☕️ Curlec, Malaysian fintech startup to be acquired by Razorpay, India's unicorn fintech startup
NRC proposes to reopen the nation's border as early as Mar 1. Political graphic artist Fahmi Reza to be charged in court. Apple acquires AI Music, a startup that makes music with AI.
1. MARKET SUMMARY
2. NUMBERS AT A GLANCE
USD400 bil — the AUM of the world’s biggest exchange-traded fund, S&P 500 ETF Trust. The fund saw the most investor exits in a single month in January 2022. The well-known ETF tracks the S&P 500 Index. The S&P 500’s performance to date has been lacklustre, down 6.52%.
100 million units of Switch video game consoles have been sold by Nintendo Co Ltd, beating the lifetime sales of its Wii console.
A cube made from 186 kilograms of pure 24-karat gold was constructed and dropped in the middle of New York’s Central Park. The cube is valued at about USD11.7 million.
3. COVID-19 SUMMARY
The National Recovery Council (NRC), chaired by Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, suggested that the country’s borders be reopened without any mandatory quarantine by March 1. Senior Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein sang another tune as he said discussions would need to be held with relevant ministries before a decision is made to reopen the borders. Amidst all that, one funny character was in the NRC meeting.
Temperature checks and manual recording of personal particulars for entry into premises will be abolished effective Feb 11, 2022. Checking in with the MySejahtera application is still mandatory. Please stay safe and remember TRIIS.
4. IN MALAYSIA 🇲🇾
Our favourite activist and artist, Fahmi Reza (aka as @kuasasiswa on Twitter), will be charged at the Sessions Court on Thursday, 10 Feb. His lawyer declined to disclose which alleged offence he will be charged with. On Jan 26, he was called to Bukit Aman to give his statement in connection to a social media post he made that allegedly depicted an edited image of the Pahang Coat of Arms with the words “House of Balak”. However, according to his tweet, he was not charged with this post.
Minister of International Trade and Industry (MITI) Azmin Ali has assured that there will be no total lockdown of the economic and industrial sectors if the pandemic worsens in the country and a targeted approach by closing only industries affected will be taken. He said a total lockdown would cause about five mil Malaysians to go without income.
Parti Pejuang Tanah Air will not join Pakatan Harapan’s “big tent” to contest in Johor’s upcoming state election, says its president Mukhriz Mahathir. Any cooperation with opposition parties will only be considered later. He added that Pejuang is in discussion with MUDA, but no final decision was made yet. The Election Commission will meet today to fix the dates of the state election.
Pokemon fans — relive your childhood memories with the upcoming 25th Pokemon Trading Card Games (TCG) exhibition organised by AEON Co. (M) Bhd at AEON Mall Metro Prima, taking place from 28 Jan to 13 Feb to commemorate the 25th anniversary of Pokemon TCG. It will be an incomplete event without the appearance of Pikachu — appearing on Saturdays and Sundays at 3 pm, 5 pm and 7 pm.
The Inland Revenue Board (IRB) has failed in its RM1.8 bil tax claim for the year of 2018 against TNB after the High Court allowed for the judicial review to invalidate IRB’s additional tax assessment. The issue arose when TNB claimed reinvestment allowance (RA) on its capital expenditure as it considered the generation of electricity as a manufacturing activity, which the IRB disagreed with. Interesting read on this matter!
Yinson Holdings Bhd has signed firm contracts with Petroleo Brasileiro SA (Petrobras), the Brazilian state-owned oil and gas company for the charter, operations and maintenance of FPSO Maria Quiteria - a floating, production, storage and offloading vessel. The estimated aggregate value of the contracts is USD5.2 bil for a contract period of 22.5 years. This is Yinson’s second project award from Petrobras and its third project award in Brazil. Yinson’s market cap stands at RM6.24 bil.
Razorpay, a digital payments and financial services unicorn from India, has acquired a majority stake in Malaysia-based fintech firm, Curlec., marking its first international acquisition. The acquisition values the company around USD19-20 mil, and Razorpay will be buying a 100% stake in Curlec in the next 12-18 months.
Founded in 2018, Curlec offers a platform for recurring payments and claims to be working with businesses such as AXA, Axiata Digital amongst others in Malaysia and its revenue has 5x since 2018. In December, Razorpay had raised USD375 mil in its Series F round, valuing it at USD7.5 bil.
YTL Power International Bhd is disposing of its entire 33.5% equity stake in Australia’s ElectraNet Pty Ltd to Australian Utilities Pty Ltd for AUD1.03 bil (RM3.06 bil), realising gains from a 2-decade old investment. The company invested AUD58.5 mil (RM122.9 mil) in ElectraNet in 2000 and will recognise a gain of RM2.21 bil.
YTL Power will utilise the proceeds for future investments (sorry shareholders, no mentioning of special dividends). ElectraNet operates the high voltage electricity transmission system throughout South Australia under a 200-year exclusive lease granted by the state government. YTL Power’s market cap stands at RM4.89 bil — the gains from this investment alone constitute 45.2% of its market cap.
5. AROUND THE WORLD 🌎
The British energy major, BP, reported a massive upswing in full-year net profit of USD12.8 bil, its highest in eight years. The result is supported by soaring commodity prices. It comes at a time when millions of UK households are facing a record-breaking increase in their energy bills — a 54% increase to its price cap from April.
Would you be able to identify if music is made with artificial intelligence? Apple acquired a start-up called AI Music that uses artificial intelligence to generate tailor-made music. AI Music can create soundtracks using royalty-free music and artificial intelligence. We’re unsure how the acquisition could fit into Apple’s playbook, but possibly from a gaming angle (think Apple Arcade) — soundtracks for games.
Kurly Corp., the maker of a Korean mobile app for delivering fresh groceries, is seeking to raise about USD1 billion in its initial public offering. The IPO could value the company behind the Market Kurly app between USD4 bil to USD6 bil. Kurly has attracted a total of nearly USD834 mil in private fundraising ahead of its IPO.
Canada's prime minister Justin Trudeau wants the protest by truckers that has paralysed the capital Ottawa to stop. Up to 500 trucks have gridlocked Ottawa for nearly two weeks and a state of emergency has been declared in the city since Sunday. Lorry drivers have been rallying against Canada's Covid vaccine rules.
French President Emmanuel Macron has told reporters that President Vladimir Putin assured him that Russian forces would not escalate the situation any further. Macron also met with Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky and mentioned that any resolution to the crisis could take months.
Facebook-backed cryptocurrency, Diem (previously known as Libra), is dead in the water. The Diem Association has sold its assets to crypto bank Silvergate Capital for USD182 million. Silvergate intends to launch its own stablecoin later this year.
The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) official wrote an article stating cross-border securities trading is off-limits and such activities should be labelled “illegal.” China has been tightening controls and is unhappy to see millions of Chinese investors evade capital controls to trade shares in markets such as Hong Kong and New York.
Nvidia’s planned acquisition of Arm from SoftBank fell through because of significant regulatory challenges. The deal originated back in 2020 and had a value at the time of USD40 bil in Nvidia stock and cash. SoftBank said Arm will now prepare for a public offering within the fiscal year ending March 31, 2023. Rene Haas will be the new CEO with immediate effect.
The University of Edinburgh researchers said people with high blood pressure who take paracetamol (e.g. Panadol) on prescription could be increasing their risk of heart attacks and strokes. The study tracked 110 volunteers, two-thirds of whom were taking drugs for high blood pressure or hypertension.
6. FOR YOUR VIEWING PLEASURE 👁👁
The 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics big air jump venue sticks out like a sore thumb.
The new Alfa Romeo Tonale, comes with petrol and diesel front-drive, and a powerful PHEV with electric drive to the rear wheels, totalling 275bhp.
Motorcyclists in Penang could not cross the bridge yesterday evening due to strong winds.