MRCB to introduce shopping mall at Penang Sentral by 2020

BUTTERWORTH, Nov 19 — Malaysian Resources Corp Bhd (MRCB) expects to introduce a retail shopping mall at Penang Sentral, an integrated northern region transportation hub project, by 2020. Chief Operating Officer of MRCB Properties, Shireen Iqbal…

MISC’s Q3 profit halves to RM341m, 7 sen dividend proposed

PETALING JAYA: MISC Bhd’s net profit halved to RM341 million in the third quarter ended September 30, 2018 against RM680.5 million in the previous corresponding period, due to lower contribution from all business segments.

Revenue went down 3.7% to RM2.23 billion from RM2.32 billion.

It has proposed to declare an interim dividend of 7 sen per share for the quarter under review.

MISC told Bursa Malaysia that operating profit for the liquefied natural gas (LNG) was 38.1% lower at RM249.4 million, mainly due to lower earning days and lower charter rate following contract renewal of an LNG carrier in October 2017.

Its petroleum business recorded lower operating loss of RM27.4 million compared with corresponding quarter’s loss of RM59.7 million, mainly due to higher freight rates

For the offshore business, its operating profit skidded 55.3% to RM139.9 million, mainly due to the one-time gain from the variation works awarded to Gumusut-Kakap Semi-Floating Production System (L) Ltd (GKL) and construction profit from FSO Benchamas 2 recorded in the corresponding quarter.

Meanwhile, the heavy engineering segment recorded an operating loss of RM22.8 million, mainly dragged by additional cost provisions made for ongoing projects and additional costs incurred on conversion works and compressed margins for dry docking activities in the current quarter.

MISC’s nine-month net profit slumped 49.2% to RM972.8 million from 1.91 billion, while revenue slipped 15.9% to RM6.39 billion from RM7.6 billion.

Its shares gained 0.2% to close at RM6.60 on 1.91 million shares done.

TM clears air on rising number of customer complaints

PETALING JAYA: Telekom Malaysia Bhd (TM), which was singled out by Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) over the rise in number of complaints against the company, has attributed its woes with a “legacy network”, multiple fibre cable cut incidents and ongoing service update.

TM was responding to a statement by MCMC earlier today that it had received 7,946 complaints on its services, representing an increase of 43% from the 4,528 received last year. These complaints centred on consumer dissatisfaction over pricing (21%), the lack of Unifi coverage (16%), Unifi service disruption (13%), billing disputes (14%), service delivery (14%), and others (22%).

On the technology and pricing issues, TM said it looks forward to a collaborative win-win approach with the government to effectively address the challenges faced by its Streamyx customers.

“We would like to emphasise that the copper network which is a legacy network, faces many challenges, mainly technological limitations.This is more pronounced for Streamyx customers, whereby the copper network is only able to deliver speeds up to 8Mbps.

“This requires a longer term and more permanent solution, which will take time to implement and has heavy financial implications,” TM added.

On yesterday’s services disruption, TM explained that it has issued its second update statement on the matter earlier this morning following its first alert issued last night.

TM clarified that the disruption was attributed to multiple fibre cable cut incidents due to the ongoing road works by Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) third party contractors in Sentul and Sabak Bernam West Coast Expressway (WSE) contractors in Sabak Bernam.

“Our technical team started work on the affected cables as soon as the fault report was lodged. We would like to update that while the fibre cable cuts repair and replacement works are still underway, we have optimised the network by rerouting traffic and fully restored the services affected at 10am today so that the internet experience is back to normal.

“Meanwhile, we have highlighted this issue to the local authority council to prevent this from recurring and we are taking necessary actions against the contractors,” it added.

On complaints over its products and services, TM noted that it has continuously been in touch with its Streamyx customers via email and phone to inform them of the speed upgrades, adding it had earlier shared a further update on the ongoing upgrade exercise.

Soda tax is near-term bitter for F&N but outlook remains sweet


THE implementation of a soda tax on all sugar sweetened beverages next April makes Malaysia the fourth country in Southeast Asia to tackle serious health issues related to excessive sugar intake. Brunei and Thailand were quicker to implement the excise tax in an attempt to reduce sugar consumption, followed at the beginning of the year by the Philippines. The recently tabled Budget 2019 proposed a 40 sen tax per litre on drinks containing more than 5g of sugar or sugar-based sweetener per 100ml as well as fruit and vegetable juicesRead More

Cheaper packages alone not enough for Netflix to penetrate Asian market, says Fitch Solutions

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 19 — Online streaming company Netflix Inc will have to do more than halving their package price in order to thrive in the Malaysian market, Fitch Solutions has suggested. In a commentary published last Thursday, the credit rating…

Bursa Malaysia continues to trend lower at mid-afternoon

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 19 ― Bursa Malaysia continued to trend lower at mid-afternoon today, dragged down mainly by selling in selected blue-chips, led by MAHB and TM. At 3pm, the benchmark FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI (FBM KLCI) stood at 1,702.18, down…

Fitch unit lowers GDP target to 4.6pc for 2018 on slower growth

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 19 — Fitch Solutions Macro Research (FMSR), a unit of the Fitch Group, has lowered its GDP projection for Malaysia for 2018 from 5.1 per cent previously to 4.6 per cent. The 2018 revision reflects the weaker than expected Q3FY18…

Malaysia Aviation appoints Philip See as Firefly CEO, Ignatius Ong group revenue chief officer

PETALING JAYA: Malaysia Aviation Group (MAG) has appointed Philip See as the new CEO of Firefly, effective Jan 1, 2019.

Philip will replace Ignatius Ong who joined Malaysia Airlines as group chief revenue officer in June 2018. Ignatius has been double-hatting as CEO of Firefly and group chief revenue officer.

Philip, whose appointment was announced internally earlier, is currently the Head of Strategy and Network for Malaysia Airlines, reporting directly to the group CEO. He joined the airline in 2015 from consulting firm McKinsey & Company, where he was an associate.

He is however, no stranger to the group having previously served in the Turnaround Management Office (TMO) in Malaysia Airlines, back in 2004. Under the TMO he was responsible for implementing the Business Turnaround Plan and consequently the Business Transformation Plan. Philip left the airline in 2010 and rejoined Malaysia Airlines in 2015 as a Network Planner.

In his role as group chief revenue officer, Ignatius oversees Sales and Revenue Management for the entire group. Ignatius has almost 15 years of professional experience in the aviation industry and is no stranger to revenue management having previously covered route and revenue under the then Turnaround Management Office. He has also headed the whole portfolio of Sales, Distribution and Marketing under the Project Management Department of Malaysia Airlines.

Other changes in the management also include Ibrahim Mohamed Salleh as CEO of MABKargo effective Sept 1, 2018 and Hazman Hilmi Sallahuddin as CEO of Project Amal effective Oct 1, 2018.

Ibrahim has over 20 years of experience in various fields within Cargo Handling with the company. Prior to his appointment as CEO MABKargo, he was COO of PT Jasa Angkasa Semesta (a subsidiary of SATS Limited, Singapore).

Hazman was with Khazanah Nasional Bhd where he served in various roles across the organisation. This included Senior Vice President of Khazanah Europe Investment Limited based in London.

Malaysia Aviation Group CEO Izham Ismail said, ”I am confident that the new leadership will bring new energy and purpose to the business. The diversity of our new leaders, their backgrounds and experience will help us reach our goals as a group.”

Pharmaniaga Q3 earnings jump over fourfold to RM15m, declares 5 sen dividend

PETALING JAYA: Pharmaniaga Bhd’s net profit in the third quarter ended Sep 30, 2018 jumped over fourfold to RM15.05 million, from RM3.58 million in the previous corresponding quarter on the back of higher demand from government hospitals coupled with lower operating expenses.

The group said in a filing with Bursa Malaysia that the lower earnings recorded in last year's corresponding quarter was mainly due to recognition of prior year's corporate tax.

Revenue for the quarter increased 2.3% to RM587.7 million, compared with RM574.5 million in the same period a year ago.

Pharmaniaga has proposed to declare a third interim dividend of 5 sen per share for the quarter under review, payable on Jan 3, 2019.

For the nine months period, its net profit grew 18.8% to RM38.03 million against RM32.02 million a year ago, while revenue up 4.5% to RM1.79 billion from RM1.71 billion previously.

On its prospects, the group said it is confident on a positive outlook ahead, particularly in light of the government's recent Budget 2019 announcement, which reflects a strong commitment towards scaling up the healthcare sector.

It said this includes an increased allocation of approximately RM29 billion for the Ministry of Health with RM10.8 billion slated for the provision of medicine and upgrading efforts for health services at clinics and hospitals.

“This certainly bodes well for Pharmaniaga's prospects, as the group is well-positioned to tap these opportunities,” it added.

Pharmaniaga said it remains committed to expanding its market presence in the private sector via strategic marketing initiatives alongside concurrent focus on strengthening business synergies between its subsidiaries, PT Millennium Pharmacon International and PT Errita Pharma, to tap into opportunities in this growing market.

Paramount sells controlling stakes in three KDU colleges for RM38.5m

PETALING JAYA: Paramount Corp Bhd's move to streamline education assets continues with the proposed disposal of its controlling stakes in three KDU colleges to Australian education unit, UOWM Sdn Bhd for RM38.5 million.

This comes after the group announced last month the sale of three of its campuses in Penang and Selangor to Dynamic Gates Sdn Bhd for RM420 million to to achieve a more efficient capital structure and realise investment value.

Paramount told the stock exchange today that it had entered into a share purchase agreement (SPA) for the proposed disposal of its controlling equity interests in KDU University College Sdn Bhd (KDUUC), KDU University College (PG) Sdn Bhd (KDU PG UC) and KDU College (PJ) Sdn Bhd (KDUPJ) to UOWM.

Paramount is selling its 65% stake in KDUUC and KDU PG UC for RM16 million and RM22 million, respectively, while its 70% stake in KDUPJ is sold for RM500,000.

UOWM is principally involved in investment holding in private college and university education. Its holding company, UOWGE Ltd (UOWGE), is wholly-owned by University of Wollongong (UOW), a public research and teaching university from New South Wales, Australia

Paramount has, pursuant to the SPA, agreed to irrevocably and unconditionally grant to the purchaser a call option to purchase, for itself or for its nominee on the remaining 30% of KDUUC and KDU PG UC (Call Option Shares) held by Paramount.

The group plans to use a bulk of the proceeds from the proposed disposal amounting to RM30 million to cut back on its gearing level, while RM8 million is earmarked for working capital.

“More importantly, the proposed disposal will provide an opportunity for Paramount to establish a strategic partnership with UOWGE (University of Wollongong Global Enterprise) to enhance the brand position of KDU University College, KDU Penang University College and KDU College for student enrolment growth, and to expedite the turnaround of the tertiary education segment.”

“Students of these three institutions will also gain access to UOW’s study abroad and student exchange partnership network with 180 universities in 44 countries, including OUWGE’s campuses in Australia, Hong Kong and Dubai,” it added.

Given that Australia is a popular destination for higher education among Malaysian students, Paramount is also of the view that the entry of a highly respected Australian public research and teaching university into KDU, and by extension, the Malaysian education scene will be beneficial to all stakeholders.

At 2.44pm, the stock was trading 0.96% higher at RM2.11 with 42,300 shares done.