Company Notes 2018.03.23

AirAsia in talks to set up Myanmar airline

…in talks with a potential partner to open an airline serving Myanmar, in a move that would help the low-cost carrier cover up to 95% of the Southeast Asian travel market.

“Once you’ve covered Vietnam and Myanmar, you’ve got all the big (Southeast Asian) populations. Vietnam — we’re talking about October, we’ve had great support from the Vietnam government and we have a great partner. My team are very bullish. It’s not going to be a big airline there, because the airport infrastructure is not there. But it is 50 million people and it will develop over time.”

“The biggest asset is our data,” Fernandes said. “While southeast Asian companies like (Indonesian ride-hailing company) Grab have to go out and spend a fortune to build that brand and data, we have 89 million customers travelling with us every year and we have data going back 18 years. We’re more than an airline — that’s the message for 2018. (Like) Amazon is more than a bookseller.”


Apex Healthcare goes into e-commerce

“[At full capacity,] SPP Novo is designed to increase our solid production capacity by up to three times, but we will be fitting out with approximately double the capacity upon commissioning by [the] end of 2018,” said Kee.

He added that about RM130 million of its revenue is derived from the manufacturing segment, and about half of this is from solid products. A back-of-the-envelope calculation suggests that if Apex doubles its solid product capacity, the group may see an increase in its solid product sales to RM130 million.

“For Europe, we are working on contract manufacturing opportunities,” said Kee, noting that the group is in the midst of evaluating merger and acquisition targets, as well as joint-venture opportunities in Europe and other developed markets. “The EU GMP certification will enable the group to stay ahead of the game, ensuring the best quality of its products,” he added.

Are REITs a good buy now?

According to Bloomberg data, the average dividend yield for the 18 listed REITs on Bursa Malaysia, as of yesterday, stood at 6.14%. In comparison, the 10-year Malaysian Government Securities’ (MGS) yield has been held at 3.9% to 4% since Bank Negara Malaysia’s key rate hike in January. MGS is the typical benchmark to which investors use to compare REITs, which are seen as a comparatively riskier investment.

But analysts told The Edge Financial Daily the rising average REIT yield is more reflective of a decline in share prices, rather than being driven by growth in distribution per unit (DPU). Hence, investors seeking to buy on weakness should consider REITs on a case-by-case basis.


Airbnb collaboration with Malaysia previews taxes on Internet economy

The San Francisco-based home-sharing company is moving to finalize a deal with tax authorities, which will apply a new tourism tax of RM10 ($2.55) per night to Airbnb members who rent out five rooms or more. The tourism levy presages an agreement on goods and services taxes.

But Southeast Asia’s third-biggest economy will start collecting tax from Airbnb hosts with at least five rooms, whether in one or multiple properties. Airbnb typically signs what it calls voluntary collection agreements with governments to transfer hotel and tourism tax payments from its members to the authorities. The decade-old company said it has transmitted half a billion dollars’ worth of such taxes to more than 340 jurisdictions globally.


Divestment appetite in Southeast Asia more than doubles, says EY survey

“More than two-thirds (68%) said that their decision to divest was directly influenced by the evolving technological landscape. About half (51%) of Southeast Asian companies said that the need to fund new technology investments will make them more likely to divest — using the proceeds to improve operating efficiency (79%), and address changing customer needs (87%) in their core businesses,” said EY in a statement today.


Malaysia tells tech entrepreneurs to give it a second look

Still, Malaysia lags behind its neighbors in drawing investments. Singapore attracted $7.2 billion in tech startup capital from 2012 through September 2017, the most in Southeast Asia, according to CB Insights. Indonesia pulled in $4.6 billion, while Malaysia got $1.3 billion during the same period.

Company Notes 2018.03.02

Techfast Q4 FY2017 Results

All the machines that have been purchased for the military and aerospace projects have been commissioned and are operational. Current work-in-progress are on track and the machines are expected to contribute positively to the sales turnover and hence the bottomline of the SCF business segment for the financial year ending 31 December 2018.

Following on the announcement of the agreement signed with Tecore Synchem, Inc. on 19 December 2017 for the supply and sale of Tecore’s products, the project has now commenced. Samples of Tecore’s products have already been submitted to two of Cape and Oriem’s customers, which are multinational companies, for evaluation and testing.


Thong Guan Industries Q4 FY2017

For the financial year 2018, the group has planned to commission more stretch film production line as well as PVC food wrap lines, two more production lines. With the additional capacity coming on stream in year 2018, the Group is optimistic to continue its upward trend in sales volume and profitability.


IQ Group Q3 FY2018 Results

As explained in the previous quarter’s Commentary on Prospects, we anticipate that similar performance conditions will remain throughout the remainder of this financial year, i.e. with reduced sales due to some delays in new product launches. However, as previously explained, going forward thereafter we anticipate positive performance as various new product launches roll out in FY18/19. Relationships with our global customer base remain very strong and we are blessed with considerable current and future
opportunity from both established and new business relations.

As stated in our prior report, the current volume of product development requirements is good from a new business perspective, but challenging from a resource and timing standpoint. However, following the structural changes within IQ’s R&D resources we are facilitating an acceleration of our new product development capabilities as we go forward.

This FY has proved to be very much a transitional year for IQ, but the future prospects and opportunities are positive from both an ODM and Own Brand perspective and we remain excited about the future.

Bonanza returns for AirAsia co-founders

“The special dividends will always continue because we have many [non-core] assets that can [be] monetised,” said Fernandes, adding that these assets include a 25% stake in online travel agency AAE Travel Pte Ltd, a joint venture with Expedia Southeast Asia Pte Ltd, logistics, cargo and food businesses.

On the back of envelope calculation, the low-cost carrier is getting some RM4.32 billion in cash from all the divestments. Excluding the sum for debt repayment, AirAsia has a sizeable cash pile for dividend payment.

Fernandes and Kamarudin are deemed to have interest in AirAsia through Tune Live and Tune Air Sdn Bhd. Tune Live, equally owned by the duo, holds a 16.73% stake in AirAsia, while Tune Air owns a 15.45% stake. Fernandes controls 48.33% equity interest in Tune Air, while Kamarudin 40.23%, and Abdel Aziz @ Abdul Aziz Abu Bakar holds the remaining 10.94% stake. Tune Live and Tune Air are the largest shareholders of AirAsia.


GDex buys retail postal firm MBE for RM5.5mil

GDex believes that the proposed acquisition is a very strategic move for the group to venture into the retail delivery service sector. MBE Malaysia’s 92 outlets would strengthen GDex’s current network of 79 branches nationwide. MBE Malaysia’s outlets are mainly operating in business districts and shopping malls, which provide great accessibility to business, retail and e-commerce customers.


Fresh growth driver of SKP Resources

With the in-house PCBA capability, SKP Resources is expected to enjoy a wider profit margin and earnings growth will be broadly in line with other EMS players. SKP Resources currently sources PCB parts from other EMS players.

SKP Resources’ in-house PCBA capability could eventually turn into an integrated one-stop EMS service provider and enhance the group’s chances of bagging more contracts from its major customers, commented Kenanga Investment Bank Bhd analyst Desmond Chong in his latest financial result review last Friday.


Notion VTec optimistic about 20% revenue growth

Notion VTec executive chairman Thoo Chow Fah told The Edge Financial Daily that he hopes to see the automotive segment grow by 30% to 40%, and the HDD segment to grow by 5% to 10% this year. Besides that, he said Notion VTec is currently working to secure at least two new clients from Singapore, to provide parts for the contract manufacturers, involving the production of scanners. “We hope to sign the deal with these two potential clients within the next two months,” he said.

In its filing with Bursa Malaysia last Friday, the company said the fall in revenue was mainly attributable to reduction in sale orders following the fire, where HDD, auto and engineered products posted lower sales of 4%, 26% and 14% compared with the preceding quarters respectively. The Oct 20 fire broke out, apparently from a ventilation fan, spreading to the roofing, at its manufacturing plant in Jalan Haji Salleh in Klang. The company said the fire affected more than 552 computer numerical control (CNC) machines and work-in-progress goods, and also the quality control building. Instantly, Notion VTec’s production capacity was down by 40%.

“We have torn down the building, and are currently in the phase of rebuilding a new factory, which should take us to another nine months or so. In the meantime, we have rented four factories nearby as well as utilising all the space we have in our other factories in Johor and Thailand to reach our production level,” Thoo said, adding that the new plant is expected to be fully operational by 2019.


Labour shortage weighs on earnings of HeveaBoard

“During the quarter under review, we had as low as 1,500 workers and this had impacted us as we needed more workers to start our new factory [which was completed in August last year]. This resulted in a backlog of orders to fulfil, which impacted our production efficiencies,” Yoong told The Edge Financial Daily via an email response. Currently, HeveaBoard has about 1,900 workers.

“The management highlighted that the group hedges its 40% sales proceeds to mitigate the risk of forex fluctuations. With the recent sharp rally in the ringgit against the US dollar, that is, from as high as 4.40 in the fourth quarter of 2017 to the current 3.90, the management acknowledged that the negative impacts on the group are unavoidable with the time lag of about two to three months for the group to partially price in the forex factor to customers,” said Lee.

Company Notes 2018.02.09

Daibochi Plastic and Packaging Industry Q4 FY2017 Results

Daibochi is optimistic on achieving strong growth in the financial year ending 31 December 2018 as both Daibochi Malaysia and Daibochi Myanmar are expected to perform strongly. The Group is expecting several new export contracts to drive Daibochi Malaysia’s performance in 2018, comprising contracts to Indonesia as well as the Australia and New Zealand (ANZ) region.

In the first quarter of 2018 (1Q18), Daibochi Malaysia secured a new contract with a multinational customer (MNC) to supply flexible packaging to the ANZ region. The Group’s sales, technical and operations teams collaborated closely with the MNC particularly for its fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) brand, and target to commence supply by the second quarter ending 30 June 2018. This marks the entry into a new product line for Daibochi Malaysia, thereby strengthening its value proposition to MNCs.

Daibochi Malaysia is also working towards commencement of flexible packaging supply to another two MNCs for their food and beverage and FMCG brands in Indonesia.

Meanwhile, Daibochi Myanmar is expected to deliver stellar growth in 2018, as it is actively pursuing new customers in Myanmar’s F&B and FMCG sectors. Additionally, Daibochi Myanmar aims to leverage its low-cost and geographical advantage to secure export contracts from costsensitive customers in various Southeast Asian countries.

Daibochi Myanmar will also tap into the Southeast Asia flexible packaging market. With our Myanmar operations securing the ISO 9001:2015 and Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point food safety management system certifications since October 2017, together with the approval from the Myanmar Investment Commission in December 2017 to export out of the country, Daibochi Myanmar would now seek to enter qualification with MNCs to support their regional expansion programmes.


Bursa Malaysia Q4 FY2017 Results

The introduction of the stamp duty exemption for exchange-traded funds and structured warrants effective from 1 January 2018, is expected to enhance trading and vibrancy in the equity market. Bursa Malaysia will continue with its initiatives to enhance the breadth and depth of the ecosystem, amongst others, through the digitalisation of services, liberalisation of rules framework and greater diversification of the investor base to ensure that the Malaysian equity and derivatives markets are attractive and vibrant.

Datuk Seri Tajuddin added, “Our initiatives put in place over the years have built a strong foundation that has placed us on a firm footing to capitalise on new opportunities. In 2017 alone, the Exchange launched the Islamic Selling and Buying Negotiated Transaction and made a revision in the tick rule to provide market participants with greater price flexibility in performing regulated short selling. We will continue to work closely with our intermediaries to improve liquidity and increase trading activities. Similarly, we will expand our marketing efforts to build a strong IPO pipeline and look forward to rolling out our initiatives aimed at widening our products and services to create a conducive capital market
ecosystem for all market participants.”


Tasek Q4 FY2017 Results

The Board expects the intense pricing competition to continue to the next quarter and affect the Group’s performance. Construction works on the Government’s infrastructural projects of the MRT2 (SSP Line) and the LRT3 (Bandar Utama – Klang Line) are expected to improve demand for cement for this year. However, the soft property market is expected to continue to weigh down the demand for cement.


Focus Lumber Q4 FY2017 Results

We foresee the price of logs hovering at this level based on the current market supply and demand as well as our cost in securing logs supply. Operating environment is very challenging if the Ringgit Malaysia remains strong throughout the next financial year. However, selling price in US dollar which is increasing recently has partially offset these negative impacts.


Hartalega Q3 FY2018 Results

Nitrile glove now accounts for 61% of Malaysian rubber glove export.

Hartalega aims to launch its anti-microbial gloves in Europe by second quarter of 2018 and is working on securing Federal Drug Administration (FDA) approval to enter the US market. We will price this new product competitively to encourage better take up.


Scicom Q2 FY2018 Results

Over the course of the year, whilst the BPO division did not lose any major clients, the revenue contribution for some of these key clients decreased. The primary driver was an adverse change in market conditions for these multi-national clients. As a result, there has been a corresponding drop in customer interactions which led to a subsequent decrease in billable headcount. However Scicom does not expect this situation to deteriorate further with our current clients and the management further expects to increase revenues on the successful conversion of a healthy pipeline built over the last 12 months.


Hup Seng Industries Q4 FY2017 Results

Stronger market demand for biscuits mainly contributed to the positive growth in sales. Export sales of biscuits grew by 6% mainly from China market. Domestic sales grew by 5% mainly from modern channel.

Escalating input cost eroded margin growth of the Group despite an improvement in turnover. Higher promotional expenses and other operating costs including fuel costs also depressed the profit performance.


Salutica Q2 FY2018 Results

The touch enabling functionality application to other various industry segments such as automotive and electronic appliances will be one of the segment which our Group will continue to focus in order to generate additional revenue stream, albeit at a slower pace. Meanwhile, the development of healthcare related products under in-house brand FOBO is still ongoing.


Tasco Q3 FY2018 Results

However, as our recent acquisition of Gold Cold Transport was fully financed via bank borrowings, our bottom line was significantly impacted by higher finance costs. In that respect, the Group would be evaluating the various ways and available options, in order to mitigate this situation in the medium term. Going forward, the downside risks for the Group would continue to be rising operational costs (in particular, relating to manpower and fuel costs), higher interest costs due to aforesaid reason, and keen competition for cargo in our traditional core businesses. We will continue to maintain our strategy to focus on servicing our customers with innovative logistics solutions and expand our logistics capacity when it is beneficial to our shareholders’ value.

JHM anticipates boost from new orders in 2H18

JHM designs and develops MECs that are used in subsegments of the electronic component industry, and electronic devices like digital cameras, mobile phones, personal digital assistants and automobile lightings. In both the automotive and aerospace segments, it manufactures, among others, MECs for the production of high brightness light-emitting diodes (LEDs).

“Although we have orders to fulfil in the automotive segment, we are being hampered by the material shortage, including for passive components like resistors and capacitors, which are being bought up by big players. So, we have money to buy, but we are not able to do so. In any case, we expect the situation to recover in the second half of this year,” Tan said.

“We are also aggressively working to penetrate the Japanese and European markets. In Japan, we have met with one of the biggest automotive light makers there, who is satisfied with our capability and set-up. We are now waiting for them to give us the request for [a] quote. In March, we will be allowed to bid for two projects. If our price is good for them, we will go for maximum production, meaning FY18 would end on a very good note,” he said.

“Mace has a good customer base, including multinational corporations. We intend to tap and expand our printed circuit board and assembly (PCBA) business. Since we are already in the PCBA business, Mace’s contribution will help stabilise our business, instead of the group having to depend only on the LED automotive segment,” he said.

The PCBA business is part of the automotive segment (which generates 80% of its revenue). Meanwhile, some 12% of its turnover comes from industrial products, under which JHM makes box builds for vending machines and fan controllers. The remainder of the group’s turnover comes from its telecommunications segment.


Fernandes: India to be a big market for AirAsia X

“Super proud of the turnaround happening at AirAsia X. We need to finish off cleaning up the balance sheet in the fourth quarter, but we are going to have a good year in 2018. We are now taking the very good value (Airbus) 330 to fill our capacity before moving to the next generation of aircraft, either the (Airbus) 330 neo or (Boeing) 787. I am very, very bullish on AirAsia X.”

“Stars lining up, ringgit strengthening and oil going down as we predicted. There is just too much oil and with shale, fuel demand will continue to go down.”


Scicom to develop tourism management system for Cambodia

In a stock exchange filing today, the company said the project period is five years, with an option to extend for two more years. “The anticipated revenue from this contract is predicted on the number of air travellers to and from the Kingdom of Cambodia,” it said, but did not indicate the estimated value of the project. It expects the project to contribute positively to the earnings and net assets per share of the company going forward.

Company Notes 2018.01.12

AirAsia Group may relist M’sian ops to unlock value

“There is nothing to prevent us from listing some shareholdings in AirAsia Bhd [in the future]. What we are creating now is a vehicle (AAG) where some people may want [exposure to] the Malaysian risk or some people may want [exposure to] the group’s risk.”

“That (listing Malaysia AirAsia) is a potential plan. Ideally, we really want to convert all the interest [in all subsidiaries and associates] into one economic unit. So, let’s assume 51% of foreign associate shares could be swapped for AirAsia Group shares and that requires a lot of work such as legal [requirements], but now we have a vehicle to start working towards that.”

“This is also to enable our investors to understand the group better going forward. We hope to consolidate all of Asean’s businesses very soon, [with] Thailand being the next, hopefully, and then we will also give investors individual profit and loss statements, so that they can look at them. This is the first step of combining AirAsia into one economic unit [towards] our dream of creating a single public holding company, and aligning all shareholders.”

Note that Thai AirAsia Co Ltd is 55%-owned by Stock Exchange of Thailand-listed Asia Aviation PCL (AAV). AirAsia Bhd has an effective interest of 45% in Thai AirAsia and 49% in Indonesia AirAsia (IAA). Plans are in the works to list 39.9%-owned AirAsia Philippines Inc this year.


CIMB cuts stake in asset management firms

The group announced yesterday that it had entered into sale and purchase agreements to divest a 20% stake in CIMB-Principal Asset Management Bhd (CPAM) to Principal International (Asia) Ltd (PIA) and a 10% stake in CIMB-Principal Islamic Asset Management Sdn Bhd (CPIAM) to Principal Financial Services Inc (PFI).

“CIMB is expected to recognise a gain on disposal of about RM950mil and a Common Equity Tier 1 (CET1) ratio improvement of about 18 basis points upon completion of the proposed divestment,” it said in a filing with Bursa Malaysia. The group’s CET1 ratio stood at 120% as of Sept 30, 2017.


Ta Ann to buy 30.39% stake in SPB for RM170mil

“The proposed acquisition is consistent with the company’s plan to further expand its oil palm plantation business and gain larger market access in Sarawak,” Ta Ann said.

Ta Ann said its planted area would likely be enlarged by about 23%, given the group’s 30.39% stake in SPB.


Malaysia airports hit record 96.54 million in 2017, driven by international traffic

For the entire year of 2017, passenger traffic at the 39 airports in Malaysia improved 8.5% to a record 96.54 million from 88.98 million in 2016. International passenger movements grew 14.1% to 49.4 million passengers over 2016, while domestic traffic rose 3.2% y-o-y to 47.14 million. MAHB said this is the second highest increase in absolute passenger numbers achieved in the last 20 years.

On prospects, MAHB said Malaysia passenger traffic in 2018 is expected to grow at 6.3%, with international and domestic passenger traffic growing at 8.3% and 4.2% respectively.

“The growing travelling local population, combined with [the] increase in the per capita income, will further support air travel growth,” it said, adding that passenger growth prospects for SGIA in 2018 is expected to remain moderate.


SCGM sales strong on demand for ‘lifestyle’ packaging

Having invested RM153 million in the two new factories, Lee said he is confident the group’s output would steadily increase, allowing SCGM to cater to export markets, which the group wants to place more focus on. The group’s revenue is currently contributed by a 70:30 ratio from the domestic and export markets respectively. Moving forward, as it taps into new markets, the group intends to shift the ratio to 60:40, said Lee.

“This sort of demand for pre-cooked or frozen food is still very new in Malaysia. It’s not something that people are familiar with. If you look at Family Mart today, many of its customers are Caucasians, foreigners or tourists rather than locals. They are already accustomed to the novelty of microwaveable food or ready-to-eat food sold at stores such as this. “We believe, moving forward, the demanding lifestyle and commitment of the middle-aged population will gear towards this trend rather than cooking at home. If you look at Hong Kong, it has a 70% takeaway rate. Singapore is about at a 30%-40% rate,” said Lee.


KUB still seeking buyer for A&W Malaysia

KUB is currently in an extended franchise agreement with A Great American Brand until June 2019. Under the agreement, KUB is obliged to open 25 new A&W restaurants in three years, which will bring the total number of A&W restaurants in Malaysia to 52 by the end of 2019. Although KUB is committed to honouring the contract, Abdul Rahim said it is on a capital rationalisation phase as it embarks on a strategic plan to refocus its business activities on three core sectors, namely energy, information and communications technology (ICT), and agro.

“We don’t want to end up like in Thailand where we lost the franchise licence [to operate A&W restaurants there]. It’s better to sell it when we still have the rights so that the buyer can consider that in their [offer] price,” he said.


Mydin puts Sam’s Groceria stores up for sale

Ameer estimated the grocery business to be worth RM50 million. The planned sale comes on the heels of the disposal of its loss-making MyMydin convenience store business in April last year. It also discontinued the Kedai Rakyat 1Malaysia (KR1M) stores in October 2017. “We decided to sell Sam’s Groceria after realising that the stores’ patrons are mainly local Chinese and expatriates. (However,) we do not sell liquor, wine, beer or pork at our stores and thus, we have been unable to meet our customers’ needs,” he told The Edge Financial Daily.

Ameer said currently, Mydin Holdings has 62 stores under its portfolio excluding Sam’s Groceria. According to Mydin Holdings’ website, Sam’s Groceria is positioned as a premier urban grocer and 60% of its products are fully imported brands. It opened its first flagship store in Gurney Paragon Mall in 2013.

A check with the Companies Commission of Malaysia revealed that Sam’s Groceria Sdn Bhd is also loss-making. It posted a net loss of RM27.49 million on revenue of RM63.16 million in FY16. Accumulated losses stood at RM42.05 million as at March 31, 2016. Sam’s Groceria also has RM101.8 million in total liabilities, of which RM84.54 million are current.

Company Notes 2017.12.15

VS Industry Q1 FY2018 Results

The lower-than-proportionate growth in profit before tax was largely owing to shift in product mix towards more box-build assembly. Furthermore, there were additional production lines commissioned during the
quarter under review, which resulted in higher operating costs (e.g. setup cost, operators’ salaries etc.) while production output of the new lines have yet to reach optimal level at the time.

Malaysia segment expects the box-build orders from key customers to sustain for the current financial year. On its operations in China, the Group expects improved performance going foward as it has since commenced mass production of new products for key customers in China and this contributes to higher plant utilisation rate.


Kein Hing International Q2 FY2018 Results

…due to the costs incurred for setting up of new production lines, recruitment and development of skilled and semi-skilled workforce at the new factory located in Hai Phong, Vietnam which is yet to achieve the optimal production and sales, higher depreciation charge resulting from new machines invested and the escalating labour costs as a consequence of constraints in labour supply encountered in Malaysia Operation and the wage inflation experienced in Vietnam Operation respectively.


Berjaya Food Q2 FY2018 Results

The results of the Group in the next quarter is expected to be adversely impacted by the one-off losses arising from the disposal of the KRR operations in Indonesia. Other than this one-off exceptional loss, the Group expects Starbucks to maintain its revenue growth momentum to continue contributing positively to the Group. In addition, the management hopes that the operational and menu rationalisation of KRR, being implemented recently, will yield better results for the brand moving forward.


LKL International Q2 FY2018 Resuults

The Group would continue developing the medical devices segment to grow into a significant contributor of group revenue and profitability. At the same time, the Group will be on the lookout to add more high-value medical products to its range to meet customer demand.


Jaycorp Q1 FY2018 Results

A major plant upgrade is due to take place in Jaycorp Green Energy Sdn Bhd (“JGE”) towards the end of 2017. Whilst this will result in the shut-down of operations for 2-3 months, the upgrade should significantly improve the operational efficiency of JGE in the long-term.


Bison Consolidated Q4 FY2017 Results

Operating expenses were higher in line with the bigger outlets network of 356 compared to last year of 294. Mynews had been more aggressive in driving its marketing campaigns and promotions and coupled with the enlarged staff force to support the Group’s expansion contributed to the increased operating expenses by RM17.67 million or 25.8% from last year of RM68.59 million to current year of RM86.21 million. Mynews had achieved its target of opening 70 outlets in the financial year 2017 and with the closing of 8 outlets, ended the year with 356 outlets. Its jointly controlled entity, WH Smith Malaysia Sdn Bhd had also added 3 new outlets during the year and it now has 12 outlets in the Malaysian airports.

The Board remains positive that Mynews is able to deliver profitable results with its on-going efforts to improve products and services offerings and aggressively expanding its foray into ready-to-eat food. Initiatives put in place such as the joint ventures with the Japanese partners to develop the food processing centre is progressing well. The Johor distribution centre is ready for operation pending the final approval by the relevant authorities.


Hiap Teck Venture Q1 FY2018 Results

The decline in steel demand in ASEAN-6 was mainly attributed by the slowing down in the consumption of two biggest steel consuming countries in the region namely Vietnam and Thailand. The decline in steel demand in Thailand and Vietnam are mainly due to destocking activities, slower economic growth and slow uptake in public investment projects.

The continuing efforts by Chinese Government and its plans to cut production capacity will help stabilise the world steel prices which will definitely benefit the local steel industry players.

OldTown gets takeover bid from global coffee maker

OldTown said its shareholders, holding a total stake of 51.45% in the group, have provided irrevocably undertakings to accept the cash offer. These shareholders are Old Town International Sdn Bhd (42.58%), OldTown’s management director Lee Siew Heng (1.34%) and Mawer Investment Management Ltd (7.52%).

“We are deeply honoured that JDE recognises the powerful brand and platform that we have tirelessly built over the past 18 years. We strongly believe JDE is the ideal partner as we continue to serve best-in-class products to our customers. We look forward to drawing on JDE’s deep global expertise and building a highly successful partnership with them. The OldTown team is focused on delivering premium, high-quality products to consumers and we see huge potential in the business. We are excited to work with the OldTown team to rapidly grow the business as part of the broader JDE platform.”


IRB slaps Aeon Credit with extra RM96.82m in tax bill

Aeon Credit said these taxes and penalties were in relation to the IRB varying the loan transaction collaterised by receivables undertaken by the company with a local financial institution to that of a sale of receivables, which the IRB did not specify which provision of the Income Tax Act 1967 in making this variation.

“This is especially so when at all material times, the company had sought professional advice from an independent and reputable audit and tax firm on its accounting and tax treatment and further, the assessments for the years of assessment of 2010 and 2011 are time barred,” it said.

S P Setia Bhd’s unit was slapped with a back tax bill of RM75.38 million last month, but the company said it has grounds to contest the notice. In October, the IRB slapped Cocoaland Holdings Bhd with RM5.89 million in additional taxes and penalties. In September, EcoFirst Consolidated Bhd said it was sued by the IRB over some RM35.47 million in additional taxes and penalties the latter is claiming for. In May, the IRB sought RM80.77 million in additional taxes and penalties from MK Land Holdings Bhd’s wholly-owned subsidiary Saujana Triangle Sdn Bhd, while Magnum Bhd and its wholly-owned subsidiary Magnum Holdings Sdn Bhd were served with notices of assessment for additional taxes and penalties totalling RM476.5 million.

In that same month, Country Heights Holdings Bhd announced that its executive chairman and major shareholder Tan Sri Lee Kim Yew had his fixed deposits of some RM126 million placed in a foreign-owned bank seized by the IRB in relation to RM22.5 million worth of tax liabilities incurred by Country Height’s wholly-owned unit Country Heights Sdn Bhd. The tax liabilities were accrued from the years of assessment of 1997 and 1998. In April this year, the IRB slapped Tenaga Nasional Bhd with an extra RM2.07 billion tax bill for the 2013-2014 tax years. In October 2016, the IRB also went after a subsidiary of Mega First Corp Bhd for RM22.8 million.


AirAsia worth more than meets the eye, group CEO says

AirAsia Bhd has been undermined by analysts as they have not taken into account the group’s growth potential from overseas joint ventures. Fernandes describes the “zero value” given to AirAsia’s Indonesia, Philippines and India businesses by analysts as “bizarre”.

“Our Indian operation could be a 200-plane operation by itself, because of the tourism potential in India and the middle class travelling out of India is massive. If you look at what we have done in China, where 18% of our revenue is coming from there, it shows you the potential. India is a function of how quick we want it to be profitable. It can be profitable now, but we are in a hurry to get to 20 aircraft which will then allow us to fly international [routes], and that is holding back the profitability.”


Loss of Starbucks Korea business ‘a temporary setback’

The loss of the Korean market in 1QFY18 was due to Starbucks Korea deciding to source its store sets — fixtures for the stores — from local manufacturers in order to stick to its timeline for store openings. Federal Furniture has been working on shortening its lead times and that it remains more cost-effective for Starbucks Korea to purchase store sets from Malaysia. As such, Choy foresees contribution from exports to Korea to bounce back within the next six years.

Starbucks Corp is Federal Furniture’s main customer in its manufacturing division — which makes modular caseworks, shop fixtures, and fitting and furniture for corporate customers — and typically accounts for about 90% of the division’s total sales.

The division currently serves Starbucks’ Asia-Pacific market, which comprises Japan, Korea, the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei, Thailand, Singapore, Hong Kong, Cambodia, Vietnam, Australia and India, according to the group’s Annual Report 2017. The division is Starbucks’ first approved caseworks vendor outside the US, and has been the only approved caseworks vendor for its Asia-Pacific market for the past 17 years.

Choy shared that the supply of store sets to Starbucks India will be fully produced in that country by April 2018, as the 76% import duty imposed by Indian regulators has become too prohibitive to continue shipping materials from Malaysia. As such, the group is undertaking strategic outsourcing of its fixtures there while it finalises the setting-up of a legal entity in Bangalore to commence operations there. “Four out of 12 stores that have confirmed to be opened in our financial year 2018 (ending June 30, 2018) will use casework that has been manufactured there,” Choy said. The asset-light model Federal Furniture is deploying in India may be used for its planned entry as Starbucks’ fourth vendor in China.


U Mobile turns Ebitda-positive as it plans for IPO after GE14

“We are already Ebitda positive at this stage, and listing will come after election. Because if we go for listing, we got to look at the market, and the market at this stage is very uncertain. With that uncertainty, there is this overhang, so you don’t see a lot of activities in the market. Next year, the market is going to be as tough as this year, generally retail sentiment is still soft, despite what the GDP (gross domestic product) number says, the retail side is still very soft. From our case, hopefully after the election, whatever negative overhang will be lifted, and that should improve people’s sentiment. Hopefully, that will translate into higher spending.”

“Competition has always been intense, but [industry-wide] Ebitda margin is still largely the same. Next year’s capital expenditure (capex) will be at least RM1 billion. This year’s is already RM1 billion.”

Malaysia moving towards cashless society

Governor Tan Sri Muhammad Ibrahim said effective July 1, 2018 the instant transfer fee of 50 sen will be waived for up to RM5,000 per transaction by individuals and small medium enterprises (SMEs). However, the cheque fee would be increased from 50 sen to RM1.00, beginning Jan 2, 2021 to reflect the higher processing cost.

To encourage the use of the QR code payment, Bank Negara has issued an Interoperable Credit Transfer Framework (ICTF). “For the first time in our history, customers of banks and non-banks will soon be able to transfer funds across the network by just referring to the mobile phone number, identification number or QR code,” he said.

Company Notes 2017.07.28

Public Bank in a filing with Bursa Malaysia (and press release)

“The focus on the financing for the purchase of residential properties, passenger vehicles and lending to small and medium enterprises, has remained a market niche for the Group as it has maintained a large market share in these lending segments despite the still challenging lending market.”

“The Group’s funding and liquidity position has remained healthy with its net loan-to-deposit ratio standing at 93.6% as at the end of June 2017.”

In addition, Vietnam will continue to be on the Public Bank Group’s overseas expansion plan. With the 100% foreign-owned bank license obtained in 2016, the Group has further expanded its business through the opening of 2 new branches in the first half of 2017. As at to date, it has 9 branches and is planning to open 4 more branches in the near term.”


Globetronics in a filing with Bursa Malaysia

…expects to see significant improvement in business and volume loadings from the mass production of new products from July 2017. The mass production of new products will enable the Group to register a strong recovery in its financial performance for the second half of the FY.

…will continue to focus on escalating up the value chain and riding on the R&D initiatives in new products design and development with our key customer. This initiative is expected to result in the manufacturing of additional new products in year 2017 and 2018.


Pensonic in a filing with Bursa Malaysia

On 28 November 2016, the Group successfully secured the distributorship for MYTV set-top-box (decoder) in anticipation of digitalisation of the Malaysian television broadcasting in 2018. By then, all households in Malaysia will require the decoders to receive television signals for continued access to Free-to-Air TV channels. This distributorship is anticipated to contribute to Group revenue in the shortto-medium term.


Sasbadi in a filing with Bursa Malaysia

…aims to accomplish what we have set out to achieve by continuing to, among others, (i) leverage on our wide distribution network to improve effectiveness of product sales; (ii) expand our product offerings by leveraging on the intellectual properties across all subsidiaries; (iii) develop and introduce new print and online/digital educational products and materials to the market; (iv) grow the STEM education related offerings via Sasbadi Learning Solutions Sdn Bhd and its subsidiaries; (v) grow the direct sales/multi-level network marketing sales via Mindtech Education; (vi) explore opportunities for tenders under the Ministry of Education Malaysia; and (vii) explore collaboration opportunities for projects that leverage on the competitive strengths.


Bursa Malaysia Bhd in a filing with Bursa Malaysia

…strong performance came on the back of increased trading activities across all segments. We are seeing renewed interest especially from foreign funds who, I am pleased to note, are continuing to return to Malaysia’s capital market since the start of the year.

…achieved many milestones in 1H2017. These include the revision to the Tick Rule on Regulated Short Selling and Securities Borrowing and Lending to create a more facilitative trading environment. The Exchange also launched the Mid and Small Cap Research Scheme (MidS) to elevate the profile of mid and small cap PLCs. The first half of the year also witnessed the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between Bursa Malaysia and the Shanghai Stock Exchange. The agreement allows both exchanges to explore potential ways to improve visibility and accessibility to market participants in Malaysia and China, reaffirming Bursa Malaysia’s status as the gateway for investors in the region.


Heineken Malaysia in a filing with Bursa Malaysia

“Our focus on growing the cider category is showing encouraging results, delivering double-digit growth in the first half. We are also proud of our latest innovation, Guinness Bright, which strengthens our winning portfolio and makes it even more exciting.”

Contraband remains a key industry concern with the continued influx, notably an increase in Peninsular Malaysia, representing a significant revenue loss to both the industry and the Government. The growing demand for contraband is a result of the large price gap between duty-paid and contraband products due to Malaysia’s excise structure, which ranks second highest in the world behind Norway and alongside Singapore.


Chin Tek Plantations in a filing with Bursa Malaysia

Harvesting of newly mature fields in the oil palm plantation of the joint venture located in South Sumatera Province, Indonesia has been delayed due to unrest in the villages neighboring the estate. Commencement of harvesting is pending clearance by the relevant authorities. This has resulted in the joint venture suffering losses.


Tasek in a filing with Bursa Malaysia

…due to lower demand for cement in the domestic market and lower average net pricing for both cement and readymixed concrete.

The ready-mixed concrete pricing has been under pressure from the prolonged price competition in the cement market and the segment’s margin of contribution was further affected by higher cost of cartage from rising diesel cost…

…more challenging with the prolonged price competition for cement due to lower demand for cement and weak sentiment of the domestic property market. The demand for cement and ready-mixed concrete would largely be driven by demand from the infrastructure and large-scale property projects.


Pavilion REIT in a filing with Bursa Malaysia

Total property operating expenses was higher mainly due to higher maintenance cost incurred as well as higher provision for doubtful debts.

Manager’s management fee was slightly higher despite lower net property income due to the increased in total asset value. Borrowing cost was higher due to drawdown of additional borrowings for acquisition of investment properties and working capital purposes.


New Hoong Fatt in a filing with Bursa Malaysia

PBT was lower mainly due to higher manufacturing and raw material costs, higher operating expenses and unfavourable impact from foreign exchange rates.

Amid a challenging operating environment where profit margins are impacted by rising raw material costs, the Group will continue to focus on driving business growth through expanding its product range and market expansion as well as further strengthening its cost efficiency programs.


Tenaga Nasional in a filing with Bursa Malaysia

The increase in revenue was mainly attributed to the recoverability of the higher generation costs via the effective implementation of government approved Imbalance Cost Pass-Through (‘ICPT’) mechanism. The ICPT mechanism, a part of the wider regulatory reform called the Incentive Based Regulation (‘IBR’) allows for TNB to be financially neutral from any variations in generation costs and fuel prices.


Caring Pharmacy Group in a filing with Bursa Malaysia

The higher revenue was mainly contributed by the higher sales generated from existing outlets due to aggressive and extensive promotional campaign launched during FY2017.

During the quarter under review, we have established additional of 4 complex outlets, closed down 1 high street outlet and 1 specialty retail outlet. As of 31 May 2017, we have a total of 107 community pharmacies.


Kronologi Asia in a filing with Bursa Malaysia

Demand for data backup is being driven by the proliferation of data such as emails, staff and business records, legal documents and more. Compliance with tighter regulations and business continuity requirements have led to the need for companies to safeguard their data more than ever before. As recent events have demonstrated, a safeguard against ransomware is also critical for business continuity.

Beyond the continuous efforts to build on the EDM business to meet the above demands, the Group is preparing to roll out its Transnational (cross border) backup solutions targeted for Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong. As announced in June 2017, Kronologi has entered into a strategic collaboration with Singapore Technologies Electronics Limited (“ST Electronics”) to expand in Hong Kong. This will be the second physical point of presence after Singapore for Kronologi, which is catering to the growing demand in Asia for data storage and protection solutions.


SWS Capital in a filing with Bursa Malaysia

Shortage of workers had resulted extra cost to the Group especially in the leather upholstery sofa division which is labour intensive. The leather upholstery sofa division has been recording a declining trend in gross profit margin. The Board notes these economic challenges and does not anticipate the predicament of the shortage of labour to be resolved rapidly in the near future. With the completion of the disposal of SWSISB, this will soften the issue of shortage of workers facing by the Group.

The management is in the process to increase in productivity and investment in technology, thereby reducing reliance on labour-intensive manufacturing practices especially in wood based division.

With the acquisition of ELE, the Group has been diversified to plastic manufacturing industry with a better prospect.

Kossan targets 2020 to complete automation overhaul

“Automation is the first thing we must work on before we can talk about big data or artificial intelligence. It (automation) is a key thing. Hence, we are working on the automation of our new plant while the old lines will be revamped to improve efficiency … the building of the new plant is not only for expansion but also for transformation. New features such as automation and computerisation will be in place. Our internal target is to complete the automation of our plants by 2020.”

With the new technology, Kossan became the first Malaysian glove manufacturer in the world to be granted the “low dermatitis potential” claim in gloves by the US Food & Drug Administration. The “low derma” gloves already contribute to about 10% of the group’s earnings, said Lim, who expects the figure to jump to over 30% in two years as the patented-technology gloves have a wider area of application.


AirAsia to list Indonesian, Philippine units by 1Q18

“That’s very much in progress. Indonesia is probably ahead of Philippines but both are going to be listed. This gives us the currency to look at combining into one AirAsia, which is my ultimate dream. I’ve highlighted to the market that AirAsia is not a company that takes short-term decisions, while the market was telling us to close down the Indonesia and Philippines units. We’re a company that takes a long-term view and we invest for the long term. Not for short-term quarterly profits.”


Malaysia Airlines: ‘China contribution to hit 20% in three years’

“I have never seen a potential in my life like there is from China to Malaysia. The market from China to Malaysia … I think people just don’t grasp the size of the opportunity for tourism in this country. It could easily double within the next six to seven years. I expect the China market to move from 8% to 9% of our business currently to about 20% in the next two to three years.”


Contractor’s pull-out flags mounting cost pressures

“We (big construction companies) were looking at the prices these guys were bidding and we were scratching our heads. Some were bidding as much as 30% lower than us! If they think they can do it at those sort of prices, we are more than happy to let them do it. For us, we rather focus on projects that can make money.”

“Without naming names, there are some parties out there that are looking for financing help to do these highway projects. They simply do not have the capacity to do such large projects. There are these so-called agents running around approaching other contractors, looking for help.”

“When your margin is low, you will try to squeeze your suppliers. In the case of these elevated highways, they will try and get better prices from the precast [concrete] boys. But the precast boys have enough work to do, MRT (mass rapid transit) 2, LRT (light rail transit) 3 are keeping them busy. No need to take the risk and prop up these low-margin projects.”


Grab raises US$2.5b in latest fundraising

Grab said it has a market share of 95% in third-party taxi-hailing and 71% in private vehicle hailing in Southeast Asia, and that the company will continue to strengthen its already-leading market position and invest in its proprietary mobile payment solution — GrabPay.

“We are delighted to deepen our strategic partnership with Didi and SoftBank. We’re encouraged that these two visionary companies share our optimism for the future of Southeast Asia and its on-demand transportation and payments markets, and recognise that Grab is ideally positioned to capitalise on the massive market opportunities.”


Touch ’n Go in mobile wallet venture with Ant Financial

“The collaboration will introduce a world-class e-wallet for Malaysians, and we plan to bring differentiated products for local users.”

The JV seeks to leverage TnG’s existing market presence in Malaysia, with up to 17 million cards in circulation and six million average transactions per day across multiple services such as toll roads, vehicle parking, public transportations and retail outlets.

“As long as CIMB and TnG are concerned, this will primarily be a Malaysian business. We do not have any plans to do this in the region.”


Single authority for property market

“If you look at Bank Negara Malaysia’s (BNM) rate, the real affordable house, it has to be in the region of RM200,000 and below. That is the level where a first-time housebuyer will be able to get 90% or close to 100% financing, but the supply is not there. You talk to the private sector, their affordable house is RM500,000.”

“Today, you look at all the high-end properties in Kuala Lumpur at night, you can see only 10% of the total units have their lights on. I think this is an unproductive investment of our money in the economy.”