Friday, May 31st, 2019

 

Trump's tariff threat on Mexico rattles Wall Street

WASHINGTON, May 31 — US stocks fell broadly today, hit by fears that President Donald Trump's shock threat of tariffs on Mexico could prove the trigger that pushes the world's largest economy into recession. Washington will impose a 5 per cent…


G20 digital tax takes step closer

PARIS, May 31 — Global efforts to impose a unified tax policy on Google, Facebook and other internet giants have cleared a major hurdle ahead of a G20 summit in Japan, officials said today. The Paris-based Organisation for Economic Cooperation and…


China’s US tariff hike to target condoms, wine, pianos

BEIJING, May 31 — Condoms, perfume, wine and pianos are among a cocktail of American products that will be hit by a steep increase in Chinese tariffs tomorrow as Beijing retaliates in an escalating trade war. The move will cap a week that was…


ACCCIM welcomes reinstatement of COM

PETALING JAYA: The Associated Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Malaysia (ACCCIM) has applauded the government’s decision to reinstate the foreign workers’ replacement system for all sectors via Check Out Memo (COM).

ACCCIM president Tan Sri Ter Leong Yap (pix) said in a statement today that the replacement system is timely and should be simplified to automatically allow employers to recruit and replace foreign workers who have completed their contract and returned to the source country, to ease the shortage of foreign workers.

Ter said that Malaysia’s unresolved long-drawn foreign workers issues, including the tedious and lengthy application procedures, continues to add on to the burden of doing business and has seriously disrupted the business operations of many sectors.

“ACCCIM is of the view that addressing the long-term manpower needs of businesses is vital for economic and industrial development,” he said.

He said ACCCIM is of the view that all industrial sectors have to calibrate the manpower management in order to reduce over-dependence on foreign workers, as the country moves towards Industry Revolution 4.0.

However, he noted that there is an urgency for the government to undertake a comprehensive review of the foreign workers management policy.

“We need an integrated foreign workers management system that operates on a transparent and consistent manner as well as provides certainty,” he added.

He said ACCCIM will arrange for an engagement session with the industry associations in June to discuss and review Malaysia’s Employment and Labour law and related regulations.

ACCCIM will coordinate and gather all the views and recommendations for submission to the government so as to strengthen the competitiveness and productivity of Malaysia’s labour market.


MAHB registers 66.36% drop in Q1 earnings

PETALING JAYA: Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd’s (MAHB) net profit for the first quarter ended March 31, 2019 plunged 66.36% to RM149.58 million from RM444.60 million a year ago due to one-off gains recorded a year ago.

In a filing with Bursa Malaysia, MAHB said the one-off gains recorded last year were in relation to the fair valuation of investment in GMR Hyderabad International Airport Limited amounting to RM258.4 million and a gain on disposal of investment in GMR Male Private Limited amounting to RM28.2 million.

Excluding the one-off gains, the group’s pre-tax profit fell by 11.6% year-on-year due to higher expenditure, mainly on utilities as a result of higher tariff effective July 2018 and maintenance recorded during the period.

The airport operator’s Malaysian operations saw a 60.8% drop in pre-tax profit to RM212.7 million. Excluding the one-off gains recorded last year, the pre-tax profit was lower by 17%.

Its Turkey operations’ pre-tax loss narrowed to RM51.7 million from a net loss of RM76.6 million a year ago while Qatar operations recorded a 44.6% drop in pre-tax profit to RM3.6 million.

During the quarter, MAHB’s share of associate’s profits amounted to RM2.4 million compared with losses of RM400,000 a year ago, due to higher contribution from MFMA Development Sdn Bhd and Kuala Lumpur Aviation Fuelling System Sdn Bhd.

Share of joint ventures’ profits amounted to RM4.7 million compared with RM2.9 million a year ago due to higher contribution from Segi Astana Sdn Bhd.

Meanwhile, revenue for the quarter rose 3% to RM1.25 billion from RM1.22 billion a year ago on the back of higher overall passenger growth of 3.7%.

Revenue from airport operations grew 2.5% to RM1.17 billion while revenue from aeronautical segment grew 9.9% to RM646.5 million.

Malaysian operations recorded passenger growth of 3.7% to 25.3 million passengers from 24.4 million passengers a year ago while passenger traffic from Turkey operations grew 3.8% to 8.1 million passengers from 7.8 million passengers a year ago.

Non-aeronautical segment fell marginally by 0.6% year-on-year to RM525.6 million while non-airport operations grew 10.4% year-on-year due to higher revenue from the project segment.

Overall, Malaysian operations recorded revenue growth of 2.6% year-on-year to RM931.7 million while Turkey and Qatar operations recorded revenue growth of 2.6% to RM279.7 million and 17.5% to RM40.9 million respectively.

MAHB said its network of airports, including Istanbul Sabiha Gokcen International Airport (ISGIA), recorded 33.4 million passengers during the quarter, representing a year-on-year growth of 3.7%.

Traffic for international passengers improved by 3.9% while traffic for domestic passengers increased by 3.6% during the quarter. Aircraft movements improved by 1.1% with both international and domestic aircraft movements rising 1.4% and 0.9% respectively.

Moving forward, MAHB expects future seat capacity filings by airlines to remain above expectations for its Malaysian operations.

“MAHB remains optimistic that the projected 4.9% growth for 2019 will be achieved. The domestic traffic correction and consolidation is expected to continue while the international sector may also see improvement,” it said.

For its overseas operations, it expects ISGIA to maintain its growth momentum this year especially for international passenger traffic.


Renault says board will meet Tuesday to respond to Fiat Chrysler bid

PARIS, May 31 — Renault’s board of directors will meet Tuesday to formulate its response to a merger proposal by Fiat Chrysler, which is likely to lead to talks aimed at creating the world’s third-largest automaker, the company said. Fiat…


Ringgit ends almost flat on cautious trading

KUALA LUMPUR, May 31 — The ringgit traded almost flat against the US dollar at the closed today, as renewed concerned over the global economic outlook triggered some investors to shift interest towards emerging currencies, including the…


Ringgit almost flat against US dollar at close

KUALA LUMPUR: The ringgit traded almost flat against the US dollar at the closed today, as renewed concerned over the global economic outlook triggered some investors to shift interest towards emerging currencies, including the ringgit, a dealer said.

At 6pm, the ringgit stood at 4.1890/1920 against the greenback from 4.1890/1940 at Thursday’s close.

He said that there were new concerns on the top of the current China-Us trade dispute, as US President Donald Trump threatened to impose new tariffs on Mexican goods, which risked tipping an already struggling global economy into recession.

The ringgit, meanwhile, traded mostly lower against a basket of major currencies.

It went down against the Singapore dollar to 3.0399/0432 from Thursday’s 3.0368/0409, and depreciated against the Japanese yen to 3.8512/8544 from 3.8182/8239.

The local unit strengthened vis-a-vis the British pound to 5.2693/2748 from 5.2911/2991, but weakened against the euro to 4.6703/6741 from 4.6674/6738. – Bernama


China to create blacklist of ‘unreliable’ foreign firms

BEIJING, May 31 — China today said it would create a blacklist of “unreliable” foreign firms and individuals in a new escalation of its trade war with the United States. The move comes two weeks after Chinese tech giant Huawei was added to the…


Petronas registers 9% earnings growth in Q1

PETALING JAYA: Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas) recorded a 9% year-on-year growth in net profit to RM14.2 billion in the first quarter of 2019, on the back of higher revenue while earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation grew 11% to RM27.8 billion.

The national oil company said in a statement today that while revenue drove earnings, this was partially offset by increased net product and production costs, lower net write-back of assets impairment and higher contribution to the National Trust Fund.

The group’s revenue for the quarter rose 7% to RM62 billion from RM57.9 billion a year ago, driven by higher sales volume for petroleum products and liquefied natural gas (LNG) coupled with the effect of the weakening ringgit against the US dollar exchange rate.

These were partially offset by lower average realised prices, mainly for petroleum products, crude oil and condensates.

Cash flows from operations rose 6% to RM23.2 billion from RM21.9 billion a year ago while total assets fell marginally to RM636.2 billion as at March 31, 2019 from RM636.3 billion as at Dec 31, 2018.

Shareholders’ equity increased to RM389.1 billion compared to RM380.5 billion in the same period last year, primarily driven by profit generated during the period. However, this was partially offset by movements in the foreign currency translation reserve.

Gearing ratio increased to 20.8% as at March 31, 2019 from 19.7% as at Dec 31, 2018, as additional lease liabilities were recognised following the adoption of MFRS 16 Leases.

Meanwhile, return on average capital employed increased slightly to 12.1% from 12% in the previous quarter, in line with the higher profit recorded.

The group’s capital investment during the first quarter of 2019 stood at RM8.3 billion, mainly attributable to upstream projects.

“Petronas’ improved performance in the first quarter of 2019 compared to the same period last year demonstrates the strength of our three-pronged strategy and resolute execution focused on continuous overall business improvement as well as commercial and operational excellence,” said its president and group CEO Tan Sri Wan Zulkiflee Wan Ariffin (pix).

“Looking ahead, while facing market uncertainties, we will continue to invest for the future and have recently expanded our upstream portfolio through our equity acquisition of the Tartaruga Verde field in Brazil. Our strategic intent to venture beyond oil and gas has also made significant progress with our recent investments in renewables and specialty chemicals,” he said in a statement today.

Petronas expects the oil and gas industry to continue operating in a challenging environment arising from market uncertainties and geopolitical risks. As such, its overall year-end performance would be affected by the rising volatility of oil price and foreign exchange movement.

However, it will maintain efforts in instilling strong cost discipline and driving operational excellence in pursuit of its growth strategies.