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Philippines says won't bar Chinese proposals for shipyard takeover

MANILA, April 25 — All offers from potential buyers of a strategically located but debt-laden Philippine shipyard will be welcome, the trade minister said today, ruling out barring Chinese firms over national security fears. Trade Secretary Ramon…


RHB to be ‘pragmatic’ in facing challenging investment banking scene overseas

KUALA LUMPUR: RHB Bank Bhd sees a challenging investment banking business scenario overseas, which is lacking in scale compared with the business in Malaysia, and it will adopt a “pragmatic” approach to address the challenges.

“That’s why we believe that, based on our FIT22 strategy, we focus on our niche and strength. Take for example in Singapore, we will do equities business, we will do investment banking business but we will not do debt market business because we don’t have the capability for distribution there and particularly in foreign currencies. And of course the bonds mainly in Singapore are not rated. But we will do the others,” said group managing director Datuk Khairussaleh Ramli (pix).

“In Thailand for example, we believe the equities business is very active, the retail broking there is among the most active in Asean, so that’s an area that we will focus on, including maybe some debt market as well,” he told reporters at its AGM today.

He said the investment banking businesses in Indonesia and Thailand have room to expand via organic growth while in Singapore, the group intends to synergise its investment banking and banking businesses in order to offer multiple services to clients.

In terms of its asset management business in Indonesia, Khairussaleh said the business is small and the main challenge there is distribution due to the country’s size.

“We have tied up with some banks but we also want to look at digital ways of distributing our products, because it is such a big country with many islands. If we can’t have physical presence, we need to look at digital capabilities,” he said.

“For our overseas business we take a pragmatic approach of focusing on our niche but in Malaysia, we pretty much are a universal investment bank, we pretty much do everything. Generally in Malaysia, the investment banking business is good,” he added.

RHB expects to take on several initial public offerings (IPOs) this year in the consumer product and trading services segments, including Leong Hup International Bhd and two sizeable IPOs of about RM750 million each in the second half of the year.

The group is one of the joint global coordinators for the IPO of poultry player Leong Hup, which is en route to list on the Main Market of Bursa Malaysia. The prospectus will be launched today.

Meanwhile, RHB aims to grant RM31 billion in new and additional financing for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) by 2021, which will benefit 18,000 SMEs. Last year, it approved RM7.2 billion worth of loans to over 4,000 SMEs in Malaysia.

The bank is currently ranked fourth in the SME segment with a market share of 9.06% as at January. Its market share was about 7% three to four years ago. It aims to connect to 15,000 new SMEs this year through its SME Ecosystem.

RHB aims to grow its mortgage business by 12% this year and 33% or RM17.5 billion over the next three years. Its mortgage market share stood at 9.64% as at February.

Khairussaleh said mortgage applications have reduced but its approval rate has been consistently high at 75%. He said there are no changes to its overall loans growth target of 5% for this year, driven by growth in the mortgage and SME segments.

In terms of provisions, he said it will be decided on a case-by-case basis and while some clients may be going through a difficult patch, there are no systemic issues at the moment.

“We believe that our oil and gas portfolio is under control. But again, potentially there could be case-by-case basis where customers may go through some difficulty. That’s where we should help. In fact, our oil and gas loan loss coverage is more than 100% so we are comfortable with our coverage for the current portfolio,” he said.

RHB’s exposure to the oil and gas sector is 2.8% of its total loan book, with 6% exposure to the property sector.


European shares hit highest since August on Credit Suisse, SAP

LONDON, April 24 — World shares pared back losses today as positive earnings in Europe from Credit Suisse and investor support for SAP helped soothe worries that China has put broader stimulus on hold. European shares crept into positive…


Credit Suisse boosts profits

ZURICH, April 24 — Credit Suisse said today its first-quarter net profit rose by 8 per cent, with its efforts to focus on wealth management helping balance out problems in investment banking. The bank, which returned to the black  last year…


Italian cabinet infighting overshadows growth plan

ROME, April 24 — Italy's government approved an economic growth plan in the early hours of today after a bad-tempered cabinet meeting that exposed divisions in the ruling coalition and fuelled speculation of a government collapse. The infighting…


Iranians brace for harder times as US oil sanctions close in

TEHRAN, April 24 — Iranians, already hard hit by punishing US economic sanctions, are bracing for more pain after Washington abolished waivers for some countries which had allowed them to buy oil from Iran. “In the end the pressure (America) is…


EU watchdogs give banks no leeway on Brexit-driven hub demands

LONDON, April 23 — European Union regulators are refusing to cut British-based banks any slack over bulking up in the bloc in preparation for Brexit, despite an extension to the process which some have taken as an opportunity to drag their feet….


Bursa Malaysia marginally higher at mid-morning

KUALA LUMPUR, April 23 — Bursa Malaysia was marginally higher today supported by mild buying interest in banking and energy stocks, dealers said. At 11.01am, the benchmark FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI (FBM KLCI) gained 0.94 of-a-point to 1,623.00,…


Maybank eyes over RM120m ASB investments at MSAM 2019

PETALING JAYA: Malayan Banking Bhd (Maybank) expects a 15% rise in ASB unit trust investments at the week-long Minggu Saham Amanah Malaysia (MSAM) 2019 in Sungai Petani, Kedah, totalling some RM120 million compared with RM104 million at the MSAM last year.

In a statement released today, the bank said the anticipated increase is based on the continued confidence of customers investing in ASNB products as well as the convenience provided through Maybank’s digital channels.

“MSAM events serve as an ideal avenue for the public to understand more about saving for the future and the various investment options available in the market. Today, with the wide range of products we offer – including those by ASNB, as well as the availability of investing via digital channels, customers can enjoy the benefit of obtaining sufficient information on how to invest smartly based on their risk appetite” said Maybank head of community financial services Malaysia Datuk Hamirullah Boorhan.

Maybank has garnered a total of over RM6.1 billion of ASNB investments in the first quarter this year.

“We are hoping to record over RM25 billion of ASNB investments by the close of the year,” he said.

At the event, Maybank also launched its new online application service for ASB financing which is available via the Maybank App. With this new service, existing customers will be able to apply for ASB financing on-the-go. Non-existing customers can also apply via the Maybank App but will need to visit the branch for verification purposes.

“Our intention is to simplify our customer’s on-boarding process as well as to enhance their online experience. The new service will also improve the loan processing time and provide faster loan approvals and disbursements.”


MSAM 2019: PM to officially launch PNB's annual flagship event tomorrow

SUNGAI PETANI, April 20 — Permodalan Nasional Bhd’s (PNB) flagship event, the Minggu Saham Amanah Malaysia (MSAM), which enters its 20th edition this year, will be officially launched by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad tomorrow. The…