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 2017.6.16

On earnings calls

Malaysia segment recorded higher profit before tax mainly due to higher sales orders from key customers, including the new box built orders from key customers. The new production lines that were commissioned earlier are now running at optimal capacity. – V.S. Industry in a filing with Bursa Malaysia

“Our clients are experiencing brisk sales growth with their new products, effective marketing campaigns and enhanced distribution channels. We will ride on our clients’ growth, supporting them in every step of the way with our integrated manufacturing capability to produce quality products in the quantity required by them on a timely basis.” – V.S. Industry MD SY Gan


Local competition was more intense with some distributors offering enormous cash incentives at an unprecedented level, thus putting further pressure on our strategy to sell at the full price offered with value added packages.

The contraction in profit margin was also partly caused by the Mazda CX-5 run-out programme as more sales incentives were given in anticipation of the arrival of the all-new model.

Demand for passenger cars is expected to be soft as the weak job market and uncertainty will likely cause customers to defer their purchases…will continue to focus on driving sales at full selling prices with value offerings as this will in the longer term augur well for the Mazda brand image and popularity.” – Bermaz Auto in a filing with Bursa Malaysia


Management undertook measures to curtail further losses in future such as the closure of non-performing restaurants and outlets. These measures led to impairment of fixed assets and intangible assets.

…expects Starbucks to maintain its revenue growth momentum, and the price adjustment in the previous quarter is expected to mitigate the negative impact from the fluctuating Ringgit Malaysia and poor results of KRR operations in Malaysia. – Berjaya Food in a filing with Bursa Malaysia


The decrease in licensing revenue was due to loss of content recovery for a sports channel. The decrease in subscription revenue was mainly due to lower package take-up.

…re-positioning its business with emphasis towards personalization, mobility and interactivity with customers, focusing on executing its key strategies on: (1) digitalising our legacy business; (2) rapidly scaling our digital ventures; (3) deepening strength in verticals and building a robust innovation pipeline… – Astro Malaysia in a filing with Bursa Malaysia


Shipment of furniture from our Malaysian factories increased substantially as a result of the coming on-stream of new products, including panel based bedroom models. Contribution from the panel based bedroom models for the US market increased to 20% from 5% previously.

Shipment of furniture from our Vietnamese operations was also higher in line with the improvement in the US economy and its efforts to ship higher value orders to the US. – Poh Huat Resources in a filing with Bursa Malaysia


…the increased business volume and the aggressive stance to invest more to upkeep its outlets and getting more talents to join its workforce for the expansion plan.

…is confident that Bison can maintain its competitive edge and position in the Convenience Store segment. Bison is in progress with its action plans. However, there is a delay in the commissioning of its distribution center in Johor Bahru due to the plan to enlarge and install a better-equipped facility. – Bison Consolidated in a filing with Bursa Malaysia


The strong engagement achieved brought in a fresh new wave of customers and additional referrals which were successfully converted into sales by many projects in the Klang Valley, Iskandar Malaysia and Penang. – Eco World Development in a filing with Bursa Malaysia

Interest in all three projects in the UK remain healthy bolstered by good construction progress on site and positive developments in the surrounding areas where the projects are located.

…will continue to seek out well-located development sites in London, Sydney and Melbourne where it has established a strong track-record and customer following to replenish its land bank. – Eco World International in a filing with Bursa Malaysia

“We will see profit recognition beginning in FY18 as handover commences in phases starting with London City Island and Embassy Gardens…Our plans for the second half of 2017 include the completion of the proposed acquisition of 80% of the issued capital in Eco World-Salcon Y1 Pty Ltd and the launch of the Yarra One development in Melbourne.” – Eco World International CEO Teow Leong Seng


The increase in revenue was due to higher ASP as a result of the increase in raw material costs although business volume was lower. – A-Rank in a filing with Bursa Malaysia


…has been incurring losses for the past 5 years as a result of softening demand for the fixed wing pilot training market in Malaysia mainly due to local major airlines cutting back on their training program for new pilots. Due to lack of business in the fixed wing pilot training, the mechanical engineering division which specializes in oil, gas and petrochemical has become the significant contributor in terms of revenue.” – APFT in a filing with Bursa Malaysia


By December 2018, Top Glove is projected to have 31 glove factories, 628 production lines and a production capacity of 59.7 billion gloves per annum. It will also continue to explore synergistic M&A and JV, as well as new set-ups, particularly in closely related industries such as nitrile latex factory, packaging materials (glove inner boxes) and condom factory, towards enhancing shareholder value.” – Top Glove in a filing with Bursa Malaysia


On corporate development

…is considering the pursuit of a separate listing of its automated solution business on the Main Board of the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong Limited…will undertake a reorganization of its subsidiaries involved in the automated solution business and these subsidiaries will continue to remain as subsidiaries of Pentamaster upon completion of the proposed listing. – Pentamaster in a filing with Bursa Malaysia


“It has to be [listed] eventually as we need funds and a listing will be a way to marshal funds from the market. We want to expand overseas as well, but we need a strong brand first…We won an award that puts us on par with Mount Elizabeth Hospitals in Singapore, which has helped with our branding.

“It will take a couple of years, although we could list now if we wanted to, because we have the track record. But it might not give us the value that we want so we’d rather wait for a few years.” – Sunway chairman Jeffrey Cheah during AGM


…despite management’s efforts to reorganise Anzpac’s remaining lithography printing business in its non-tobacco customers, the Board is of the view that Anzpac’s business is no longer viable or sustainable. – Tien Wah Press in a filing with Bursa Malaysia


On regional properties & construction

“We look forward to working with our partner Hongkong Land on this exciting new development, which will bring office space of the highest quality to Singapore’s premier Central Business District.” – IOI Properties CEO Lee Yeow Seng

“Our new joint venture allows Hongkong Land to expand its portfolio of prime commercial properties in Marina Bay and demonstrates our long-term confidence in the Singapore property market. We are delighted to partner with IOI Properties to deliver the exceptional levels of design, construction and management that our tenants expect.” – Hongkong Land CEO Robert Wong


“We are open to opportunities overseas. If there is a good point to go abroad, then why not? But we are not in a hurry as we have enough land bank in Malaysia to keep us busy.

“You need to have deep pockets and really understand the market well. At the moment, the outlook for foreign [property] markets may not be very bullish than it was before although I would say it is healthy.

“Seeing the current slowdown in the property market, it’s a good opportunity for us to lock in more land as there is less competition among developers, which means we have more choices in terms of location.

“We have enough [cash] to readily acquire more land so it does not make sense for us to merge with anybody. When you merge with another developer, you must have a good rationale, whether it’s to improve cash flow, increase land bank or leverage on others’ expertise.

“It is not easy to manage a construction arm. So what we do is we have qualified contractors come back [to us] with better terms and costing, while we manage our own staff. If you have your own construction division and it doesn’t perform well, you will end up with higher costs than what you would incur if you subcontract work instead.” – Mah Sing MD Leong Hoy Kum


“…venturing outside the Klang Valley because the yields are better. Also, it is a tough market to find a property that meets our criteria. The Klang Valley has become a saturated location [in terms of the retail market].

“…that the asset must have opportunities for further value creation in the future through the creation of an additional lettable area in the long term.” – Hektar REIT asset manager Hisham Othman


“For Singapore’s manufacturing segment, we don’t foresee it to be very material because the deep tunnel sewerage system — the megaproject in Singapore — the award will likely be at the beginning of next year. For this year, I think Malaysia is going to overshadow Singapore in terms of order replenishment.” – Kimlun CEO Sim Tian Liang


On staying competitive with better efficiency

“Yes, there are short-term benefits from a weak ringgit, but it also leads to a situation where customers would ask for a reduction in prices and the competition from the market [becomes more intense]. Volatile movements in the ringgit are therefore not good for business.

“I would say being more efficient in production to stay ahead of the competition is a better driver for glove makers, rather than a weak ringgit.” – Careplus CEO Lim Kwee Shyan


“We want to be more efficient with our operations. Our working culture is to be more efficient, [to be able to] understand the market and expand our business…I think it’s a better way than waiting for a problem to arise as problems are always there. We need to make sure that we run faster than our competitors.” – Luxchem CEO Tang Ying See


On Malaysia tourism tax

“Local hotel operators are dealing with an environment of low occupancy rate for the past two years [and] hotel operations would be [further] affected if Malaysians cut down traveling frequency.

“Those who are registered may represent only 15% of all the hotels, so the tax would create an uneven level playing field.” – Deloitte Malaysia partner Senthuran Elalingam


“…traveling to Sarawak was already expensive as compared to Bali, Hong Kong and Taiwan, with travelers having to fork out RM1,145 for one way or RM2,000 for a return flight ticket from KL to Sibu…But one can fly from KL to Bangkok return at only RM409, making it difficult to promote Sarawak due to such a high fare.” – Malaysian Association Hotels (Sarawak chapter) honorary secretary-general John Teo Peng Yew