News in brief

GUINNESS ANCHOR BHD has reported a 10% rise in group net profit to RM35.45mil for the six months ended Dec 31, 2002. 

The company said the double-digit gain in earnings was achieved on a 2.4% increase in group revenue from RM359.32mil to RM367.8mil. 

At the operating level, Guinness Anchor posted a slightly lower group profit of RM49.15mil compared with RM49.46mil in the previous corresponding half year. 

Guinness Anchor managing director Jac van Herpen said the interim financial results were something to cheer about considering the prevailing competitive and challenging market conditions, which did not see an uptake in retail consumption of beer and stout. 

SUNRISE BHD has reported a 30% jump in pre-tax profit to RM18.2mil for the half-year ended Dec 31, 2002, compared with the corresponding period a year ago. Turnover increased by 25% to RM77.3mil for the period under review compared with the same period previously. 

The favourable results were mainly attributable to progress billings from ongoing condominium projects like Mont' Kiara Damai and Laman Suria, The Residence bungalow development in Sunrise Mont' Kiara, and Seri Murni and Seri Permai medium-cost apartments in Cheras. 

KARENSOFT TECHNOLOGY BHD has proposed a first and final tax-exempt dividend of 6.5% totalling RM442,000 to its shareholders for the year ended Dec 31, 2002, making it the first Mesdaq counter under the technology sector to do so. 

The company recorded a pre-tax profit of RM1.67mil for the year compared with a loss of RM0.47mil in the previous year. Revenue grew by 121.6% to RM4.5mil for 2002 compared to 2001. 

Its chief executive officer Chee Chong Hwa said in a statement that the results reflected KarenSoft's high growth potential in terms of revenue and profits. 

British American Tobacco (M) Bhd has entered into a conditional agreement to sell its entire equity interest in Tien Wah Press Holdings Bhd to AMB Packaging Pte Ltd for RM33.1mil. 

The company said in a statement to KLSE yesterday that the proposed disposal was part of a move to dispose of its non-core business and enhance management's focus on its core tobacco business. Its managing director Russell Cameron said the sale of the company's stake in Tien Wah to AMB Packaging would provide Tien Wah with a strategic partner which would be able to drive the business forward.  

Apex Healthcare Bhd has recorded double-digit growth for the financial year ended Dec 31, 2002, with its pre-tax profit up by 19% to RM13.143mil from RM11.089mil previously. Its turnover increased by 15% to RM157.499mil from RM136.612mil, the company said in a statement. 

For the current quarter, the group posted a pre-tax profit of RM3.428mil and turnover of RM37.002mil, AHB said. It said that group sales in its major markets remained encouragingly robust despite the difficult trading conditions, due in part to strategic introduction of new products, and aggressive marketing and sales initiatives.– Bernama 

APM Automotive Holdings Bhd said its year to December sales rose 5.5% year-on-year to RM696mil as strong growth in new vehicle sales resulted in higher demand for original equipment (OE) products and raised OE sales by 5.6%. 

Auto replacement equipment sales however declined marginally due to intense price competition in the replacement market, but export and overseas sales increased by 23% as a result of the company’s marketing efforts, it said. 

Pre-tax profit rose 15% to RM91.6mil, in line with the increase in sales revenue, APM said in the notes. – AFX 

INGRESS CORP BHD said it is forming a 80:20 joint venture with an Indonesian partner to manufacture and supply auto parts to PT Indomobile Suzuki International Indonesia and PT Ktama Yudha Tiga Berlian Motor, a sole distributor of Mitubishi Motors in Indonesia. 

In a statement, the company said estimated total investment to produce the auto parts for the two companies was RM13mil. 

It said its decision to set up a full-scale manufacturing plant in Indonesia and thus, participate in its automotive industry came after it received letters of intent and instruction from Suzuki and PT Krama. – AFX  

HALIM MAZMIN BHD (HMB) has registered a pre-tax profit of RM34.3mil for the year ended Dec 31, 2002 on the back of RM132.76mil turnover. 

Its executive chairman, Tan Sri Halim Mohammad said that the profit was obtained amidst a year fraught with lingering global economic uncertainties. In 2001, the Group registered a pre-tax profit of RM35.82mil on the back of RM133.08mil in turnover. 

The company has proposed a tax exempted final dividend of 7%, the highest dividend payout to date by HMD since its listing on the KLSE. 

He said that HMB's performance is expected to remain stable despite the “war clouds” hovering with the impending US-led attacks on Iraq. – Bernama 

INTRIA BHD has recorded a pre-tax profit of RM41.667mil on a revenue of RM137.217mil for the financial year ended Dec 31, 2002. For the fourth quarter ended Dec 31, 2002, its pre-tax profit amounted to RM4.294mil. – Bernama  

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