business growth


Hong Kong Stock Exchange drops bid for London rival

HONG KONG, Oct 8 — The Hong Kong Stock Exchange today dropped its multibillion-dollar takeover bid for the prized London Stock Exchange Group, which would have created a global markets titan. Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited (HKEX) made…

MCIS Life aims for new heights with rebranding

PETALING JAYA: MCIS Insurance Bhd, now known as MCIS Life, unveiled a new corporate identity today following a rebranding exercise which will see the company repositioning itself among Malaysian consumers.

MCIS Life CEO and managing director Prasheem Seebran said the exercise began in 2014, when South Africa-based Sanlam Group acquired a majority stake, and was completed on Oct 1.

“We intend to take this company to new heights in Malaysia. We are a very ambitious company and we have plans to grow even further over the next three to five years.

“Our brand-new identity is all about empowering people to be a part of something bigger than themselves and what better way than contributing towards a better environment for everyone,” he told the media at the brand launch today.

The rebranding of the life insurer marks a new era of mutual assistance and protection as the company also unveiled its brand promise of “People Helping People”.

According to Prasheem, MCIS was top among life insurers in Malaysia in 1H19 in terms of new business growth, and going forward, the company will target previously underserved segments.

“There will be expansion over all of Malaysia whether it’s new territories that we enter or whether it’s new markets like the underserved segments in Malaysia, MCIS wants to play its part,” he said.

Looking ahead, Prasheem said the company had set ambitious growth targets but declined to provide details, saying only that the company would maintain a growth target of between 40% and 60%.

“I don’t want to give exact numbers right now, but our targets are very high and ambitious. We want to penetrate areas that Malaysia has not historically penetrated before, such as the B40 segment, and it’s up to us to provide protection to these communities,” he said.

Meanwhile, in conjunction with the rebranding, Prasheem announced MCIS’ corporate social responsibility initiative in which the company pledged to support and nurture, over a period of five years, some 500,000 seedlings consisting of six endemic species of rainforest trees.

“We want to contribute to the rehabilitation and restoration of our natural ecosystem in Malaysia. Our humble efforts will begin with the initial planting of 1,200 trees (of the identified six species) and we will nurture the trees and the seedlings produced by the trees in two separate locations in Selangor,” he said.

Over a period of five years, the initial 1,200 trees are expected to produce new seedlings, which will continue to be planted in identified locations through a smart collaboration with Majlis Perbandaran Sepang.

Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change Minister Yeo Bee Yin said MCIS would receive the government’s full support in its initiative.

“The government supports all efforts by corporates, the private sector, NGOs and other agencies to plant trees as well as preserving green lungs and forests. This is in line with the government efforts to keep our 1992 Rio de Janeiro commitment of maintaining our forest cover at least 50%,” she said at the launch.

Dollar gains as dismal economic data hurts euro

NEW YORK, Sept 23 — The dollar rose against the euro today after dismal manufacturing and services data elevated concerns about the state of the euro zone economy. Euro zone business growth stalled this month, a survey showed today, dragged down…

Stocks sink on dismal economic data, mixed trade signals

LONDON, Sept 23 — Global shares sank today as weaker-than-expected economic data added to investor worries over the unresolved US-China trade dispute’s effects on the world economy. European stock markets opened lower as surveys of purchasing…

Guan Eng on need to diversify financing ecosystem to help fund SMEs

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 27 — Malaysia needs to help diversify the financing ecosystem in order to help the small and medium enterprises (SMEs) obtain funds for business growth, beyond the orthodox banking system, said Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng. He…

SDS to raise RM24m from IPO

KUALA LUMPUR: Homegrown bakery products manufacturer and distributor SDS Group Bhd expects to raise RM23.99 million under its proposed listing on the ACE Market of Bursa Malaysia Securities Bhd (Bursa Securities).

The company plans to use RM6.00 million (25.0%) raised from the initial public offering (IPO) to expand its business presence for both the wholesale and retail channels within the northern and central regions of Peninsular Malaysia respectively with the additional capacity from its new manufacturing plant in Seremban.

It will further utilise RM7.79 million (32.5%) for general working capital requirements; RM7.00 million (29.2%) to repay bank borrowings while the remaining RM3.20 million (13.3%) to be used to defray listing expenses for the IPO.

SDS Group managing director Tan Kim Seng said the company will increase the number of fleet of lorries for the northern region of Peninsular Malaysia and Seremban manufacturing plant to support the distribution of its wholesale bakery products.

The company also plans to set up eight new food and beverages (F&B) outlets within the established residential areas in the Klang Valley. Currently, SDS Group has 33 F&B outlets including five outlets under licensing agreement in Johor.

“Our business strategies to increase our fleet of lorries to expand to the central and northern regions of Peninsular Malaysia as well as increase the number of F&B outlets are expected to provide business growth in terms of revenue increase and earnings contribution,” he said in a statement.

Under the listing exercise, SDS Group is issuing 104.29 million new shares at 23 sen per share of which 20.29 million new shares will be made available to the public via balloting; 23.13 million new shares for its eligible directors, employees and business associates/persons while the remaining 60.87 million new shares are earmarked for private placement to selected investors.

The IPO is open for subscription from today to Sept 23, 2019. SDS Group’s listing on the ACE Market of Bursa Securities is tentatively scheduled on Oct 7, 2019.

M&A Securities Sdn Bhd is the adviser, sponsor, underwriter and placement agent for the IPO exercise.

Asians stocks struggle ahead of Powell’s speech; yuan at fresh 11-1/2 yr low

TOKYO: Asian shares struggled to make headway on Friday as uncertainty over how much further the U.S. Federal Reserve would cut interest rates added to investors’ worries over slowing global growth.

With a trade war between the United States and China dragging on, and political tumult in Hong Kong, Italy and Britain adding to the tense backdrop, investors were keenly awaiting Fed Chair Jerome Powell’s speech at a gathering of central bankers in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, later in the day (1400 GMT).

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan edged 0.1% higher and was up 0.8% for the week, on track to break a four-week losing streak.

Japan’s benchmark Nikkei added 0.3% and Australian stocks rose 0.3%.

The Shanghai Composite and the blue-chip CSI300 were up 0.5% and 0.7%, respectively, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng gained 0.5%.

Business surveys on Thursday suggested further slowing in advanced economies in August, but service sector activity remained resilient, offsetting some of the drag from weak manufacturing.

“It’s going to be another wait-and-see day for traders ahead of Powell’s Jackson Hole speech. Investors are hoping for some soothing words from him,” said Hirokazu Kabeya, chief global strategist at Daiwa Securities.

Wall Street stocks were mixed on Thursday, with the S&P 500 closing little changed, while the Dow was up 0.2% and the Nasdaq falling 0.4%.

In the U.S. bond market, the closely watched two-year, 10-year Treasury yield curve briefly moved back into inversion overnight, a shift that also occurred last week and sent financial markets into a tailspin amid worries of a sharp global downturn.

An inversion in the U.S. yield curve has presaged several past U.S. recessions, raising fears the decade-long expansion in the world’s biggest economy might be nearing its end.

While markets overwhelmingly expect the Fed to follow up its first rate cut in a decade with more stimulus at its meeting next month, some policymakers disagree.

Kansas City Fed President Esther George, who dissented against the decision to ease in July, and Philadelphia Fed President Patrick Harker, who said he “reluctantly” supported the cut, both said the U.S. economy does not need more stimulus at this point.

Dallas Fed President Robert Kaplan said the businesses had become much more cautious due to surprises on trade policy and he was “going to at least be open-minded about making some adjustment” if he sees continued weakness.

All of that has made Powell’s speech in Jackson Hole pivotal for markets as they look for any clues on future easing, after the Fed last month cut rates for the first time since the financial crisis.

Any indications of hawkishness in the Fed chief’s comments might hurt riskier assets, though the dollar stands to benefit.

The greenback slipped on Thursday, but moved within narrow ranges. In early Asian trading, the dollar was up 0.1% against a basket of major currencies to 98.293.

The euro also was little changed against U.S. currency at $1.1073. A survey showing a surprise uptick in euro zone business growth for August was offset somewhat by trade war fears knocking future expectations to their weakest in over six years.

The pound jumped to a three-week high of $1.2273 overnight after traders interpreted comments from German Chancellor Angela Merkel to mean that a solution to the Irish border problem could be found before Britain leaves the European Union on Oct. 31.

Merkel on Wednesday challenged Britain to come up with alternatives to the Irish border backstop within 30 days, but French President Emmanuel Macron cautioned there would be no renegotiation of the Brexit deal. Sterling last quoted at $1.2234, 0.1% weaker on the day.

China’s yuan extended losses, threatening to stoke trade tensions between Washington and Beijing.

Spot yuan slid to as low as 7.0992 per dollar, its weakest since March 2008, although the central bank set the midpoint rate at 7.0572, its weakest level in 11-1/2 years, but was much stronger than traders had expected.

Washington labelled China a currency manipulator early this month after a sharp slide in the yuan.

Concern about China’s economy is growing because U.S. tariffs on roughly $150 billion of Chinese goods will take affect from Sept. 1.

Oil prices weakened overnight, with both Brent crude and U.S. West Texas Intermediate down 0.6% each, on worries about the global economy.

Brent crude was last up 0.3% at $60.11 per barrel and WTI crude added 0.2% to $55.46.

Gold prices dipped on Thursday but held near the pivotal level of $1,500 per ounce, underpinned by demand for the precious metal amid uncertainties around monetary policy, trade and geopolitical tensions. Spot gold was last down 0.2% at $1,494.99 an ounce. – Reuters

Asian stocks shaky before Powell's speech as growth woes weigh

TOKYO, Aug 23 ― Asian shares struggled to make any headway today as weak US manufacturing activity and uncertainty over how much further the Federal Reserve would cut rates added to the general air of caution in markets buffeted by global growth…

European shares tumble in choppy session, FTSE lags

FRANKFURT, Aug 23 ― European shares fell yesterday as mixed readings of business growth across major economies and uncertainty over the US interest rate outlook made investors nervous, while a jump in the pound dented London stocks. The latest…

Lazada, ministry to accelerate growth of M’sian SMEs via e-commerce

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 16 — Lazada Malaysia and the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry will roll out new trade activities and training programmes to support the growth and digital acceleration of the country’s small and medium…