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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Bursa Chat - News Highlights (30.03.2009)

Kumpulan Europlus (KEuro) announced yesterday that construction and the related work at Canal City project that commenced towards the end of 2007 has stopped. KEuro further mentioned that the new state government of Selangor has requested changes to the original privatisation plan, including omission of the main canal and its related work. KEuro is jointly controlled by Tan Sri Chan Ah Chye and IJM Corp (IJM MK, Buy, TP: RM5.10), which has a 25% stake. Under the Canal City project, KEuro is to undertake a flood mitigation programme in Selangor and construct a highway linking certain portion of Shah Alam. In return, KEuro will get land. But with the revised terms, KEuro has to pay for the land alienated. (Financial Daily)
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Malaysia Airlines (MAS MK, Sell, TP: RM2.44) is still keen to pursue the proposal with Australia’s Qantas Airways to set up a joint-venture (JV) company for the provision of airframe maintenance services, although the memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed for it has lapsed. The group told Bursa last Friday that the MoU for the JV signed in 2007 had expired but both parties were still working on the details for the intended venture. (StarBiz)
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EON Capital Bhd is evaluating its capital structure in light of the current economic environment. The financial group stated that this was only a preliminary exercise, and that no decision on new capital raising has been made. (Financial Daily)

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Perusahaan Otomobil Kedua Sdn Bhd (Perodua) expects its vehicle sales to drop by 6% to 10% due to the gloomy economic outlook. Last year, Perodua sold about 167,000 vehicles, an increase of 3% y-o-y. Currently, Perodua has 30.5% of local market share. Sales for the first two months amounted to about 24,000 units, a 10% drop compared to the previous corresponding period. Perodua will be launching its new multi-purpose vehicle in 4QCY09, in hopes to boost sales. According to managing director, Datuk Syed Abdul Hafiz Syed Abu Bakar, a clearer picture on how the industry will perform will likely emerge this month onwards. (Financial Daily)
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Proton expects RM2bn in revenue over the next five years from its strategic licensing and assembly agreement with Detroit Electric Holdings Ltd (DE). Under the agreements signed yesterday, Proton unit Perusahaan Otomobil Nasional Bhd will license the use of Persona and Gen.2 platforms to DE for the latter to build its full line of pure electric vehicles (PEV) for the global market over the next five years. The PEVs will be built in Proton’s Tanjong Malim plant. According to Proton managing director Datuk Syed Zainal Abidin Syed Mohamad Tahir, the RM2bn is on the basis of Proton assembling 40,000 cars per annum, to be rebadged and sold under the DE brand. The initial target markets for the PEVs are the UK, Europe, and China. DE plans to sell more than 270,000 PEVs by 2013. The cars will be priced between RM83,200 and RM94,120 for the city range. DE’s chairman and CEO, Albert Lam, said DE would invest up to RM150m in Malaysia to set up two plants to support the venture. (Financial Daily)
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The Cabinet will decide tomorrow whether Syarikat Bekalan Air Selangor (SYABAS) can raise water tariff by as much as 31% as provided for in the concession agreements. Energy, Water and Communications Minister, Datuk Shaziman Abu Mansor said he would be presenting a proposal to the Cabinet on SYABAS request for the tariff increase. Though the minister himself has the power to either delay or give the nod for the tariff hike under the Water Services Industry Act 2006 (WSIA), the ministry still has to present its opinion to the Cabinet on the proposed tariff hike and the quantum of increase, after which the Cabinet will decide. (StarBiz)
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Suria KLCC hopes to grow total retail sales by up to 5% to about RM2.1bn this year which will represent the 11th consecutive year of growth. The growth, though small compared to the 15% in 2007, is still better than its marginal growth in 2008. Retail sales were stable at Suria KLCC last year amidst lower traffic count as a result of an additional 2.9m sq ft of retail space in the market (at the Pavilion Kuala Lumpur, The Gardens Mid Valley and Sunway Pyramid) and high fuel price. (BT)
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INVESTMENT RESEARCH
Malaysia
TSR Capital Bhd looks set to build and equip a teaching hospital costing RM1.7bn for International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM) in Nilai, Negeri Sembilan. Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi will today officiate the ground- breaking ceremony for the hospital which will be funded by private finance initiative (PFI). Under the PFI scheme, a private sector company will finance the development of infrastructure and lease it to the Government over a period of time. (StarBiz)
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Bursa Malaysia plans to launch a platform to facilitate regulated Islamic short selling and hedge fund activities towards the end of the year. Short selling is controversial among Islamic scholars, as some believe that syariah does not permit selling what one does not own. Bursa is still working out the platform’s structure, but one way to enable Islamic short- selling is for investors to buy, in stead of borrowing, a stock by paying a fraction of the stock price and executing a simultaneous agreement to sell it back to the seller at a later date. Meanwhile, Bursa said that it plans to cut expenses by 15% and capex by more than 15% this year as the economic crisis hits trading income. (Financial Daily)
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Industry experts from Malaysia’s palm and biodiesel sector plan to meet officials from the European Commission on its recent amendment to the renewable energy directives which hinder the export of biodiesel to the region. Malaysian Biodiesel Association vice-president UN Unnithan said palm players were discussing the EU’s sustainability criteria on the minimum greenhouse gas savings of 35%. Based on EU’s estimates, the default value of palm oils greenhouse gas savings was around 19%. However, based on Malaysia’s estimates, the palm industry is saving as much as 50% hence some differences between measurement methodologies need to be sorted out. He added that if palm users used the methane gas capture technology, saving would go as much as 60%. (Financial Daily)
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INVESTMENT RESEARCH
Global

Stocks slumped Monday, falling for a second straight session, as worries about the auto and bank industries sent investors running after the recent rally. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 3.3% (-254.2 pts, close 7,522.0). The Standard & Poor' s 500 index lost 3.5% (-28.4 pts, close 787.5) and the Nasdaq composite lost 2.8% (-43.4 pts, close 1,501.8). In currency trading, the dollar gained against the euro and fell against the yen. U.S. light crude oil for May delivery fell US$3.97 to settle at US$48.41 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. (CNNmoney)
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European confidence fell to the lowest on record in March as the Group of 20 nations prepared to discuss this week how best to fight the deepening global recession, which has prompted job cuts across the continent. An index of executive and consumer sentiment in the euro area declined to 64.6, the lowest since the indicator began in 1985, from 65.3 in February, the uropean Commission in Brussels said yesterday. Gauges for industry, services and consumer sentiment all reached record lows. Leaders from the G-20 emerging and developed nations will meet in London on April 2 to try to forge a common response to the crisis. U.S. calls for European nations to spend more on fiscal stimulus have met with some resistance by governments trying to keep their budget deficits under control. (Bloomberg)
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Ireland had its AAA credit rating removed by Standard & Poor’s in the fourth downgrade of a euro-region government this year as the global financial turmoil fuelled borrowing costs and swelled the budget deficit. The rating was lowered one step to AA+ with a “negative” outlook, S&P said yesterday, indicating the rating company is more likely to lower the classification again than raise it or leave it unchanged. S&P lowered the ratings of Spain, Portugal and Greece in January. The European Commission forecast in January that Ireland’s budget deficit may widen to 11% of gross domestic product this year, almost four times the European Union’s approved limit. (Bloomberg)
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Russia’s economy will probably shrink 4.5% this year after oil prices slumped and global contagion spread, driving up unemployment and pushing more people into poverty, the World Bank forecast. The slump may last longer and be deeper than in the aftermath of the 1998 government’s US$40bn debt default and 70% ruble devaluation, which triggered bank runs and
wiped out citizens’ savings. A contraction may be prolonged by a drop in household consumption and a “second wave” of non- performing corporate loans, Zeljko Bogetic, the World Bank’s Moscow-based lead economist, said yesterday. (Bloomberg)
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Japanese companies cut inventories at an unprecedented pace in February and said they would increase production in coming months, indicating the worst of the country’s manufacturing slump may be over. Inventories fell 4.2% last month, the biggest decrease since record-keeping began in 1953, the Trade Ministry said yesterday. Factory output slid 9.4% from January, when it plunged a record 10.2%. The second monthly reduction in stockpiles brought them to the lowest level since August 2007, the report showed. Manufacturers said they’ll raise output 2.9% in March and 3.1% in April, ending a five-month losing streak. (Bloomberg)
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