Tuesday, March 5th, 2019


UEM Edgenta sees commercial healthcare as growth driver

KUALA LUMPUR: UEM Edgenta Bhd (UEMEd) sees commercial healthcare as the growth driver for this year as the company is actively bidding for new contracts.

The healthcare segment, which is divided into concession and commercial sub-segments, contributes 54% to the asset and facilities management group’s revenue.

Managing director and CEO Datuk Azmir Merican said UEMEd was confident of securing more business in Singapore as the island nation’s public healthcare sector was currently undergoing a restructuring process, whereby it will be streamlined into three integrated clusters.

“We will focus on improving our share in the Singapore market, where we are positioned at second place in terms of healthcare support services. To do this, we will deepen the value chain and offerings,” he said during a media briefing today on UEMEd’s outlook for the financial year ending Dec 31.

On Taiwan, another market where it has a healthcare sector presence, Azmir said the company was looking to upsell more services to its existing customers and UEMEd was currently bidding for four contracts with significant values. However, he declined to elaborate on either the contracts or the segment.

UEMEd’s core businesses are healthcare support services, property and facility solutions, infrastructure services as well as asset consultancy.

UEMEd has secured contracts across its four core businesses in FY18, and the value of contracts in hand as at Dec 31, 2018, was RM13.4 billion.

Azmir said infrastructure solutions would also contribute to the company’s growth this year, the second largest after the healthcare segment.

“We are optimistic of prospects in the healthcare support and infrastructure services, and we are exploring opportunities to provide project management services for new highways and roads,” he explained.

Responding to a question, Azmir said UEMEd had an open-minded policy on mergers and acquisitions, especially if the exercise could widen the company’s geographical footprint. However, he said, the company was not in talks with any party on that matter.

On a separate matter, he urged the government to consider giving incentives to all industries, including the services sector, to reduce foreign labour dependency, rather than limiting them to the manufacturing sector.

HeiTech Padu bags RM23m Socso contract

PETALING JAYA: HeiTech Padu Bhd has been awarded a RM23.33 million contract for the development and integration of Social Security Organisation’s (Socso) scheme management application system.

In a filing with Bursa Malaysia, the group said it has accepted the letter of award issued by Socso for the 38-month contract which commences on March 13, 2019 till May 12, 2022.

The contract is expected to have positive impact on the future earnings and earnings per share of the group but will not have material impact on the dividend policy, share capital and substantial shareholdings of the company for the financial year ending Dec 31, 2019.

LBI Capital to undertake bonus issue with warrants

PETALING JAYA: LBI Capital Bhd is planning to undertake a bonus issue of up to 16.43 million new shares together with up to 49.3 million free detachable warrants on the basis of one bonus share together with three warrants for every five existing ordinary shares in LBI.

Based on the maximum scenario and assuming full exercise of the warrants at 50 sen per warrant, a total of up to 49.30 new LBI shares would be issued and the company could potentially raise gross proceeds of up to RM24.65 million, according to its filing with the stock exchange.

The proceeds raised will be used for the future working capital requirements of the group, including payment of trade and other payables, staff costs and other operating expenses.

The proposed bonus issue of shares with warrants is to reward existing shareholders for their continued support while enhancing its capital base.

“It will enable the existing shareholders to have greater participation in the equity of the company in terms of the number of LBI shares held, whilst maintaining their percentage of equity interest,” it said.

The group has also terminated its existing employees’ share option scheme, which will be replaced by the establishment of a long-term incentive plan (LTIP) of up to 15% of the total number of issued shares of the company for eligible directors and employees of the group.

The proposed LTIP is to attract, retain, motivate and reward directors and employees of the group that contribute to the performance and growth of the group. It shall comprise the proposed share grant plan and proposed share option plan.

Upon implementation, the proposed LTIP shall be in force for five years. The board may extend the scheme for another five years if it deems fit and upon recommendation of the LTIP committee.

Ministry confident of achieving MSPO goal by Jan 1, 2020

KUALA LUMPUR: The Ministry of Primary Industries is fully confident of achieving the Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil (MSPO) certification by Jan 1, 2020.

Deputy Primary Industries Minister Datuk Seri Shamsul Iskandar Mohd Akin said as at February 2019, some 30% out of 5.8 million ha had been certified.

He said there was good progress among the organised group such as those under the Federal Land Development Authority and Federal Land Consolidation and Rehabilitation Authority towards the MSPO certification.

On the other hand, he said compliance among smallholders in the disorganised group, who made up about 12% of estate owners in the country, remained a concern, hence, continuous effort was needed to get them certified.

“We have to do it whether we like it or not. The entire industries that relate to palm oil must be on the ground to ensure the promises to consumers are fulfilled,” he told Bernama at a luncheon organised by Gamalux Oils Sdn Bhd in conjunction with the Palm and Lauric Oils Price Outlook Conference & Exhibition today.

Shamsul Iskandar said the MSPO adoption was one of the ways to counter the sustainability issue raised by the European Union (EU), retain the market and show Malaysia’s commitment towards the United Nation’s sustainability development goals.

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Digi: New distribution model to benefit more retailers

PETALING JAYA: Digi.com Bhd, in response to grouses from retailers over commission cuts, said its new reload distribution model would benefit more partners.

“We recently made changes to our reload distribution model to enable a bigger base of partners to benefit from participating in Digi’s prepaid business. These changes only relate to a small number of retailers, and do not affect commissions in any way. In fact, the new model opens opportunities for more retailers to access a wide range of benefits directly from Digi, and helps us stay committed to our most loyal partners.

“We are in the midst of engaging our partners to help them better understand these changes and assist them in this time of transition,” a Digi spokesperson said when asked to comment on the issue.

The telco recently restructured its reload distribution model, which has resulted in some of its existing retailers threatening to boycott sales of its products.

Pictures of retailers showing “No to Digi” and “Digi products temporarily not available” at their stores have gone viral on social media and some retailers have said that their prepaid margin has been reduced to 3.2% from 6%, effective March 1.

According to the spokesperson, the restructuring of Digi’s reload distribution model has no impact on its customers as the products are available on various channels.

“We have many channels readily available to serve our customers starting from our Digi Stores to our franchise stores, multiple online options such as the MyDigi app and Digi Store Online, bank ATMs or online banking websites, partner stores such as 7-Eleven, 99 Speedmart, Tesco and many other options,” said the spokesperson.

Brahim’s plans early PN17 exit

KUALA LUMPUR: In-flight caterer Brahim’s Holdings Bhd (BHB) plans to exit Practice Note 17 (PN17) status as soon as possible, after lapsing into it last week.

Executive chairman Datuk Seri Ibrahim Ahmad said the company would come up with a comprehensive plan, which would include strategic discussions with partners to review its capital and business structure, with the view of complying with Bursa Malaysia’s listing requirements.

“We are not planning to get delisted and are determined to recover from the PN17 status.

“We are in the right business and as a major global halal player, we want to assure all shareholders, customers, suppliers, joint-venture partners and employees, that business at the operations level is unaffected by this status,” he told a press conference today.

Ibrahim said the company would be consulting prospective principal advisers to formulate and submit the regularisation plan within the next three months and make the necessary announcements in due course.

“We are looking at all possible options while working towards improving cost management in other non-trade material operations, including reviewing procurement contracts of suppliers, maintenance and repair,” he said, adding that the company has no plan to liquidate its assets and reduce its staff.

BNM maintains policy rate at 3.25%

PETALING JAYA: Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) has decided to maintain the Overnight Policy Rate (OPR) at 3.25% at its Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting today amid deflation in January.

The central bank said in a statement that the degree of monetary accommodativeness is consistent with the intended policy stance at the current level of the OPR.

“Recognising that there are downside risks in the economic and financial environment, the MPC will continue to monitor and assess the balance of risks surrounding the outlook for domestic growth and inflation,” it said.

Headline inflation in January 2019 was at negative 0.7%, due mainly to negative transport inflation at 7.8% arising from lower global oil prices while underlying inflation, as measured by core inflation remained stable at 1.5% in January 2019 reflecting sustained demand conditions.

BNM expects inflation to remain low in the immediate term mainly due to policy measures, such as the lower price ceiling on domestic retail fuel prices until mid-2019 and the impact of the changes in consumption tax policy on headline inflation.

For 2019 as a whole, it expects average headline inflation to be broadly stable compared to 2018.

“The trajectory of headline inflation will continue to be dependent on global oil prices. Underlying inflation is expected to be sustained, supported by the steady expansion in economic activity and in the absence of strong demand pressures,” it said.

OCBC Bank economist Alan Lau believes BNM will probably hold the OPR at 3.25% for the first half of 2019.

“If a cut is to happen, we see it coming only in the second half of 2019.”

BNM said that global growth momentum is showing signs of moderation amid slowing growth in most major advanced and emerging economies, and going forward, unresolved trade tensions remain a key source of risk, affecting global trade and investment activities.

It said the tighter global financial conditions and elevated political and policy uncertainty could lead to financial market adjustments, further weighing on the overall outlook.

“The Malaysian economy grew at a more moderate pace of 4.7% in 2018. Looking ahead, growth is expected to be sustained in 2019 with continued support from private sector spending. Stable labour market conditions and capacity expansion in key sectors will continue to drive household and capital spending,” it said.

BNM said support from the external sector is expected to soften, in tandem with the moderating global growth momentum and on balance, the baseline forecast is for the Malaysian economy to remain on a steady growth path.

“However, materialisation of downside risks from unresolved trade tensions, heightened uncertainties in the global and domestic environment, and prolonged weakness in the commodity-related sectors could further weigh on growth,” it added.