Discover more from The Coffee Break
☕️ Grab spent USD1.78 bil on consumers, drivers and merchant-partners incentives in 2021
Most govt buildings post-2017 can withstand magnitude 5 earthquake. Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich to sell Chelsea, donate proceeds to Ukrainians. Farm Fresh IPO - to apply or not to apply?
1. MARKET SUMMARY
2. NUMBERS AT A GLANCE
RM203.6 mil has been paid by the Health Ministry to the frontliners under Budget 2022 special financial assistance for civil servants and frontliners. 290,892 frontliners were enumerated. That’s a paltry RM700 per person.
2021 was a hot year for global prime real estate. According to Knight Frank’s The Wealth Report 2022, its prime international residential index, which benchmarks 100 markets worldwide, saw record performance with an 8.4% growth year-on-year on average. For FY2022, the panellists foresee the prices to continue to rise across most markets.
The 512-foot yacht Dilbar, valued at nearly USD600 million, owned by Russian billionaire Alisher Usmanov — has been seized by German authorities in the northern city of Hamburg. The size of its crew is more than the number of employees in SMEs in Malaysia — 96 people are required to operate the yacht.
3. COVID-19 SUMMARY
The Sinovac vaccine for Covid-19 has been approved by the Drug Control Authority (DCA) for children aged five to 11, according to Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah.
The Malaysian government spent an estimated RM4.72 bil for the national immunisation programme. As a result, 88.1 million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine were ordered. That’s an average of RM53 per dose.
The health ministry has set the deadline of Mar 31, 2022, for Sinovac primary vaccine recipients to get a Covid-19 booster dose to retain their fully vaccinated status.
A simple flow chart by the Malay Mail on what to do if you are tested positive for the C - Covid-19.
Understanding tech pays high dividends. Learning to code turns you from consumer to creator. Zero to Market teaches you to build custom websites in 30 days.
The Coffee Break readers get RM600 off with coupon code: ‘CREMA’. The workshop starts on March 28th, 2022! Book a spot now!
4. IN MALAYSIA 🇲🇾
Finance Minister Tengku Zafrul rebutted former PM Najib Razak’s claims that 1MDB has not been paid yet as “baseless” as the principal will only mature later between 2022 to 2039. The government has repaid RM13.3 bil of 1MDB’s debts so far with a balance of RM38.81 bil outstanding consisting of RM32.3 bil principal and RM6.5 bil interest.
Responding to MP Ram Karpal Singh on whether the investigation against the share controversy of MACC chief commissioner Azam Baki is still ongoing, Home Minister Hamzah Zainudin replied that the investigation is still continuing despite the Securities Commission (SC) closing the case and the ministry will not comment on this case as not to interfere with the probe.
Most of the new government buildings designed after 2017 are ready to withstand earthquakes, according to Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) Engineering Seismology and Earthquake Engineering Research group leader Prof Dr Azlan Adnan. He and his research team produced the building design standard requested by the government that can withstand earthquakes and has factored for a 5-magnitude earthquake to occur in its standard.
We are writing in fear now, as we are wondering whether the beams above us and the pillar on our left is earthquake-proof. Would be grateful if any engineers are able to point out to us if any civilian buildings in Malaysia adhere to earthquake standards.
The Kuala Lumpur High Court threw out former PM Najib Razak and former Treasury secretary-general Mohd Irwan Serigar Abdullah’s application to be given a discharge not amount to an acquittal (DNAA) on six counts of criminal breach of trust (CBT) amounting to RM6.6 bil involving the International Petroleum Investment Company (IPIC), another 1MDB-related case.
We covered below on DNAA in our 21 Feb issue:
‘So is one guilty under a DNAA? In Malaysia, one can’t be charged twice for the same crime (this is called double jeopardy) if the court has decided on the case. Asking for a DNAA allows the prosecutor to charge the accused again in the future should there be new evidence. So they are not entirely off the hook yet. An interesting and short explanation here by AskLegal.my’
In this IPIC case, the judge dismissed their application on the grounds that the prosecution was ready for the trial. Najib and Irwan applied for this DNAA on the basis that they were charged in 2018 but had not been tried until now. Following their logic, not being tried is equal to innocence.
The government through the Energy and Natural Resources Ministry has proposed amendments to the National Forestry Act 1984 to increase penalties for a range of damages involving forest reserves. Illegal logging involving the counterfeiting, marking, defacing trees or altering forest boundaries will be sentenced to a jail term of not less than five years (from 1 year) to a max of 20 years, including a RM1 mil (from RM500k) fine.
The following are other offences involving forest reserves that get one into jail:
Possession, custody or control of any forest produce whose removal done without payment of royalty, premium or other charges.
Starting fires or leaves fires burning within a permanent reserved forest in such a manner as to endanger the area.
Trespassing, grazing livestock, damaging trees, including hunting or setting traps in forest reserves without authorisation
BNM has maintained its overnight policy rate (OPR) at 1.75%. The OPR has stayed at an all-time low of 1.75% since Jul 7, 2020, after it was cut from 2% as a response to fight the Covid-19 pandemic.
Capital A Bhd backed fintech company BigPay has unveiled its first personal loan facility that is currently available to selected users and will be progressively rolled out. The company is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Capital A and holds a digital money lending license. Now everyone can borrow! [Capital A Bhd f.k.a. AirAsia Group Bhd]
Like what you’ve read so far?
5. AROUND THE WORLD 🌎
How far have Russian troops advanced? Russian forces have taken control of Kherson in the south — the first major city to fall. Should more southern cities fall into the hands of Russia, Ukrainian forces could be cut off from the sea. The number of people fleeing Ukraine has reached one million.
Senior Chinese officials told senior Russian officials in early February not to invade Ukraine before the end of the Winter Olympics in Beijing, according to Western intelligence. The timeline seems to check out — the Olympics ended on Feb 20, 2022, and Russia began its invasion on Feb 24, 2022. Liu Pengyu, the Chinese Embassy spokesman in Washington, said these claims are speculation without any basis and intended to smear China.
No SWIFT? No worries. Russia moved to SPFS, Financial Message Transfer System of the Bank of Russia. The SPFS has existed for over six years now, but it was restricted to domestic bank users. The network has 399 members and will be open to mostly Belarusian banks. The only problem is that not many countries’ banks would want to join SPFS, fearing they would be kicked off SWIFT.
Grab Holdings Inc. reported a net loss of USD1.1 bil for the quarter ended Dec 31, 2021 — bringing a total loss of USD3.6 bil for FY2021 on revenue of USD675 mil. Grab has racked up losses since its founding and has yet to prove it can reach profitability. Its shares have lost about half their since the IPO in Dec 2021. No clue of when will Grab be profitable. Grab’s current market cap stands at USD14.3 bil. Its share price debuted at USD13.05 and currently trading at USD3.74 — a 71.3% loss had you invested since its listing in Dec 2021.
One part of the report caught our attention — “Incentives”, covering those subsidies and freebies we often get. In 2021, this amount came up to USD1.06 bil, up 72.9% from USD615.7 mil in 2021 (gotta thank Grab for subsidising our lifestyle - HOTDEALSGF, anyone?). Including incentives for its drivers and merchant partners, 2021 incentives totalled USD1.78 bil (that’s RM7.45 bil).
See its Q4 2021 and FY2021 earnings presentation deck here.
Japan-based e-commerce and fintech titan – Rakuten Group, Inc. has dipped its toes into the non-fungible token (NFT) space by announcing the launch of its non-fungible token (NFT) marketplace and sales platform Rakuten NFT. Only Japanese-themed NFT assets as being available at launch. By 2023, the platform aims to offer a service for peer-to-peer issuing and selling of NFT content.
Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell backed a 25 basis point interest-rate hike this month, despite uncertainty caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. In fact, near-term hikes might be higher should inflation remain stubbornly high. Fed officials are pivoting to tackle the fastest inflation in 40 years. However, Powell expects inflation to decline over the course of the year. With Brent oil prices soaring past USD110 per barrel, inflation could remain high.
Russian businessman Roman Abramovich said he had decided to sell Chelsea Football Club and channel the proceeds from the sale to help victims of the war in Ukraine. Abramovich said he would not ask for loans he has made to the club to be repaid to him — reported to total £1.5 billion (USD2 billion). He bought the club in 2003 for just £140million. Forbes valued the team at £2.4billion in April 2021.
Melinda French Gates sat down for an interview with CBS Mornings’ Gayle King to speak about her high profile divorce last year. She said, “I realised it just wasn’t healthy and I couldn’t trust what we had.” She described feeling angry in the aftermath of their marriage.
6. FOR YOUR VIEWING PLEASURE 👁👁
If you are thinking to apply for Farm Fresh Bhd’s IPO (seems like many people are), watch this quick run through by The FAQ Show (pronounced as you know what), a spin-off by our market data provider, Mr Money.
Kungfu Panda in real life.
The fraught history Russia-Ukraine relationship.