Proton set to share advanced technologies from Geely’s involvement


KUALA LUMPUR ― Zhejiang Geely Holdings Group’s purchase of a stake in Proton Holdings Bhd is proving to be highly positive as the national car manufacturer will now be able to tap into advanced auto technology given the Chinese group’s acquisition of Mercedes Benz owner Daimler AG just last month.

There is now the looming prospect of sharing electrical car technologies since Proton has become part of a potentially lucrative and technologically-advanced auto group.

This includes international brands such as Daimler, Mercedes Benz, Volvo cars and trucks,  Lotus as well as London Taxi Cabs.

Geely bought Daimler as it is racing to build electric cars to meet tough Chinese emission standards and produce energy-efficient cars.

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Malaysian banking sector to continue showing growth in 2018, says Moody’s


Moody’s Investors Service says its six rated Malaysian banks showed solid performance in 2017, with additional improvements likely in some areas in 2018.

Moody’s Vice President and Senior Analyst, Simon Chen, said the asset quality and profitability of the six banks generally improved in 2017, while capitalisation and funding remained accommodative.

“We expect loan demand to recover further in 2018, strengthening profitability, but also tightening funding conditions.

“As a result, profit growth among banks with weaker deposit franchises could be limited by higher funding costs,” he said in a statement today on its report titled, “Banks — Malaysia: 2017 Sees Asset Quality Stabilise, Profits Improve”.

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LBS Bina proposes to joint-venture with NWP on China development job


LBS Bina Group Bhd intends to form a joint venture with NWP Holdings Bhd, timber manufacturer to work on a development project on its 264-acre land in Zhuhai, China.

The Star reported that as part of the deal, LBS Bina has also proposed to subscribe to 1.1 billion NWP shares which is equals to 73.7 per cent of the enlarged number of issued shares of NWP.

The total cash consideration for the project is RM93.5 million, or 8.5 sen per share in order  to part-finance the proposed development project.

In their separate filings with Bursa Malaysia, LBS Bina and NWP on March 5, the group said they had entered into a heads of agreement (HoA) for the proposed joint-development project and share subscription exercise.

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Closing down few stores, Parkson outlines mall strategy


Many questions arise on the departmental store operator, Parkson Holdings Bhd’s growth strategy due to its decision to close a number of stores in recent weeks in Malaysia and around the region .

For example, the Sungei Wang Plaza outlet located in downtown Kuala Lumpur was the latest store to be closed, which shut down on Feb 26. Parkson had had a presence there for about 30 years.

Just early last month, the Maju Junction store was shut down.

According to The Star, the company spokesperson said the mall visitors to Plaza Sungei Wang were no longer aligned with the market that they were seeking.

“The customer profile (in Sungei Wang) has changed,” the spokesperson told StarBiz.
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DRB-Hicom sells real estate assets for industrial land in Tebrau


DRB-Hicom Bhd, a diversified group, plans to swap its large portion of non-industrial property assets and its entire hospitality portfolio for industrial land in Tebrau, Johor, in a deal worth RM1.93 billion.

The group, with its controlling shareholder Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar al-Bukhary said in a statement on March 8 that the disposal was part of an exercise to set a new direction for its property business.

According to The Star, the plan to sell its non-industrial land assets and exit the hospitality industry, and acquire a sizeable industrial land in Johor is a move to take advantage of its experience in the development industrial properties.

Under the initiative, the group would sell several subsidiaries, owning some 2,268.43 acres of land, as well as its entire equity in Horsedale Development Bhd and Rebak Island Marina Bhd to Prisma Dimensi Sdn Bhd (PDSB) for RM1.93 billion.

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Stocks set to rally as bond yields dip, Powell to signal direction of rate hikes in the US


A rally in Asian equities looked set to prolong  into a third week after US stocks posted strong gains and Treasury yields dipped with US monetary policy back in focus in a week that includes two appearances from Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell. The yen dropped.

Futures in Japan, Australia and Hong Kong all signaled equities will rise when Monday trading starts after the S&P 500 Index rose 1.6 per cent Friday.

Powell will address the House Financial Services Committee tomorrow and the Senate Banking Committee two days later to give his Humphrey-Hawkins testimony.

Bond traders are pricing less than the three quarter-point rate hikes that Fed officials  havesignalled as likely this year.

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Saudi Arabia maintains oil export cuts as oil hits a 2 week high


Oil prices prolonged gains to hit two-week highs on Monday, supported by comments from Saudi Arabia that it would continue to curb exports in line with the OPEC-led effort to cut global supplies.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude for April delivery was up 25 cents, or 0.4 percent, at $63.80 a barrel by 0301 GMT after rising 3 percent last week.

London Brent crude gained 13 cents, or 0.2 percent, to $67.44, after climbing nearly 4 percent last week.

Both benchmarks earlier hit their highest since Feb. 7.

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Mexico and Canada try to overcome impasse in NAFTA talks


Mexico and Canada are planning to revise lesser  contentious chapters of the NAFTA trade deal with the United States , hoping to clear the path for a deal  on the toughest issues before upcoming elections.

Ranging from calls for major changes to automotive content rules and dispute resolution mechanisms, to imposing a clause that could automatically kill NAFTA after five years, the chief stumbling blocks laid by the White House look unlikely to be removed in the latest Mexico City round, officials said.

Trump has said it many times  that US would withdraw from NAFTA unless big changes are made to a pact he blames for U.S. manufacturing job losses.

“I think there’s going to be major progress on the technical issues and major obstacles on the critical issues,” Bosco de la Vega, head of the Mexico’s National Agricultural Council farm lobby, said of the talks running until March 5.

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Politically-linked stocks show signs of strength on the election fever


The politically-linked stocks have started to show signs of strength on the back of election fever heating up, despite the volatility of the global market, reported by The Star.

With the Dow Jones’ sharp correction in the last two weeks even with the fact that most stocks have fallen, it might be a good idea to start positioning oneself in stocks that are deemed beneficiaries of the ruling government.

The first stock to detect is MyEG Services Bhd as the company which started out as a government concession has now seemed to offer every service under the sun – plus, political connection is one thing.

Currently, commercial services, not government concessions, contribute 70 per cent to its bottom line.

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Analysts mixed on Nestle’s ratings despite it hits record high after posting 4Q results


Nestle (Malaysia) Bhd posted its highest fourth-quarter net profit of RM133.54 million on the back of continued sustainable cost management and different phasing of marketing investments in 2017.

According to The Edge, its net profit for the financial year 2017 (FY17) was RM645.8 million, up 1.36 per cent from RM637.13 million in FY16, while its revenue climbed 3.89 per cent to RM5.26 billion from RM5.06 billion in FY16.

The group also proposed a final dividend of RM1.35.

However, despite the good results, analysts view were mixed on Nestle’s ratings.

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