2 December 2008 Newz Bits

December 2, 2008 at 3:42 am Leave a comment


On Malaysia
• KNM aborted plans to acquire Belgium-based Ellimetal NV
• MK Land to sell non-core assets to fund new projects
• Time dotCom commenced its turnaround by exiting the payphone business
• Another petrol price reduction before Hari Raya Haji

On The Global Front
• U.S. fell into recession last December according to the National Bureau of Economic Research
• U.S. manufacturing contracted in Nov at the steepest rate in 26 years
• China’s manufacturing shrank by the most on record and export orders plunged
• South Korea’s exports had the biggest percentage decline in seven years


KNM Group Bhd (KNMG MK, Hold, TP: RM0.85) has aborted their plans to acquire Belgium-based Ellimetal NV for €20m (RM91.7m) after the vendor failed to fulfil one of the conditions in the master agreement signed in January this year. According to a company official, the purchase plan was cancelled after they learned that the owner and the key management team of the target company would not be staying after the takeover. However, KNM would discuss with Ellimetal to enter into a commercial cooperation agreement. As a result of the failed takeover, the company had revised its earnings guidance in FY2008 and FY2009. FY2008 net profit was lowered from RM430m to RM400m and FY2009 net profit from RM700m to RM650m. (Financial Daily)
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SapuraCrest Petroleum Bhd (SCRES MK, Hold, TP: RM0.77) has extended the time period of its agreement to
participate in the construction and financing of a new vessel held by Quippo Prakash Pte Ltd, signed in August this year. The time is now set at 165 days from 120 days earlier. The agreement was between SapuraCrest’s subsidiary Geomark Sdn Bhd and AP Prakash Shipping Co Pte Ltd to buy entire share capital of Quippo Prakash, a shipping company, for about RM80m. (BT)
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MK Land Holdings Bhd aims to sell non-core assets worth up to RM400m to fund new projects that will be launched from next year. The developer also plans to sell 9.2ha at its Damansara Perdana township in Petaling Jaya for RM200m and pockets of land elsewhere to pare debt. Mustapha Kamal outlined the details of his three-year plan to rejuvenate MK Land last week. Central to the plan is the sale of assets. They include properties under its leisure and education divisions, such as the Bukit Merah Laketown Institute of Allied Health Sciences, Taiping Golf Resort and Bukit Merah Laketown Resort in Perak and the Langkawi Lagoon Resort in Kedah. (BT)
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Proton Holdings Bhd may assemble its cars in Egypt to boost exports, managing director Datuk Syed Zainal Abidin Syed Mohamed Tahir said. The national carmaker also plans to set up an office and a spare parts warehouse in a Middle East country, Syed Zainal said. The measures are part of Proton’s broader goal to focus on high-growth regional markets including what it terms as Middle East North Africa (MENA), for economies of scale. Besides the MENA region, Proton is also concentrating on Asean, China and India, according to senior company executives. (BT)
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Time dotCom Bhd (TdC) announced that it has commenced its turnaround by exiting the payphone business under its subsidiary, TIME Reach Sdn Bhd (TRSB). TRSB would be divested to a local prepaid fixed line telephony company, Paycomm Sdn Bhd for RM8.3m cash. The transaction is expected to be finalised by the end of February 2009. (BT)
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There is no fertiliser cartel among domestic manufacturers and importers, according to Fertiliser Industry Association of Malaysia (FIAM) chairman Zainal A. Matassan. He said most fertiliser players had to compete among themselves to give the local plantation sector competitive prices. On planters’ complaints that fertiliser prices had not gone down in tandem with crude oil prices, Zainal said prices of fertilisers are dependent on global supply and demand conditions, not just crude oil prices. (StarBiz)
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The government soon will have full details of the Kota Damansara-Cheras LRT project. Transport Minister Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat said the 42km LRT project was on the drawing board and expressed confidence that the project could take off in the near future. He asked for patience when asked to elaborate on the estimated cost and deadline for the project. (Financial Daily)
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The second reduction in petrol price since Nov 18 will be made before Hari Raya Haji, Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Shahrir Abdul Samad disclosed yesterday. The drop in price, he said, would not be more than 15 sen, while indicating that it would be for petrol only. (Financial Daily)
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Stocks got hammered Monday, as investors bailed out on confirmation that the US is in a recession and indications that it’s likely to continue for some time. Stocks slid throughout the morning as investors eyed a report showing manufacturing in the United States has slumped. But the selling accelerated in the afternoon after an official declaration of the recession – and dour comments from government officials. The DJIA lost 680 points (-7.7%), its fourth-biggest single-session decline on a point basis ever to close at 8,149.1. The S&P 500 index fell 8.9% (-80 pts, close 816.2) and the Nasdaq composite gave up 9% (-137.5 pts, close 1,398.1). In currency trading, the dollar tumbled versus the yen and gained against the euro. US light crude oil for Jan delivery fell US$5.15 to settle at US$49.28 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
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The US economy entered a recession a year ago this month, making this contraction already the longest since 1982, according to National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) yesterday. The last time the US was in a recession was from March through Nov 2001, according to NBER. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said the economy “will probably remain weak for a time” and the Fed may use unconventional methods, such as buying Treasury securities, to spur growth. Should the recession persist for another five months, consistent with Fed and private forecasts, it would become the longest since the Great Depression. (Bloomberg)
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American manufacturing contracted in Nov at the steepest rate in 26 years, leading Europe and Asia into an industrial slump as a recession that began in the US in Dec 2007 spread around the globe. The Institute for Supply Management’s factory index dropped to 36.2, below economists’ forecasts, and its gauge of raw material costs plunged to the least in six decades, intensifying concern over deflation. (Bloomberg)
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China’s manufacturing shrank by the most on record and export orders plunged, adding to evidence that recessions in the US, Europe and Japan are dragging down the world’s fastest-growing major economy. The Purchasing Managers’ Index fell to a seasonally adjusted 38.8 in Nov from 44.6 in Oct, the China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing said yesterday. Export orders, output and new orders all shrank by the most since the surveys began as the global financial crisis sapped demand for the nation’s toys, textiles and computers. (Bloomberg)
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South Korea’s exports had the biggest percentage decline in seven years in Nov due to the slowing global economy. This prompted economists to call for a half a percentage point cut in the benchmark rate when the Bank of Korea meets Dec 11. Exports fell 18.3% in Nov from a year earlier to US$29.26bn. The trade balance, however, showed a US$300m surplus due to a 14.6% decline in imports to US$28.96bn. (WSJ)
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Manufacturing shrank around the world as the financial crisis enters its 17th month, providing fresh evidence that the global economy is in recession and intensifying pressure on policy makers to respond. Industry contracted in the US at the fastest pace in 26 years last month, while factory indexes in Europe, Russia, China and South Africa showed record shrinkages, reports released yesterday showed. Signs the worldwide slump is worsening pushed down stocks and sent yields on US Treasuries to record lows as investors sought the safest assets. Manufacturers are suffering as the persistent lack of credit hammers demand from companies and consumers, forcing them to cut output and jobs. (Bloomberg)
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