Straits Inter Logistics inks bunkering contract with Bintulu Port

PETALING JAYA: Straits Inter Logistics Bhd’s 55% subsidiary Tumpuan Megah Development Sdn Bhd (TMD) has entered into an agreement with Bintulu Port Sdn Bhd (BPSB) for the provision of bunkering services for three years.

The contract will be commencing from Aug 1, 2019 with the option to renew for not more than two years.

At present, TMD is operating its business in eight ports in Malaysia, which include, Pasir Gudang Port, Tanjung Pelepas Port, Johor Bahru Port, Kuantan Port, Kemaman Port, Kuala Terengganu Port, Labuan Port and Miri Port.

“By entering into this agreement with BPSB, TMD hope to establish a base in bunkering business in Bintulu and subsequently to further enlarge its bunkering business in East Malaysia. This tie-up with BPSB is part of the group’s overall strategy to establish collaboration with strategic ports in Malaysia to bunker for vessels within their port limits,“ Straits Inter Logistics said in a stock exchange filing.

The company expects the new venture to contribute positively to the revenue and future earnings of Straits group.

“The agreement is expected to contribute positively to the future earnings of the group,“ it added.

Malaysia to maintain strong business relationship with China, Guan Eng says

KUALA LUMPUR, June 25 — Malaysia will maintain its strong business relationship with China and no Chinese investor will feel left out in this regard, says Finance Minister, Lim Guan Eng. Speaking to reporters at the Malaysia SME Business Summit…

ECER 2.0 to attract RM70b private investments

PETALING JAYA: The East Coast Economic Region Master Plan 2.0 (2018-2025) (EMP 2.0) aims to attract RM70 billion in new private investments, and create 120,000 new jobs and 60,000 entrepreneurial opportunities for Malaysians.

The master plan, which was launched by the East Coast Economic Region Development Council (ECERDC) yesterday, aims to accelerate the next leap of the region’s socio-economic transformation, narrowing the regional imbalance and enhancing the well-being of the people.

Themed “The Next Leap”, it outlines key strategies, high-impact projects and inclusive people-centric programmes to be implemented in the region to sustain its transformation into a distinctive, dynamic and competitive region by 2025.

“The launch of the EMP 2.0 is indeed a historic milestone. Capitalising on the solid foundation built on the back of the region’s socio-economic successes over the last 10 years, the EMP 2.0 was developed with the rakyat’s well-being at its heart.

“Through the delivery of high-impact projects and programmes, the Rakyat will continue to benefit through the inclusive and equitable opportunities to uplift their quality of life through the jobs and entrepreneurial opportunities created in the Region,” ECERDC CEO Baidzawi Che Mat said in a statement today.

EMP 2.0 will emphasise on six strategic initiatives namely increasing labour productivity; diversifying economic bases; facilitating economies of scale; mobilising the labour force; leveraging connectivity; and enhancing enabling infrastructure such as ICT broadband connectivity.

Greater emphasis will be given to accelerate the region’s readiness for Industry 4.0, given the importance of the digital platform in shaping economies and driving innovations worldwide.

To kick start this initiative, ECERDC has partnered with Technische Universitat Munchen (TUM) to establish the Asia Center of Excellence for Smart Technologies (ACES) at the Pahang Technology Park (PTP)’s Cybercentre.

Meanwhile, the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) and the expansion of Kuantan Port in Pahang are expected to facilitate further investments and improve mobility of goods and people.

ECERDC has also identified a new key driver namely logistics and trade facilitation, which will enhance the region’s overall competitiveness by identifying, aggregating and addressing supply chain issues for the region’s existing economic drivers including manufacturing; oil, gas and petrochemicals; tourism and agribusiness sectors.

The ECER has undergone a socio-economic transformation over the last 10 years and achieved its 2020 investment target of RM110 billion three years ahead of schedule.

To date, the total private investment in ECER stands at RM115.6 billion with 164,500 job opportunities created and around 38,000 entrepreneurs developed.

More Chinese firms show interest to invest in Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR, June 14 — The on-going United States-China trade war has spurred interest among Chinese companies to invest in Malaysia, says International Trade and Industry Deputy Minister Ong Kian Ming. “Malaysia could potentially benefit…

‘ECRL may boost GDP growth by 2.7%’

PETALING JAYA: MIDF Research estimates the revised and revived RM44 billion East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) project to contribute 2.7% to Malaysia’s economic growth.

“However, the full estimated GDP contribution will depend on the pace of spillover effects to other economic sectors,” the research house said in its thematic report on ECRL.

MIDF noted that moving forward, the railway project would affect economic expansion through both direct and indirect medium in the long run, partly by jobs creation, opening-up new areas, foreign direct investment, increase external trade activities and strengthening domestic demand.

It highlighted that there is a high output multiplier for railway investment as for each ringgit investment, it will generate RM2.05 of output to total economic activity.

However, it has a low value-added multiplier of only 33 sen, which means for every RM1 spent, it will only reward the Malaysian economy in terms of value-added by less than 50 sen.

“Nevertheless, we opine the investment in railway (ECRL) will spur economic growth and development in Malaysia amid of the strong output multiplier effects.”

With ECRL, MIDF believes it will generate more economic activities in other sectors hence shifting to a less government-reliant economy, in line with Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s idea to downsize the public sector over a period of time through industrialisation amid increasing burden towards the nation’s financial health.

Apart from that, the research house sees possible spillover effects on ports from the ECRL, with Port Klang and Kuantan Port being the main beneficiaries.

“Despite the rerouting of the ECRL from Gombak to Negri Sembilan, we opine that this should not heavily impact the flow of freight traffic. We still believe that travel time taken from Shenzhen, China via Kuantan Port and ECRL to Port Klang could be reduced by slightly more than a day instead of passing by the Straits of Malacca.”

MIDF also sees ECRL having the potential to further spur Malaysia’s oil and gas industry as it links Malaysia’s financial hub in the west with the country’s oil and gas hub in the east.

“The ECRL will allow for human capital and goods to be easily transported from west to east, thus allowing for greater connectivity of goods from Port Klang to Kertih and Kemaman.”

Currently, the only mode of transportation from west to east is via road.

Caring Pharmacy plans expansion into second-tier cities

PETALING JAYA: Caring Pharmacy Group Bhd will incorporate more local products in its pharmacies under the ‘Let’s Go Retail’ programme, paving the way for its expansion into second-tier cities in the country.

Managing director Chong Yeow Siang said currently 90% of its products are imported and its merchandise mix is more suitable for urban customers. Hence there is a huge potential for quality local products to be retailed in its outlets and for it to recommend to customers.

The Let’s Go Retail programme is a collaboration between Caring Pharmacy and business consulting & distribution company TriSuccess Global Sdn Bhd to help local entrepreneurs expand their business.

Under the initiative, Caring Pharmacy will commit to retailing Malaysian products that have passed its assessment, review and testing. In the initial phase, Caring will feature more than 20 products from over 120 merchants.

“With this Let’s Go Retail programme, we’re able to localise our merchandise mix and appeal to more customers,” Chong told SunBiz after signing the memorandum of agreement with TriSuccess here on Tuesday.

Some of the participating Malaysian brands are Ella, Serai Mas, Ana, Mary Jardin le fleur, Habada, Yooba Belle, Dominance, Kayman Beauty, Qaseh Bonda, Narinar, Turbo Gel and Dr Mama. All participating brands will be available from June 2019 onwards at selected Caring Pharmacy outlets by batches.

TriSuccess CEO Mohd Shahrilwan Mohd Sidek said there are many high potential “blue ocean” local brands in Malaysia and one of the objectives of the programme is to identify these brands and capitalise on the potential of these products and enable them to penetrate the retail market.

As the largest pharmacy chain in Malaysia, Caring Pharmacy has 126 outlets in Malaysia, except Perlis, Kedah, Terengganu and Sarawak.

In the East Coast region, Chong said, it only has an outlet each in Kelantan (Kota Baru) and Pahang (Kuantan); and also only one in Sabah (Kota Kinabalu) and will focus on adding more outlets in these places in the next financial year ending May 31, 2020.

Caring Pharmacy opens 12 to 15 outlets a year and Chong estimates that it will have 180 to 200 outlets in five years.

“Hopefully in five years, we’re able to be present in all the cities and second-tier towns in Malaysia to be a truly national pharmacy chain where customers can access our services and products,” said Chong.

Also present at the signing ceremony was Deputy Entrepreneur Development Minister Datuk Dr Mohd Hatta Md Ramli, who said that the government is finalising details of the National Entrepreneurship Policy, which will be submitted to the National Entrepreneur Strategic Development Council (NESDC).

“We’re now at the end of our findings and yesterday we had a townhall gathering of stakeholders and interested parties.

“We’re finalising the policy for entrepreneur development for the country. That will be submitted to NESDC to be confirmed as a national policy and we’ll find a proper direction of entrepreneur development,” he told a press conference after witnessing the signing ceremony.

The National Entrepreneurship Policy is expected to be launched by the Prime Minister in July.

Mohd Hatta declined to reveal what areas the National Entrepreneurship Policy will hinge on, only saying that “all important areas” will be covered.

The Entrepreneur Development Ministry is the secretariat to the NESDC, which is chaired by the Prime Minister.

PGB continues to provide utility solutions to PAP

PETALING JAYA: Petroliam Nasional Bhd’s (Petronas) subsidiary Petronas Gas Bhd (PGB) has entered into two sales and purchase agreements for 22 years each, with Polyplastics Asia Pacific Sdn Bhd (PAP) to provide utility solutions.

The first agreement is for the supply of steam to PAP, which is a new business secured from the Japan-owned company, while the second agreement is for the extension of the existing electricity supply by PGB.

“The contract extension is a testimony of our customers’ confidence in us to provide a reliable supply of power at a competitive tariff from PGB’s co-generation (COGEN) plant in Gebeng,” PGB managing director and CEO Kamal Bahrin Ahmad said in a statement today.

He said it is also PGB’s aspiration to be a preferred total solutions provider, as reflected by its long-term business relationship with PAP and the other customers based at the Gebeng Industrial Park in Kuantan, Pahang.

Established in 1997, PAP is a wholly owned subsidiary of Polyplastics Limited Company, Japan, and is a multinational company involved in the business of engineering plastics.

“PAP is proud to enter into a long-term agreement with the infrastructure owners, PGB, which signifies a new phase in our journey towards serving our customers,” PAP managing director Yoshimitsu Shirai said.

Both the electricity and steam are generated by PGB’s 350MW COGEN facility, which has been the main driver since 1999, in providing total utilities solutions and offering competitive power and steam tariff to its customers.

Other than Gebeng, PGB also operates similar facilities in Kerteh, to serve the Kerteh Integrated Petrochemical Complex.

In addition to the utilities business, PGB also operates two regasification terminals namely, Regasification Terminal Pengerang located in the Straits of Johor and Regasification Terminal Sungai Udang located in Malacca.

These two regasification terminals have a total combined capacity of 660,000 Nm3 (normal cubic metre), which is among the largest in the region.

Investment in the two regasification terminals signifies PGB’s commitment in supporting the government’s third party access initiative, which aims to allow the Energy Commission’s licensed third-party shippers to bring gas into the country.

Gamuda, IJM tipped to be big winners in ECRL revival

PETALING JAYA: The potential beneficiaries in the revival of the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) project include companies with rail-related experience and specialist contractors, while the big winners could be the likes of Gamuda Bhd and IJM Corp Bhd, said PublicInvest Research.

The research house said the beneficiaries could be the “usual suspects” with rail-related experience such as Gamuda, IJM Corp, WCT Holdings Bhd, Malaysian Resources Corp Bhd (MRCB), TRC Synergy Bhd, TSR Capital Bhd, Muhibbah Engineering (M) Bhd, Gadang Holdings Bhd, Gabungan AQRS Bhd, Sunway Construction Group Bhd, FajarBaru Builder Group Bhd, Mudajaya Group Bhd, Ahmad Zaki Resources Bhd, Ekovest Bhd and UEM Construction.

Specialist contractors such as Advancecon Holdings Bhd for earthworks, Econpile Holdings Bhd for piling, EITA Resources Bhd for system, Kimlun Corporation Bhd as a supplier for precast components like segmental box girders as well as tunnel lining segment, HSS Engineers Bhd for technical studies, Lafarge Cement and Tasek Corporation Bhd could also be beneficiaries.

“Amongst all, we think the big winners could be Gamuda given its expertise, and IJM Corp for its engineering construction capabilities and strong presence in the East Coast Economic Region corridor. IJM also owns 60% stake in Kuantan Port including 700 acres of industrial land near the port,” it said.

MIDF Research opined that Lafarge Malaysia Bhd and HSS Engineers Bhd could be the immediate beneficiaries as both companies have clinched sizeable jobs from China Communications Construction (ECRL) Sdn Bhd (CCC) previously.

While the local construction sector may see brighter prospects with order book replenishment, the size of contract, number of packages and the real contribution to the companies’ bottom line are unknown at this juncture, said PublicInvest Research.

About 40% of subcontractor jobs are expected to benefit local players, translating into RM17.6 billion worth of contracts that will be available to local construction players.

“The ECRL project aside, we don’t see any other catalyst or major development that could re-rate our stance on the sector. The 11th Malaysia Plan Mid-Term Review and Budget 2019 have thrown up guidance of lower growth going forward and reduction in development expenditure. With share prices of construction companies having already re-rated ahead of this somewhat-expected development, we believe much of the positives have already been priced-in,” said PublicInvest while maintaining its neutral rating on the sector.

Meanwhile, HLIB Research opined that the potential beneficiaries of resumption of the ECRL project are Gamuda, IJM, HSS Engineers, Gabungan AQRS, Econpile and Advancecon.

“Although we do not expect the domestic construction industry prospects to go back to where they were during the period of pre-GE14, we opine that the worst is over for the industry.”

It added that the probability of revival of the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High Speed Rail (HSR) project is lower than that of the ECRL given its larger cost (RM60-70 billion) and lower compensation amount (RM500 million).

“Should the project revival materialise, we reckon that interest would be on Gamuda and MRCB which was previously appointed as the project delivery partner.”

HLIB Research maintained its “neutral” call on the sector as it deemed year-to-date surge in construction counters has been reflected the positive sentiment.

On Bursa Malaysia today, the construction index fell 1.14% to 203.32 points against the FBM KLCI’s 0.07% gain.

Wah Seong secures exclusive distributorship for Doosan products in Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: Wah Seong Corp Bhd’s indirect 60%-owned subsidiary WDG Resources Sdn Bhd has been made the exclusive distributor for South Korea’s Doosan Infracore Co Ltd construction equipment throughout Malaysia, paving the way for the company to tap vast business opportunities in East Malaysia.

This follows the signing of an exclusive distributorship agreement today between WDG and Doosan, which is South Korea’s global leader in infrastructure support equipment.

The agreement extends WDG’s exclusive distributorship rights to also cover Sabah and Sarawak from just Peninsular Malaysia previously.

In June 2017, WDG had been appointed the exclusive distributor of Doosan range of equipment including excavators, wheel loaders and articulated dump trucks within Peninsular Malaysia.

Wah Seong managing director and group CEO Chan Cheu Leong said the expanded distributorship provides an opportunity for WDG to participate in infrastructure and construction projects in Sabah and Sarawak, including the Pan Borneo Highway.

“The extension of the Doosan distributorship will double the sales potential for WDG. WDG is confident of riding on its excellent track record to break new grounds in Sabah and Sarawak,” Chan said in a statement.

The distributorship is expected to contribute positively to the earnings of WSC group over the period of the distributorship agreement.

Traditionally, Wah Seong group’s industrial trading and services division is mostly entrenched in Peninsular Malaysia; this latest partnership gives the division an opportunity to reach out to Sabah and Sarawak in terms of trade and new opportunities.

Under the two-year distributorship agreement, WDG can leverage on Doosan’s machinery and equipment to take part in infrastructure projects in Sabah and Sarawak. In the past, its focus has been mainly in Peninsular Malaysia.

Doosan vice president of sales and marketing Chris Jeong Kwan Hee said the partnership with WDG will further establish Doosan brand in Malaysia.

“WDG has been effectively and successfully promoting Doosan products in the Malaysian construction industry since 2017. With the exclusive distributorship given to WDG, we are confident to establish a strong presence in the local infrastructure project business,” he added.

Doosan was established as Cho SunMachine Works in 1937 and was renamed Doosan Infracore in 2005. Apart from its own brand of construction equipment and power generation equipment, it also acquired the Bobcat brand in 2015.

WDG is principally involved in the distribution and service of industrial machinery, equipment and parts. It is also an authorised distributor of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries range of diesel generator sets.

After first securing the sole distributorship of Doosan range of construction equipment in Peninsular Malaysia, WDG has established a firm footing in providing its products and services to the local infrastructure and construction sectors.

The distributorship with Doosan also resulted in the group securing contracts to supply construction equipment to the Bandar University Pagoh Project, the Northern Free Trade Zone in Bukit Kayu Hitam, Kedah, the Gemas Double Track Project, Elmina Township in Subang and MCKIP in Kuantan.

Newleaf seeks to tap into huge China demand for durians

KUALA LUMPUR, Mar 19 —With increased appetite and demand from China for durians, it is only a matter of time before Malaysia makes its mark in a market traditionally dominated by Thailand. This is the view of Newleaf Plantation Berhad managing…