News in brief

STANDARD & Poor's Ratings Services (S&P) has raised its corporate credit rating on YTL Power International Bhd to BBB from BBB- and affirmed the BBB+ rating on its wholly-owned British unit Wessex Water Services Ltd. The outlook for both is stable. 

“The rating upgrade reflects YTL Power's successful integration of Wessex, which it acquired in May 2002,” S&P said in a statement. 

“Although YTL Power lacks experience in the water and sewerage business, it has kept the management team intact at Wessex, which has enabled the subsidiary to continue to perform well, under the protection of an established regulatory regime.  

“Wessex maintains a higher credit rating than its parent owing to ring-fencing arrangements, which comprise a set of structural and regulatory protection features, including protective covenants and an operating licence requirement for three independent directors at Wessex,” the statement added. 

S&P said the Wessex acquisition had strengthened YTL Power's business profile through increased diversification, as the group was no longer dependent on revenue from its Malaysian power generation business and on Tenaga Nasional Bhd as its sole power off-taker.  

MALAYSIA Derivatives Exchange (MDEX) and Malaysia Derivatives Clearing House (MDCH) clarified that the default of a Singaporean firm on the delivery of palm oil was not related to them. 

They said in a statement yesterday that all clearing members had fully settled their obligations with MDCH. 

Reuters reported in its palm oil report that default by a Singapore company in delivering some 20,000 to 30,000 tonnes of transacted oil to the market was also making players queasy of taking positions, besides weakness of soy oil prices. – Agencies  

Gamuda Bhd posted a higher pre-tax profit of RM106.27mil for three months ended Oct 31 from RM93.75 million in the previous corresponding period. Turnover is higher at RM377.56mil from RM320.04mil previously. – Bernama 

MATSUSHITA ELECTRIC COMPANY (MALAYSIA) BHD has declared of an interim dividend of 15% less 28% income tax per share of RM1 each for the financial year ending March 31, 2004, which will be paid on Jan 27, 2004. – Bernama 

MAA HOLDINGS BHD said its wholly-owned unit MAA Corp Sdn Bhd has on Dec 10 incorporated a company, Mytele Direct Sdn Bhd with an authorised capital of RM100,000 and paid-up capital of RM2. 

It said the principal activities of Mytele would be to operate as a third party call centre for direct marketing/telemarketing. – Ber-nama 

Bintulu Port Holdings Bhd has incorporated a wholly-owned unit Biport Bulkers Sdn Bhd with an authorised capital of RM100mil divided into 100 million shares of RM1 each. 

The newco will carry out the businesses of palm oil, edible oils, vegetable oils, fats and its by-products and bulking installation facilities. – Bernama 

MEASAT GLOBAL BHD announced the appointment of Datuk Dr Idris Ibrahim as alternate director to Tan Poh Keat. 

It said Tan would represent Telekom Malaysia Bhd as its nominee on the board of Measat since Telekom had, with effect from Dec 17, completed its acquisition of a 15.39% equity in Measat. – Bernama 

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