AMBANK group chairman Tan Sri Azman Hashim expects corporate earnings to grow by 10.3% next year, following an estimated 17.3% increase in 2003.
Azman said he believed the KLSE would see further growth next year in terms of the KLSE Composite Index, market capitalisation and overall turnover, given the brighter economic outlook and following the implementation of various initiatives and measures to strengthen the equity and capital markets.
I am also confident the government's decision to list Felda on the KLSE together with the setting up of the new funds, as announced in Budget 2004, would add depth and breadth to the local equity and capital markets, he said.
Azman said at the AmSecurities-AmResearch Investors' Conference 2003 in Kuala Lumpur last week, that broader capital market was also projected to record further expansion in the coming year, particularly in Islamic public debt securities issuances, given increasing investor demand for such debt papers.
He said the equity market remained an important avenue for fund raising in Malaysia. Last year, there were 51 initial public offerings (IPOs) with a value of RM6.97bil. As at Oct 20, there were already 40 IPOs launched, valued at RM1.33bil.
Including the soon-to-be-listed ASTRO All Asia Networks plc, the total funds raised through IPOs in the first 10 months of this year were higher at about RM3.4bil. AmMerchant Bank was the adviser for 43% of the listing, Azman said.
Of the companies advised, 7 were listed on the main board, 5 on the second board and another 5 on Mesdaq.
With the new listings, he said, the total number of companies listed on the KLSE stood at 891, an increase of almost four-fold since 1990.
On the broader capital market front, Azman said during the first half of the year, gross funds raised amounted to RM60.6bil, of which 51.6% came from the private sector and 48.4% the public sector.
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