Wednesday, May 23, 2012

20120523 1108 Malaysia Corporate Related News.

Loss-making MAS outlines new RM9bn funding plan
As it continued to record quarterly losses, MAS has proposed a new three-pronged funding plan to meet its capital and operational expenditure requirements. The national flag carrier said it will tap avenues including the Islamic debt market, bridging loans and implement a leasing exercise, totaling RM8.8bn. (Malaysian Reserve) Please see accompanying report

SapuraKencana secures RM157m Aussie project
SapuraKencana Petroleum’s wholly-owned subsidiary in Australian, SC Projects Pty Ltd, has been awarded a AUD51m (RM157.26m) Origin Otway Phase 3 development project from Origin Energy Resources Ltd on 26 April. The oil and gas firm said the project will be developed and operated by Origin together with its JV partners Toyota Tsusho (Australasia) Pty Ltd and Benaris International Pty Ltd. (Malaysian Reserve)

TM’s broadband subscriber base hits 2m mark
TM’s subscriber base has reached the 2m mark, reflecting the increased adoption of broadband in the country. TM said this was another significant milestone, after achieving 300k subscribers for its UniFi service two months earlier. To date, TM has more than 1.64m customers for its broadband for general population under the brand Streamyx, while its high speed broadband service, UniFi, has recorded more than 359k subscribers. (Malaysian Reserve)

MPHB to spin off non-gaming assets
Multi-Purpose Holdings (MPHB) is planning a major restructuring that will feature the creation of a new entity to house its non-gaming assets, a move that will turn the group into a pure proxy for the gaming sector. Under the plan, MPHB is proposing to inject its interests in properties, hotels and financial services into a special purpose vehicle and leave the group with one asset, Magnum Corp, the profitable numbers forecast operator. (Financial Daily)

Ekuinas expands education portfolio further
Ekuiti Nasional (Ekuinas) further expanded its education portfolio by taking up a 90% stake in Unitar Capital SB (UCSB). UCSB is the owner and operator of University of Management and Technology (UMTECH), whose main facility is at Leisure Commerce Square, PJ. It has an enrolment of about 9k students. Ekuinas and Bumiputera private equity firm Shoraka Square Ltd have, through their 90:10 special purpose investment vehicle Nilam Suria SB, acquired a 100% stake in UCSB for RM65m. (Financial Daily)

Harvest Court minorities agree to diversification
The minority shareholders of Harvest Court Industries have given their nod for the company’s intention to diversify its business and plans to embark on construction works worth RM808.1m by June. “It went very well, all the resolutions were carried unanimously, and the substantial contracts would keep us busy for the next few years,” said Harvest Court director Datuk Raymond Chan Boon Siew after the company’s EGM yesterday. (StarBiz)

The Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (Score) has secured investments totalling RM24.63bn from 17 projects, which are expected to create more than 14,000 employment opportunities. State Minister of Industrial Development Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hassan said in addition to the 17 projects, negotiations are ongoing with 16 other investors for a potential investment of RM13bn. (Financial Daily)

The book-building process of Felda Global Ventures Holdings' (FGVH) over US$3bn listing will begin on May 31 and end on June 15, a source said. Another source said the price range for institutional investors had not been fixed yet, but the maximum would be RM4.65 a share, the indicative price at which cornerstone investors were offered. The second source said AIA Group, Kumpulan Wang Amanah Pencen, and Lembaga Tabung Haji would also be cornerstones in the IPO. (Reuters, Starbiz)

The Government must speed up the nationwide coverage of the B5 programme as the current take-up rate of about 100,000 tonnes of biodiesel is still insufficient to support the ailing local biodiesel sector, an industry body says. The B5 programme is a blend of 5% biodiesel and 95% fossil fuel. "The biodiesel take-up rate must quickly reach 500,000 tonnes per annum this year to ensure the survivability of biodiesel players in the country," said Malaysian Biodiesel Association (MBA) vice-president U.R.Unnithan. An industry source said that the Government's target for the biodiesel consumption to go nationwide would only be hit at the earliest by late 2013 or early 2014. (Starbiz)

Boustead Holdings announced that its subsidiary, Boustead Petroleum Marketing Sdn Bhd, intends to undertake the following: Land disposal to Platinum Flamingo Sdn Bhd for a cash consideration of RM9.0m Land disposal to Ming Heng Motor Sdn Bhd for a cash consideration of RM30.8m; and Compulsory land acquisition by the government of Malaysia for a cash consideration of RM16.5m. The disposal will add RM48m to its FY12 PBT. (BMSM)

Ekovest and Malaysian Resources Corp Bhd (MRCB), project delivery partners acting on behalf of the government, plan to call for some RM4bn worth of tenders by as early as next year to help clean and beautify the Klang and Gombak rivers. The work is part of the River of Life project. Minister of Federal Territories and Urban Wellbeing Datuk Raja Nong Chik Raja Zainal Abidin said the cleaning tenders will be out first. "We have set aside a total of RM3bn for cleaning and RM1bn for beautifying. We expect the rivers to be cleaned and certified as Class B (where it is safe to touch) within the next five years," Raja Nong Chik told reporters after launching the Asian Strategy and Leadership Institute (Asli)'s Second National Conference on Greater Kuala Lumpur/ Klang Valley - Towards a World Class Sustainable City here yesterday. He said at present the river was "toxic". "Both rivers are at Class 3 or 4, which is very bad," he added. (BT)

Telekom Malaysia’s (TM) subscriber base has reached the two million mark, reflecting the increased adoption of broadband in the country. To date, TM has more than 1.64m customers for its Streamyx, while its high speed broadband service, UniFi, has recorded more than 359,000 subscribers. (Bernama)

Intense lobbying for the takeover of Jaring Communications Bhd can be expected as newcomer Asian Broadcasting Network (ABN) joins the fray with its last-mile proposal that it hopes to give Jaring the country's first Internet service provider (ISP) a new avenue to reach out to new users. ABN is joining three other parties in the tussle for control of Jaring. The three are Puncak Semangat Sdn Bhd, CMC Engineering Sdn Bhd and a consortium of four players that submitted their bid via Optinet Technology Sdn Bhd. ABN is said to have put in its bid to the Finance Ministry this week while Puncak did the same about a month ago and the other two much earlier in the year. “All four have their own reasons as to why they want to partner Jaring but any decision made to sell Jaring should be made based on the value that can be created for Jaring and its users,'' said a source. Apart from entertainment, information and education offerings, ABN also plans to offer data services to users. Hence the reason why it wants to partner Jaring so that it can ride on Jaring's network to offer data services and its proposal also allows Jaring to expand its reach to homes with the last-mile connectivity via fibre which it really does not have currently,'' said a source, It is not known why Puncak Semangat would want to buy Jaring, but a simple analysis is that it would need a network infrastructure and a skilled team, which Jaring has, to kick-start its journey into the telecoms world since it is slated to get a block of the LTE 4G spectrum sometime this year. As for CMC Engineering, it wants to ride on Jaring's network to set up a syariah-compliant data centre for the Asean region, among other things. In the case of Optinet, it has big plans to provide broadband services to consumers and get into the content business. Melaka ICT Holdings is a shareholder in Optinet and it is now rolling out fibre in Malacca. The other shareholders of Optinet are Ersatech Sdn Bhd, Dignity First Sdn Bhd (in which blogger Rocky Bru or Datuk Ahirudin Attan) is a shareholder and director) and Jom Mobile. All four companies hold 25% equity stake each in Optinet (Starbiz)

Axiata Group associate company, Idea Cellular, today brought down its 3G tariffs by up to 70% after the market leader Bharti Airtel's surprise move to slash rates of its 3G services. The company decided to cut 3G tariffs to widen the new-age offering by making it accessible to one and all, it said in a statement here. Under the new plan, Idea's pre-paid and post-paid customers will pay three paise for 10 KB of data, a reduction of 70% from the earlier levels of 10 paise, it said. According to the statement, Idea's 3G services are offered in 3,207 towns across the country and it has 2.7m active users with an average usage of 330 MB per month. Additionally, to cater to different consumer segments, Idea has launched its new pricing in sachet packs, regular packs and unlimited packs, it said. The lowest of the sachets will be sold for Rs 10 and offer 30 minutes of high speed internet surfing on 3G enabled handsets. The move by Idea comes within a week of a similar announcement made by the largest mobile operator
Airtel which cut tariffs by up to 70%. (Economic Times India)

Unisem (M) Bhd expects to record double-digit growth this year after its poor performance last year, as it focuses on tier-one clients and the China market. Its chairman John Chia said on Tuesday that while the company did not do well in the first quarter of this year, the "worst is over" and that the Unisem "should see successive growth in the balance of the year". "I think it would be a significant double digit growth for the full year and the forecast from our customers for the third and second quarters are strong," he said after the AGM. (StarBiz)

Maybank Investment Bank (MIB) has obtained an investment banking licence from the Hong Kong authorities. According to MIB CEO, Tengku Zafrul Aziz, the Type 6 licence issued by the Securities and Futures Commission of Hong Kong for “advising on corporate finance” would allow the group to offer corporate advisory services such as initial public offering and equity offerings, merger and acquisitions and corporate restructuring in the country. Prior to this, MIB’s operations in Hong Kong only had a full broker licence to conduct share-trading activities there. The newly-obtained investment banking licence would complement Maybank group’s plan to expand in one of the most exciting financial markets in the world. (Starbiz)

The offer price to take private QSR Brands Bhd and KFC Holdings (Malaysia) Bhd is unlikely to be revised upwards. In December 2011, Johor Corp Bhd (JCorp) and private equity firm CVC Capital Partners announced their intention to buy QSR shares at RM6.80 each and RM3.79 per warrant. They also offered RM4 per KFC share and RM1 per warrant. To a query if minority shareholders of QSR and KFC were happy with the offer prices, QSR and KFC deputy chairman Ahamad Mohamad replied, "everyone always wants higher offer prices. The advisers of this exercise; OSK Investment Bank, Am Merchant Bank and Affin Investment Bank had advised that the offer price is fair and reasonable". He then estimated that this RM3.6bn exercise will be completed by October 2012. "Judging from the recent price gain in Kulim shares, it can be inferred that many shareholders are receptive." (BT)

Nestle Malaysia's exemption application is still being assessed, Malaysian Competition Commission (MyCC) said. It said the statement by the Federation of Malaysian Consumer Association (Fomca) on Monday indicating that Nestle had been granted the exemption is not true. All exemption applications including Nestle's are at the assessment stage, MyCC said in a statement yesterday. "Exemption applicants are not automatically granted exemptions," said MyCC chief executive officer Shila Dorai Raj. She added that all applications for exemptions must undergo the necessary assessments to determine if they meet the necessary criteria. MyCC said it had received applications for block exemptions from the Malaysia Shipowners Association, Shipping Association of Malaysia and Federation of Malaysian Port Operators Council, Association of Malaysian Hauliers and Life Insurance of Malaysia. To date, Nestle Products Sdn Bhd is the sole applicant for individual exemption. Nestle on Monday dismissed accusations of anti-competitive acts by Fomca, adding that it will be "guided accordingly by any directions that the MyCC may issue in due course". (BT)

The Naza Group of Companies is looking to add two automobile and one motorcycle franchise to its wide range of transport franchises in the Malaysian market. Joint group executive chairman Datuk SM Faisal SM Nasimuddin said the three franchises are from Europe and China but declined to provide details. "One franchise is in a very preliminary stage of discussion but the other two are firm. We will make an announcement at the right time," he said. (Financial Daily)

The Star was the only English newspaper in the country to register a growth in sales in the second half of 2011, according to data by the Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC). From July to December 2011, The Star's daily editions (Monday to Saturday) marked a year-on-year increase of 8,243 copies or 3% to 287,204 compared with 278,961 copies in the previous corresponding period. During the same period, daily copies of the New Straits Times (NST) declined 7% or 6,747 copies to 94,661 copies while The Sun, which is distributed free, saw a decline of nine copies to 300,531 copies. Meanwhile, weekly (Sunday) editions of all English dailies in Malaysia recorded a decline in the second half of 2011. However, Sunday Star marked the smallest drop of all the English weeklies, declining a marginal 1% or 2,722 copies to 289,979 copies from July to December 2011, compared with 292,701 copies in the previous corresponding period. Sunday editions of the NST meanwhile declined 8% or 9,971 copies to 110,660 copies in the second half of last year, while The Edge dropped 2% or 489 copies to 22,549 copies. The increase in The Star's circulation was enough to lift the combined circulation of the English dailies by 0.4% in the same period. This was the only market segment that saw year-on-year circulation growth between July and December 2011. The total circulation of the four Malay-language dailies and four Malay-language weeklies shrank 2% and 4% respectively. Overall, the four Chinese newspapers' circulation slipped 0.5%. (Starbiz)

REDtone International Bhd plans to invest up to RM90m over the next 3 years to expand its WiFi coverage to 20,000 hotspots, from under 4,500 currently. "Our annual capital expenditure (capex) on telecommunications services like WiFi hotspots is about RM10m to RM30m. We expect the capex to remain at the same level moving forward, even though we are ramping up our

Bank Negara Malaysia’s (BNM) international reserves amounted to US$136.1bn (RM417.5bn) as at 15 May, up slightly from US$135.9bn (RM416.9bn) as at 30 Apr. The reserves were enough to finance 9.3 months of retained imports and were 4.1 times the short-term external debt. (BNM) WiFi hotspot coverage significantly. He was speaking to the media after the signing of memorandum of understanding (MoU) between REDtone and MIMOS Bhd. The MoU allows REDtone to become a MIMOS technology recipient with the rights for MIMOS' WiWi and Intelligence Surveillance Platform technologies for 3 years. (StarBiz)

Glenn Marine Group (Asia) Sdn Bhd (GMG) has resubmitted an application to build and operate a third port in Port Klang under a private finance initiative (PFI). In the submission to the Economic Planning Unit (EPU) two weeks ago, the proposed Centralport is to be located between the two existing ports - Northport and Westport. The first phase of the port is expected to cost almost RM1.3bn, including the cost for acquiring the land, and is estimated to take four years to complete. According to port industry officials, the proposal is likely to met with resistance from the existing port operators in that area as the existing facilities still have room for expansion. (Financial Daily)

Sagajuta (Sabah) Sdn Bhd's Datuk Raymond Chan Boon Siew says he has no plans to exit Harvest Court Industries Bhd, assuring continuity of the company's contract with Sagajuta. "A contract is a contract ... if anything the question should be, I will raise my stake in Harvest Court," Chan said when asked what would happen to the contract with Sagajuta should Chan exit the company He went on to say he is looking to raise his stake in the company, but was non-committal on the quantum of the increase. Chan has a 15.9% stake in Harvest Court currently. Shareholders yesterday approved the company's plan to diversify into the construction business. They also approved related party transactions comprising of three projects namely the 1 Sulaman project, the 1Green Enviro project and the 1 Likas project. The projects were awarded by Sagajuta and 1Green Enviro Sdn Bhd to Harvest Court and are worth RM808.1m. Sagajuta, 1Green Enviro and Harvest Court share a common shareholder in Chan. (BT)

Willowglen MSC Bhd has been awarded jobs valued at RM18m for the design, manufacture, installation, testing & commissioning of SCADA and CCTV systems for a local railway project. The company, however, did not identify the said railway project. (BT)

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