Uchi Technologies: This company recently announced plans to produce 40 new types of control modules by 2005. An analyst from a local stockbroking firm said the range was impressive as the company was only expected to produce 10 to 15 new models in addition to its existing range per annum. A new production line may be set up in Penang as orders have already been filled for the first half of the year and the company is operating at full capacity. Uchi has also planned to invest an additional RM1.9mil into its Dongguan plant in China, which will commence operations soon.
Bernas: Although 2002 had been a difficult year for Padiberas Nasional Bhd (Bernas), it is considered to be a temporary setback and the company is expected to bounce back into health soon. OSK Research said industry fundamentals are pointing towards rising rice prices in the short and medium term due to lower production in major producing countries. This augurs well for Bernas, as rising prices are expected to reduce the activities of illegal traders. Last week, Budaya Generasi Sdn Bhd, a substantial shareholder of Bernas, entered into a RM100mil share sale agreement with Gandingan Bersepadu Sdn Bhd.
Public Bank: Local anchor banking group Public Bank Bhd's results for the financial year ended Dec 31, 2002, came as no surprise to most analysts. Public Bank posted a pre-tax profit of RM1.28bil for 2002 compared with RM1.25bil the year before. Affin-UOB expects strong operational growth of about 13% as interest income from strong loans growth in 2002 will start to filter through to this year's earnings. The research house said the bank's full-year loans growth was expected to moderate to 10% from 22% recorded in 2002 as new car sales growth may ease to 5% this year from 10% in 2002.
YTL Corp: Malaysia's biggest builder heaved a sigh of relief last week that the £1mil ''golden handcuff'' paid by its subsidiary, YTL Power International Bhd, to Wessex Water chairman and chief executive Colin Skellett did not constitute a criminal offence. Analysts have viewed this as a positive development for the company and the counter closed 18 sen up at RM3.68 last Wednesday, its highest since Sept 24 last year following the good news. Analysts said with the clearance, YTL could now focus on its business as well as continuously seek opportunities without fear or favour.
Celcom: With recent approval obtained from the Securities Commission by cellular network provider Celcom (M) Bhd on the proposed purchase of TM Cellular, the company is one step closer towards the much-talked about merger between Celcom and Telekom Malaysia Bhd. As Celcom is buying the entire stake in TM Cellular by issuing new shares to Telekom, this would increase Telekom's interest in Celcom to 47.9%, resulting in a mandatory general offer. Telekom has offered to buy all remaining Celcom shares it does not already own at RM2.75 each to complete the merger and would be making the general offer next month.