Public Bank expects its profit to reach RM1bil


PUBLIC BANK 

Stock Watch On PBBANK 

OSK Research expects this anchor banking group's net profit to exceed the RM1bil mark next year. The research house believes the banking group would further strengthen its presence in the hire-purchase market because up to now, no financial institution other than Public Finance can offer car loans of up to nine years. The bank's loans portfolio grew at an impressive rate of 14.5% to RM44.7bil in the first nine months of last year. 

MCSB Systems 

Stock Watch On MCSB 

ANALYSTS view MCSB's plan to outsource the majority of its operations within one year, starting with the setting up of a RM1mil software development centre in India by mid-2004, as a positive step to minimise cost and improve turnover. The investment in India is said to be small considering its potential to double revenue without increasing staff. For the financial year ended June 30, 2003, MCSB’s net loss rose to RM2.7mil from RM624,000, but the company is poised for better results this year after its restructuring. 

WOVENTEX 

Stock Watch On WOVEN-R 

THE company's acquisition of four companies from its parent company Scientex Incorporated Bhd (SIB) under a rationalisation exercise will enable the former to enter the export market in a bigger way. Analysts said the rationalisation would streamline the group’s business operations by consolidating the industrial packaging division under Woventex, with SIB focusing on its polymer and property divisions. Woventex’s turnover was expected to jump to RM130mil for the year ending July 31, 2004, from RM46.6mil a year ago  

METACORP 

Stock Watch On METACOR 

ON Friday last week, property developer and toll operator Metacorp announced a special gross dividend of 70 sen per share as well as its proposals for a 1-into-2 share split and a 2-for-1 bonus issue held after the split. Metacorp's toll operations have generated good cashflow for the company. The major beneficiaries of the dividend payout, expected this quarter, would be shareholders of MTD Capital Bhd, which has an 80% stake in Metacorp. 

IRIS 

Stock Watch On IRIS 

THE company's shares rose almost 19% to 38 sen in early trade on Dec 30, after it announced a joint-venture agreement with De La Rue International Ltd to provide electronic passport solutions. Under the deal, Iris and De La Rue will seek opportunities to combine their technologies and experience to provide e-passport solutions to governments in compliance with the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) and US requirements.

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