Thursday, May 2nd, 2019


Tesla seeks up to US$2.3b from share, debt issues

NEW YORK, May 2 — Tesla Inc announced plans to raise up to US$2.3 billion (RM9.5 billion) in new capital today, easing Wall Street concerns over the electric carmaker’s ability to see through its ambitious investment plans while it works to…

European alliance to invest up to €6b in electric car batteries

PARIS, May 2 — European governments and companies will form an alliance for developing next-generation batteries for electric vehicles, investing five to €6 billion (RM27.75 billion) in the project, the French and German finance ministers said…

US stocks flat ahead of April jobs data

NEW YORK, May 2 — Wall Street stocks were little changed early today following mixed earnings as investors looked ahead to key US jobs data. About 20 minutes into trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down a hair at 26,426.90. The…

KUB’s LPG plan in West Port aborted

PETALING JAYA: KUB Malaysia Bhd has scrapped its plan to build a liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) terminal in West Port, Klang.

The group told Bursa Malaysia that its joint development agreement (JDA) with Singapore-based Manabaft Pte Ltd for the development, construction and ownership of the LPG terminal had lapsed on April 30 with no extension agreed by the parties.

“The parties are in discussion on the next course of action.”

Recall that the JDA was inked last October with Manabaft, an affiliate of the Marquard & Bahls Group.

Destini teams up with two firms to bid for rail contracts

PETALING JAYA: Engineering solutions provider Destini Bhd is collaborating with Lion Pacific Sdn Bhd and SVPR Consulting Services Sdn Bhd to undertake rail related projects in Malaysia and the region.

In a filing with Bursa Malaysia, Destini said its wholly owned subsidiary Destini Rail Sdn Bhd had entered into a joint venture and shareholders agreement (JVA) with the two firms in respect of a JV company DLP Rail Sdn Bhd.

The group said that the proposed JV is intended to enable the shareholders to combine their skills, expertise, experience and capabilities to collectively bid for rail projects in Malaysia and the region.

The works that the JV company intend to bid for include engineering solutions and services, civil works, rolling stock, system and track works, asset management and maintenance services for rail projects.

Destini Rail and Lion Pacific will each hold 40% stake in the JV company while SVPR will hold the remaining 20%.

The JV company will have three directors, with each shareholder nominating one person. The director nominated by Destini Rail will be the chairman.

The proposed JV is expected to contribute positively to Destini’s consolidated earnings and earnings per share in the future, when the proposed JV is completed and the JV company records net profit.

The proposed JV is expected to be completed by the second quarter this year, upon which the JV company will become an associated company of Destini.

Ex-Kosmo directors, accounts manager jailed, fined

PETALING JAYA: The Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court on Monday convicted two former directors and an accounts manager of Kosmo Technology Industrial Bhd for furnishing false statements to Bursa Malaysia Securities Bhd.

Kosmo group managing director Datuk Norhamzah Nordin and executive director Mohd Azham Mohd Noor, both 54, were charged in 2011 with eight counts of furnishing false statements to Bursa Malaysia in relation to Kosmo’s revenue figures in its unaudited quarterly reports from 2006 to 2007.

The Sessions Court found the revenue figures, which ranged from RM7 million to RM40 million to be false as it contained fictitious sales.

Matrix Concepts to jointly develop projects in Kluang

PETALING JAYA: Matrix Concepts Holdings Bhd will jointly develop mixed development projects with an estimated gross development value of RM1.2 billion in Kluang, Johor with Koperasi Kemajuan Tanah Negeri Johor Bhd.

In a filing with Bursa Malaysia, Matrix Concepts said its wholly owned subsidiary Matrix Concepts (Southern) Sdn Bhd (MCS) has entered into a joint venture agreement (JVA) with the co-operative which owns 407.6 acres of agriculture land in Kluang.

The two parties intend to develop mixed development projects on 309.5 acres of the land. The construction works will be funded by MCS.

Matrix Concepts said the JVA will beef up the existing land bank to serve as an expansion to the existing Bandar Seri Impian, to sustain continuous development in the township.

It noted that the property market in Johor has performed well despite the sluggish economy, and is expected to remain resilient and stable with significant market transactions across the board.

“In addition, Kluang, Johor being part of the enlarged corridor of Johor Bahru next to Singapore is seen to generate spillover effect for development potentials for neighbouring districts,” it said.

Almost 30% gap in rental expectations

PETALING JAYA: The residential leasing market in the Klang Valley, which saw almost 30% difference in rental expectations, will be stuck in a rut for some time, said Speedhome CEO Wong Whei Meng.

According to the one-stop home rental, buy and sell platform, the first quarter of 2019 has shown that the gap in rental expectations between landlords and tenants have increased to almost 30% due to the significant increase in supply.

With the Home Ownership Campaign period coming to an end in June, Wong said some buyers might want to buy their own place as soon as possible in order to enjoy the exemption on stamp duty fees.

“If you buy a house for yourself, that’s no problem. But if you’re looking to invest, then you need to be more cautious,” Wong said.

Based on Speedhome’s transaction data for the past two years, rent returns in several popular areas in Kuala Lumpur have not increased mainly due to the higher supply of properties.

“For owners who bought their houses five years ago at lower prices, they can still get good returns. For new owners and current owners, it’s much more difficult as new homes in the market cost more than RM300,000. This causes the rental return to be lesser,” he said.

From its analysis of transacted rental deals and the median selling price of the Valuation and Property Services Department (JPPH), Speedhome found that Hartamas, Selayang and Ampang had the highest rental returns of 5.6%, 5.3% and 4.8% respectively.

Hartamas achieved the highest rental yield with 5.6% due to a low median transacted price of RM420,000 followed by Selayang with 5.3% rental yield due to newly launched mid to high-end rentals which drove the average rent higher while the median remained low at RM330,000.

In Ampang, the rental yield stood at 4.8% while median was at RM387,500.

Wong said homeowners expect too much rent, as reflected by the data, while the increase in new high-rise residential properties has also increased the gap in rental expectations between tenants and homeowners.

For instance, homeowners of Hartamas set a rent of RM2,772 but tenants are only willing to pay RM1,972. In USJ, homeowners expect an average rent of RM1,721 but tenants are only willing to pay RM1,229. In KLCC, the rental expectation gap is 25%.

Leadership change at embattled Singapore startup Honestbee

SINGAPORE, May 2 — Embattled homegrown start-up Honestbee has announced a change at the top with a member of the family in control of South Korean electronics giant LG taking the reins. Joel Sng is stepping down as chief executive officer of the…

YTL Cement buying 51% of Lafarge Malaysia for RM1.64b, to make MTO for rest of shares

PETALING JAYA: YTL Corp Bhd is acquiring 51% equity interest in Lafarge Malaysia Bhd from Associated International Cement Ltd (AICL) for RM1.63 billion cash or RM3.75 per share.

Trading in both securities was suspended for an hour from 2.30pm today. At market close, Lafarge’s share price soared 42 sen or 12.7% to RM3.72 on 16.94 million shares done, while YTL gained 5 sen or 4.4% to RM1.18 with 2.87 million shares changing hands.

The purchase consideration of RM3.75 per share represents a premium of 19.05%, 32.04% and 47.06% to the five-day, one-month and three-month volume weighted average market price of Lafarge Malaysia’s shares up to and including April 30, 2019 of RM3.15, RM2.84 and RM2.55 respectively.

It also represents a price-to-book ratio of about 1.25 times based on the audited net assets per Lafarge Malaysia share as at Dec 31, 2018 of about RM3.

In a filing with Bursa Malaysia, YTL Corp said its subsidiary YTL Cement Bhd has entered into a sale and purchase of shares agreement with AICL for the proposed acquisition.

Upon completion of the acquisition, YTL Cement will be obliged to extend a proposed mandatory takeover offer (MTO) for all the remaining shares, which it proposes to acquire at a cash offer price of RM3.75 per share.

“The proposed acquisition represents an opportunity for YTL Cement and its subsidiaries to pursue its expansion strategy. Lafarge Malaysia is a strategic fit to the YTL Cement group’s cement business and is expected to complement the group’s existing core business activities,” it said.

It expects the proposed acquisition to deliver synergies including operational efficiencies in logistics, distribution and procurement, as well as cost synergies realised from economies of scale, the reduction or elimination of duplicated functions and the consolidation of corporate overheads.

It said that the realisation of the synergies is in line with the group’s continued efforts to improve operational efficiencies and manage its operating and production costs, and is expected to contribute positively to the future earnings and cash flows of the enlarged YTL Cement group.

The proposed acquisition will also enable the group to expand its production capacity by gaining access to the existing plants and facilities of the Lafarge Malaysia group.

Upon completion of the proposed acquisition, Lafarge Malaysia will become a subsidiary of YTL Cement.

Note that the Lafarge Malaysia group registered a drop in revenue for the financial years ending Dec 31, 2014, 2016, 2017 and 2018. The group also suffered declines in net profit for three years (FY14, FY15 and FY16) and net losses of RM213.6 million and RM318.9 million for FY17 and FY18 respectively.

Despite Lafarge Malaysia’s dismal results, YTL Cement said it has taken into consideration the potential synergies and prospects of Lafarge Malaysia and believes that the proposed acquisition and MO would contribute positively to the future earnings and shareholders’ value of YTL Cement group in the long term.

YTL Cement intends to maintain the listing status of Lafarge Malaysia on the Main Market of Bursa Malaysia unless it receives valid acceptances resulting in YTL Cement and its associates holding in aggregate 90% or more of Lafarge Malaysia shares and Lafarge Malaysia does not comply with the public shareholding spread requirements.

The total consideration for the proposals will be funded via a combination of internally generated funds and bank borrowings.