MMM: THIS shipper made waves in December when Maruichi Malaysia Steel Tube Bhd said it was acquiring a 32.5% stake in the KLSE second board company for RM100mil. Maruichi argued there was much to be gained from taking a substantial interest in the shipper as its regional transportation costs could be reduced. However, the deal was terminated after minorities objected to the plan. MMM has since moved back to calmer waters despite talk that others may be eyeing the stake that Maruichi rejected.
Uchi: UCHI has gained in strength over the past few weeks and outperformed the Composite Index (CI). The Taiwanese-controlled management seems to be the “quiet achieving type,” not thriving on hype, but getting on with the job and enhancing value for the company. Hence, the tech stock is a favourite of many investors. The company didn’t disappoint investors last year, growing its pre-tax profit by 35% to RM55mil. Analysts expect demand for Uchi’s control modules for automatic coffee machines to remain healthy.
Promto: THE KLSE second board company is mainly involved in construction, engineering, and the manufacture of building materials. Sadly, all its three major divisions have not been doing well since 1999, while Promto as a group has been bleeding since 1998. The company’s share price touched a high of 85 sen in January, but is now trading at 50-plus sen. Recovery prospects for the company don’t look very bright. Losses aside, its shareholder funds are diminishing quite rapidly, and it could be perilously close to falling into Practice Note 4 condition.
Pos Malaysia: THE stock rose in November after its inclusion as a component stock of the CI, but is currently under-performing the index. While some analysts think its business is unexciting, they feel that the government-controlled company should not have cash utilisation or corporate governance concerns. A research house said that given its strong cash position and reasonable profitability, net dividend for 2002 could be higher than the 1.2 sen per share paid in 2001.
Vads: THE managed network services (MNS) provider posted a 15% increase in pre-tax profit to RM13.6mil last year, exceeding its profit forecast of RM13.4mil. This was achieved on the back of double-digit growth in all four quarters. Vads’ performance is commendable as it delivered on its initial public offer promise in difficult times, a research house said, noting that projections for many bigger IT outfits had to be revised downwards owing to revenue and margin pressures. Vads has said that it intends to grow the MNS business by introducing even more value-added network services.