India's SpiceJet to give hiring preference to employees of Jet Airways, says chairman

NEW DELHI, April 19 ― India's SpiceJet Ltd said today it will prioritise hiring employees of Jet Airways Ltd who are losing their jobs after the crisis-hit Indian airline halted all flight operations indefinitely this week. “We have already…


US housing starts approach two-year low, permits weak

WASHINGTON, April 19 ― US homebuilding dropped to a near two-year low in March, pulled down by persistent weakness in the single-family housing segment, suggesting the housing market continued to struggle despite declining mortgage rates. Some of…


Petronas Dagangan upgrades over 1,000 petrol stations to enable more digital innovations

KUALA LUMPUR, April 19 — Petronas Dagangan Bhd (PDB) is upgrading over 1,000 Petronas stations nationwide with the next generation network infrastructure. The upgrade will be carried out by Telekom Malaysia Bhd (TM) through its…


Ringgit rebounds against US dollar as weak sentiment eases

KUALA LUMPUR: The ringgit snapped its three-day losing streak against the US dollar to close higher today, thanks to improving market sentiment as worries over capital outflow ease amid rising crude oil prices, dealers said.

At 6pm, the ringgit fell to 4.1300/1350 against the US dollar from 4.1400/1450 at Thursday’s close.

Recent news that Malaysia may be dropped from the FTSE World Government Bond Index and Norway sovereign wealth fund’s holdings had caused a sell-off in the foreign exchange market, sending the ringgit to a nearly three-month low on Wednesday.

“The ringgit has been depreciating much and now bargain-hunting emerges to take advantage (of this). Investors’ focus are now more towards fundamentals,” a dealer told Bernama.

In parallel, FXTM Market Analyst Han Tan also said the ringgit’s recent depreciation against the US dollar was transitory, as evidenced by today’s rebound, supported by Malaysia’s robust economic fundamentals.

He said Malaysia’s March inflation data, which is due next week, would show whether prices had rebounded from the deflation recorded in the first two months of the year, where a meaningful return to inflationary territory could offset the ringgit’s weakness against the US dollar.

“Overall, we expect Malaysia’s price pressures to remain manageable throughout 2019, allowing domestic consumption to continue driving growth,” he said in a commentary.

Meanwhile, the ringgit was also traded higher against other major currencies.

It rose against the Singapore dollar to 3.0473/0514 from 3.0535/0584 on Thursday and strengthened versus the Japanese yen to 3.6898/6949 from 3.6991/6039.

The local currency appreciated vis-a-vis the British pound to 5.3707/3792 from yesterday’s 5.3853/3935 and advanced against the euro to 4.6446/6506 from 4.6579/6640 previously. — Bernama


Report: Ghosn to be indicted on fresh charge

TOKYO, April 19 ― Tokyo prosecutors will indict former Nissan chief Carlos Ghosn on a new charge on Monday when his detention period over suspected financial misconduct expires, local media reported today. The 65-year-old is being questioned in a…


Ringgit rebounds against US dollars as weak sentiment eases

KUALA LUMPUR, April 19 ― The ringgit snapped its three-day losing streak against the US dollar to close higher today, thanks to improving market sentiment as worries over capital outflow ease amid rising crude oil prices, dealers said. At 6pm, the…


Maybank terminates collaboration agreement with Singapore’s Hyflux

SINGAPORE, April 19 ― Malayan Banking Bhd (Maybank) has decided to terminate the collaboration agreement relating to the divestment of the Tuaspring integrated water and power plant (IWPP) with immediate effect, said water treatment firm Hyflux…


Stone Master explores collaboration with construction firm

PETALING JAYA: Stone Master Corp Bhd (SMCB) is exploring a collaboration with Sing Fong Niap Engineering Sdn Bhd (SFNE), as part of plans to regularise its financial condition and revive its factory and/or business operations.

The two parties entered into a memorandum of understanding (MoU) yesterday, under which both companies are considering to collaborate and potentially, to inject where necessary building related materials supply, construction related contracts/works and/or projects into the venture.

The collaboration is subject to further financial and legal due diligence to be carried out by both parties and terms and conditions to be mutually agreed upon. SFNE is in the principal business of engaging in all kinds and types of construction works.

According to a Bursa Malaysia filing, SCMB and SFNE believe that the synergy would be commercially beneficial to both parties. The MoU is intended to set out the principal terms by which the companies will combine forces to carry on their businesses.

The two parties have a period of two months to negotiate the terms and conditions of the definitive agreement.


Seacera sues Tan for unlawful EGM

PETALING JAYA: Seacera Group Bhd is taking legal action against its largest shareholder Datuk Tan Wei Lian (pix) and three others, who are seeking to remove eight of its directors.

In a filing with Bursa Malaysia, the company said it had on April 15 received a notice of EGM to be held on May 15 to consider resolutions to appoint six new directors and to remove eight existing directors.

The EGM was called by four members of the company namely Tan, Datin Sek Chian Nee, Jeannie Ooi Chin Nee and Liu Zhen who, in a notice of intention, claimed to hold a combined stake of at least 10% in the company.

According to the company, the four individuals only held a combined stake of 7.98% and not 10% as claimed, based on the record of depositors as of April 15.

“Therefore, the notice of EGM is in contravention of the Act (Companies Act 2016). It is unlawful, null and void. The company has engaged Messrs Lim, Chong, Phang & Amy to take necessary action(s) against Tan and the others,” it said.

However, Seacera’s filings with Bursa Malaysia showed that Tan held a direct 13.96% stake in the company prior to April 15, before subsequently raising his direct stake to 16.36% on April 17.

Meanwhile, Tan has pledged to invest RM30 million or more into Seacera to resolve the company’s cash flow and credit liability, labeling Seacera’s voluntary announcement on Thursday a “scare tactic”.

“This is obviously a scare tactic which is uncalled for. The company has, as of Dec 31, 2018, net assets amounting to approximately RM838 million and 501 acres of land free from encumbrances with a book value of approximately RM784 million,” he said in a statement in response to Seacera’s announcement.

He said Seacera’s receivables amount to about RM90 million and noted that the company had raised some RM15 million from the issuance of the employee share option scheme in February and March this year.

“Any business owner will know the company has stable financials to grow and sustain itself without being declared insolvent,” he added.

Tan said the company’s stock exchange filing shows that the current management has failed the shareholders and are incompetent in managing the company, and suggested that they voluntarily step down to pave the way for new directors to take over.

He also urged shareholders to attend the EGM on May 15 to remove eight out of Seacera’s current 10 directors and appoint six new directors namely Shirley Tan Lee Chin, Rizvi Abdul Halim, Datin Ida Suzaini Abdullah, Clarence Yeow, Chua Eng Chin and Marzuki Hussain.

Yesterday, Seacera issued a voluntary announcement saying that the company is potentially headed towards a default on its payment obligations in view of the highly likely event that it will not be able to proceed with its settlement proposals in time.

It also said that it would not be able to declare that it is solvent as the board will not be able to form an opinion that the company will be able to pay all its debts as and when they fall due.

The group had earlier announced the issuance of new shares and a private placement as part of its settlement proposals, which require shareholders’ approval by May 6, and had called an EGM on April 16 to obtain approval.

Seacera’s plans hit a bump when Tan initiated legal action to stop the company from proceeding with the proposed resolutions. A writ and application for injunction was served on the company, causing the EGM to be adjourned to a later date.

However, Tan said the EGM had taken place on April 16, where 45 shareholders representing more than 50% of Seacera’s shares out of a paid up capital of RM474 million unanimously voted against and rejected the resolutions.

He told a press conference on Wednesday that he plans to go to court to seek declaration on the EGM’s validity.

Trading in Seacera’s securities were halted for an hour this morning. The stock fell 4.48% to close at 32 sen with 43.55 million shares done.


In the city of Gouda, Dutch cheesemakers worry about US tariffs

GOUDA (Netherlands), April 19 ― Surrounded by 15-kg (33 lb) wheels of cheese ready to be carted away in horse-drawn carriages, a dairy farmer in the Dutch city of Gouda faces off against a cheese trader wearing traditional wooden clogs. Staring…