Friday, May 3rd, 2019


Beyond Meat makes sizzling Wall Street debut

NEW YORK, May 3 — The celebrity-backed vegan burger start-up Beyond Meat made a sizzling Wall Street debut yesterday, more than doubling its share price, as investors show an appetite for the growing trend in plant-based diets. Backed by Hollywood…

Gamuda Land on track to achieve RM4b sales target for FY19

PETALING JAYA, May 3 — Gamuda Land Sdn Bhd is on track to achieve its sales target of RM4 billion for the 2019 financial year (FY19). Chief executive officer Ngan Chee Meng said the projects will comprise both houses and serviced apartments in its…

US job growth surges; unemployment rate drops to 3.6pc

WASHINGTON, May 3 — US job growth surged in April and the unemployment rate dropped to a more than 49-year low of 3.6 per cent, pointing to sustained strength in economic activity even as last year’s massive fiscal stimulus fades. The Labour…

Mitsui invests in Axiata Digital

PETALING JAYA: Axiata Group Bhd’s digital services arm, Axiata Digital Services Sdn Bhd has announced a strategic minority investment by Mitsui & Co Ltd, which establishes a pre-money enterprise value of US$500 million (RM2.07 billion) for its core digital business.

Its core digital business includes Boost, an e-wallet service in Malaysia with a presence in Indonesia; independent digital agency, (ada); and global API platform provider, Apigate.

“Mitsui will become a strategic shareholder and business partner at Axiata Digital’s core business verticals. The funds raised will be earmarked to fuel the next phase of growth for Axiata Digital’s core businesses,” the group said in a statement.

Axiata Digital CEO Mohd Khairil Abdullah said that its shift towards the three vertical areas has seen a strong business growth last year.

“With the investment from a partner like Mitsui, we hope to further accelerate these businesses while still being focused on distinct financial innovations for consumers at the bottom of the pyramid,” it said.

Mitsui’s IT and communications business unit managing officer and COO Masahiro Moriyasu said Axiata Digital is a powerful digital platform engaged in digital financial services, API and digital marketing.

“As an expansion of our strategic partnership with Axiata, we are very excited about this investment in Axiata Digital which follows our earlier investment in Smart Axiata in Cambodia, the country’s largest mobile telecom operator,” he said.

Previously, the company announced that it has signed to transfer the rest of its portfolio asset, dubbed Digital Ventures to an international investment fund, Pegasus 7 Ventures Pte Ltd managed by Gordian Capital at a valuation of US$140 million (RM580 million).

Combined with Axiata Digital’s core asset, its entire portfolio is valued at US$640 million (RM2.65 billion).

Skidding sales brake Fiat Chrysler profit

MILAN, May 3 — Automaker Fiat Chrysler (FCA) said today that it would still meet its annual target of a stable operating profit despite seeing net earnings chopped nearly half in the first three months of this year as sales slid. Investors…

McDonald’s Malaysia records all time high sales with 19% growth

PETALING JAYA: McDonald’s Malaysia recorded a 19% year-on-year sales growth in 2018 backed by investments in excess of RM200 million for the last two years.

“The strong numbers are a reflection that although we have grown from strength to strength over the years, we have never wavered from the strong foundation that we are built upon, which is running great restaurants and providing great value to consumers,” managing director and local operating partner Azmir Jaafar (pix) said in a statement.

Moving forward, he said that the restaurant chain plans to invest RM1.4 billion by 2025, expanding its footprint to up to 450 restaurants nationwide.

In addition to the bigger presence, McDonald’s Malaysia expects its delivery and digital platforms to be new growth drivers for the next three years.

“Our delivery service is a key business accelerator for McDonald’s Malaysia. Our target for 2019 is to increase the number of our delivery hubs to 600 and expand the number to 1,000 in the next three years,” Azmir said.

With the expansion of the McDelivery service network and collaborations with partners, McDonald’s Malaysia expects an increase in revenue contribution from the McDelivery segment. In 2018, the McDelivery service segment recorded a 92% year-on-year revenue growth.

Ewein to raise up to RM60.32m via bonus issue of warrants

PETALING JAYA: Ewein Bhd has proposed to undertake a bonus issue of up to 75.4 million free warrants in Ewein on the basis of one warrant for every four existing ordinary shares in Ewein.

In a filing with Bursa Malaysia, the company said the proposed bonus issue of warrants could raise gross proceeds of up to RM60.32 million, based on the indicative exercise price of 80 sen per warrant.

“Such proceeds if raised, shall be utilised for the future working capital requirements of Ewein group, which include, among others, payment for trade and other payables, staff costs such as salaries, statutory contributions and employee benefits (including medical) and other operating expenses such as utilities,” it said.

The indicative exercise price of 80 sen per warrant represents a premium of 22 sen or 37.93% to the five-day volume weighted average market price of Ewein shares up to and including the latest practicable date for the announcement of 58 sen per share.

Based on the maximum scenario and assuming full exercise of the warrants at the indicative exercise price of 80 sen per warrant, a total of up to 75.4 million new shares would be issued.

The company said that the exercise price of the warrants will be determined at a later date. The tenure of the warrants will be three years, commencing from and inclusive of the warrant issue date.

In addition, Ewein has proposed to establish an executives’ share option scheme (ESOS) of up to 10% of the total number of issued shares for eligible executive directors and senior management of the group.

It has also proposed to establish a dividend reinvestment plan (DRP) that provides shareholders with an option to elect to reinvest in whole or in part, their cash dividend(s) declared by Ewein in new shares.

Ewein said that the proposed bonus issue of warrants is an appropriate avenue for rewarding its existing shareholders while the proposed ESOS is targeted at the executive directors whose experience and network are instrumental to the continuous growth and success of the business.

The proposed ESOS is also targeted at senior management of the group in view of their contribution to the growth and performance of the group, as well as to align their interest with the corporate goals and objectives of the group.

As for the proposed DRP, Ewein said it is part of the group’s capital management plans and is intended to strengthen Ewein’s capital position as any cash so retained within Ewein, that would otherwise be made payable by way of dividend(s), will be preserved to fund the group’s future working capital requirements.

Report: SoftBank planning IPO of US$100b Vision Fund

NEW YORK, May 3 — SoftBank Group Corp is considering an initial public offering of its US$100 billion (RM414.3 billion) Vision Fund, which usually picks up big stakes in fast-growing technology companies, the Wall Street Journal reported today,…

HSBC quarterly profits jump in ‘good start’ to 2019

LONDON, May 3 — Global banking giant HSBC said today that first-quarter net profit soared by more than a third to US$4.1 billion (RM16.99 billion) on a strong performance across its Asian operations. The London-listed bank added that pre-tax…

FGV liquidates 2 companies, 135 staff to receive severance package

PETALING JAYA: FGV Holdings Bhd is liquidating two companies namely Felda Engineering Services Sdn Bhd and Felda Properties Sdn Bhd by year-end as part of its transformation programme.

The group said in a statement that the two companies are not part of its core business. The liquidation is part of its renewed focus on efficiency, accountability and profitability.

“The group currently has about 100 companies, of which 93 are active and operational, though several are not profitable or well-managed,” it said in a statement.

Felda Engineering and Felda Properties were incorporated in 1994 and 1995 respectively, mainly to support internal housing and construction projects for the Federal Land Development Authority (Felda).

“Neither Felda Engineering, which is a project management company, nor Felda Properties has undertaken much work outside of the Felda Group and/or FGV. Since FGV’s listing in 2012, Felda’s subsidiary Felda Investment Corp (FIC) has taken over much of the work previously undertaken by Felda Engineering and Felda Properties.

“Additionally, FGV’s plantation sector already has in-house capacity to manage and maintain its own facilities,” it said.

FGV said it was in discussions with Felda for almost a year from February 2018 as well as with the settlers’ cooperative Koperasi Permodalan Felda Malaysia Bhd (KPF) from November 2018 on the possible takeover of Felda Engineering and Felda Properties but neither Felda nor KPF agreed to acquire the two companies.

Pursuant to the planned liquidation of the companies, FGV has offered severance packages to a total of 135 employees. Each affected employee will receive between 10 and 30 months of his or her current monthly salary, depending on years of service to the group.

All the 135 employees will also receive full medical insurance coverage until Dec 31, 2019. Additionally, FGV is offering outplacement assistance to all affected employees to help facilitate a smooth transition.

Since the management made the decision to exit the two businesses a year ago, a total of 23 employees from Felda Engineering and Felda Properties have been absorbed into other parts of the group.

FGV said it will continue to seek every opportunity to reskill or redeploy its displaced manpower, where possible.