Hock Sin Leong: THE distributor and retailer of electrical products are facing a tough operating environment. Sales for its previous quarter ended December 2002 showed weak demand for electrical and electronic equipment.The company is, nonetheless, expecting sales to grow at between 3% and 10% for the year to September 2003 even though the local retail environment in this industry would remain competitive as a result of hypermarkets offering electrical products as loss leaders and intense competition among the retailers. To counter any sluggish demand, the company is pursuing the expansion of its retail outlets in growth areas to capture higher sales. Sime Darby: SPECULATION on which government-linked company would assume the lead role in forming the world's largest palm oil company has sent many executives scurrying to make their case. Sime Darby's name has been mentioned because it was said to be the most efficient producer of palm oil among government-linked companies. Furthermore, the characteristic of the stocks favours the creation of a large plantations-based company. The stock is liquid and the company has sufficient strength in its balance sheet to make gigantic acquisitions. Tong Herr: THE typical nuts and bolts company is known for its stable profile. Profits are up and the company is looking forward to a better financial year after the European Commission (EC) lifted a 8.8% anti-dumping and countervailing duty in February. With the lifting of EC duties, the company plans to increase its yearly production to 15,000 tonnes from 12,000 tonnes and expects Europe to take up 40% of its production this year. Capacity utilisation would rise to 70% from 60%, and the company is targeting to have 200 workers this year.
CIMA: CEMENT Industries of Malaysia Bhd (CIMA) could come under scrutiny over the next two weeks as Renong Bhd works to complete its restructuring plan by the end of March. CIMA has been earmarked for disposal by parent United Engineers (M) Bhd and the company is involved in an industry that has come under tougher operating conditions. Apart from the reduction of import tariffs, margins have come under pressure. The company saw revenue rise last year but profits fall. The company reported earnings per share of 5.5 sen last year compared with 16.5 sen previously. Boustead: BUYING the remaining shares in Kuala Sidim Bhd it does not own seems like a good move for Boustead. Kuala Sidim, which is a 57% subsidiary of Boustead, is a profitable company, and it also contributes a significant chunk to Boustead's bottomline. Kuala Sidim made RM39mil last year and has a net tangible asset of RM8.52 per share. As Boustead has offered to pay RM6 per Kuala Sidim share, and the deal should add to Boustead's NTA if Kuala Sidim shareholders accept the offer. Lembaga Tabung Angkatan Tentera (LTAT), the single largest shareholder in Boustead with a 74.5% stake, also owns 21% of Kuala Sidim. The next largest shareholder in Kuala Sidim is Yeoh Ken Hua with 2.73%.