Tuesday, April 9th, 2019


Wall Street lower as growth worries resurface

NEW YORK, April 9 — US stocks fell today after President Donald Trump threatened to impose tariffs on European goods, while the IMF’s downbeat outlook for global growth added to worries about an economic slowdown stemming from trade disputes….

More airlines expected to fly to Seletar Airport

PETALING JAYA: The approval for Firefly to resume flying to Singapore but to Seletar Airport instead of Changi Airport effective late April will pave the way for other airlines to fly to Seletar, according to MIDF Research.

“While we view the resumption of Firefly’s flights to be minimal towards Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd’s (MAHB) earnings, we believe that this news would pave way for other airlines such as Malindo Airways to operate flights between Subang Airport and Seletar Airport in the future,“ the research house said in a report today.

Moreover, it said this will facilitate the commute of passengers residing in the Klang Valley to Singapore due to the location of Subang Airport which is nearer to cities in the Klang Valley.

“On a separate note, the regeneration of Subang Airport will enable Malaysia to attract more aerospace related activities in Malaysia as 4,000 new aircraft are expected to be delivered to the Asean region by 2037,“ it added.

Malaysia and Singapore ended its aerospace disputes following the withdrawal of Singapore’s Instrument Landing System procedures for its Seletar Airport. Meanwhile, Malaysia will indefinitely suspend its permanent Restricted Area over Pasir Gudang.

Firefly’s flights to Singapore were suspended on Dec 1, 2018 as they were remaining matters in relation to Singapore’s plans to move turboprop aircraft operations from Changi Airport to Seletar Airport.

The Kuala Lumpur-Singapore route is the top Asia Pacific international route. Firefly is ranked higher than Jetstar Asia in terms of number of flights for this route.

MIDF said the international sector contributes around 8% to the total passengers handled at Subang Airport which in turn makes up only 3% of MAHB’s total passengers in Malaysia. The majority of international flights at Subang Airport is operated by Firefly for the Subang to Changi route while Malindo Airways operates international flights to Hat Yai, Thailand on a seasonal basis.

Nevertheless, the suspension of Firefly flights from Subang to Changi during late last year only saw the passenger service charge (PSC) collection reduce by less than RM500,000, based on MIDF’s analysis, immaterial to MAHB’s overall top line of above RM4.5 billion.

“Therefore, we expect the resumption of flights by Firefly to and from Seletar Airport to bring back PSC collection levels to normal but with minimal impact to MAHB’s overall earnings. As such, we are maintaining our earnings estimates for FY19 and FY20 at this juncture.”

MIDF believes that MAHB will maintain its upward trajectory especially in terms of passenger growth amidst the relaxation of visa policies for Chinese and Indian nationals visiting Malaysia. Moreover, it expects MAHB’s efforts in not only attracting more new airlines but also offering increased connectivity to moderate the effects of the departure levy set to be imposed in June 2019 for outgoing international passengers.

“As such, we reiterate our optimism that MAHB passenger numbers will surpass the 100 million mark in 2019, while maintaining a relatively conservative growth rate of 3.5%. All things considered, we maintain our ‘buy’ call on MAHB with a target price of RM9.44 per share as it is a proxy to Malaysia’s inbound/outbound travel industry, being Malaysia’s largest airport operator.”

It opined that its undemanding valuations of a trailing price-to-earnings (PE) ratio of 18.3 times, compared to the average of its regional peers with a PE ratio of nearly 50 times presents a good opportunity for investors to accumulate the stock.

‘No deal’ Brexit risks severe economic shock, IMF warns

LONDON, April 9  — Britain’s economy risks a serious shock if the UK leaves the EU without a deal, the International Monetary Fund said today, warning of severe trade disruption and slower economic growth. In a report marking the coming…

G3 to develop new AI solutions with China’s SenseTime

PETALING JAYA: G3 Global Bhd, formerly Yen Global Bhd, has inked a collaboration agreement with China’s SenseTime Group Ltd to develop new artificial intelligence (AI) products and solutions while securing strategic opportunities with key industry players to spur digital innovations in Malaysia.

G3 will primarily be involved in promoting, managing and executing all business development activities for SenseTime’s products and technologies within Malaysia.

SenseTime, in return, will provide its industry expertise and knowledge which include technology and technical support, products & technologies training and periodic updates on new technologies to G3.

G3 and SenseTime will embark on key strategic opportunities in areas like national safety, security, surveillance, immigration, border security system, Know Your Customer (KYC), access control, smart mobility and connected vehicles.

In addition, G3 and SenseTime will be working on developing the capability and capacity of AI talents in Malaysia by penetrating into Malaysia’s education curriculum.

G3 director Puan Chan Cheong said with the advancement and progressive approach, AI is now used to analyse and understand users’ behaviours.

“We are excited to collaborate and partner with SenseTime. We can leverage on each other’s strengths to develop AI-based technologies which add value to the digital offerings that we currently have. With this partnership, we believe we can make significant improvements to one’s life through the advancement of our high technology products and digital services to address the needs of the market today, particularly in Malaysia,” he said.

Incorporated in 2014, SenseTime has served more than 400 global firms and government agencies including Honda, UnionPay, Xiaomi, OPPO and Weibo.

IMF cuts US growth forecast, warns of growing risks

WASHINGTON, April 9 — The International Monetary Fund today cut its US growth forecast significantly for 2019 but said it is still likely to outpace other advanced nations as the world economy slows. The global crisis lender also warned of hazards…

Digital tax to benefit media companies in TV, OTT

PETALING JAYA: The digital service tax, which comes into effect on Jan 1, 2020, might benefit media companies in the TV and over-the-top (OTT) segments such as Astro Malaysia Holdings Bhd, Media Prima Bhd and Star Media Group Bhd as competition from OTT players such as Netflix has pressured subscription revenue and average revenue per user, according to AmInvestment Bank Research.

The digital tax has been set at a fixed rate of 6% per year with the annual threshold of RM500,000, following the passing of the Service Tax (Amendment) 2019 Bill in the Dewan Rakyat. Under the Bill, tax defaulters may be fined up to RM50,000 and/or imprisoned for up to three years upon conviction.

“However, we are cautiously optimistic on this development as it still remains to be seen the extent to which the tax will benefit local players as according to Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Amiruddin Hamzah, Malaysia’s digital tax rate sits lower compared with rates in New Zealand, Russia and Norway at 15%, 18% and 25% respectively. Furthermore, pricing alone might not deter customers from choosing preferred content provided by foreign OTT players,“ the research house said.

It maintained a “neutral” stance on the media sector due to its unexciting prospects amid a challenging operating environment following the structural shift from traditional media to digital platforms, coupled with the challenging monetisation of digital initiatives and a subdued advertising expenditure outlook for 2019.

AmInvestment Bank Research maintained its recommendations and fair values on Media Prima (hold, 42 sen), Media Chinese International Limited (hold, 24 sen) and Star Media (hold, 73 sen).

Its top pick for the sector is Astro Malaysia (hold, RM1.69) amid its positive prospects arising from its focus on vernacular content and TV household penetration rate of 77% in FY19, although it is fairly valued at the current price.

Gets Global-KPIT to set up e-mobility hub

PETALING JAYA: Gets Global Bhd today entered into a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with India’s KPIT Technologies Ltd to establish an e-mobility centre.

The parties will endeavor to assist and support each other to strengthen, promote and develop sustainable electro mobility projects in support of green development.

Gets Global will provide the marketing of the JV company and bidding for the identified projects within the Southeast Asian region. It will make available or obtain premises for the intended e-mobility centre, including but not limited to a building and workshop in Putrajaya Precinct 14 subject to an agreeable commercial arrangement with the JV company.

It will also apply for financial support from the government; apply for grants and government-to-government project; provide local resource to support the e-mobility centre including but not limited to manpower, tools, workstations, subject to an agreeable commercial arrangement with the JV company.

KPIT will provide technology and resources for execution, implementation and carrying out of identified projects under an agreeable commercial arrangement; leverage existing tools and facilities; and provide global branding for e-mobility centre to leverage on while winning e-mobility related projects.

Nextgreen sells subsidiary to Singaporean for US$1.2m

PETALING JAYA: Nextgreen Global Bhd has sold its wholly owned subsidiary BHS Palau Incorporated to Singaporean Chan Cheh Shin for US$1.213 million (RM4.885 million).

In a filing with Bursa Malaysia, the group said the disposal is expected to raise gross proceeds of about RM4.885 million, which will partly be used to fund the development cost of Green Technology Park in Pekan and partly for the construction of a pulp and paper factory.

The group said the disposal of BHS Palau is to streamline its business activities to focus and capitalise on its green technology, which includes the development of the Green Technology Park in Pekan and other states.

“Both activities will require substantial investment of management time and financial resources. The disposal will enable the management to concentrate on the two activities and use the disposal proceeds generated on these two projects,” it said.

BHS Palau was incorporated in the Republic of Palau and is the owner of 16,225 sqm of leasehold land in the Republic of Palau, which has been alienated for residential and commercial purposes.

The disposal will result in a one-time gain of RM3.1 million for Nextgreen.

Brokers must adopt greater digitalisation to attract younger investors, says Guan Eng

KUALA LUMPUR, April 9 — Stockbrokers must adopt greater digitalisation to appeal to the younger generation of investors and raise public participation in the stock market, says Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng. He said in today’s world where almost…

Tambun Indah unit to buy Penang land

PETALING JAYA: Tambun Indah Land Bhd’s 70%-owned unit Mustiara Sdn Bhd has proposed to buy 27 parcels of freehold land measuring 209.54 acres in South Seberang Perai District, Penang from TPPT Sdn Bhd for RM131 million cash.

In a Bursa Malaysia filing today, the property developer said it has proposed to provide financial assistance of up to RM3.45 million via shareholder’s advances to Mustiara to fund the acceptance deposit in relation to the letter of acceptance and other costs related to the land acquisition.

The shareholder’s advances are subject to an interest rate of 5.12% per annum calculated on a monthly basis.

The group said Mustiara had paid the acceptance deposit of RM2.62 million, which was funded via the proposed provision of financial assistance.

The remaining balance of the purchase consideration will be funded via bank borrowings and/or additional financial assistance from the shareholders of Mustiara.

Tambun Indah said it intends to fund the shareholder’s advances via its internally generated funds.

The group’s share price was unchanged at 78 sen today with 168,300 shares changing hands.