Dott. Giulio Perrotta
Dott. Giulio Perrotta

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LA "RASSEGNA STAMPA QUOTIDIANA INTERNAZIONALE" (II PARTE)

Tutte le notizie dal "The Sun Daily" (Regno Unito)

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Business

KLK posts 11.4% jump in Q2 earnings, declares 20 sen dividend (Tue, 24 May 2022)
PETALING JAYA: Kuala Lumpur Kepong Bhd’s (KLK) net profit for the second quarter ended March 31, 2022 rose 11.4% to RM546.57 million from RM490.44 million a year ago, mainly contributed by the plantation and manufacturing segments. The group recorded revenue of RM6.38 billion, an increase of 41.6% compared with RM4.5 billion in the preceding year’s corresponding quarter. Plantation recorded a higher profit of RM423.3 million driven by significantly higher crude palm oil (CPO) and palm kernel selling prices and profit contribution from newly acquired subsidiaries. The higher profit in manufacturing was mainly attributable to higher contribution from the oleochemical division and refineries and kernel-crushing operations. For the cumulative six months period, its net profit increased 35.2% to RM1.15 billion from RM847.85 million. The group’s revenue for the six months increased 50% to RM13.2 billion from RM8.81 billion in the preceding year’s corresponding period. The group declared an interim single-tier dividend of 20 sen per share for the financial year ending Sept 30, 2022 to be paid to shareholders on Aug 2, 2022. KLK said CPO prices continued to rally due to tight edible oils supplies worldwide exacerbated by supply disruptions arising from the Russia-Ukraine conflict and are expected to remain high in the near term. “With the strong CPO prices and intensified mechanisation efforts to alleviate the labour shortage, we expect to profit from the plantation segment to improve in the second half of the financial year,” the group said in a bourse filing. For the manufacturing segment, the increase in raw material prices and energy costs, coupled with persistent logistic issues continue to pose challenges in the current financial year. Nevertheless, KLK said it expects the group’s performance to be satisfactory, supported by robust demand with the recovery in the global economy.
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Carlsberg reports solid Q1 results, declares 22 sen dividend (Tue, 24 May 2022)
PETALING JAYA: Carlsberg Brewery Malaysia Bhd today reported a net profit of RM91.59 million for the first quarter ended March 31, 2022 (Q1’22), a 37.8% increase from RM66.46 million a year ago mainly driven by stronger Chinese New Year (CNY) sales in both its Malaysia and Singapore operations as the Covid-19 lockdown and dine-in restrictions were gradually lifted. It saw revenue growth of 22.9% to RM653.85 million year-on-year from RM532 million. Revenues of its Malaysia and Singapore operations grew 27.4% and 13.8% respectively year-on-year, driven by better pricing and channel mix as well as successful CNY sales and on-ground activations. The group’s earnings per share for Q1’22 registered a growth of 37.9% to 29.96 sen, compared with 21.73 sen in Q1’21. On the back of this performance, the board of directors announced a first interim dividend of 22 sen per share. Going forward, the board continues its commitment to declare dividends taking into consideration the performance of the group, the business environment and other circumstances. Managing director Stefano Clini said the group has had a solid start to the year despite a temporary surge of Omicron cases in February. He said its mainstream brands Carlsberg Danish Pilsner and Carlsberg Smooth Draught returned to growth with increased marketing investments and consumer promotions after the conclusion of the nationwide CNY campaign. Its premium brands continue gaining growth momentum with new variant launches. “Looking forward, our outlook remains cautious as we are mindful of the escalating commodity prices, which has been further exacerbated by the war in Ukraine, adding further costs pressure and uncertainties to the landscape. Also, we will start seeing the impact of prosperity tax in the remaining quarters. On the other hand, the reopening of the entertainment outlets should create further momentum in our on-trade business,” said Clini. “Preparing for the headwinds ahead, we will remain focused on our SAIL’22 strategy with premiumisation and innovation continuing to deliver growth in top- and bottom-line. We will also intensify our cost control management whilst continuing to reinvest in our brands to fuel growth,” he commented.
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BLand swings to profit in Q3 on contributions from gaming, hotel and automotive (Tue, 24 May 2022)
PETALING JAYA: Berjaya Land Bhd (BLand) posted a pretax profit of RM88.18 million in the third quarter ended March 31, 2022 compared with a net loss of RM17.21 million a year ago mainly contributed by higher profit contribution from its gaming business segment, positive contribution from all the other main business segments and a gain on disposal of investment properties amounting to RM22.4 million in the current quarter. The group registered a revenue of RM1.91 billion compared with a revenue of RM1.24 billion in the previous year corresponding quarter mainly due to the gaming business segment operated by STM Lottery Sdn Bhd (formerly Sports Toto Malaysia Sdn Bhd), the higher overall occupancy and average room rates reported by the hotels and resorts business segment as well as higher sales recorded from both new and used car sectors reported by HR Owen. For the nine months period, BLand registered higher pretax profit of RM46.58 million compared with a pretax profit of RM30.58 million a year ago mainly due to higher revenue reported by the hotel and resorts business segment and HR Owen. Group revenue was also higher at RM4.3 billion versus RM4.17 billion previously. Barring any unforeseen circumstances, the directors expect the performance of the business operations of the group for the final quarter of the financial year ending June 30, 2022 to be satisfactory, despite having to bear the rising operating costs going forward.
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M’sia not impacted by Indonesia’s lifting of palm oil exports ban (Tue, 24 May 2022)
PEKAN: Indonesia’s move to lift its palm oil exports ban yesterday will not have much of an impact on Malaysia’s oil palm industry, said Plantation Industries and Commodities Deputy Minister Datuk Willie Mongin. This is because Malaysia has its own buyers for the commodity, aside from the superior quality of its palm oil. “With its good pricing, quality and after-sales services, I am sure buyers would make their purchases regardless of the external factors such as the recent situation,” he said during a media briefing after his visit to the Nextgreen Global Bhd (NGGB)’s factory in the Green Technology Park (GTP) today. During the visit, Willie had taken a closer look at the green initiatives carried out by NGGB in the use of empty fresh fruit bunches to produce pulp and paper for printing, tissue paper and packaging products. Currently, the NGGB factory is capable of producing 10,000 metric tonnes of wood-free paper a year and offers job opportunities to 180 locals. Commenting on the visit, Willie said the industry has the potential to continue growing and be expanded to Sabah and Sarawak in the near future. “Sabah and Sarawak are the biggest oil palm growers in the country, so the green industry should definitely be expanded over there. “I have discussed with NGGB to collaborate with companies in Sabah and Sarawak as strategic partners to ensure a win-win situation can be achieved,” he said. - Bernama
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Rafidah urges govt to study national policy direction on foreign investment (Tue, 24 May 2022)
KUALA LUMPUR: Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz has urged the government to study the national policy direction to attract and ensure foreign investment remains in the country. The former Minister of International Trade and Industry said Malaysia lacked attractive factors to ensure foreign investors invest in Malaysia as well as complement domestic investors with benefits. “We seem to have fewer pull factors or interesting elements to attract investment. We generally announce that we have many would-be investors but has this been realised? Many have been asking. “Previously, I was not allowed to make any public announcement (if nothing is concrete yet) before the deal becomes a reality. “This is despite signing a memorandum of undertaking and identifying investors, where the factory is and are already looking for partners here,” she told reporters after an exclusive roundtable series titled “The Evolving Threat Matrix in the Digital Economy” today. The roundtable series was organised by the Malaysia Global Business Forum (MGBF). Rafidah stressed that there should be a capacity to pre-empt new developments and find solutions for these issues. “Things are evolving so fast. Most importantly, I beg everybody to have a clear regional and global vision and not have a counter-productive cocooned mindset and approaches. “Who is monitoring this? At any one time, we used to have an auditing exercise every month to know that we have a physical stockpile. We buy if the supply is not enough. “We do not want any disruption, right? And I just heard today that Thailand is in shortage of rice and is having a disruption,” she said. Earlier, Rafidah was a panellist at a fireside chat session on “Maintaining Strategic Interests in Critical Value Chains”. The half-day roundtable was also organised by MGBF. - Bernama
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Zafrul: M’sia’s economy in the right direction, inflation remains low (Tue, 24 May 2022)
KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia’s economy is heading towards the right direction despite the challenging environment, especially with the expectation of a higher inflation rate, Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Abdul Aziz said. He said however, with the strong gross domestic product (GDP) growth of 5.0 per cent in the first quarter of 2022, which was above expectation, the inflation remained comparative low. “We have increased the subsidies for petrol, some of the foods, goods, and essentials, hence, it has helped the inflation remain quite low for Malaysia. Inflation in Malaysia last month recorded 2.2 per cent... So that’s still good. “What we need to focus on now is to be more targeted in subsidies. I don’t think we can have a subsidy that’s meant for all, but for the vulnerable groups, which I think they still need us,” he said in an interview on CNBC today, The interview was held in conjunction with his attendance at the World Economic Forum (WEF) Annual Meeting 2022 in Davos, Switzerland from May 22-26. Tengku Zafrul noted that Malaysia’s unemployment rate, which peaked at 5.3 per cent (in May 2020), decreased to 4.1 per cent last month. Tengku Zafrul said Malaysia faced various challenges within the region, including geopolitics that have affected the supply chain, as well as the lockdowns to curb COVID-19 imposed by China, Malaysia’s biggest trading partner. “However, as Malaysia is a net exporter of commodities, this will then enable us to cushion some of those impact,” he added. He said the government will continue its fiscal expansion policy with the extra revenue received (as net exporter of commodities) to cushion the impact on the vulnerable groups. - Bernama
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Sime Darby posts net profit of RM244m in Q3 (Tue, 24 May 2022)
PETALING JAYA: Sime Darby Bhd posted a net profit of RM244 million in its third quarter ended March 31, 2022 (Q3’22), 18.7% lower compared with a net profit of RM300 million in the previous financial year’s corresponding quarter (Q3’21) as the group’s core businesses of industrial and motors were impacted by Covid-19 related disruptions in both China and Australasia. This saw lower contribution from industrial Australasia which recorded higher operating costs. Further impacting results was a slowdown in construction activity in China, and supply chain constraints which were compounded by the military conflict in Ukraine. Q3’21 also recorded one-off gains of RM39 million Singapore goods and services tax (GST) refund and RM21 million net reversal of impairment of Eastern & Oriental Bhd. Its revenue decreased 4.1% to RM10.57 billion from RM11.02 billion in the corresponding quarter in the previous year. For the nine months period, Sime Darby’s net profit dropped 32% to RM825 million from RM1.21 billion in the absence of the RM272 million gain from the Tesco Malaysia disposal, Singapore GST refund and a RM33 million net reversal of impairment with the sale of stake in Eastern & Oriental. Excluding the one-off gains, net profit for the nine-month period was lower mainly due to reduced contribution from the industrial division, which continued to be impacted by significant contraction in heavy equipment industry volume in China, and lower operating margins in Australasia. Revenue was down 4.1% to RM31.78 billion for the period compared with RM33.14 billion previously. Commenting on the results, its group CEO Datuk Jeffri Salim Davidson (pix) said on a core profit level for Q3’22, the group was able to deliver resilient results despite increasingly tough market conditions. “Motors Malaysia was a standout performer as profits more than tripled from higher vehicle margins and higher profits from assembly operations. The reopening of economies and bullish commodity prices should sustain our business in the coming quarters. “Despite the challenges inherent in the business environment today, Sime Darby continues to be a supported by a solid balance sheet, broad geographical footprint, and strong brands. We remain committed to our long-term growth strategy and will continue to capitalise on opportunities to rationalise our portfolio and double our efforts to strengthen our core businesses of Industrial and Motors,” Jeffri added. Meanwhile, the group said the positive outlook for metallurgical coal prices should lead to increased demand for mining equipment in Australia. However, the outlook for the China industrial equipment market remains uncertain, with recent lockdowns in China impacting machines and parts delivery and causing deferment in construction projects. The current lockdown is beginning to affect the motors operations in China. The impact on the group’s financial performance is uncertain and will depend on the duration of these lockdowns. Demand for luxury vehicles in other markets however, remains strong, although availability of certain models will continue to be impacted by supply chain disruptions. Taking into consideration the net one-off gains mainly from disposal of non-core assets recorded in the previous financial year, the board expects the group’s financial performance for the financial year ending June 30, 2022 to be lower than the previous year.
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MyTaman – the visitor self-service kiosk with a difference (Tue, 24 May 2022)
PETALING JAYA: Smart community platform MyTaman by Zoinla (M) Sdn Bhd has launched a visitor self-service (VSS) kiosk platform to help minimise human contact during business visits and to replace the need for a registration desk in the future. The VSS kiosk has features that include allowing visitor or employees to pre-register their attendance, scan identification badges, and get time-based QR codes. Additionally, businesses can optimise their workplace with data-drive insights provided by the kiosk. MyTaman founder and CEO Benjamin Lim stated that it is committed to providing innovative solutions that protect people during time of crisis. Since its first implementation of visitor management system for residential communities in January 2016, MyTaman has been providing solutions and expertise to more than 250 projects across the region, processed maintenance fees totaling up to RM30 million and has over 100,000 app users.
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Pestech inks MoU with French firm for green hydrogen projects (Tue, 24 May 2022)
PETALING JAYA: Pestech International Bhd has entered into a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Paris-listed Hydrogène De France SA (HDF Energy) in relation to a potential collaboration on green hydrogen production from hydro power plants in Cambodia and Malaysia, in order to address multi sectors decarbonation such as among others, grids services and industrial application. Pestech is a Malaysian integrated electrical power technology company with its core business in the design, procurement, construction, installation and commissioning of high voltage and extra high voltage substations, transmission lines as well as underground and submarine power cable systems for electricity transmission and distribution. Pestech is also specialising in the provision of comprehensive solution for photovoltaic power plant and sustainable power infrastructure development. Under the MoU, the parties will co-operate jointly for the development works with respect to the projects in the region of Malaysia and Cambodia as an initial phase. Due to its pioneer role in hydrogen, HDF Energy will take the lead on the project development scopes and sizing. Pestech will take the role of local market liaison, and coordination, in synergies with HDF Energy. Pestech will also be given the first right of refusal for the engineering, procurement, construction, and commissioning works subject to terms and conditions to be determined at a later stage on a project-by-project approach. The first right of refusal will depend of bankability criteria to be confirmed at later stage by international and local lenders. “The MoU between the parties will allow Pestech to initiate its commitment towards contributing sustainable development through participation in green renewables initiatives. Hydrogen is one of the leading options for storing renewable energy in power generation and can become an alternative fuel for sustainable transportation by providing clean, reliable, safe, convenient and affordable energy. The collaboration with HDF Energy on green hydrogen production is expected to complement and align with the global transition for sustainable energy and net zero emissions in the power generation and rail electrification segments,” Pestech said in a stock exchange filing today. HDF Energy is a global pioneer in hydrogen energy. The company develops high-capacity hydrogen-power plants and is active in its operation. These plants will provide continuous or on-demand electricity from renewable energy sources (wind or solar), combined with high power fuel cells supplied by HDF Energy. The MoU will remain in effect for three years. It is expected to contribute positively to the future earnings of Pestech group, if the collaboration between the parties is successful.
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Cnergenz opens at 60.5 sen for 4.3% premium in ACE Market debut (Tue, 24 May 2022)
KUALA LUMPUR: Electronics manufacturing solutions provider Cnergenz Bhd made its debut on the ACE Market of Bursa Malaysia Securities today, opening at 60.5 sen per share above its initial public offering (IPO) price of 58 sen per share, chalking up a 2.5 sen or 4.31% premium. The stock closed unchanged at 58 sen on volume of 109.865 million shares, giving the company a market capitalisation of RM288 million. It was the fifth most active stock on Bursa today. Cnergenz CEO and executive director Lye Yhin Choy remarked that it is happy with the opening price and the positive reception of its listing on the ACE Market. The group raised RM58.0 million through its IPO, which is expected to be used for the company’s facility expansion plans, research and development activities, as well as general working capital purposes. “Our plan is to expand our smart factory solutions. Proceeds obtained from this listing exercise will (go towards) setting up our acquired land to build our new factories and to increase our product offerings,” Lye told a virtual press conference following its listing. In the next three years, the company will be increasing its headcount for product development and will announce new product solutions. Planning and construction of Cnergenz’s new factory is pending approval from Penang Development Corp, which it hopes to obtain soon. The estimated completion date of the factory will be in the second half of next year. Chairman Datuk Azman Mahmud believes the introduction of Cnergenz to the stock exchange will bring greater visibility to investors, and highlights the importance of electronics manufacturing solutions in building up an advanced and efficient manufacturing ecosystem in the country, further strengthening Malaysia’s position as a global electronics and semiconductor hub. The Penang-based company specialises in surface mount technology manufacturing solutions for the electronic and semiconductor (E&S) industries. Cnergenz offers its solutions, ranging from integrated solutions such as production line systems and smart factory solutions, to individual machinery, equipment and tools, to its network of over 100 customers operating within the E&S Industries. Cnergenz’s market base is primarily in Malaysia, which contributed 71.9% to the group’s revenue in the financial year ended Dec 31, 2021. It has ventured into overseas markets, namely Vietnam and Thailand.
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Razer Merchant Services bags Best Non-Bank FPX Acquirer award by PayNet (Tue, 24 May 2022)
PETALING JAYA: Razer Merchant Services (RMS), the business-to-business arm of Razer Fintech, has won the Best Non-Bank FPX Acquirer for the e-Payments Acceptance Growth category for the second year in a row at the Malaysian e-Payments Excellence Award (MEEA) 2022. The annual MEEA award by Payment Network Malaysia (PayNet Malaysia) honours banks, non-bank participants, businesses and government agencies for their efforts and contribution to the nation’s cashless agenda. Razer Fintech’s win was supplemented by total payments volume of US$7 billion (RM31 billion) through its system for FY2021, representing a 63.5% year-on-year growth driven by e-commerce marketplace purchases, food deliveries, and e-wallet top-ups. Razer Fintech CEO Lee Li Meng said the award is a testament to continuous support and trust of merchants as RMS strives to provide the best-in-class payment services. “RMS will continue to grow and invest in our capabilities to expand and contribute to our merchants across the Southeast Asian region,” he added. Meanwhile, PayNet director of retail payment services Khairuan Abdul Rahman said RMS showed commitment to fostering greater e-commerce merchants’ acceptance with continuous merchant engagements for enhanced e-payments experience. “We are encouraged by RMS’ pioneering efforts to migrate merchants from FPX to DuitNow Online/ Banking Wallets and look forward to similar initiatives from RMS on other fronts,“ he said.
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S’pore dollar hits all-time high against ringgit: Report (Tue, 24 May 2022)
SINGAPORE: The Singapore dollar hit an all-time high against the Malaysian ringgit on Monday (May 23), Channel News Asia (CNA) reported. The Singapore dollar reached a record high of RM3.1964 at 1.48 pm Monday, largely due to strength in the Singapore dollar, before easing to RM3.1950 later in the day, the news portal said, quoting head of FX analysis at MonFX Simon Harvey. “There wasn’t one individual headline catching event, but instead the technicalities of Singapore’s monetary policy that created this all-time high,“ he was quoted as saying,” he said. The FX analysis reportedly said sentiment around China also helped. Harvey said news that US President Joe Biden was weighing cutting tariffs on Chinese goods helped lift the yuan to its highest since May 5. “With the yuan holding the largest share in Singapore’s S$NEER basket, the rally in yuan dragged Singapore dollar higher too as currency traders looked to offset the depreciation in the Singapore dollar relative to yuan with other currencies. “This saw Singapore dollar strengthened against other major trade partners, including US dollar (+0.49 per cent), Malaysian ringgit (+0.13 per cent), Hong Kong dollar (+0.47 per cent) and Japanese yen (+0.05 per cent), such that the S$NEER exchange rate continued to drive higher in line with (Monetary Authority of Singapore - MAS’s) preference,” he said. As at 9.01am, ringgit stood at 3.1925/1955 against a Singapore dollar. MAS, the republic’s central bank, formulates monetary policy by setting a path for the S$NEER - Singapore dollar nominal effective exchange rate - policy band to ensure price stability in the medium term. Singapore has tighthened its monetary policy stance in April 2022, which builds on the policy moves in October 2021 and January 2022, aiming to slow the inflation momentum and help ensure medium-term price stability. It was announced Monday that MAS Core Inflation rose to 3.3 per cent on a year-on-year (y-o-y) basis in April 2022 from 2.9 per cent in March, driven by higher inflation for food, retail & other goods, as well as electricity & gas. The jumped in April was reportedly the highest level since February 2012. - Bernama
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‘Broadcom in talks to acquire VMware for US$60b’ (Tue, 24 May 2022)
NEW YORK/STOCKHOLM: Broadcom Inc is in talks to acquire cloud service provider VMware Inc in a US$60 billion (RM23 billion) deal which would further diversify the chip manufacturer's business into enterprise software, people familiar with the matter said. Broadcom is in discussions to pay about US$140 per share in cash and stock for VMware, the sources said. That is a 46% premium to the value of VMware’s shares on Friday. If the negotiations prove successful, a deal could be announced as early as Thursday, when VMware is scheduled to report quarterly earnings, the sources added. Bloomberg News first reported the deal talks on Sunday, while The Wall Street Journal first reported on the acquisition terms yesterday. Broadcom and VMware did not immediately respond to Reuters’ requests for comment. VMware shares ended trading yesterday up 25% at US$119.43, while Broadcom shares closed down 3% at US$526.36. Broadcom makes an array of chips used in products ranging from mobile phones to telecom networks. The acquisition of VMware would give it access to data centres where the latter’s technology is a mainstay for cloud customers. “We believe an acquisition of VMware would be considered as making strategic sense; consistent with Broadcom’s focus on building out a deepening enterprise infrastructure software strategy,” Wells Fargo analysts said. Broadcom CEO Hock E. Tan, a Malaysian-American billionaire, has been a prolific deal maker since taking the helm of what was a small chipmaker in 2006. Regular acquisitions helped turn the business into a behemoth worth more than US$200 billion. Tan’s most audacious move was to try to buy mobile chipmaker Qualcomm for US$103 billion in 2017. That was blocked by US President Donald Trump over concerns that it would give China the upper hand in mobile communications. After the failed effort, Broadcom moved its headquarters to San Jose from Singapore. It subsequently beefed up its software offering by buying CA Technologies for US$18.9 billion and Symantec’s security division for US$10.7 billion. “A VMware acquisition would just about triple the size of Broadcom’s software segment, as well as bring the overall software mix close to 50% for the combined company,” Bernstein analysts wrote in a note to clients. Michael Dell is VMware’s biggest investor with a 40% stake after the company was spun out of Dell Technologies last year. Private equity firm Silver Lake, which has previously invested in Broadcom, is VMware’s second largest shareholder with a 10% stake. – Reuters
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JPMorgan stock rallies 6% on interest income outlook (Tue, 24 May 2022)
NEW YORK: JPMorgan Chase & Co lifted its forecast for interest income and affirmed its profitability target at its investor conference yesterday, sending its stock 6% higher despite persistent questions about how much more it will spend on its businesses. The country’s largest lender said it expects net interest income (NII), excluding markets, of US$56 billion (RM245.7 billion) in 2022. It had earlier forecast that figure would reach a “couple billion” more than US$53 billion in 2022, up from its US$50 billion outlook in January. Investors are keeping a close eye on the prospects for banks to earn more from NII, the difference between income from loans and interest paid on deposits and other funds, as they benefit from higher interest rates. JPMorgan’s shares rose steadily yesterday, closing up 6.2% as investors digested the good news and the bank made its case for increasing its expenses. Shares of other big US banks rose sharply too. JPMorgan scheduled the conference after it surprised investors in January when it said it would allow expenses to increase 8%, or US$6 billion. The bank is a leader in many of its businesses and has been more profitable than peers. But that success has raised doubts among investors about its ability to grow profits further. JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon and other executives spent much of the day trying to reassure investors that expenditures on technology, new products and marketing were necessary to stay ahead of competitors, and would pay off long term, but some analysts remain unconvinced. “The bottom line is that you are still spending a lot of money this year,” analyst Matt O’Connor of Deutsche Bank told Dimon. “Are you doing too much all at once?” he asked. Dimon, known for his straight-talking style, bristled. “We just spent the whole day trying to answer that question,” he responded, adding: “We showed you the opportunity.” For 2023, JPMorgan expects its investment spending growth rate “will moderate”, but its 2022 expense forecast was kept unchanged at US$77 billion. Executives said JPMorgan is spending to hire bankers and to recruit new customers in wealth management, commercial lending and business payments, both in the US and, increasingly, abroad. By not holding the annual conference last year the bank had gone too long without fully explaining its strategy, said Dimon, who pledged to hold the conference again next year. As the US Federal Reserve rushes to contain decades-high inflation, investors are worried that overly aggressive monetary policy tightening will tip the economy into a recession. These fears had driven the S&P 500 banks index down 21.5% this year. Recession risk was “the elephant in the room”, acknowledged Marianne Lake, co-chief of consumer and community banking. Dimon said current threats to the economy are serious but that a bust is not inevitable as it was before crashing house prices sparked the financial crisis of 2007-2009. Charge-offs for bad loans are estimated to rise to pre-pandemic levels “over time” but not until after 2022, the bank said, because of strong consumer and business balance sheets. The company said its target for a 17% return on tangible capital equity, a key metric which measures how well a bank uses shareholder money to produce profit, may be achieved in 2022. Christopher Grisanti, chief equity strategist at MAI Capital Management, said JPMorgan’s news showed investors have been too pessimistic on banking stocks. “Banking businesses are generally pretty good, credit concerns are low, at least for the moment, and the net interest margin remains pretty healthy,” he said. “The market doom and gloom is overstated.” – Reuters
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Jet engine maker CFM said to be facing supply chain, labour snags (Tue, 24 May 2022)
PARIS/WASHINGTON/SEATTLE: Jet engine maker CFM International is facing industrial delays of six to eight weeks in the wake of supply-chain problems and some French labour unrest, but expects to claw most of this back by early in the fourth quarter, three people familiar with the matter said. Co-owned by General Electric Co and France's Safran, CFM is the largest jet engine maker by units sold, and powers three out of four recently developed narrowbody jetliners including all Boeing 737 MAX and about half of Airbus’ A320neo family. Some Airbus customers have been warned deliveries of aircraft, already partially delayed by European factory congestion, could be pushed back further as a result of the CFM engine delays, said the people, who asked not to be named. Two of the people said there had also been delays in sending engines to Boeing though there were no signs yet that this was affecting airplane deliveries. Boeing is building at a slower rate as it clears jets stored during a safety crisis. “We are working diligently with our suppliers to mitigate supply-chain constraints, and we are closely coordinating with our air frame partners to accelerate delivery and meet customer demand,” a CFM spokesperson said in answer to a Reuters query. An Airbus spokesman said it had nothing to add to recent supply chain comments given with its quarterly results. Airbus chief executive Guillaume Faury told analysts on May 4 that he saw “a lot of challenges” in the supply chain in the short term, but felt comfortable enough on the medium- to long-term outlook to press ahead with planned output increases. A Boeing spokesperson declined comment. Two of the people said the CFM delays were mainly linked to supplier bottlenecks, but had been aggravated by recent industrial action in France. A third source said the recent Safran labour dispute was not the decisive factor, however. Aerospace workers at Safran, a major supplier of other equipment including interiors and landing gear as well as the French pillar of the transatlantic CFM venture with GE, have held slowdowns or lightning stoppages over pay in recent months. The French group awarded staff a 3% increase late last year as the industry began emerging from the Covid-19 crisis but unions say this is not enough to counter a spike in inflation. Safran has on average agreed to add a further 1%, they add. CFM is not alone in wrestling with fractured supply chains. Aerospace companies worldwide have been counting the cost of supply-chain shortages. At the first-quarter results stage, GE said it was navigating supply-chain pressures, while Safran said supply chains and inflation were “two major watch items.” Boeing said on May 11 that 737 production had been slowed by shortages of a single type of wiring connector. Raytheon Technologies, whose Pratt & Whitney engines compete with CFM on the Airbus A320neo, said on April 26 it was facing supply chain constraints across its business. – Reuters
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‘Airbnb stops booking stays in China’ (Tue, 24 May 2022)
SAN FRANCISCO: Home rental service Airbnb is shutting down its business in China as a pandemic lockdown shows no sign of ending there, a source close to the company told AFP yesterday. Airbnb will no longer book stays or visitor “experiences” in China, focusing instead on helping people there with travel plans outside the country, the source said. The San Francisco based company declined to comment. Airbnb launched its business in China six years ago, and has booked stays at homes there for some 25 million guests. Bookings at residences in China have accounted for only one percent of Airbnb bookings in recent years, the company has reported. Airbnb faced strong competition in China, and Covid-19 made its operations there more complicated and expensive. China has persisted with its zero-Covid policy, imposing hard lockdowns and movement restrictions on several cities, even as much of the rest of the world has transitioned to living with the coronavirus. The curbs, including stay-at-home orders in the economic hub of Shanghai and creeping restrictions across Beijing, have inflicted a heavy economic toll. Airbnb expects outbound tourism from China that had been booming prior to the pandemic to rebound as Covid-19 restrictions ease and borders reopen. Bookings on Airbnb hit a new high in this year's first quarter, the firm said in a recent earnings report, signalling that travel demand stifled by the Covid-19 pandemic is being unleashed. Despite the Omicron surge and a persistent level of infections, Airbnb bookings for lodging and travel “experiences” topped 102 million in the first three months of this year, setting a new quarterly record, the company said in an earnings release. “Guests are booking more than ever before,” Airbnb told shareholders in a letter. “Looking ahead, we see strong sustained pent-up demand.” The company said that trends of people booking stays away from urban areas and staying relatively close to home continue, but that guests are returning to cities and making cross-border trips. – AFP
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Dividends paid by companies in Q1 hit record high globally (Tue, 24 May 2022)
PARIS: Dividends paid by companies across the world to shareholders hit a new record in the first quarter, driven by the oil and mining sectors as well as the post-Covid upturn, according to a study. The amount that shareholders received jumped by 11% to US$302.5 billion (RM1.3 trillion) in the first three months of the year, the report by Janus Henderson Investors said. That was a record for the period, which is traditionally “quieter”, it said. “Every region enjoyed double-digit growth, with the US, Canada and Denmark setting all-time quarterly records,” the study said. “However, there was notable weakness in parts of Asia, such as Hong Kong, where lockdowns continue to plague the economy. “Every sector, meanwhile, posted year-on-year increases,” it added. Dividend payments saw significant cuts in 2020 and the first part of 2021 due to the impact of the health pandemic. The study showed that global payouts have more than doubled since 2009, when the study began gauging dividends paid by the 1,200 companies with the largest market capitalisations. Despite global concerns about soaring inflation and the war in Ukraine, 94% of multinationals increased or maintained their dividends, the study said. Europe’s figures included a near eightfold increase in the annual dividend paid by Danish shipping giant Moller-Maersk, “which is benefiting from the disruption in global supply chains”, the study said. While all sectors saw increases, oil companies – whose dividends jumped by a third in the first quarter – and mining firms led the way. – AFP
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KAB signs MoU with Pinetree Field to raise RM100m for expansion plans (Mon, 23 May 2022)
PETALING JAYA: Electrical and mechanical engineering services provider Kejuruteraan Asastera Bhd (KAB) and investment holdings company Pinetree Field Sdn Bhd signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) today to raise RM100 million in two years via private placement to spur KAB’s plans to expand into telecommunications and hydro power. KAB managing director Datuk Lai Keng Onn said the company is growing rapidly and is expanding to different sectors such as telecommunications and hydro power. “We would want to have more funds to be ready for further expansion due to hydro power being capital intensive. We have also recently ventured into the telecommunications sector with over 1,000 sites and that is investment heavy as well,” he told reporters at the MoU signing ceremony. He mentioned that the group’s first hydro power project is in Indonesia and said further ventures will be announced soon. Pinetree Field founder Sophia Chin said: “We find that KAB is worth investing (in) and we have the trust and faith in them with all their projects and their planning with their energy savings (concept).”
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Boustead Plantations Q1 net profit soars to RM435m (Mon, 23 May 2022)
PETALING JAYA: Boustead Plantations Bhd’s net profit for the first quarter ended March 31, 2022 jumped 35 times to RM435.16 million from RM12.23 million a year ago, which includes a gain on disposal of Kulai Young land of RM364.1 million. Excluding the gain, the operational unaudited pre-tax profit of RM145.4 million surpassed RM19.3 million achieved in the corresponding quarter last year, attributable to the higher palm product prices paired with improved fresh fruit bunch (FFB) production. Its revenue grew 89% to RM324.16 million from RM171.94 million previously due to the increase in palm products prices and FFB production. It declared a first interim single tier dividend of 7.3 sen per share. The group’s profitability is mainly driven by crude palm oil (CPO) price, crop production, Plantation Performance Improvement Programs (PPIP) and Boustead group’s Reinventing Boustead strategy. Both PPIP and Reinventing Boustead strategy are currently progressing as planned. It said prices of palm oil is expected to remain strong for the remaining second quarter of 2022 in respect of the ongoing Ukraine-Russia conflict and the tightness of CPO production that would dampen the increasing demand of edible oil. However, the sentiment on Indonesia lifting the ban on export of palm oil products will add bearishness to the palm oil prices. Palm oil supply is expected to improve over the second half of the year due to easing of labour shortages with the entry of foreign workers back to Malaysia. Market is expected to stabilise earliest in July 2022 and palm oil demand set to increase due to the good price spread between soybean oil, also on the switching application of sunflower oil to palm oil in relation to European conflicts. “With Covid-19 attaining endemic phase, we remain positive and expect that local consumption will increase gradually with higher demand from hotel, restaurant and café segment. “The group is encouraged by the bullish price trend and encouraging crop production in the first quarter of 2022. The group will remain focus on PPIP to further improve the productivity in the coming quarters to take advantage of the strong CPO price. PPIP main initiative is on mechanisation and digitalisation, in line with the Boustead Reinventing strategy. The group expect to realise more benefit in the coming months from effort on mechanisation,” Boustead Plantations said.
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MPDT Capital proposes RM1b seawater desalination project in Penang (Mon, 23 May 2022)
GEORGE TOWN: MPDT Capital Bhd will submit a proposal to the Penang State Government to develop seawater desalination technology to meet demand for raw water from industries in the state. MPDT Capital CEO Datuk Dr Nik Zamri Abdul Majid said the RM1 billion proposed project, if approved, would be able to produce 250 million cubic litres of seawater that has been desalinated daily to be supplied to industries. He said desalination is an important technology to be considered for development as a long-term preparation in an effort to ensure water supply in Penang and throughout the country. “Our proposal on desalination technology in Penang involves two phases, of which, the first is that it involves a desalination facility for the use of shop and restaurant tenants for free in Tanjung City Marina here. “Meanwhile, the second phase is still in the proposal stage to the state government worth RM1 billion for the use of industry players. We propose to develop it around the Sultan Abdul Halim Mu’adzam Bridge here,” he said. He said this to reporters today after the stone-laying ceremony for the desalination facility at Tanjung City Marina, which was officiated by Deputy Minister of Environment and Water Datuk Mansor Othman. Nik Zamri said the redevelopment of Tanjung City Marina worth RM120 million is expected to be completed in October and would be the focus of tourists, especially those looking for good food and a location to stroll by the sea. He said among the attractions to be developed in the 24,945.67 square metres area are an e-sports arena, various restaurants including open food courts, branded fast-food restaurants, various sports and entertainment facilities, tracks and recreational facilities and more. “We are expecting 17 eateries and restaurants that will offer a variety of local, foreign food and so on in this place,” he said. He said the marina’s close proximity to cruise ships port Swettenham Pier Cruise Terminal would certainly made it a tourism product Previously, the Penang Port Commission (SPPP) signed a lease agreement with MPDT Capital to develop three warehouses at the Swettenham Pier Cruise Terminal and the land portion of Tanjung City Marina to be used as a tourism product. – Bernama
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