Discover more from The Coffee Break
☕️ 3 major Malaysian banks reportedly gave USD600 mil unsecured loan to failed Genting HK
Former PM Mahiaddin lashing out at party hopper's honour. Thailand - 1st Asian country to decriminalise marijuana/weed. Singapore to host F1 race for another 7 years from 2022 to 2028.
1. MARKET SUMMARY
2. NUMBERS AT A GLANCE
8,550 cars — the weekly production of Tesla’s manufacturing facility in Fremont, California. According to Bloomberg, it is the most productive auto plant in North America — more than Toyota’s Kentucky Plant (8,427 cars) and BMW South Carolina (8,343 cars).
The United Nations-convened Net Zero Asset Owner Alliance, a group of 69 investors with USD10.4 trillion of assets, asks members to slash their carbon footprint by at least 49% by the end of the decade. The Alliance thinks that time is running out to prevent the planet from overheating.
In February 2018, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings believed the streaming giant’s next 100 million subscribers would come from India. Fast-forward four years, Netflix only has about 5.5 mil paying subscribers in India, which frustrates Hastings. With as many as 75 streaming services available in India, it is an uphill battle for the company as its flywheel strategy has been ineffective.
3. COVID-19 SUMMARY
Almost two-thirds of people in England who tested positive for Covid-19 in Jan are reinfections, according to the latest report on coronavirus transmission by Imperial College London. Omicron seems to have the ability to dodge the immune systems of those previously infected with the virus.
The vaccination programme for kids aged 5 to 12 will begin on Feb 3, 2022, in the Klang Valley. The Pfizer BioNTech is the vaccine.
4. IN MALAYSIA 🇲🇾
Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim has demanded the Ministry of Finance to explain news reports that Genting Hong Kong has USD600 mil (RM2.5 bil) in unsecured loans (basically, loans without any collateral, leaving the lender with nothing to claim in the event of a default) from 3 Malaysian banks namely Maybank, CIMB and RHB. Permodalan Nasional Bhd, Khazanah Nasional Bhd and EPF are major shareholders in these banks and stand to be indirectly affected, he pointed out.
The MACC arrested 2 CEOs involved in the procurement contracts for six littoral combat ships (LCS) to be built by Boustead Naval Shipyard. They were suspected of receiving bribes through payments made to a company overseas. The arrest came after investigators had followed the trail to millions of ringgits, believed to be connected to the project, to 3 Singapore-based companies.
The contract is worth RM9 bil, awarded in 2014 and for the first of the six vessels to be delivered in Apr 2019. However, to date, the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) in October said RM6.083 bil had been paid, but not a single LCS had been completed. Boustead Heavy Industries Corporation, the parent company of Boustead Naval Shipyard, previously lodged a report with the MACC in Nov 2020 to probe irregularities in the LCS project.
Tebrau Bersatu chief Mazlan Bujang together with 23 other branch chiefs and action committee members has quit Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia with immediate effect and will throw their support for Barisan Nasional. Mahiaddin Yassin, former PM and Bersatu president, has lashed out at Mazlan, questioning Mazlan’s honour and behaviour.
During Langkah Sheraton, Mahiaddin was the chief mastermind orchestrating the collapse of the PH government and pulling out from the coalition to form a backdoor government. Karma?
Malayan Banking Bhd (Maybank) has announced that Khairussaleh Ramli will be appointed as the banking group’s new president and CEO effective 1 May. Just yesterday, RHB Bank Bhd announced his resignation as RHB’s group managing director and CEO effective 25 Mar, which he has held since May 2015. A huge promotion for him, moving from Malaysia’s fourth-largest bank to the largest bank in the nation. Maybank’s market cap of RM98.6 bil is 4.3x that of RHB’s RM22.95 bil.
Amongst Malaysia’s largest accounting scandal, Gan was convicted for furnishing misleading statements on the company’s revenue amount with over RM333 mil of fictitious sales in its 2006 financial year. An arrest warrant has been executed and he remains at large.
Affin Bank Bhd reportedly have clinched a cash deal to sell its asset management arm, Affin Hwang Asset Management Bhd for a RM2.5 bil price tag to CVC Capital Partner, a private equity firm. Neither party have given any confirmation yet.
The bank holds a 63% stake in AffinHwang, which it acquired in 2014 Hwang-DBS Investment Bank Bhd for RM1.36 bil. Assuming a price tag of RM2.5 bil, Affin Bank will walk away with RM1.57 bil - not too great a return, but a profit nonetheless. The third-largest asset manager in the country after Public Mutual Bhd and Principal Asset Management Bhd, AffinHwang was considering an IPO in 2020 to raise RM500 mil.
Some numbers on AffinHwang:
Assets under management of RM81 bil as at end 2021
Revenue of RM537.66 mil in FY2020 vs RM396.8 mil in FY2019
Profit after tax of RM114.25 mi in FY2020 vs RM83.7 mil in FY2019 - very healthy profit margin of 21.2% and 21.1%, respectively.
Declared dividend of RM77.78 mil to its shareholders in FY2020 and, over the past 5 years, paid out RM197.78 mil in dividends.
Affin Bank market cap stands at RM4.16 bil (really small, compared to Maybank and RHB).
Crude Palm Oil (CPO) futures contract closed at a record high on Thursday following Indonesia’s restriction on CPO exports as it imposed a rule for a mandatory 20% portion of palm oil to be sold domestically. As a result, the benchmark palm oil contract for Apr 2022 jumped to RM5,444 per tonne.
5. AROUND THE WORLD 🌎
Singapore will continue to host Formula One night race for another seven years from 2022 to 2028 after being put on hold for the past two years. Singapore’s Transport Minister S Iswaran said the decision was made after thoroughly evaluating the long-term benefits that a term extension could bring to Singapore.
Malaysia’s youth and sports minister back in 2016, Khairy Jamaluddin, said the government was unable to justify the ongoing expenditure. Hence the F1 stop in Malaysia was culled after the 2017 season.
Thailand on Tuesday became the first country in Asia to approve the de facto decriminalisation of marijuana — actual progress. Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul announced that the Narcotics Control Board had approved the dropping cannabis from the ministry’s list of controlled drugs. However, recreational use of the drug lies in a grey area. It is a lucrative industry — states in the US that have legalised marijuana have rolled (pun intended) in USD2.7 bil in tax revenue in 2020.
Another day, another country announces a record inflation rate. New Zealand’s consumer price index (CPI) rose by 5.9% for 4Q of 2021, the fastest rate since mid-1990. The Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ) has raised rates twice at its last two meetings and will likely do so in its upcoming meeting on Feb 23.
Singer-songwriter Neil Young‘s songs will be removed from Spotify after he objected to being featured on the same platform as podcaster Joe Rogan. Young, who has more than six million monthly listeners on the platform, was baffled at Spotify’s refusal to remove Rogan’s podcast episode with Dr Malone Robert, who has been banned from Twitter for spreading COVID misinformation.
Deutsche Bank has made its biggest profit since 2011 in 2021, defying expectations. The investment bank benefitted from the dealmaking boom last year — Deutsche made a profit of €1.94 billion in 2021, up from €113 million the year before. Despite the annual profit, the bank has lost more than €10 billion over the past decade.
Apple posted its highest-ever quarterly earnings — revenue of USD123.9 bil and net income of USD34.6 bil. Its flagship product — the iPhone — brought in USD71.6 bil. The world’s biggest company, by market capitalisation, was able to tame its supply crisis. Tim Cook had previously had warned that shortages would hurt the holiday season.
Germany and the US are threatening to stop a key Russian gas pipeline should Russia invades Ukraine. The USD11 bil Nord Stream 2 energy project is designed to double gas flow and runs from Russia direct to Germany under the Baltic Sea. The US has also rejected Russia's key demand to bar Ukraine from joining the Nato military alliance but offered Moscow a “serious diplomatic path forward.”
Netizens were furious at Meta’s decision to rebrand its popular Oculus Quest 2 VR headset to “Meta Quest.” Imagine telling your crypto bros/sis that you’re going to buy Meta Quest — it just sounds uncool. Facebook acquired Oculus for USD2 bil in 2014. The rebranding resulted from Meta’s name change back in October last year and came at a cost — Meta is throwing away a lot of search traffic in the process.
6. FOR YOUR VIEWING PLEASURE 👁👁
As though typhoon struck Utropolis in Shah Alam yesterday. Scroll through the Twitter thread below to see the damage wreaked by the storm across various places in Shah Alam.
Jatayu - the world’s largest avian sculpture in Jatayu Nature Park, Kerala, India
Before green screen and CGI, this was how special effects were done.