Public Bank Bhd has performed in line with the broader market over the past three months, rising less than 1% against the CI. The country's fourth largest lender has also obtained all the necessary approvals – from company shareholders to regulators – to privatise its finance company, Public Finance Bhd. Separately, Public Bank plans to undertake a corporate exercise on its unit HHB Holdings Bhd that will involve a capital repayment exercise before disposing of the company's listing status and undertaking new business ventures. HHB, previously known as Hock Hua Bank Bhd, has been suspended since 2001 after merging with Public Bank.
Pharmaniaga: THIS normally quiet counter has attracted some interest since late March as investors expect brisk demand for its pharmaceutical and medical services to rise following the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) outbreak. While it is not clear if Pharmaniaga has been one of the few beneficiaries of SARS, it has done well in its first quarter ended March 31, with pre-tax profit up by 32% to RM17.9mil compared with RM13.5mil in the same period a year ago. Over the past three months, its shares have outperformed the CI by 5%.
Pacificmas: PACIFICMAS Bhd has gained substantially since it announced a proposed merger with GEL Capital (M) Bhd, which would result in the injection of two Great Eastern Holdings wholly-owned units – Great Eastern Life Assurance (Malaysia) and its general insurance arm, Overseas Assurance Corp (M) Bhd. From a price of RM2.73 in Feb 21, the company's shares have, over the months, risen by more than 50% to Friday's close of RM4.40. Analysts said while negotiations between the two parties are still ongoing, a successful merger is likely to transform Pacificmas into the country's largest life insurance player.
Telekom: FOR Telekom Malaysia Bhd, the past three months must have been its busiest in years, as the country's largest fixed line telephone company's cellular unit TM Cellular was sold to Celcom (M) Bhd, before taking over the enlarged Celcom in a general offer that would cost Telekom about RM5.5bil. The merger is expected to boost Telekom's share of the cellular market to over 40% from 17% currently. To fund the acquisition, Telekom has arranged for a bridging loan that would be redeemed by a RM4bil bond issue planned in the third quarter.
PPB Group: PPB Group Bhd, once labelled by analysts as an “old economy” company with unexciting businesses, is slowly coming back into investors' radar screens. This is because it has managed to deliver consistent earnings and generate good returns to shareholders that are much better than other companies that have more “exciting” businesses. A low profile company owned by tycoon Tan Sri Robert Kuok, the group has grown from merely a sugar cane cultivation and sugar refining operation to a conglomerate whose core activities include flour and feed milling, oil palm plantations, entertainment, property development and even environmental engineering and waste management.