Summary of business stories April 12-18

Citi to exit retail banking in 13 markets, including Malaysia

  • Citigroup Inc. plans to exit retail banking in 13 markets across Asia and the Europe, Middle East and Africa region.
  • The bank will instead operate its consumer-banking franchise in both regions from four wealth centers in Singapore, Hong Kong, the United Arab Emirates and London, it said Thursday in a statement.
  • The move is part of an ongoing review of the company's strategy by Chief Executive Officer Jane Fraser, who took over last month.

Bank Negara revises foreign exchange notices

  • Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) has issued a revision of its Foreign Exchange Notices following the liberalisation of foreign exchange policies last month.
  • Last month, the central bank announced measures to liberalise its foreign exchange policies in order to further strengthen Malaysia's position in the global supply chain and attract foreign direct investment into the country.

Another booster for auto sector

  • Local vehicle sales, which have been given a temporary boost by the tax exemption, could be further spurred by the introduction of several new models from various car companies.
  • This new range of models, largely catered towards the mass market, could potentially mark the start of a major car replacement cycle, as car buyers look to replace their existing vehicles.
  • RHB Investment Bank said in a report the recent launch of several volume models, such as Proton X50, Perodua Ativa, Honda City and Toyota Vios and Yaris could mark the start of a new replacement cycle.

Zeti to retire as Sime Darby Property chairman after AGM

  • Sime Darby Property Bhd chairman Tan Sri Zeti was appointed Sime Darby Property's non-independent non-executive chairman on July 23, 2018.
  • She is presently the group chairman of Permodalan Nasional Bhd and was an appointed member of the Council of Eminent Persons, the chairman of Amanah Saham Nasional Bhd and the director of Attana Assets Sdn Bhd.

Avoiding rental pitfalls

  • If you're still unsure about what to do, consult a specialist, such as a certified tax consultant, to advise you.
  • Business rental income, meanwhile, is filed under Section 4(a) of the ITA.
  • To elaborate further, Thanneermalai explains that the rent is taxable when it is received.

A RM101bil burden

  • The data showed that the Malaysian property market remained under the cast of a long shadow, of not only the overhang segment of the property market, but in addition to that, the planned incoming and future supplies.
  • While the overhang status within the residential segment seems to be here to stay, investors, developers and the market in general should be more concerned about the status of the service apartment overhang, which has grown by leaps and bounds over the years and has caused serious damage to the overall health of the property market as a whole.
  • Nevertheless, the unsold and not constructed segment from residential, service apartments and SoHo units is not small either as in total, there were 21,250 units worth some RM12.26bil as at end-2020.

Challenging year for palm oil refiners

  • Local palm oil refiners may be in for a tough year as the industry suffers from higher cost of crude palm oil (CPO) and stagnating yields.
  • While upstream planters have become prime beneficiaries of the present lofty CPO spot price of about RM4,000 per tonne, analysts believe Malaysian palm oil refiners may be losing out, particularly when rivals in Indonesia are enjoying a cost advantage due to a new export tax structure.
  • Since the export tax revisions on Dec 10,2020, Indonesian refiners have been buying CPO at about RM2,800-RM2,900 per tonne, giving them an unfair cost advantage over Malaysian refiners.

New car launches to drive Sime Darby Motors

  • The retail and distribution arm of Sime Darby Motors (SDM) Bhd, aims for an 8% vehicle sales growth this year, driven by at least 10 new models launches across its brands, in line with the Malaysian Automotive Association estimates of vehicle sales growth.
  • For the Sime Darby Motors City, the group has forked out RM570mil to build the largest automotive complex in South-East Asia, that deploys Internet of things for customers to shop for vehicles with enhanced customer experience, luxurious lounges and qualified technicians.
  • The facility sits on 8.6 acres and has almost 200 service bays and 700 customer parking and electric vehicle charging bays, as well as the capacity to display more than 180 vehicles.

Geely’s iconic Lotus Cars plans to raise RM4.13bil

  • Geely is working with advisers to sound out potential investor interest in a funding round that could value Lotus's EV operations at about US$5bil, the people said, asking not to be identified because the matter is private.
  • Separately from the fundraising, the Chinese company is also weighing an initial public offering (IPO) of Lotus Cars, or just the British carmaker's EV business, as soon as next year, the people said.
  • A listing could value the entire business, including its combustion-driven sports and racing cars, at more than US$15bil, the people said.

Grab agrees to world’s biggest SPAC merger

  • Grab Holdings agreed to a merger with United States-based Altimeter Growth Corp in a deal that values Grab at an initial proforma equity value of about US$39.6bil (RM163bil) and will lead to a public listing.
  • The merger, the biggest blank-cheque company deal ever, underscores the frenzy on Wall Street as shell firms have raised US$99bil in the US so far this year after a record US$83bil fundraising in 2020.
  • The PIPE was led by funds managed by Altimeter Capital Management, LP which committed US$750mil, with participation from funds and accounts managed or advised by BlackRock, Counterpoint Global
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