Summary of business news from April 5 to 11

Malaysia accepts 14% cost increase in China-led rail project, taking longer route

  • Malaysia said on Monday that it had accepted an increase of nearly 14% in the estimated construction cost for the proposed East Coast Rail Link (ECRL), part of China's Belt and Road Initiative, as the length of the route would be slightly longer.
  • The Malaysian unit of China Communications Construction Co Ltd, CCC-ECRL, is contracted to build the line.
  • Mahathir put the project on ice because of allegations of corruption and in order to discuss the price, however, he lost power a year ago.

Concerns remain on proposed Celcom-Digi merger

  • AFTER Digi. com Bhd and Axiata Group Bhd's subsidiary Celcom Axiata Bhd announced their merger plan to become the country's largest telecommunications company, both stocks soared significantly.
  • On Thursday, Axiata's wholly owned unit Celcom and Norway-based Telenor's 49% unit Digi announced their plan to merge to become the country's largest telco provider Celcom Digi Bhd (CDB).
  • Assuming no synergies from the merger, we estimate that Digi's forecast financial year 2022 (FY22) earnings per share will increase by 5%, while Axiata's will decrease by 10% as Digi's equity appears to be valued 67% above Celcom's from the share and cash exchange.

Four Malaysians make debut on Forbes billionaires list

  • New Malaysian entrants to the Forbes world's billionaires list this year include the Tan brothers of MR DIY Group (M) Bhd, Westports Holdings Bhd's Tan Sri G Gnanalingam and Greatech
  • In Forbes' 35th annual list of the world's billionaires, brothers Tan Yu Yeh and Tan Yu Wei made their debut with estimated net worths of US$1.8bil and US$1.1bil respectively.
  • Gnanalingam was included in the list with an estimated net worth of US$1.7bil while Tan Eng Kee became another of the world's US-dollar billionaires with an estimated net worth of US$1.1bil.

Genting to proceed with theme park

  • Genting Bhd remains cautious on its near-term prospects in the leisure and hospitality industry but says it is in a good position to capitalise on the eventual recovery in the sector.
  • In spite of this, the group will move forward with its planned expansions for its respective business units.
  • These unprecedented challenges will not deter us from carrying out the group's long-term business strategies that will also help to spur the local economies.

Will inflation return?

  • Currently, inflation will rise 1% in 2021, and 1.3% in 2022.
  • The best environment for risk assets is when inflation is low, but rising.
  • Europe cannot afford a stronger euro, but there is not much it can do.

Giant step to revamp image

  • Hong Kong-based Dairy Farm International's GCH Retail (M) Sdn Bhd, which operates the Giant hypermarkets in Malaysia, has spent about RM25mil to revamp its Giant outlets by offering thousands of new products including imported ones as well as a fixed-price zone.
  • Giant hypermarket in Malaysia has launched more than 2,000 new products across the fresh food, groceries and household segments.
  • Another key change would be placing Guardian health and beauty care stores in 35 Giant stores by end-April.

Celcom introduces Celcom MAX to maximise digital lifestyles

  • Celcom Axiata Bhd has announced its all-new convergence offering, Celcom MAX, a one-stop shop for any home and mobile Internet and connectivity service.
  • In a statement today, Celcom said the new offering enables customers the opportunity to maximise their digital lifestyles right in the comfort of their homes or when on the go.
  • Chief executive officer Idham Nawawi said the all-new Celcom MAX is the one-stop home and mobile solution that is specially designed to meet the needs of Celcom customers.

Sri Lanka bans palm oil imports, tells producers to uproot plantations

  • Colombo/ Sri Lanka on Monday banned imports of palm oil and new palm plantations, and told producers to uproot existing plantations in a phased manner, in a surprise move that baffled the edible oil industry.
  • Palm oil imports and the number of plantations have been increasing in recent years in Sri Lanka, a leading producer of coconut oil.
  • Environmentalists say palm oil production has led to widespread deforestation and damage to ecosystems.

Kerjaya Prospek secures RM153.5mil construction contract from BBCC Development

  • Kerjaya Prospek Group Bhd's 49%-owned associate company Kerjaya Bina BMK Sdn Bhd has accepted a RM153.5mil contract from BBCC Development Sdn Bhd for construction works of a proposed mixed development off Jalan Hang Tuah/Jalan Pudu, Kuala Lumpur.
  • It said in a filing with Bursa Malaysia that the development will comprise a 44-storey serviced apartment, a podium block with an eight-storey car park and a seven-level car park with three underground and four basement levels.
  • Construction is expected to commence on April 15, 2021, and will take 30 months to complete.

Scientex actively expands landbank

  • The new lands are predominantly located in secondary suburbs such as Jasin, Melaka and Pulai, Johor, in line with the group's strategy to focus on affordable housing.
  • The land acquisitions announced by the property developer would further strengthen its exposure in the key states of Johor, Melaka, Selangor, Perak and Penang, moving forward.
  • Recently, Scientex announced the acquisition of three parcels of lands measuring 343 acres in North Seberang Perai, Penang for RM246.7mil.

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