Company Notes 2017.07.07

Tailwind to lift furniture makers’ earnings

The government’s ban on the export of rubberwood effective this month would help to lift a cap on local furniture makers’ earnings growth. This is simply because with more supply of rubberwood moving forward, manufacturers would be able to meet their orders faster.

Malaysia’s rubberwood exports were estimated to be worth up to RM300 million a year compared with the furniture exports of RM9.5 billion annually, hence the ban is important to ensure priority be given to the local furniture industry.


Thong Guan sees RM1b revenue in 2020

…expects additional revenue of RM100 million to RM120 million in 2018, due to rising demand for stretch film, which contributes 45% to the total revenue.

“We plan to add 12 lines over the next 20 years for the stretch film division on a 16-acre (6.47ha) land in the Sungai Petani Industrial Area. We have one 33-layer nano line now with another one scheduled in July, and we want to add two lines every two to three years. One line can generate RM100 million turnover…to increase its five-layer blown film lines by another three at its existing plant, and to add 16 more in the next 10 years, adding that each line can generate RM36 million in turnover or about 400 tonnes in output.”

“The PVC wrap lines will see altogether 20 lines by 2026, making us the largest PVC wrap manufacturer in Southeast Asia. By the end of this year, we will have eight lines. Our PVC wraps are popular in Indonesia and the Philippines.”

“We have a lot of areas we have not explored. We hope to be present in another 30 countries in five years. For instance, we want to break into the sub-Saharan region in Africa as we are only present in South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria. In the Americas, it is largely untapped. We have customers in the US, Canada and Mexico only.”

Apart from its stretch film division (45%), the group’s main revenue contributors are the garbage bags segment (25%), industrial films or bags (14%) and PVC food wrap (7%). The balance revenue comes from its compounding (calcium carbonate) and F&B units.


Malaysian firms need to act fast in KLIA space grab

“We have directed Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) to give priority to local companies who need the space… but we want the locals to grab opportunities faster. Jack Ma alone took up so much space,” referring to the Digital Free Trade Zone (DFTZ), which will see Malaysian Digital Economy Corp and Alibaba Corp collaborating to develop some 110 acres in the old Low Cost Carrier Terminal (LCCT) here.


Malaysia’s exports grew 32.5% in May, trade surplus at RM5.49b

…stronger export growth for the month resulted in a trade surplus of RM5.49 billion, the 235th consecutive month of trade surplus recorded since November 1997.


 

Twitter Snacks 2017.07.05

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Curated Insights 2017.07.02

Too hot to fly? Climate change may take a toll on air travel

Hotter air is thinner air, which makes it more difficult — and sometimes impossible — for planes to generate enough lift.

As the global climate changes, disruptions like these are likely to become more frequent, researchers say, potentially making air travel costlier and less predictable with a greater risk of injury to travelers from increased turbulence.

A no-fly window of even a few hours at a particular airport could have a ripple effect across airline operations while further squeezing airlines’ already tight profit margins.

Home Capital, WTF just Happened?

This deal bought Buffett a favour from the government for upcoming infrastructure investments. He meet with PM Trudeau and Finance Minister Morneau just before this deal.

Buffett sees a Canadian house crash coming. By taking a 38% stake in a tiny bank that he can keep capitalized through a crash, this gives him a vehicle to buy some of the larger banks if/when they run into trouble. Say housing is down 50% in Canada (which is how much I think housing drops); my personal view is that CIBC is in big trouble in that scenario. BRK, through HGC, can buy CIBC. That would be a meaningful investment, and it breaks BRK into the profitable Canadian banking oligopoly. By owning 40% of HCG, perhaps Buffett can get around any foreign ownership restrictions when looking to buy some or all of a Big 6 bank.

Rigetti Computing

But quantum computing — which unlike classical computing, is based on nature’s more complex operating system of quantum mechanics — will take the world by surprise. Even established veterans of the first few computing revolutions could be caught off guard, unable to foresee the jump from impressive demo to devastatingly impressive production machine. How so? Because it turns out that quantum computing has its own Moore’s law, and that law takes exponential scaling to a whole new level.

In the quantum hyperscaling Moore’s Law, the speed of a quantum computer is exponential in the number of coherent quantum elements or “qubits” — that is, 2^q. But successfully incorporating technological advances in using silicon technology would enable the qubits themselves to follow Moore’s law (q = 2^n)… making the resulting performance power of the quantum computer 2^2^n. This means that the performance of quantum computing is exponentially more rapid than Moore’s Law. It’s as if Moore’s law itself sped up like Moore’s law.

Morgan Stanley: Cloud computing is at ‘an inflection point’ — but how big will it get?

“That 20 percent is a very important number because if you look at other adoption cycles, whether it’s notebooks, smartphone penetration, the x86 server, even digital music and video games, when you get to that 20 percent penetration point, that curve inflects and growth accelerates.”

The real threat of artificial intelligence

Unlike the Industrial Revolution and the computer revolution, the A.I. revolution is not taking certain jobs and replacing them with other jobs.

This transformation will result in enormous profits for the companies that develop A.I., as well as for the companies that adopt it.

The solution to the problem of mass unemployment, I suspect, will involve “service jobs of love.”

…most of the money being made from artificial intelligence will go to the United States and China. A.I. is an industry in which strength begets strength…

While a large, growing population can be an economic asset, in the age of A.I. it will be an economic liability because it will comprise mostly displaced workers, not productive ones.

Ends, Means, and Antitrust

…the U.S. is primarily concerned with consumer welfare, and the primary proxy is price. In other words, as long as prices do not increase — or even better, decrease — there is, by definition, no illegal behavior.

The European Commission, on the other hand, is explicitly focused on competition: monopolistic behavior is presumed to be illegal if it restricts competitors which, in the theoretical long run, hurts consumers by restricting innovation.

Market dominance is, as such, not illegal under EU antitrust rules. However, dominant companies have a special responsibility not to abuse their powerful market position by restricting competition, either in the market where they are dominant or in separate markets. Otherwise, there would be a risk that a company once dominant in one market (even if this resulted from competition on the merits) would be able to use this market power to cement/further expand its dominance, or leverage it into separate markets…

Lessons From the Collapse of Banco Popular

Don’t trust bank stress-test results.

Regulators should require banks to maintain higher leverage ratios, another measure of capital adequacy. And yet this is a regulatory requirement the Trump administration wants to loosen.

Don’t reach for yield if you’re not ready for the risk.

Roadmap for MSCI Emerging Markets Index inclusion

China A: MSCI inclusion decision

China represents roughly 17% of global GDP, 11% of global trade, and 9% of global consumption but today comprises only a 3.5% weight in the MSCI ACWI Index