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‘White Knight’ Delta buys stake in Korean Air parent, dampens activist threat

SEOUL/CHICAGO: Delta Air Lines bought a small stake in Korean Air Lines Co’s parent company and said it wants to increase it to 10%, giving a boost to the management of South Korea’s top carrier that seeks to thwart a local activist fund’s challenge.

Shares of the parent, Hanjin Kal Corp, tumbled 15 percent on Friday, as Delta’s move dashed investor hopes of a battle to control the family-run group that had driven up shares since the death of patriarch Cho Yang-ho in April.

Korean Air, which has a joint venture with Delta since last year, said on Friday it believes Delta’s 4.3 percent stake buy intends to ensure the ‘stable management” of the company and support for its leadership.

Should the No. 2 U.S. carrier raise its stake to 10% in Hanjin Kal, the airline’s founding family and its allies will have a total stake of 39%, versus the 16% stake held by the activist fund, Korea Corporate Governance Improvement (KCGI).

“Delta played a role as a white knight for Hanjin,” said Choi Nam-gon, an analyst at Yuanta Securities.

“Now it would be impossible for KCGI to take control of the group. The stake buy removes the chance of a management battle at Hanjin Group,” he said.

KCGI said in a statement that if Delta’s investment decision intends to “simply defend the management rights of the controlling family members, this would go against the honour and principles that it has built so far.”

It proposed Delta, backed by U.S. investor Warren Buffett, work together to eliminate inefficiencies and improve management transparency at the Hanjin Group.

Korean Air shares fell 2.6% and its budget affiliate Jin Air Co Ltd rose 0.2% in the wider market that was down 0.3%.

KOREAN AIR SUCCESSOR

Korean Air has been plagued in recent years by a series of scandals involving its founding family members.

In April, the tycoon suddenly died at age 70, just weeks after shareholders decided to end his 27-year tenure on the airline’s board, in a show of growing shareholder activism in Asia’s fourth-biggest economy that has long been dominated by family-owned conglomerates.

The group subsequently appointed his only son Walter Cho, 43, as CEO and chairman, but the company has yet to inform regulators about a definitive succession plan. He and his two sisters have small stakes in Hanjin Kal, in which the late Cho has a 17.8% stake.

Against that backdrop, KCGI raised its stake to nearly 16%, fueling speculation about an impending ownership battle at the conglomerate.

Delta Chief Executive Ed Bastian said earlier this month he had “a lot of confidence” in Walter Cho, noting their friendship had gone back 20 years.

“The investment demonstrates Delta’s commitment to the success of its joint venture with Korean Air,” Delta said in a statement. The venture includes 290 U.S. destinations and over 80 in Asia.

The U.S. airline did not disclose how much it paid for the 4.3% stake. It also did not say who it bought the stake from or when it may raise it to 10 percent.

Atlanta-based Delta has been growing internationally both through joint ventures – which allow airlines to coordinate fares and schedules while building a presence in new markets – and direct equity investments, which help airlines align their respective strategies.

Delta also owns stakes in Grupo Aeromexico, Air France KLM, China Eastern, Brazil’s Gol and Virgin Atlantic, and has been negotiating a stake in Alitalia.

Shares in Delta closed down 0.7% at $55.97 in New York on Thursday.


‘White Knight’ Delta buys stake in Korean Air parent, dampens activist threat

SEOUL/CHICAGO: Delta Air Lines bought a small stake in Korean Air Lines Co’s parent company and said it wants to increase it to 10%, giving a boost to the management of South Korea’s top carrier that seeks to thwart a local activist fund’s challenge.

Shares of the parent, Hanjin Kal Corp, tumbled 15 percent on Friday, as Delta’s move dashed investor hopes of a battle to control the family-run group that had driven up shares since the death of patriarch Cho Yang-ho in April.

Korean Air, which has a joint venture with Delta since last year, said on Friday it believes Delta’s 4.3 percent stake buy intends to ensure the ‘stable management” of the company and support for its leadership.

Should the No. 2 U.S. carrier raise its stake to 10% in Hanjin Kal, the airline’s founding family and its allies will have a total stake of 39%, versus the 16% stake held by the activist fund, Korea Corporate Governance Improvement (KCGI).

“Delta played a role as a white knight for Hanjin,” said Choi Nam-gon, an analyst at Yuanta Securities.

“Now it would be impossible for KCGI to take control of the group. The stake buy removes the chance of a management battle at Hanjin Group,” he said.

KCGI said in a statement that if Delta’s investment decision intends to “simply defend the management rights of the controlling family members, this would go against the honour and principles that it has built so far.”

It proposed Delta, backed by U.S. investor Warren Buffett, work together to eliminate inefficiencies and improve management transparency at the Hanjin Group.

Korean Air shares fell 2.6% and its budget affiliate Jin Air Co Ltd rose 0.2% in the wider market that was down 0.3%.

KOREAN AIR SUCCESSOR

Korean Air has been plagued in recent years by a series of scandals involving its founding family members.

In April, the tycoon suddenly died at age 70, just weeks after shareholders decided to end his 27-year tenure on the airline’s board, in a show of growing shareholder activism in Asia’s fourth-biggest economy that has long been dominated by family-owned conglomerates.

The group subsequently appointed his only son Walter Cho, 43, as CEO and chairman, but the company has yet to inform regulators about a definitive succession plan. He and his two sisters have small stakes in Hanjin Kal, in which the late Cho has a 17.8% stake.

Against that backdrop, KCGI raised its stake to nearly 16%, fueling speculation about an impending ownership battle at the conglomerate.

Delta Chief Executive Ed Bastian said earlier this month he had “a lot of confidence” in Walter Cho, noting their friendship had gone back 20 years.

“The investment demonstrates Delta’s commitment to the success of its joint venture with Korean Air,” Delta said in a statement. The venture includes 290 U.S. destinations and over 80 in Asia.

The U.S. airline did not disclose how much it paid for the 4.3% stake. It also did not say who it bought the stake from or when it may raise it to 10 percent.

Atlanta-based Delta has been growing internationally both through joint ventures – which allow airlines to coordinate fares and schedules while building a presence in new markets – and direct equity investments, which help airlines align their respective strategies.

Delta also owns stakes in Grupo Aeromexico, Air France KLM, China Eastern, Brazil’s Gol and Virgin Atlantic, and has been negotiating a stake in Alitalia.

Shares in Delta closed down 0.7% at $55.97 in New York on Thursday.


‘White Knight’ Delta buys stake in Korean Air parent, dampens activist threat

SEOUL/CHICAGO: Delta Air Lines bought a small stake in Korean Air Lines Co’s parent company and said it wants to increase it to 10%, giving a boost to the management of South Korea’s top carrier that seeks to thwart a local activist fund’s challenge.

Shares of the parent, Hanjin Kal Corp, tumbled 15 percent on Friday, as Delta’s move dashed investor hopes of a battle to control the family-run group that had driven up shares since the death of patriarch Cho Yang-ho in April.

Korean Air, which has a joint venture with Delta since last year, said on Friday it believes Delta’s 4.3 percent stake buy intends to ensure the ‘stable management” of the company and support for its leadership.

Should the No. 2 U.S. carrier raise its stake to 10% in Hanjin Kal, the airline’s founding family and its allies will have a total stake of 39%, versus the 16% stake held by the activist fund, Korea Corporate Governance Improvement (KCGI).

“Delta played a role as a white knight for Hanjin,” said Choi Nam-gon, an analyst at Yuanta Securities.

“Now it would be impossible for KCGI to take control of the group. The stake buy removes the chance of a management battle at Hanjin Group,” he said.

KCGI said in a statement that if Delta’s investment decision intends to “simply defend the management rights of the controlling family members, this would go against the honour and principles that it has built so far.”

It proposed Delta, backed by U.S. investor Warren Buffett, work together to eliminate inefficiencies and improve management transparency at the Hanjin Group.

Korean Air shares fell 2.6% and its budget affiliate Jin Air Co Ltd rose 0.2% in the wider market that was down 0.3%.

KOREAN AIR SUCCESSOR

Korean Air has been plagued in recent years by a series of scandals involving its founding family members.

In April, the tycoon suddenly died at age 70, just weeks after shareholders decided to end his 27-year tenure on the airline’s board, in a show of growing shareholder activism in Asia’s fourth-biggest economy that has long been dominated by family-owned conglomerates.

The group subsequently appointed his only son Walter Cho, 43, as CEO and chairman, but the company has yet to inform regulators about a definitive succession plan. He and his two sisters have small stakes in Hanjin Kal, in which the late Cho has a 17.8% stake.

Against that backdrop, KCGI raised its stake to nearly 16%, fueling speculation about an impending ownership battle at the conglomerate.

Delta Chief Executive Ed Bastian said earlier this month he had “a lot of confidence” in Walter Cho, noting their friendship had gone back 20 years.

“The investment demonstrates Delta’s commitment to the success of its joint venture with Korean Air,” Delta said in a statement. The venture includes 290 U.S. destinations and over 80 in Asia.

The U.S. airline did not disclose how much it paid for the 4.3% stake. It also did not say who it bought the stake from or when it may raise it to 10 percent.

Atlanta-based Delta has been growing internationally both through joint ventures – which allow airlines to coordinate fares and schedules while building a presence in new markets – and direct equity investments, which help airlines align their respective strategies.

Delta also owns stakes in Grupo Aeromexico, Air France KLM, China Eastern, Brazil’s Gol and Virgin Atlantic, and has been negotiating a stake in Alitalia.

Shares in Delta closed down 0.7% at $55.97 in New York on Thursday.


‘White Knight’ Delta buys stake in Korean Air parent, dampens activist threat

SEOUL/CHICAGO: Delta Air Lines bought a small stake in Korean Air Lines Co’s parent company and said it wants to increase it to 10%, giving a boost to the management of South Korea’s top carrier that seeks to thwart a local activist fund’s challenge.

Shares of the parent, Hanjin Kal Corp, tumbled 15 percent on Friday, as Delta’s move dashed investor hopes of a battle to control the family-run group that had driven up shares since the death of patriarch Cho Yang-ho in April.

Korean Air, which has a joint venture with Delta since last year, said on Friday it believes Delta’s 4.3 percent stake buy intends to ensure the ‘stable management” of the company and support for its leadership.

Should the No. 2 U.S. carrier raise its stake to 10% in Hanjin Kal, the airline’s founding family and its allies will have a total stake of 39%, versus the 16% stake held by the activist fund, Korea Corporate Governance Improvement (KCGI).

“Delta played a role as a white knight for Hanjin,” said Choi Nam-gon, an analyst at Yuanta Securities.

“Now it would be impossible for KCGI to take control of the group. The stake buy removes the chance of a management battle at Hanjin Group,” he said.

KCGI said in a statement that if Delta’s investment decision intends to “simply defend the management rights of the controlling family members, this would go against the honour and principles that it has built so far.”

It proposed Delta, backed by U.S. investor Warren Buffett, work together to eliminate inefficiencies and improve management transparency at the Hanjin Group.

Korean Air shares fell 2.6% and its budget affiliate Jin Air Co Ltd rose 0.2% in the wider market that was down 0.3%.

KOREAN AIR SUCCESSOR

Korean Air has been plagued in recent years by a series of scandals involving its founding family members.

In April, the tycoon suddenly died at age 70, just weeks after shareholders decided to end his 27-year tenure on the airline’s board, in a show of growing shareholder activism in Asia’s fourth-biggest economy that has long been dominated by family-owned conglomerates.

The group subsequently appointed his only son Walter Cho, 43, as CEO and chairman, but the company has yet to inform regulators about a definitive succession plan. He and his two sisters have small stakes in Hanjin Kal, in which the late Cho has a 17.8% stake.

Against that backdrop, KCGI raised its stake to nearly 16%, fueling speculation about an impending ownership battle at the conglomerate.

Delta Chief Executive Ed Bastian said earlier this month he had “a lot of confidence” in Walter Cho, noting their friendship had gone back 20 years.

“The investment demonstrates Delta’s commitment to the success of its joint venture with Korean Air,” Delta said in a statement. The venture includes 290 U.S. destinations and over 80 in Asia.

The U.S. airline did not disclose how much it paid for the 4.3% stake. It also did not say who it bought the stake from or when it may raise it to 10 percent.

Atlanta-based Delta has been growing internationally both through joint ventures – which allow airlines to coordinate fares and schedules while building a presence in new markets – and direct equity investments, which help airlines align their respective strategies.

Delta also owns stakes in Grupo Aeromexico, Air France KLM, China Eastern, Brazil’s Gol and Virgin Atlantic, and has been negotiating a stake in Alitalia.

Shares in Delta closed down 0.7% at $55.97 in New York on Thursday.


Local semiconductor sector downgraded on heightened US-China tech dispute

PETALING JAYA: TA Securities has downgraded the local semiconductor sector to “underweight” after the escalation in trade tensions between the US and China over the weekend.

“While we are maintaining our forecasts for local companies under our coverage (Inari, MPI, Unisem, and Elsoft) until we obtain further guidance from management in the upcoming results season, we have lowered valuations in view of the increasingly negative sentiment on the sector and correspondingly, downgrade our stance to underweight,” said TA Securities in a research note.

“We have recommendation of ‘buy’ on Inari Amertron Bhd (TP: RM1.80) and ‘sell’ on Malaysian Pacific Industries Bhd (MPI) (TP: RM8.90, downgraded from ‘hold’), Unisem (M) Bhd (TP: RM2.15) and Elsoft Research Bhd (TP:75 sen).”

Local semiconductor stocks took a beating on Tuesday after the US Commerce Department added Huawei to its “Entity List”, which is a trade blacklist that bars anyone on it from buying parts and components from US companies without the government’s approval first.

Shares of Inari fell the most by 6.7% to RM1.40 on Tuesday, followed by Frontken and MPI, which shed 5.6% and 4.2% to RM1.34 and RM9.10, respectively.

TA Securities expects the latest development to be short-term negative to the global semiconductor sector as its effects cascade through the supply chain.

“That said, we also view that it may not be entirely negative as we believe a fall in demand for Huawei smartphones, the world’s second largest smartphone maker, would be largely offset by consumers opting or switching to non-Chinese brands like Samsung and Apple, albeit the latter is susceptible to heightened boycott movements in China”.

TA Securities opined that semiconductor players outside of China are potential beneficiaries of any plans by manufacturers hit by the trade spat to reroute orders or readjust supply chains, albeit the impact may not be immediate and clear cut especially with prospects of a full blown trade war emanating recessionary fears.

Meanwhile, HLIB Research said the trade restriction will equally hurt US companies which increasingly rely on China market for growth and profitability.

“Apple may see limited benefit due to iPhones’ high price points and potential nationalistic retaliation by the Chinese, who are still a significant market for Apple (16% of Apple sales in 1H19).”

“Samsung is likely to have the upper hand in this dispute thanks to its wide spectrum of products and end-to-end in-house capability. Hence, the spillover effects towards non-Korean suppliers are usually hardly felt.”

While maintaining a “neutral” call on the technology sector, HLIB Research said the latest development has created more doubts in the already dull global semiconductor sales and capital spending projections.

“We also take this opportunity to downgrade Frontken to ‘hold’ from ‘buy’ with unchanged target price of RM1.55.”

The US Commerce Department added Huawei to its “Entity List” last week. – AFPPIX


MCOM gets nod to list on LEAP Market

PETALING JAYA: Digital marketing solution provider MCOM Holdings Bhd today said it has received Bursa Securities’ approval to list on the LEAP Market.

The exercise would involve the placement of 18,856,000 shares in MCOM, which represent 10% of the enlarged share capital, at an indicative price of 28 sen per share, MCOM CEO Ho Kim Hun (pix) said in a statement.

“We expect to raise gross proceeds of approximately RM5.28 million via placement to selected sophisticated investors from the listing,” he added.

MCOM plans to utilise approximately RM2.90 million (54.9%) raised from the placement as capital expenditure to set up essential facilities to offer wired and wireless internet services in Cambodia.

MCOM will also utilise RM0.88 million (16.7%) from the proceeds to increase the automation level in the company’s mobile advertising platform as well as to enhance its mobile advertising solution infrastructure.

“With the upgrade of our mobile advertising platform is currently underway, we should be able to enhance the features of our mobile advertising platform towards a fully automated platform which allows fully automated interface between advertisers and publishers.

“Currently our mobile advertising platform only allows customers to view settlement reports. In order to upload or modify new digital marketing campaigns, these customers need to send emails to our marketing personnel,” Ho added.

Currently, Ho and MCOM vice president Chew Lee Poh are substantial shareholders of the company, with a combined 79.59% stake while the existing public shareholders and pre-IPO investors hold 17.63% stake and 2.78% stake respectively.

After listing, Ho and Chew’s combined stake will be diluted to 71.63% while the existing public shareholders and pre-IPO investors’ stakes will be reduced to 15.87% and 2.50% respectively.

Based on the enlarged share capital of 188.56 million shares, the company is expected to have a market capitalisation of approximately RM52.80 million.

TA Securities Holdings Bhd is the approved adviser, placement agent and continuing adviser for the placement and LEAP Market listing exercise.


Sinmah Capital to diversify into healthcare

PETALING JAYA: Poultry and property player Sinmah Capital Bhd is acquiring two properties in for a combined RM27 million as part of its plan to diversify into the healthcare business.

In a filing with Bursa Malaysia, Sinmah said the proposed diversification is part of its long-term growth plan to venture into other revenue-generating businesses, in order to mitigate its reliance on poultry and property businesses.

The group is presently involved in poultry, investment holdings, provision of management services, property development and construction.

“The proposed diversification will provide the group with the opportunity to diversify its earnings by venturing into the provision of healthcare services by owning, constructing and operating hospitals providing medical services. The additional revenue contribution from the provision of healthcare services is expected to contribute positively to the group’s future revenue stream and profitability,” it said.

The group said it has the capacity, capabilities and resources to diversify into the healthcare business and will be engaging with reputable healthcare professionals for guidance on greenfield set-up, operational tie-up, management support and resources sharing for the operations of the new business.

SAH Medical Center Sdn Bhd, a 95%-owned subsidiary of Sinmah Amegajaya Healthcare Sdn Bhd, which in turn is a 70%-owned subsidiary of Sinmah, is acquiring a three-star hotel for RM23 million cash and a six-storey commercial building for RM4 million cash from The Aston Holiday Sdn Bhd. Both properties are located on freehold land in Nilai.

The group intends to redevelop the non-operational three-star hotel into an integrated public-private university hospital, which will encompass a public wing and private wing complemented by other functional components including centres of excellence, specialist consultation suites and other ancillary facilities.

The construction of the hospital is expected to commence in the second quarter of 2019 and completed by the second quarter of 2021, subject to the relevant authorities’ approval.

The estimated development cost of the hospital is about RM58 million while the medical equipment cost is about RM15 million.

Meanwhile, the six-storey commercial building will be refurbished into an administrative office for the hospital and/or a hospital expansion, which will be decided at a later stage.

The proposed acquisition of the two properties will be funded via internally generated funds and/or bank borrowings, and will be completed in the second quarter of 2019.

The proposed diversification is subject to approval from the company’s shareholders. TA Securities Holdings Bhd has been appointed as the adviser for the proposals.


Toll hike freeze seen as ‘mildly positive’ for concessionaires

PETALING JAYA: TA Securities views the toll hike freeze on 21 highways across the country next year as mildly positive for toll concessionaires, as the operators can avoid traffic reduction arising from higher toll rates imposed on road users.

In the past, toll highway operators typically experienced a slight decline in traffic volume immediate after a toll rate increase, followed by a gradual recovery in traffic volume as demand for toll roads is largely inelastic, it said in a note last Friday.

Additionally, it said, the toll operators will receive compensation from the government to cover the difference between entitled toll rates under the concession agreements and the actual toll rates charged on end-users.

However, on a broader outlook, TA Securities said, the toll concessionaires are still surrounded with uncertainties following the change of government, noting the Pakatan Harapan government is studying the best method to fulfil its 14th general election manifesto promise.

Last Thursday, the government announced its decision to freeze all toll hikes on 21 highways for all vehicles which are eligible for an increase in 2019, as well as a toll increase freeze for buses on eight highways, and the abolishment of motorcycle tolls.

Earlier this month, the Works Ministry said it would appoint an independent auditor in January to assist the government in preparing data analysis and recommendations, including reduction of toll rates in the short, medium and long term, and eventually abolishing toll collection on all expressways.

The analysis of the results is expected to be ready by May.

“With a reduced upside after a rebound in share price, we downgrade Lingkaran Trans Kota Bhd (Litrak) from ‘buy’ to ‘hold’, with an unchanged target price of RM4.54,” TA Securities said.

Separately, MIDF Research said it maintained its “buy” call for Litrak with an unchanged target price of RM4.92 per share, saying the toll operator is still a defensive player with decent dividend yield of 7.3% for financial year 2020 (FY20).

Litrak, which operates the Damansara-Puchong Highway (LDP) and the Sprint Highway, closed unchanged at RM4.11 on 33,800 shares done last Friday.

MIDF Research said that following the freeze on toll rate increases, compensation by the government to Sprint will rise as the Penchala toll plaza is due for a rate hike in next year.

MIDF Research estimated that the overall compensation to Litrak is set to increase to above RM170 million in FY19 and FY20 while earnings contribution from the concessionaires will be unchanged.

However, it said there will be no changes in compensation for the LDP as the toll rates remain unchanged.

“As our current traffic volume and earnings forecasts have taken into account the freeze of toll hikes on intra-city tolls in the country for 2019 as per the Budget 2019 announcement, we are maintaining our earnings estimates at this juncture,” MIDF Research added.


TA Securities maintains ‘buy’ call on Genting despite new lawsuit

PETALING JAYA: TA Securities, which maintained a positive outlook on Genting Bhd, said it would be a big negative surprise to the market if the group fails to defend itself in the latest US$4 billion (RM16.7 billion) copyrights infringement lawsuit slapped against it.

“If Genting fails in defending this case, it will be a big negative surprise to the market as it is hard to imagine that all project designers and consultants involved in the project failed to identify the possible trademark infringement,” it said in a research note today.

Nonetheless, TA Securities believes that the recent sell-off in Genting shares on the back of the risk emanating from the termination of the 20th Century Fox theme park and the infringement of copyright of the Wynn Resorts Holdings buildings was overdone.

On that note, it is maintaining a “buy” call on Genting with a target price of RM8.80.

Genting’s share price rebounded 7 sen or 1.2% to RM6.09 today, while Genting Malaysia was up 2 sen or 0.7% to RM2.97.

To recap, Wynn Resorts, which owns the Wynn and Encore Resorts in Las Vegas, Nevada in the US, has filed a US$4 billion lawsuit against Resorts World Las Vegas (RWLV), which is accused of copying Wynn’s building design for the casino that it is building just across the road.

Wynn claimed that RWLV wants to mislead the public into believing its new 3,000-room project is affiliated with Wynn.

“We reserve our comments on the litigation. However, we would like to highlight that Genting’s interest in Las Vegas started with this abandoned Echelon project from Boyd Gaming, where Genting bought over the site in 2013 for US$350 million. It is believed that Echelon’s foundations and partially built hotel towers as well as an unfinished parking garage on the property’s southwest corner, would be incorporated into the new project,” said TA Securities.

Phase one of RWLV is expected to commence by end of 2020. However, if the court granted the injunction to Wynn, this project would likely be delayed.

TA Securities has not changed its earnings forecasts for Genting pending the final outcome of the litigation. Based on its projections, the group is expected to record a net profit of RM1.32billion, RM1.97billion and RM2.23 billion for FY18, FY19 and FY20 respectively.


Gagasan Nadi Cergas IPO 20 times oversubscribed

PETALING JAYA: The initial public offering (IPO) of construction and facilities management services provider Gagasan Nadi Cergas Bhd available for public subscription has been oversubscribed by 20.2 times.

The group said in a statement that it received a total of 6,029 applications for 423.5 million shares worth a total of RM127 million for its public tranche of 20 million shares that were made available for application by the Malaysian public under its IPO scheme.

The group, which is slated to be listed on Bursa Malaysia’s ACE Market on Jan 8, 2019, expects to raise RM42 million proceeds from the public issue, mainly to be used for working capital.

Its managing director Wan Azman Wan Kamal said the oversubscription of the public tranche, together with strong response from investors for the private placement portion, signifies the confidence of the investing community in its business viability and ability to grow in the future.

The IPO entails a public issue of 140 million new shares and offer for sale of 60 million existing shares at 30 sen per share, representing 26.6% of the group’s enlarged share capital.

The total proceeds from the offer for sale of RM18 million will accrue entirely to the offerors.

Going forward, Wan Azman said the group intends to continue its strategic direction to expand recurring income from long-term contracts through its utilities segment.

As at Nov 15, 2018, the group’s construction order book stood over RM600 million.

The group has established a dividend policy of distributing up to 30% of net profit as dividends, from the financial year ending Dec 31, 2019 onwards.

TA Securities Holdings Bhd is the principal adviser, sponsor, underwriter and placement agent for the IPO exercise.