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Top Glove denies forced labour allegations

KUALA LUMPUR: Top Glove Corporation Bhd has denied allegations made by foreign news reports accusing it of forced labour, excessive overtime, debt bondage and passport confiscation. In a statement yesterday, Top Glove said the company has abided by the Malaysian labour law and implemented strict measures to ensure that the overtime undertaken by its workers […]


AirAsia stands firm in tax row with MAHB

SEPANG: AirAsia Group Bhd (AirAsia) is adamant on its refusal to increase the airport tax charged on passengers departing from klia2 on behalf of Malaysia Airports (Sepang) Sdn Bhd (MASSB), a subsidiary of Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB). In reference to the Writ of Summons served to AirAsia X Bhd (AAX) and AirAsia, by MASSB, […]


BToto’s Q2 profit hit by Sports Toto’s higher prize payout

PETALING JAYA: Berjaya Sports Toto Bhd’s (BToto) pre-tax profit for the second quarter ended Oct 31, 2018 fell 1.9% to RM94.29 million from RM96.08 million a year ago due to lower results from Sports Toto Malaysia Sdn Bhd.

In a filing with Bursa Malaysia, BToto said the lower results from Sports Toto was partly mitigated by improved results from H.R. Owen Plc and Philippine Gaming Management Corporation (PGMC).

Revenue for the quarter fell 2.3% to RM1.35 billion from RM1.38 billion a year ago mainly due to lower revenue reported by Sports Toto and H.R. Owen.

According to the group, Sports Toto’s 1.4% drop in revenue was mainly due to the previous year’s corresponding quarter which registered strong sales from its high jackpot in the Grand Toto 6/63 game, while its higher percentage decrease in pre-tax profit of 13.4% was mainly due to higher prize payout during the quarter under review.

PGMC’s revenue grew 7.2% during the quarter (when reporting in its functional currency) due to higher lease rental income earned consequent to improved sales of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office.

Its pre-tax profit rose 49.8% due to lower operating expenses incurred. However, the unfavourable foreign exchange effect upon translation to ringgit resulted in PGMC’s revenue falling marginally by 0.4% while the increase in pre-tax profit was lower at 39%.

H.R. Owen’s revenue (in its functional currency) rose 1.1% due to higher revenue from new car sales. It recorded a pre-tax profit of GBP800,000 during the quarter compared with a loss of GBP700,000 a year ago due to higher sales from the new car sector.

However, upon translation to ringgit, the H.R. Owen reported a drop in revenue of 3.1% to RM523.6 million from RM540.3 million a year ago due to the unfavourable foreign exchange effect.

It recorded a pre-tax profit of RM4.5 million compared with a pre-tax loss of RM4 million a year ago.

For the six months ended Oct 31, 2018, pre-tax profit rose 6.4% to RM227.33 million from RM213.60 million a year ago while revenue fell marginally to RM2.85 billion from RM2.86 billion a year ago.

The board has declared a second interim dividend of 4 sen per share in respect of the financial year ending April 30, 2019 (FY19), payable on Feb 12, 2019. The entitlement date has been fixed on Jan 18, 2019.

The second interim dividend distribution for FY19 will amount to RM53.9 million. The total dividend distribution for the financial period ended Oct 31, 2018 is 8 sen per share amounting to about RM107.8 million, representing 73.2% of the attributable profit of the group for the period.

The group expects Sports Toto’s performance to be satisfactory and is confident that BToto will continue to maintain its market share in the number forecast operator business for the remaining quarters of FY19.


Pos Malaysia to acquire two properties for RM8.84m

PETALING JAYA: Pos Malaysia Bhd is acquiring two new adjoining units of one-and-a-half-storey link-detached factory located at Iskandar Halal Park, Johor for RM8.84 million from Tentu Teguh Sdn Bhd, a property development company linked to its major shareholder.

The group told the stock exchange that the properties, which sit on freehold land measuring 2,504.988 square metres will address its current office space constraint and business expansion plan.

Pos Malaysia will be acquiring the properties for RM4.42 million each.

The market value of each of the properties stood at RM4.74 million as appraised by independent valuer Hakimi & Associates Sdn Bhd.

Pos Malaysia said the proposed acquisition will be fully satisfied in cash through internal funds and/or bank borrowing.

The acquisition is deemed as a related party transaction since tycoon Tan Sri Seri Syed Mokhtar Shah Syed Nor, (Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar Al-Bukhary) is the major shareholder of both Pos Malaysia and Tentu Teguh.

The stock declined 8.02% to close at RM1.72 with 6.68 million shares done.


AirAsia stands its ground against MAHB on PSC spat

PETALING JAYA: Low-cost carrier AirAsia has paid a total of RM478.06 million in airport tax to Malaysia Airports (Sepang) Sdn Bhd (MASSB) to date, but stressed that it is not obliged to collect the additional charges.

AirAsia Malaysia CEO Riad Asmat said in statement today that the airline has been collecting on behalf of MASSB, RM50 airport tax or passenger service charge (PSC) from every non-Asean international passenger departing from klia2 since Jan 1, 2017.

MASSB raised the PSC charged on non-Asean international passengers departing from klia2 to RM73 on Feb 1, 2018, in a move to equalise the PSC between klia2 and KL International Airport (KLIA).

Riad reiterated the airline’s stand, saying that it is not obligated to collect airport tax for MASSB, and has refused to collect the additional charge from passengers on behalf of MASSB.

“Passengers using klia2 should not be charged the same rates as passengers in KLIA, as klia2 is a low-cost terminal with far lower levels of service provided to passengers, compared with KLIA, which is a full-service terminal,” he said.

He said AirAsia had also previously lodged a number of official complaints regarding the substandard infrastructure and access at klia2, which has negatively impacted its operational performance and punctuality.

The complaints include unsatisfactory state of infrastructure at klia2, apron defects, ground depression, flooding, ruptured fuel pipelines, ad hoc runway closures due to continuous resurfacing requirements, closure of departure gates and damages to aircraft.

Riad said these cross-claims far exceed the amount of airport tax that the airline has refused to collect for MASSB from its passengers.

“It is to be reiterated that we have tried, on various occasions, and without success, to engage MASSB on these issues. Regrettably, MASSB has instead decided to take the matter public and instigate legal action based on claims that AirAsia will strongly refute,” he added.

Earlier on Tuesday, AirAsia Group Bhd and AirAsia X Bhd told Bursa Malaysia that they are being sued by MASSB for refusing to collect the additional RM23 PSC per passenger at klia2, with MASSB claiming a combined RM36.11 million for uncollected PSC and alleged PSC arrears.

The group had said that it will defend the proceedings vigorously as it believes that the claims were made without justification and are unreasonable.

The airline refused to collect the additional RM23 PSC per passenger, stressing that the charges levied should reflect the level of services provided.


Top Glove says it was not given opportunity to respond to allegations

PETALING JAYA: Top Glove Bhd has clarified that the company was not contacted by the UK newspaper “The Guardian” and was not given the opportunity to comment on the forced labour allegations in the latter’s article.

Top Glove said this in a statement today, in response to the newspaper’s article on December 9 and allegation that the company declined to comment on this matter.

Recently, The Guardian in its report claimed that the company oppressed thousands of workers including forcing them to work overtime exceeding 160 hours a month, which was more than the 104 hours overtime stipulated under the Employment Act 1955.

According to the report, the company’s foreign workers were turned into forced labour by working forced overtime, faced debt problems, were confined and their passports seized.

Top Glove stressed that it has now implemented strict measures to ensure that the overtime undertaken by its workers does not exceed the maximum limit permitted under the law.

“There is absolutely no forced labour at Top Glove. The Minister of Human Resources directed his officials to conduct random checks at our factory premises in a few locations last week and paid an impromptu visit to Top Glove’s factories on the December 10.

“He has also clarified that there is no element of forced labour, forced overtime and debt bondage at Top Glove,” it added.

However, the group said it was surprised to learn that a Nepalese worker was prevented from going to church to attend Sunday service, noting that all the while, the group allows its workers the freedom to practice their religion.

Additionally, Top Glove said the company has never confiscated its migrant workers’ passports.

“In the interest of safeguarding these important documents, their passports are kept in a passport safekeeping room with individual lockers, to which workers have free access anytime,” it said.

On the alleged mental breakdown or mental torture of its workers, Top Glove said that it was not aware of any cases of its workers experiencing such distress.

Top Glove stressed that its employee’s well-being is the company’s’ foremost priority and it has many health initiatives and measures in place to ensure they are well taken care of in this area.

“We view seriously the allegations made in the article as they gravely undermine the good reputation of Top Glove. We really appreciate that you take cognizance of our explanation and correct the facts accordingly,” it added.


Kian Joo hits limit up after Can-One MGO

PETALING JAYA: Kian Joo Can Factory Bhd’s share price hit limit up this morning, rising as much as 29.56% or 60 sen to RM2.63 upon resumption of trading, after a mandatory general offer (MGO) was launched by fellow can manufacturer and substantial shareholder, Can-One Bhd.

At 12.30 pm, the stock was still trading at RM2.63 with 173,000 shares done.

The trading of Kian Joo’s shares were suspended on Wednesday and Thursday, before resuming at 9 am this morning, to pave way for the announcement on MGO, which entails an offer price of RM3.10 per share or RM912.15 million for shares not already owned by Can-One in Kian Joo.

Can-One’s which also had the trading of its shares suspended for the same duration, rose 37sen or 19.17 sen to RM2.30 at early trade. At 12.30 pm, the stock was trading at RM2.14 with 674,100 shares done.

This comes after Can-One’s proposed acquisition of a 0.49% stake in Kian Joo from shareholder Tan Kim Seng for RM6.71 million or RM3.10 per share, raising its shareholding in Kian Joo to 33.39% from 32.9%.

The offer price represents a whopping 51.28% premium to Kian Joo’s five-day volume weighted average price of RM2.0492.

Can-One said the corporate exercise is part of the group’s expansion strategy to consolidate the can manufacturing business under Kian Joo in a bid to grow its sales and customer base.

It will also create enhanced scale and synergies for the enlarged Can-One group through, among others, streamlined procurement from suppliers to negotiate for bulk discount and improved operational efficiencies, resulting from economies of scale and integration.

In a related development, the Securities Commission Malaysia (SC) has reprimanded Can-One director and major shareholder Yeoh Jin Hoe and parties acting in concert (PACs) – including Can-One International Sdn Bhd (CISB) – for failure to undertake a mandatory offer for the remaining shares in Kian Joo after their shareholdings triggered the 33% MGO threshold.

This is breach of Section 218(2) of the Capital Markets & Services Act, 2007 and Paragraph 9(1)(a) of the Take-Overs Code.

The SC imposed a penalty of RM455,000 to be settled within 14 days against Yeoh and PACs as well as a restriction on the aggregate number of voting rights that may be exercised by the PAC in Kian Joo to not more than 33%.

If the proposed corporate exercise for which consultation with the SC was held on Dec 21, 2017 is not carried out within six months from the date of the commission’s letter, the PACs are required to reduce their collective holdings in Kian Joo to 33% and below.


China's consumers, factory output take a beating as economic gloom deepens

BEIJING, Dec 14 ― China's November retail sales grew at their weakest pace since 2003 and industrial output rose the least in nearly three years as domestic demand softened further, underlining rising risks to the economy as China works to defuse…


Can-One launches MGO for Kian Joo at RM3.10 a share

PETALING JAYA: Can-One Bhd is launching a mandatory general offer (MGO) for Kian Joo Factory Bhd for RM3.10 per share or RM912.15 million for shares it does not own in Kian Joo.

This comes after Can-One’s proposed acquisition of a 0.49% stake in Kian Joo from shareholder Tan Kim Seng for RM6.71 million or RM3.10 per share, raising its shareholding in Kian Joo to 33.39% from 32.9%.

The offer price represents a whopping 51.28% premium to Kian Joo’s five-day volume weighted average price of RM2.0492. It is also 52.7% higher than its closing price of RM2.03 on Tuesday prior to the share suspension. Can-One was last traded at RM1.93.

Can-One and Kian Joo are both involved in the can manufacturing business, mainly serving the food and beverage industry. Currently, Can-One, via CISB, holds 32.90% equity interest in Kian Joo.

Can-One said the corporate exercise is part of the group’s expansion strategy to consolidate the can manufacturing business under Kian Joo in a bid to grow its sales and customer base.

It will also create enhanced scale and synergies for the enlarged Can-One group through, among others, streamlined procure-ment from suppliers to negotiate for bulk discount and improved operational efficiencies, resulting from economies of scale and integration.

“The proposals will allow Can-One Group to increase its range of products, namely the manufacturing of two-piece aluminum cans business as well as the manufacturing of corrugated box packaging business undertaken by Kian Joo to meet its customers’ requirement of being a total service provider of cans and packaging products.

“With the larger combined asset base of the enlarged Can-One group, the group will also be able to gain better access to both debt and equity capital markets to fund its current and future business activities and expansion,” said Can One.

In a related development, the Securities Commission Malaysia (SC) has repri-manded Can-One director and major shareholder Yeoh Jin Hoe and parties acting in concert (PACs) – including Can-One International Sdn Bhd (CISB) – for failure to undertake a mandatory offer for the remaining shares in Kian Joo after their shareholdings triggered the 33% MGO threshold.

This is breach of Section 218(2) of the Capital Markets & Services Act, 2007 and Paragraph 9(1)(a) of the Take-Overs Code.

The SC imposed a penalty of RM455,000 to be settled within 14 days against Yeoh and PACs as well as a restriction on the aggregate number of voting rights that may be exercised by the PAC in Kian Joo to not more than 33%.

If the proposed corporate exercise for which consultation with the SC was held on Dec 21, 2017 is not carried out within six months from the date of the commission’s letter, the PACs are required to reduce their collective holdings in Kian Joo to 33% and below.


(p14 2nd story eancan) Can-One offers high premium for Kian Joo at RM3.10 a share

PETALING JAYA: Can-One Bhd is launching a mandatory general offer (MGO) for Kian Joo Factory Bhd for RM3.10 per share or RM912.15 million for shares it does not own in Kian Joo.

This comes after Can-One’s proposed acquisition of a 0.49% stake in Kian Joo from shareholder Tan Kim Seng for RM6.71 million or RM3.10 per share, raising its shareolding in Kian Joo to 33.39% from 32.9%.

The offer price represents a whopping 51.28% premium to Kian Joo’s five-day volume weighted average price of RM2.0492. It’s also 52.7% higher than its closing price of RM2.03 on Tuesday prior to the share suspension. Can-One was last traded at RM1.90.

On another hand, the Securities Commission Malaysia (SC) has reprimanded Can-One director and major shareholder Yeoh Jin Hoe and parties acting in concert (including Can-One International Sdn Bhd (CISB)), for failure to undertake a mandatory offer for the remaining shares in Kian Joo after their shareholdings triggered the 33% MGO threshold.

This is breach of Section 218(2) of the Capital Markets & Services Act, 2007 (CMSA) and Paragraph 9(1)(a) of the Take-Overs Code.

The SC imposed a penalty of RM455,000 to be settled within 14 days against Yeoh and PAC as well as a restriction on the aggregate number of voting rights that may be exercised by the PAC in Kian Joo to not more than 33%.

If the proposed corporate exercise for which consultation with the SC was held on Dec 21, 2017 is not carried out within six months from the date of the SC letter, the PAC are required to reduce their collective holdings in Kian Joo to 33% and below.

Can-One and Kian Joo are both involved in the can manufacturing business, mainly serving the food and beverage industry. Currently, Can-One, via CISB, holds 32.90% equity interest in Kian Joo.

Can-One said the corporate exercise is part of the group’s expansion strategy to consolidate the can manufacturing business under Kian Joo in a bid to grow its sales and customer base.

It will also create enhanced scale and synergies for the enlarged Can-One group through, amongst others, streamlined procurement from suppliers to negotiate for bulk discount and improved operational efficiencies, resulting from economies of scale and integration.

“The proposals will allow Can-One Group to increase its range of products, namely the manufacturing of two-piece aluminum cans business as well as the manufacturing of corrugated box packaging business undertaken by Kian Joo to meet its customers’ requirement of being a total service provider of cans and packaging products.

“With the larger combined asset base of the enlarged Can-One group, the group will also be able to gain better access to both debt and equity capital markets to fund its current and future business activities and expansion,” said Can One.