Company Notes 2017.12.29

Binasat Communications Q1 FY2018 Results

The Group operates within the support services for the telecommunication network industry in Malaysia. The Group is expected to benefit from the future plans and strategies as disclosed in the Prospectus of the Company dated 13 December 2017. These include building a new teleport facility, enhancing our operations and maintenance service and fiber optic installation and commissioning capability and sourcing for business opportunities in ASEAN countries, particularly Vietnam, Myanmar and Laos.

PUC buys into leisure site photography firm

Under the deal, PUC will issue 64.6 million new shares — or slightly over 4.5% of its enlarged share capital — at 32.2 sen per share or RM20.8 million, while the balance of RM32 million will be paid on a staggered basis when Pictureworks meets its profit guarantee as outlined in the agreement, according to a filing with Bursa Malaysia.

Pictureworks provisions imagery capture and distribution platforms for major theme parks and other leisure and entertainment sites including the Shanghai Disney Resort in China, Hong Kong Disneyland Resort, Singapore’s Gardens by the Bay, Legoland Malaysia, and Kidzania Kuala Lumpur. It also holds the international licensing of imagery systems including Harry Potter: The Exhibition and Game of Thrones: The Touring Exhibition, among others. Currently, the Pictureworks group’s imagery system services are being offered in more than 30 sites.

The 33% stake in Pictureworks is valued at between RM57.05 million and RM73.3 million by FHMH Corporate Advisory Sdn Bhd, according to the announcement. Cheong has guaranteed that Pictureworks will achieve a PAT of RM14.8 million in FY18 and another RM20.5 million in FY19. Any shortfall will be compensated by Cheong, said PUC. “PUC expects that moving forward, its share of earnings from its 33% equity interest in Pictureworks may contribute 25% or more of the net profits of the PUC group and/or may result in a diversion of more than 25% of the net asset of the PUC Group,” it added.


2018 World Cup to bring cheer to breweries

“Note that due to the time difference between Malaysia and Russia, we can expect one match to kick off at 8pm Malaysian time, every day, during the event.”

Beer excise duty rose to RM175 per 100% volume per litre on March 1, 2016, from RM7.40 per litre previously, while the 15% ad valorem (according to value) tax was removed. “The new regulation on the legal purchasing age for alcoholic beverages, which raised the age from 18 to 21 effective Dec 1 2017, may encourage youngsters to switch to easily-available contrabands.”

“Beer and stout, which are typically of lower alcohol by volume, are taxed at a higher rate than wine and spirits, which contain higher alcohol levels.”


Broadnet’s moves raise concern with TM, TNB

“For starters, TNB wants to know for sure if the Government has a golden share in Broadnet and if they are compelled to collaborate with the company,” said the sources.

“In some ways, Broadnet would be a competitor to TM. So it is only natural for the company to seek clarification as TM itself is indirectly owned by the Government through Khazanah Nasional Bhd,” said a source.

Minister Salleh last week was quoted as saying that the Nationwide Fiberisation Plan would, among other things, leverage TNB’s extensive fibre trunk network. “We do not encourage monopolies or exclusive arrangements as this may slow down the deployment of broadband infrastructure,” Salleh was quoted as saying by Bernama. The NFP, he said, was in line with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak’s announcement in this year’s budget, which was to double broadband speeds at lower prices by 2019.


Only World Group sees a return to glory days

“[With] the new outlets, coupled with the reopening of [14] outlets [at Genting Highlands] and the stabilisation of the indoor theme park operations at The Top at Komtar Tower in Penang, we should return to our glory days.”

The group’s net profit for FY17 also took a huge hit from the temporary closure of 14 outlets at First World Hotel in Genting Highlands in February this year due to the ongoing redevelopment and transformation of Resorts World Genting. Its earnings for FY17 more than halved from RM12.57 million the previous year.

OWG is building an integrated attraction zone on 70,000 sq ft of land called Ripley’s Believe It or Not Adventure Land within Resorts World Genting, following the closure of its previous site as part of the relocation and renovation works under the Genting Integrated Tourism Plan (GITP).

“If we can reach our target of [holding] 52 weekend events or 108 events a year at The Top, it would see our food service operation equalising if not more than the other segment. This can possibly happen in less than five years because our order book for the banquet hall is filling up,” she said.The group is also reopening its F&B outlets at the Sky Avenue mall, as well as a new food court at Genting Premium Outlets.


Comfort carves its own niche, supplies premium specialty gloves

“Prospects for the rubber glove manufacturing sector remain strong, with increasing demand arising from switching trends towards nitrile glove. Nitrile glove now accounts for 61% of Malaysian rubber glove export. As overall demand for nitrile gloves increases, the market is seeing a rise in segmentation and differentiation, leading to higher demand for specialty gloves.”

Curated Insights 2017.08.20

Apple has the best business model for generating cash

Apple’s $64B of operating cash flow was nearly as much as that of Alphabet ($36B), Facebook ($19B), and Amazon ($17B) combined. In essence, Amazon is doing as well financially as Facebook. Google is generating as much cash as Amazon and Facebook put together. Apple is generating nearly as much cash as Amazon, Facebook, and Google combined.

Apple’s $51B of TTM free cash flow is $3B more than the free cash flow produced by Alphabet, Facebook, and Amazon combined. In what may come as a surprise, Apple is bringing in 70% more free cash flow than Microsoft, who is still considered to possess one for the more lucrative business models in existence.

Apple is a design company focused on selling tools capable of fostering superior experiences. Scale is considered a byproduct of a properly functioning business model. Facebook and Google are service companies focused on offering free, data-capturing services to as many people as possible. The business models are dependent on achieving scale in order to access as much data as possible. Amazon is a retail platform company focused on getting you to buy more stuff over time. Scale in terms of purchase volume is needed in order for the cash flow/reinvestment cycle to continue.

Instead, we have non-hardware companies pontificate how hardware won’t matter in the future. In reality, the opposite will likely occur. Hardware will matter more going forward. The wearables industry represents a good example of this in practice. Meanwhile, the way smartphone and tablet components are mattering more now than ever to AR and AI is another hole in the “hardware won’t matter” thesis.


No one knows how much money WeChat is making, and investors are too bullish to care

…the success of Honor of Kings as an example of WeChat’s indirect influence on Tencent’s revenue growth. “When you go into the game, it becomes all about playing with your WeChat friends, and looking at their scores and achievements,” he says. Honor of Kings is currently ranked the top-grossing game in China’s iOS App Store (registration required), and four other Tencent titles fill out the top 10.

…pointing to WeChat’s low take on payments (Stripe and PayPal each charge about 3%) and its aggressive discounts, speculates it’s a loss leader. Tencent executives, meanwhile, have downplayed its role in making money for the company. “We consider payment at this point in time as to [sic] infrastructure service rather than a service that generates profit for us. And I think that status will maintain for quite some time.”

“Payments are the gateway to lending. And because you’re tracking the same consumer across so many platforms, you know the credit score of the consumer and you have very few non-performing loans.”


How Baidu will win China’s AI race—and, maybe, the world’s

But to train the algorithms that will deliver the intelligence to transform our cities, it needs data. To wit: The company with the most data wins.

Clearly, he saw more opportunity across the Pacific: In China, 731 million people—nearly twice the entire population of the United States—are online. Says Lu: “China has the structural advantage.”

We’re the first major company to clearly separate the perceptual and the cognitive layer. Perceptive capability and the cognitive are related, but they are quite different. Most of the [other] AI platforms bundle them together.

But one thing I learned is that in this race to AI, it’s actually more about having the right application scenarios and the right ecosystems.

It’s just like the phone ecosystem today. The phone ecosystem is the largest silicon software ecosystem. I believe the same thing will happen for the autonomous system. The car is going to build a larger ecosystem. And the same set of capabilities—hardware, sensors, chip sets, software—will be used to build industry robots, home robots. We want to have hundreds of companies and universities all at work on this, building a very large ecosystem. Then we can build robots, build drones, and build all those autonomous systems. So, to me, autonomy is a key.

…because China is highly, highly fragmented. There’s more than 250 car OEMs [original equipment manufacturers], unlike the United States, which is a heavily concentrated industry. None of the OEMs will have the full capabilities to build out deep R&Ds. With our code base that we released on July 5, [we will make it possible for] one person to assemble a vehicle in three days that can do autonomous driving in limited forms and start on R&Ds.

We’re competing against nobody. We enable each OEM, whether it’s Bosch, Continental, or Nvidia, to be able to do more.


Amazon has largest A.I. platform in the world, its machine learning guru boasts

Despite the lack of notoriety, “inside Amazon we’ve been doing machine learning for over twenty years,” he notes, and anyway, “We have more machine learning running on the platform than anywhere else” he claims, meaning AWS is doing more A.I. than Google or any other facility in the world.

“Today, machine learning is very technical,” he says, but overtime, and with Amazon’s help, it is going to be simpler and simpler to apply machine learning to any number of different applications, “and to do it with high accuracy.”

Wood noted another important development, the shift from just the “training” phase of A.I., where a computer deduces patterns, to the “inference” stage, where it responds to user requests based on what it’s learned.

…what he thinks of machines making machines, meaning, machine learning being able to design new algorithms for machine learning, a kind of self-reflexive moment in A.I. “Absolutely,” says Wood, “It’s already happening. There are customers on AWS who are training bots to to make algorithms.” One example is something called Bandits, where machines face off against one another, with one machine trying to deduce learning models while the other is trying to trick it with falsehoods.

Amazon expands program that pays Alexa developers for top-performing voice apps

It’s notable that the Alexa platform has managed to attract a sizable group of developers ahead of any formal compensation program, or support for traditional app monetization business models, like freemium apps, paid apps, and advertising. Despite this, Alexa’s app store has grown to over 15,000 skills in a relatively short period of time – after all, the Echo speaker – Amazon’s first Alexa device – wasn’t even available to the public until July 2015.

That said, direct payouts for skills is a program that can only be sustained for so long. Eventually, developers will demand more control over their businesses, rather relying on some inscrutable algorithm. In the meantime, Amazon will face competition from rivals, including Google Home and Apple’s forthcoming HomePod – both from companies who have a better understanding of how an app store ecosystem works.


Amazon in talks to offer event ticketing in U.S.

…the U.S. ticketing market as ripe for attack. Consumers dislike ticket fees, and venue owners, sports leagues and teams want more distributors for their tickets as they seek to boost sales. Access to tickets could be another means to lure members to the Amazon Prime shopping club. For music acts and sports teams, selling tickets through Amazon could help sell their merchandise.

Amazon has had conversations to partner with Ticketmaster as a potential way to get into ticketing in the United States, but those conversations have stalled over who would control customer data, according to sources with knowledge of the conversations.

Ticketing would likely make money for Amazon, which has a patchy record of profitability. Ticketmaster generated $1.6 billion in revenue from initial sales of tickets to events in 2016, according to estimates by research firm BTIG. That figure does not include revenue from the reselling of tickets, which BTIG estimates at $250 million.


Amazon looks to new food technology for home delivery

If the cutting-edge food technology comes to fruition, and Amazon implements it on a large scale, it would be a major step forward for the company as it looks to grab hold of more grocery customers shifting toward quick and easy meal options at home.

The pioneering food-prep tech, known as microwave assisted thermal sterilization, or MATS… The method involves placing sealed packages of food in pressurized water and heating them with microwaves for several minutes, according to 915 Labs.

“They obviously see that this is a potential disruptor and an ability to get to a private brand uniqueness that they’re looking for. They will test these products with their consumers, and get a sense of where they would go.”

“They have to leapfrog to MATS because they don’t have the refrigerated supply chain like we have in the U.S.”

Facebook buys computer vision startup focused on adding objects to video

…could be useful as Facebook pursues additional video filter creation technology, both for its live streaming efforts, and for platforms like Instagram Stories.

…being able to add objects to live video and remove them or cover them over on the fly is also something that can be put to interesting use in the emerging field of augmented reality.

The world’s shipping companies are going super-sized

A massive consolidation is underway in the $500 billion global industry and the survivors now enjoy big economies of scale and increased demand, one year after excess capacity caused the sector’s worst-ever crisis — the bankruptcy of South Korea’s Hanjin Shipping Co.

These super-sized shipping companies wield much more pricing power over manufacturers and retailers like Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Target Corp. The five biggest container lines control about 60 percent of the global market, according to data provider Alphaliner. Shipping rates are climbing, and an index tracking cargo rates on major routes from Asia is about 22 percent higher than it was a year earlier.

“Since the demise of Hanjin Shipping, flight to quality has become more noticeable in the container shipping business,” said Um Kyung-a, an analyst at Shinyoung Securities Co. in Seoul. “That’s why the market is becoming more and more dominated by top players with big ships and those that don’t have could become more and more obsolete.”


The awesome but mostly unknown story of Carlsberg beer in China (Part 1, Part 2)

It was a daring strategy. Inland China was the one region that was not yet dominated by the large SOE brewers. It was still open territory. But you also need to have a picture in your mind of Western China circa 2003. It was the poorest part of China. It was a massive and undeveloped territory. There was little infrastructure and even less money.

A review of Sunny’s Carlsberg presentation in 2006 is fascinating. Western China had exceptionally low per-capita beer consumption. In Eastern China in 2005, it ranged from 30-80 liters per person, but in Tibet and Ningxia it was only 10-15 liters. And in Yunnan and Xinjiang it was closer to 3 liters. That could of course mean big growth one day. More likely, it meant small money in difficult geographies for the foreseeable future.

Across the board, it was a strategy of regional dominance. They were building a competitive advantage based on local economies of scale in marketing, distribution and production. And they were racing to become a giant in the West.


Deep learning could discover new plant species hidden in centuries of herbarium data

…but the valuable info in these slowly vanishing temples to the plant kingdom needs to be modernized in order to be of use to an increasingly digital-first scientific community.

They trained a plant-identification algorithm on a quarter million images of plant samples, and set it to work IDing new sheets. It matched the species picked by human experts exactly 4 out of 5 times, and 90 percent of the time the correct species was in the algorithm’s next few guesses.

“People feel this kind of technology could be something that will decrease the value of botanical expertise,” study co-author Pierre Bonnet told Nature. “But this approach is only possible because it is based on the human expertise. It will never remove the human expertise.”

CRISPR’d pigs offer hope for the human organ transplant shortage

The findings represent an important breakthrough in the potential for xenotransplantation, or the use of animal organs in humans. Currently there are more than 117,000 men, women and children on the donor waiting list in the U.S., 22 of whom die each day from lack of a matching donor. The ability to use a pig heart, lungs or other body parts could shore up the shortage and save numerous lives.

This is the first time researchers have been able to demonstrate they were able to inactivate PERV and open the way for xenotransplantation without cross-species contamination.

CRISPR holds enormous potential to wipe out diseases in both humans and animals, upend our food system and has many other applications we likely don’t see yet. Just last week, U.S. scientists were able to demonstrate they could successfully CRISPR out a faulty heart gene mutation in human embryos. However, there is still a lot to take into account before applying the technology to fully formed human beings.


The death of the internal combustion engine

And then there is oil. Roughly two-thirds of oil consumption in America is on the roads, and a fair amount of the rest uses up the by-products of refining crude oil to make petrol and diesel. The oil industry is divided about when to expect peak demand…

Meanwhile, a scramble for lithium is under way. The price of lithium carbonate has risen from $4,000 a tonne in 2011 to more than $14,000. Demand for cobalt and rare-earth elements for electric motors is also soaring. Lithium is used not just to power cars: utilities want giant batteries to store energy when demand is slack and release it as it peaks. Will all this make lithium-rich Chile the new Saudi Arabia? Not exactly, because electric cars do not consume it; old lithium-ion batteries from cars can be reused in power grids, and then recycled.

Housing for the long run?

Housing beat stocks mostly because the returns were less than half as volatile. Thanks to the magic of compounding, this created a performance gap of more than 2 percentage points each year, on average, since 1950, with an even bigger gap if you start the clock in 1870.

Housing has beaten stocks since 1950 because rental income has been better than dividend income, not because house prices have grown more than stock prices.

It’s possible to imagine a world where most housing is owned by large diversified investment trusts that anyone can invest in, but until then, “housing for the long run” is not a practical investment strategy.


Sustainability of hedge-fund reinsurers questioned

Such reinsurers generally engage in “low-margin and low-volatility (property/casualty) reinsurance business,” and try to generate returns for investors through hedge fund investment or other strategies.

The fund reinsurers’ strategy is a half success, as they outperform traditional reinsurers’ investment record. This is still not enough to offset underwriting losses, says S&P, leaving the fund reinsurers trailing their more established brethren in total return.

“We continue to believe that HFRs need to focus as much on the additional risks of their overall strategies as they do on the higher investment returns,” S&P said, adding that “HFRs will continue to evolve, learn from their earlier brethren’s mistakes, and nibble at the edges of the reinsurance market as they carve out a niche for themselves.


ASEAN at 50

Southeast Asia is one of the world’s most diverse regions. Its 640 million people include 240 million Muslims, 120 million Christians, 150 million Buddhists, and millions of Hindus, Taoists, Confucianists, and Communists. Its most populous country, Indonesia, is home to 261 million people, while Brunei has just 450,000. Singapore’s per capita income of $52,960 per annum is 22.5 times that of Laos ($2,353). This diversity puts Southeast Asia at a distinct disadvantage in terms of fostering regional cooperation. When ASEAN was founded in 1967, most experts expected it to die within a few years.

But ASEAN defied expectations, becoming the world’s second most successful regional organization, after the European Union. Some 1,000 ASEAN meetings are held each year to deepen cooperation in areas such as education, health, and diplomacy. ASEAN has signed free-trade agreements (FTAs) with China, Japan, India, South Korea, Australia, and New Zealand, and established an ASEAN economic community. Today, ASEAN comprises the world’s seventh-largest economy, on track to become the fourth largest by 2050.

Yet ASEAN’s long-term progress is undeniable. Its combined GDP has grown from $95 billion in 1970 to $2.5 trillion in 2014. And it is the only reliable platform for geopolitical engagement in the Asia-Pacific region, unique in its ability to convene meetings attended by all of the world’s great powers, from the United States and the European Union to China and Russia.

Company Notes 2017.08.18

Media Prima Q2 FY2017 Results

The Group incurred an LAT of RM138.4 million for 2QFY17 mainly due to the impairment of investment in an associate of RM142.4 million.

…lower advertising and newspaper sales as the shift to digital media significantly affected the Group’s traditional media business. While the Group has ventured into new digital and consumer-based business initiatives to complement its traditional media segments, these initiatives are still undergoing a gestation period.

Digital Media – The proposed acquisition of RAHSB will enable access to resources and competencies to drive growth in digital business by acquiring expertise in digital content curation and digital content marketing. The acquisition of RAHSB increases content monetisation opportunities for the key market segments by leveraging on the Group’s audience base, big data initiative and traditional media platforms to strengthen the newly acquired business further.


Eversafe Rubber Q2 FY2017 Results

The Group plans to increase its export sales and geographical footprint to various overseas markets. The new markets the Group intends to expand to will primarily be outside the ASEAN region, with a focus on the South American region. The Group is in the midst of finalising the details of a joint venture agreement with its business partner to establish a tyre retreading plant in South America and also to market and distribute the retreaded tyres.


AHB Holdings Q1 FY2018 Results

AHB has increased its R&D resources and plans to continue to introduce new dynamic furniture programs and new products to improve financial performance. AHB is also diversifying its market base, including improving the local market share of the office furniture market.


Batu Kawan Q3 FY2017 Results

Profitability of the Group’s oleochemical business will be lower in view of stocks write-down, challenging and difficult market environment. As for the Chemicals division, profit from the chlor-alkali business is projected to be higher due to better prices while the restructured sulphuric acid business should contribute a modest profit.


Kuala Lumpur Kepong Q3 FY2017 Results

Financial performance of the oleochemical business was significantly impacted by the high volatility of the price of its raw material, crude palm kernel oil (CPKO), during the current quarter which had created mismatch in the selling price of oleo products against its raw materials purchase price. Customers additionally, are exercising higher prudent buying strategy in light of market conditions. This had resulted in the write-down of RM60.3 million in stocks with most of the oleo products had lower or negative contributions.


Hup Seng Industries Q2 FY2017 Results

…the development of new market such as China over the past has also started to bear fruits contributing to the pleasant growth.

Domestic sales registered a drop of 2% mainly due to some problem in East Malaysia market. However, this decline was more than offset by a 20% growth in export sales propelled by higher demand from existing distributors due to concerted effort of promotion activities as well as contribution from a new distributor in China whom the Group nurtured since 2016.


Ornapaper Q2 FY2017 Results

The key factors affect the group’s performance include mainly raw material costs (such as kraft liner, test liner, medium paper and etc), operationg cost, demand for the packaging products and the ability to cope with the change. The recent upward trend of raw material costs has resulted in increase of production cost.

The sales volume and average selling price for corrugated cartons and boards has increased by 4.97% and 8.76% respectively compared to the preceding quarter.


Pharmaniaga Q2 FY2017 Results

Although earnings were impacted by the temporary closure of production lines, this will subsequently enable the Group to move forward with the commercialisation of new products as some of the products were approved ahead of schedule. This is certainly testament to the Group’s strong research and development initiatives.


LTKM Q1 FY2018 Results

The decrease in earnings was due mainly to the drop in egg prices and increase in cost of major raw materials namely corns and soybean.


Taliworks Q2 FY2017 Results

The high trade receivables particularly the amount owning by SPLASH continues to be a major concern as it has long been outstanding due to the uncertainties in the Selangor water restructuring exercise.


Paramount Q2 FY2017 Results

Education institutions have gone into a price war in an attempt to hold their respective market positions and compete for new students.

With the enlarged K-12 segment, comprising Sri KDU and the R.E.A.L Education Group, offering premium and more affordably priced alternative private and international schools respectively, Paramount Education is now able to reach a wider segment of the K-12 market. Sri KDU’s excellence in quality education continues to be reinforced. Following the success of PISA in 2012, Sri KDU International School achieved the International School Quality Mark (ISQM) Gold Award this year, the first in Malaysia and third in Asia to procure this award.


Press Metal Aluminium Q2 FY2017 Results

Aluminium price continues to increase as more and more production cuts are being announced in China according to the government supply reform policy. As a result, the China smelting production is expected to slow down and the world’s supply and demand will tilt towards a deficit situation which will support long term aluminium price performance.

Our smelting operations will continue to run at full capacity for the remaining of the year with demand continues to be well supported.


IFCA MSC Q2 FY2017 Results

As the trend of businesses moving online to the cloud starts to pick up momentum, the Group has started to invest in the next generation of solutions for the property industry with a strong focus on prop-tech. This initiative is expected to leverage the depth of experience of the Group in the property sector over the last 30 years, and combine it in a partnership with a leading cloud technology provider.

As at 30 June 2017, the Group has unbilled orders in hand amounting to RM28.22 million, an increase of RM 4.44 million from the previous quarter, showing an upward trend in the order book.


HSS Engineers Q2 FY2017 Results

The decline was compensated by newly secured projects in 2017 including East Coast Rail Line (“ECRL”) scheme design and Kuala Lumpur-Singapore High Speed Rail.

The Group has put in place a series of future plans as follows:- (a) Geographical expansion into ASEAN, Middle East and India regions; (b) Continuous enhancement on its three (3) existing core services (i.e. engineering services, project management and Building Information Modeling (“BIM”) services) and proposed venture into a fourth (4th) core service i.e. facility management; and (c) Venturing into the provision of support services to the water and power generation sectors which are expected to continue receiving strong government support given their strategic importance to the country.


Dialog Group Q4 FY2017 Results

As a leading integrated technical services provider to the upstream, midstream and downstream sectors in the oil, gas and petrochemical industry, DIALOG remains confident that its business model is well structured and can withstand the current oil price volatility and currency movements. The Group’s financial track record has proven that DIALOG’s business is well risk-managed and sustainable.


S P Setia Q2 FY2017 Results (Press Release)

Sapphire By The Gardens, comprising a residential tower with 345 units of apartments and GDV of AUD376 million in Melbourne’s Central Business District (“CBD”) witnessed a strong take-up rate of 70% during the launch weekend on 17 June.

Moving forward into the second half of 2017, the Group will focus more on the local market with emphasis given to the launches of mid-range landed properties in the Klang Valley…The strategy is to launch more of the landed properties in the Group’s flagship townships where the underlying demand for such properties by owner occupiers are still strong.


Three-A Resources Q2 FY2017 Results

The Group has positioned itself strategically to leverage on the expansion of production facilities especially the completed Maltodextrin product Plant no. 3 and also the acquisition of lands located in the vicinity of the existing production facilities.


Shangri-La Hotels Malaysia Q2 FY2017 Results

Shangri-La Hotel Kuala Lumpur is expected to deliver revenue and profit growth for the full year 2017, supported by stronger food and beverage business over the second half, with the continuing benefit of its recently fully upgraded banqueting facilities and all-day dining restaurant. Hotel Jen Penang successfully completed its major renovation, with the hotel’s full inventory of renovated rooms back in operation at the end of June 2017. This will allow the hotel to drive improvements in occupancy and room rates during the reminder of 2017.


Aemulus Q3 FY2017 Results

Sales growth in the Far East region has been encouraging. The double digit revenue growth target set by the Group for this region remain unchanged.

Orders for products continue to stream in from our customers in the enterprise storage segment.

The combined revenue from the enterprise storage, smartphone and tablet segments constitute close to 90% of the Group revenue


Century Logistics Q2 FY2017 Results

The Group will leverage its extensive customer base and internal strength which the Group has put in place that focuses on providing value added logistics solutions while maintaining cost efficiencies. Following the ongoing synergy process, the Group also intends to tap into the extensive network and infrastructure of its major shareholder, CJ Logistics Group. The Group is currently setting up the necessary infrastructure to roll-out its parcel delivery operation and expects to commence the operation soon.


Vitrox Q2 FY2017 Results

…the increase in revenue recorded for Machine Vision System (MVS) and Automated Board Inspection (ABI). Revenue from MVS and ABI have recorded an increase of 45% and 31% respectively against the corresponding period of preceding year. The increase was mainly due to higher demand from widen customer base and positive acceptance of our products.


Carlsberg Brewery Malaysia Q2 FY2017 Results (Press Release)

… higher sales volume and a one off trade discount adjustment in Singapore. This improvement was achieved despite trade loading last year in Malaysia during June 2016 prior to the price increase in July 2016.

“Our premium brands Somersby cider and Kronenbourg Blanc are growing double-digit, improving our brand mix and overall revenue. In Malaysia, our draught stout Connor’s is also growing double-digit as well and reaching new consumers with the ‘Connor’s Challenge’ campaign. In Singapore, our Asahi Super Dry sales are also very encouraging.”


Allianz Malaysia Q2 FY2017 Results

The increase in gross earned premiums of the life insurance operation was mainly contributed by growth in premiums from agency and bancassurance channels.

The higher expense ratio is due mainly to investment in digital assets and provision for impairment on insurance receivables.

The second phase of motor and fire detariff commenced in July 2017 where insurers have the flexibility to deviate pricing for the motor and fire portfolios within certain regulatory allowances. The pricing for both lines of business is expected to move towards a risk-based pricing approach. Competition is expected to intensify for the general insurance business.

The general insurance subsidiary has taken key initiatives to remain competitive in this environment including building a technical pricing model, active portfolio, and claims management as well as disciplined expense management.

The life insurance subsidiary will focus on strengthening its distribution channels through the professionalization and increased the productivity of its agency force. It will generate growth from its investment-linked business with rider attachments which cater for customers’ protection needs.


JcbNext Q2 FY2017 Results

Pending the acquisition of new businesses and/or investments, the Group’s future prospects will depend on the performance of its associated companies in Taiwan and Malaysia, quoted investment in Hong Kong, foreign exchange rates, and operating activities in Malaysia and Japan. The Group will derive income primarily from the provision of consultancy services, dividend income from its quoted investments and rental of office space.


Tasco Q1 FY2018 Results

Contribution from export cargoes of printed circuit boards, E&E, capacitors, semiconductors as well as aerospace customers boosted the higher revenue of AFF business. For Ocean Freight Forwarding (“OFF”) division, strong shipments contribution by a solar panel customer, especially export shipments to New York & Savannah of USA, coupled with increased export to Japan of an aerospace customer significantly uplifted OFF revenue performance. New customers of furniture manufacturers of OCM business also contributed higher revenue to OFF division…Trucking division posted a revenue increase of RM3.0 million (15.2 per cent), largely as a result of an increase in a new secured E&E account in the central region as well as increased distribution of an FMCG customer and inbound cross border business from Thailand.

On 12 July 2017, we completed our acquisition of Gold Cold Transport Sdn. Bhd. (“GCT”), thus marking our official foray into cold supply chain logistics business. Hence, the results of GCT will be consolidated into our accounts with effect from our second fiscal quarter this year. Our acquisition of MILS Cold Chain Sdn. Bhd., on the other hand, is still pending approval from the relevant authorities.


Pos Malaysia Q1 FY2018 Results

…the recent upbeat economic sentiments, globally and domestically, are supportive of the growth of e-Commerce, the key driver of the Pos Malaysia’s revenue growth. Furthermore, the Government’s continued progress in rolling-out the Digital Free Trade Zone incentives is also positive for the continued growth of e-Commerce and its ecosystem in Malaysia.

…traditional mail business to remain challenging due to the structural decline in mail volume driven by the continued shift into digital and mobile communications platforms.


Notion VTec Q3 FY2017 Results

The accounting profit is affected by losses mainly arising from Notion Thailand and Notion International, Johor due to insufficient orders covering the higher overheads but there are new orders from new customers in the coming quarters.

The camera continues to be on a decline…


Hong Leong Industries Q4 FY2017 Results

Malaysian Newsprint Industries Sdn Bhd (“MNI”), an associated company had commenced creditors’ voluntary winding-up proceedings. Arising thereto, the Group had made a one-off full impairment provision of RM172 million which is the Group’s carried amount of investment in MNI as at 30 June 2017. Going forward the Group is no longer required to equity account for the future results of MNI. In the event of any residual value from the liquidation process, the Group will recognize any recoveries in future periods.


ELK-Desa Resources Q1 FY2018 Results

The Group will continue to strategically operate in the underserved niche market and focus on growing the small value second hand car financing segment. The business strategy will also be constantly reviewed to ensure the Group continues to stay relevant in the industry and at the same time keeping the credit risk exposure within the tolerance level.

…the furniture business will continue to be affected by the sluggish consumers’ sentiments and the current soft economic environment. However, the Group will continue to grow the furniture business and focus on ensuring the operational efficiencies in the various divisions (i.e. retail, wholesale, export, and manufacturing).


Tune Protect Group Q2 FY2017 Results

“Gross Written Premiums is up by 11.3% which was driven by our motor, offshore oil, and engineering, as well as Middle East travel businesses.”

“More importantly, we are excited to announce that we’ve secured a new airline partner. Our partnership with Cambodia Angkor Air marks the 4th airline partnership with Tune Protect and is slated to commence in 3Q2017. This is definitely a silver lining for Tune Protect, as we ride out the storm. Securing another airline partner in the region is a huge milestone for us as it brings us closer to our vision of becoming a leading travel insurer in ASEAN.”

…due to increase in net claims mainly from Motor class of general insurance business, offset by a minor improvement in share of profits from overseas ventures.

“To alleviate the higher costs of motor claims that continue to impact our Malaysian general insurance business, we have redirected car repairs to non-franchise panel workshops to minimise the cost. We are also revising the way we evaluate franchise vehicles that have higher loss exposure and reviewing Beyond Economic Repair level to curb total loss exposure.”

With the intensified competition on the back of the liberalization of Motor and Fire businesses, our strategies for the coming months will concentrate on providing further online accessibility and product differentiation via risk-adjusted pricing.


Kawan Food Q2 FY2017 Results

The construction of the new plant at Pulau Indah is progressing accordingly to the revised schedule. The new factory is expected to be commissioned in the second half of the year. The research and development activities are continuing for new products which are planned to be manufactured at the new factory.

Thong Guan eyes to list unit on HK’s GEM

Ang is increasingly frustrated with the low market valuation of Thong Guan, saying it is an unjustified discount to its local rivals, which he hopes would eventually be corrected with a spin-off of its F&B arm and leaving the parent focused on the plastic packaging business.

“Last year, the F&B division contributed about RM4.5 million in profit and we expect this to grow to RM5 million this year. The PVC food wrap business recorded a profit of RM6 million in 2016. If we combine the two, we have a RM10 million profit company.”

“China has the largest market for organic noodles in the world. And the people there are growing more affluent, preferring to buy imported food products because they know regulations for imported food are very stringent. And there is a big market for baby noodles in China. So far, there is no organic noodle for babies in China and we would be among the first to go with that concept. I believe it would work. People want to start [letting] their kids [like and eat healthy food] when they are young.”

“Under China’s food regulations, products for children more than seven months old are categorised as infant food where certain vitamins and minerals are necessary. Our baby noodle products did not meet those requirements. So, we are changing the packaging of these baby noodle products in order for them to enter China.”

“We are actively looking for potential acquisition targets in the nanotechnology stretch film and max-stretch film business in Malaysia, Vietnam and other countries in Southeast Asia, [but the] market is good now. When the market is bad, then it is a good time to move in. We are also looking at companies that can provide complementary strengths like producers of plastic raw materials. We have been in talks, but we are not in a hurry [to complete any M&A transaction]. We can sit on top of the mountain and watch, and still grow our existing business.”


Sasbadi to ‘unleash’ non-academic segment’s potential

“Most of the products we sell target students. However, students have many needs, for example they want to read fiction too. We also want to target books for adults such as for self-improvement and other hobbies. There are [basically] many other segments we can look into.”

“We have mature technology that can be exported. So we are identifying partners who have good content and good branding in the local market, with good reach in terms of distribution, but lack the technological advantage. That’s where we can come in and collaborate. I believe this kind of collaboration will enable us to get access to good markets abroad.”


Gamuda’s IBS parts-making capacity to double by end-2018

Gamuda Bhd will see its annual manufacturing capacity of industrialised building system (IBS) components more than double to 8,000 units, with the completion of its second facility in Banting by end-2018.

“With the second factory coming online [by the] end of next year, we will be able to produce a total of 8,000 of 1,000-sq ft units per year. The current facility manufactures solid walls which are heavy and unsuitable for taller buildings. The new facility will be able to produce double walls, which are lighter and more suitable for taller buildings.”

“But when IBS is made mandatory, demand will rise and factories will ramp up their capacity. I am confident that there will be more IBS manufacturers coming up when demand picks up.”

Malaysia’s medical inflation at double-digit pace

Malaysia’s healthcare inflation stood at 11.5% in 2016 and is projected to rise to 12.7% this year, the survey shows. The pace is much faster than the average of 10.7% in Asia last year, and the rate is projected to ease to 10.2% this year. In fact, Malaysia is the third-highest among the 11 Asian countries surveyed, after India’s 14% and Indonesia’s 13.1%.

Among the reasons for the growing inflationary pressure on medical costs, the top three are utilisation medical services as more people are falling sick, the growing ageing population, and the costly advancement of medical technology.

“As medical care becomes more and more expensive, premiums [for medical insurance] will likewise increase.”