Monday, April 15th, 2019


Bank results impede Wall Street, trade hopes support European stocks

NEW YORK, April 15 — World stocks retreated from earlier gains today as underwhelming quarterly results from US banks weighed on Wall Street, though progress in US-China trade talks helped European stocks tread water. The US benchmark S&P 500…

Spotify shares fall on report Amazon in talks to launch ad-supported music offering

NEW YORK, April 15 — Shares of Spotify Technology SA fell 4 per cent today after a report said Inc was in talks to launch a free ad-supported music service, which is expected to intensify competition for the music streaming leader….

France sees blockchain as anti-monopoly weapon in digital world

PARIS, April 15 — France is pushing blockchain technology as a means of preventing finance giants enjoying a monopoly on transactions, Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said today. “Blockchain protocols are a game changer,” Le Maire said at…

Dubai Expo 2020 to give US$33b boost to UAE economy, says study

DUBAI, April 15 — Dubai’s Expo 2020 global trade fair is expected to give the United Arab Emirates an economic boost of over US$33 billion (RM135.8 billion), consultants Ernst and Young said in a study released today. Next year’s mega-event…

EU-US trade stand-off: More than a year of tensions

PARIS, April 15 — Here are the key dates in the more than one-year trade standoff between the European Union and the United States: Trump announces heavy taxes On March 1, 2018 US President Donald Trump announces that he intends to impose tariffs…

CB Industrial bags RM71.17m Papua New Guinea deal

PETALING JAYA: CB Industrial Product Holding Bhd has clinched a RM71.17 million contract from New Britain Palm Oil Ltd.

CB Industrial said in a filing with Bursa Malaysia that its wholly owned subsidiary PalmitEco Engineering Sdn Bhd had received letter of acceptance (LOA) dated April 11.

It includes the construction of 10 TPH continuous sterilisation mini mill and 40/60 TPH continuous sterilisation palm oil mill at Markham Valley, Papua New Guinea.

The works for the 10 TPH continuous sterilisation mini mill is targeted to be completed by November 2019 or within seven months from the date of site possession whichever is later while the works for the 40/60 TPH continuous sterilisation palm oil mill is targeted to be completed by February 2021 or within 20 months from the date of site possession whichever is later.

CB Industrial said the LOA is expected to contribute positively to its earnings and net assets per share for the financial year ending Dec 31 onwards until completion of the works.

Cagamas, Philippine entity to explore home financing methods

MANILA: Cagamas Bhd, the National Mortgage Corp of Malaysia and Philippines’ National Home Mortgage Finance Corp (NHMFC) have sealed a memorandum of cooperation (MoC) to jointly explore housing financing methods to promote home ownership in their respective countries.

Cagamas president/CEO Datuk Chung Chee Leong said the MoC marks an important milestone in the collaboration between Cagamas and NHMFC.

“Cagamas welcomes this initiative which aims to enhance the strategic cooperation between Malaysia and Philippines, including amongst others, research and knowledge sharing related to housing finance. This initiative is in line with both institutions’ mandate to develop the secondary mortgage finance market,” Chung said in a statement today.

The MoC enables the wealth of domestic experience in housing finance, mortgage and financial instruments to be mutually exchanged between Malaysia and the Philippines. This is expected to enhance the stability of housing and mortgage markets, mortgage backed securities as well as other funding instruments to leverage private capital to the housing market.

Cagamas is the second largest issuer of debt instruments after the government of Malaysia and the largest issuer of ‘AAA’ corporate bonds and sukuk in the market. Since incorporation in 1986, Cagamas has cumulatively issued RM319.1 billion (US$96 billion) worth of corporate bonds and sukuk.

“We are more than elated with this new seal of cooperation with NHMFC’s counterpart from our neighbour country, Malaysia’s Cagamas. This MoC espouses our aim to create a syariah-compliant pool of assets through Islamic housing finance,” NHMFC president Dr Felixberto U Bustos Jr said during the event.

Gamuda, IJM tipped to be big winners in ECRL revival

PETALING JAYA: The potential beneficiaries in the revival of the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) project include companies with rail-related experience and specialist contractors, while the big winners could be the likes of Gamuda Bhd and IJM Corp Bhd, said PublicInvest Research.

The research house said the beneficiaries could be the “usual suspects” with rail-related experience such as Gamuda, IJM Corp, WCT Holdings Bhd, Malaysian Resources Corp Bhd (MRCB), TRC Synergy Bhd, TSR Capital Bhd, Muhibbah Engineering (M) Bhd, Gadang Holdings Bhd, Gabungan AQRS Bhd, Sunway Construction Group Bhd, FajarBaru Builder Group Bhd, Mudajaya Group Bhd, Ahmad Zaki Resources Bhd, Ekovest Bhd and UEM Construction.

Specialist contractors such as Advancecon Holdings Bhd for earthworks, Econpile Holdings Bhd for piling, EITA Resources Bhd for system, Kimlun Corporation Bhd as a supplier for precast components like segmental box girders as well as tunnel lining segment, HSS Engineers Bhd for technical studies, Lafarge Cement and Tasek Corporation Bhd could also be beneficiaries.

“Amongst all, we think the big winners could be Gamuda given its expertise, and IJM Corp for its engineering construction capabilities and strong presence in the East Coast Economic Region corridor. IJM also owns 60% stake in Kuantan Port including 700 acres of industrial land near the port,” it said.

MIDF Research opined that Lafarge Malaysia Bhd and HSS Engineers Bhd could be the immediate beneficiaries as both companies have clinched sizeable jobs from China Communications Construction (ECRL) Sdn Bhd (CCC) previously.

While the local construction sector may see brighter prospects with order book replenishment, the size of contract, number of packages and the real contribution to the companies’ bottom line are unknown at this juncture, said PublicInvest Research.

About 40% of subcontractor jobs are expected to benefit local players, translating into RM17.6 billion worth of contracts that will be available to local construction players.

“The ECRL project aside, we don’t see any other catalyst or major development that could re-rate our stance on the sector. The 11th Malaysia Plan Mid-Term Review and Budget 2019 have thrown up guidance of lower growth going forward and reduction in development expenditure. With share prices of construction companies having already re-rated ahead of this somewhat-expected development, we believe much of the positives have already been priced-in,” said PublicInvest while maintaining its neutral rating on the sector.

Meanwhile, HLIB Research opined that the potential beneficiaries of resumption of the ECRL project are Gamuda, IJM, HSS Engineers, Gabungan AQRS, Econpile and Advancecon.

“Although we do not expect the domestic construction industry prospects to go back to where they were during the period of pre-GE14, we opine that the worst is over for the industry.”

It added that the probability of revival of the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High Speed Rail (HSR) project is lower than that of the ECRL given its larger cost (RM60-70 billion) and lower compensation amount (RM500 million).

“Should the project revival materialise, we reckon that interest would be on Gamuda and MRCB which was previously appointed as the project delivery partner.”

HLIB Research maintained its “neutral” call on the sector as it deemed year-to-date surge in construction counters has been reflected the positive sentiment.

On Bursa Malaysia today, the construction index fell 1.14% to 203.32 points against the FBM KLCI’s 0.07% gain.

Apple, allies seek billions in US trial testing Qualcomm's business model

NEW YORK, April 15 — Apple Inc and its allies today will kick off a jury trial against chip supplier Qualcomm Inc in San Diego, alleging that Qualcomm engaged in illegal patent licensing practices and seeking up to US$27 billion (RM111.16 billion)…

Goldman Sachs quarterly profit falls 20pc

NEW YORK, April 15 — Goldman Sachs Group Inc reported a 20 per cent drop in quarterly profit today as equities and bond trading fell due to low market volatility. The bank's net earnings attributable to common shareholders fell to US$2.18 billion…