thus registering an average salaries and wages per employee of RM3,863 in December 2018.

Simultaneously, it said sales value per employee grew 5.7% to RM67,249 as compared with the same month of the previous year.

“Elaborating further, overall 2018, the sales value of the manufacturing sector registered an increase of 7.7% to RM824.8 billion. The number of employees engaged during the period, went up by 1.7% to register 1.08 million persons.

“Cumulatively, sales value per employee during the reference period rose by 5.9% to record RM766,840,” it added.

UK posts slowest growth in six years ahead of Brexit

LONDON, Feb 11 — Britain's economy grew at the slowest pace in six years in 2018 with near-flat output in the final quarter, data showed Monday, as Brexit uncertainty and weaker global growth bites. Gross domestic product growth stood at 1.4 per…

Buying interest in banking heavyweights lifts Bursa Malaysia at close

KUALA LUMPUR: Bursa Malaysia ended higher today lifted by buying interest in selected banking heavyweights, dealers said.

At 5pm, the benchmark FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI (FBM KLCI) finished trading at 1,688.56, up 2.04 points, from Friday’s close of 1,686.52.

The barometer index moved between 1,681.64 and 1,689.74 throughout the day, after opening 2.18 points firmer at 1,688.7.

A dealer said the market was experiencing pockets of small rallies within a generally depressed market as fund managers took advantage of the rallies to generate returns in this challenging year.

He added that the firmer Chinese stock market, which resumed trading after the long Lunar New Year break, also helped local market sentiment despite ongoing concerns over US-China trade row.

Among banking heavyweights, Maybank added one sen to RM9.59, Public Bank perked 16 sen to RM25.08 and CIMB rose nine sen to RM5.76.

Of actives, Prestariang climbed 7.5 sen to 43.5 sen and Green Packet gained one sen to 43 sen.

Sapura Energy, Bumi Armada and Priceworth were all flat at 28 sen, 23.5 sen and five sen, respectively.

Market breadth was positive with 489 gainers and 351 losers while 354 counters remained unchanged, 659 untraded and 23 others were suspended.

Total volume rose to 2.57 billion units, valued at RM1.66 billion, from Friday’s 2.48 billion units valued at RM1.72 billion.

The FBM Emas Index increased 3.30 points to 11,728.82 while the FBMT 100 Index eased 1.97 points to 11,599.57 and the FBM Emas Shariah Index erased 17.83 points to 11,575.2.

The FBM 70 fell 68.29 points to 13,964.61 but the FBM Ace Index rose 28.3 points to 4,583.52.

Sector-wise, the Financial Services Index jumped 65.561 points to 17,707.67, the Industrial Products and Services Index perked 0.53 of a point to 162.5 while the Plantation Index shed 41.11 points to 7,258.49.

Main Market volume rose to 1.93 billion shares, valued at RM1.55 billion, against Friday’s 1.9 billion shares valued at RM1.59 billion.

Warrants turnover narrowed to 347.83 million units, worth RM64.82 million, from 389.26 million units, valued at RM90.31 million, transacted on Friday.

Volume on the ACE Market rose to 289.21 million shares, valued at RM46.87 million, compared with 191.34 million shares, worth RM35.98 million, recorded previously.

Consumer products and services accounted for 259.71 million shares traded on the Main Market, industrial products and services (321.9 million), construction (140.4 million), technology (201.95 million), SPAC (nil), financial services (41.81 million), property (106.14 million), plantations (49.76 million), REITs (12.19 million), closed/fund (6,300), energy (509.32 million), healthcare (27.31 million), telecommunications and media (229.35 million), transportation and logistics (23.76 million), and utilities (14.07 million).

The physical price of gold as at 5pm stood at RM165.70 per gramme, up 14 sen from RM165.56 at 5pm last Friday. — Bernama

UAE oil minister expects oil market to reach balance in first quarter

DUBAI, Feb 11 — The oil market should reach a balance between supply and demand in the first quarter of this year, United Arab Emirates' Oil Minister Suhail Al Mazrouei told Al-Arabiya television today. He said he was satisfied with the…