PNB declares 5.5 sen income distribution for ASB

KUALA LUMPUR: Permodalan Nasional Bhd (PNB) has announced an income distribution of five sen a unit and a bonus of 0.5 sen for Amanah Saham Bumiputera (ASB) for 2019 amid a challenging market environment.

Chairman Tan Sri Zeti Akhtar Aziz said this will involve a total payout of RM9bil to more than 10 million unit holders.

She added that the number of unit holders of its flagship fund surpassed the 10 million mark for the first time this year.

"We are satisfied as the situation is very challenging," she said.

In a statement, Zeti said the market environment became much more challenging in 2019 owing to the financial market volatility and the ongoing US-China trade tensions. The subsequent slowdown in global trade weighed on external demand and export performance in regional markets, she added.

"Notwithstanding this, ASB was able to deliver a total income distribution of RM9.0 billion in FY2019 out of its realised gains buffered by its increasing international investment as planned under PNB's Strategic Asset Allocation Network," she said.

The FBM KLCI was down 7.2% over the year to Dec 16, making it one of the weakest performing indices in the world. This marked the fifth year out of six consecutive years that the market has posted negative returns, said Zeti.

ASB outperformed the Maybank 12-month Fixed Deposit, which it is benchmarked against, by 2.4% in FY2019, and outperformed the FBM KLCI one-year price return by 12.7% as at Dec 16.

PNB will pay out RM9bil in dividends to more than 10 million ASB users this year.PNB will pay out RM9bil in dividends to more than 10 million ASB users this year.

ASNB also declared an income distribution of 2.75 sen per unit for ASN for the FY2019. This reflects a dividend yield of 4.4% based on the Net Asset Value (NAV) of the fund as at 16 December 2019.

The total payout of RM49.0 million will benefit over 1.22 million unit holders with more than 1.78 billion units held. As at 30 November 2019, ASN recorded a net income of RM53.5 million for the first 11 months of its financial year.

The computation of the income distribution for ASN is based on units held as at Dec 31, 2019. The income distribution will be re-invested into additional units and automatically credited into the unit holders’ accounts on Jan 2, 2020, based on the NAV per unit as at Dec 31, 2019.

For the first 11 months of 2019, PNB's total assets under management (AUM) grew to RM311.9mil, which was 5.7% higher from the previous year while the profroma net income of PNB and its unit trust funds stood at RM10.7bil.

Units in circulation grew 7.5% to 253.8 billion units across its 14 funds with PNB recording a total payout of RM13.2bil across all funds in 2019.

Moving forward, PNB aims to accelerate its diversification strategy across all asset classes, as well as ongoing value creation plans for its strategic and core companies. The investment fund plans to gradually increase its foreign equity holding, especially in the UK, the US and Europe, and will also be looking into emerging markets, it said.

"We do plan to increase our diversification in line with greater globalisation investment, as we can see that for this financial year, it has generated higher returns compared with local equity," said Zeti.

She added that it was important to understand that no market is immune to volatility and that geopolitical developments have a huge impact on the global economy.

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