- The Coffee Break
- ☕️ Bersih considering another protest over Najib's 'discount'
☕️ Bersih considering another protest over Najib's 'discount'
BNM: USDMYR 6.24 on Google was a glitch. WeWork cofounder wants to buy back the bankrupt company. Boycott effective - McDonald’s reported disappointing sales.
1. MARKET SUMMARY 📈
Information as of 0740 UTC+8 on Feb 7, 2024.
2. NUMBERS AT A GLANCE 🔢
The Department of Statistics Malaysia (DOSM) has reported an increase in the number of individuals aged 15 and above who have never been married. The figure has risen from 3.08 mil in 1970 to 8.39 mil in 2020. However, due to population growth over the years, the percentage of single individuals in relation to the country's population has decreased. In 1970, for example, 53.6% of the population aged 15 and above were single. This figure has decreased to 34.01% in 2020. The report shows that in 2020, 4.87 mil males and 3.52 mil females were single. Time to start a match-making business!
What’s a good indication of a successful cloud kitchen? Maybe it’s how many virtual brands or storefronts one can run. This pizzeria in San Francisco runs as many as 76 stores in a single address, serving burgers, cheesesteaks, sandwiches, shawarma and chicken wings. In many cases, different brands can operate from the same kitchen because they use ingredients and cooking equipment that can be shared among dishes. Food delivery platforms such as DoorDash and UberEats are clamping down on these virtual brands that have been cluttering their apps.
Here’s how to make some pocket money — catch some rats. DBKL conducted the Rat Campaign whereby RM3 was given per rat caught in the markets around KL. In 2023, 65,820 rats were caught as part of the effort to keep the city clean. However, no breakdown was given on how much was paid out under the Rat Campaign. What’s impressive is how DBKL keeps track of the number of rats it caught. Another way to make money? Avoid topping your TNG eWallet using a credit card, as a 1% fee will be imposed on reloads from 23 Feb 2024. You are still technically making money here — every dollar saved is a dollar earned. According to Rosmah, by inculcating a good savings habit, one can afford jewellery and dresses.
3. IN MALAYSIA 🇲🇾
Protecting our youth: Tackling TikTok's hidden dangers head-on 🚨
Dahlia's decision to allow her 13-year-old daughter to join TikTok ended in distress when the girl received inappropriate messages from a male stranger. Despite TikTok's age guidelines, many underage users exist, prompting the Malaysian government to consider legal action akin to the EU's EUR345 mil fine against TikTok for privacy breaches.
The Communications Minister Fahmi Fadzil highlights observations of primary school children (below 13 years old) with TikTok accounts, prompting calls for monitoring online activities. Discussions with TikTok management are sought to enforce guidelines as the TikTok community guidelines explicitly state that users must be 13 years or older to have an account. Legal actions against TikTok are also contemplated pending discussions with the Attorney-General.
Bersih protests Najib's sentence reduction: Fighting for justice! 📢✊
Bersih, the electoral watchdog, contemplates a potential street protest in response to the decision by the Pardons Board to halve Najib's jail time and decrease his fine. Bersih expresses concerns about the impact on public perception of the judiciary. The group plans to address this matter in a forthcoming press conference, collaborating with civil society organisations, student groups, and youth activists. Bersih highlights the significance of previous public demonstrations in holding leaders accountable for corruption, citing Najib's conviction in the RM42 mil SRC International case as a result of collective anti-graft efforts. Despite ongoing legal proceedings against Najib and his wife, Rosmah Mansor, including charges related to 1MDB, Bersih remains vigilant in advocating for transparency and accountability in governance.
Did you participate in any of the previous Bersih protests?
Shah Alam Stadium set for demolition by mid-2025, signals redevelopment start
Selangor Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Amirudin Shari announced the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between MBI Selangor and MRCB, marking the beginning of the physical works for Shah Alam Stadium's redevelopment. The demolition process, slated to begin with hoarding installation and structure dismantling, is projected to conclude by mid-2025. MRCB, appointed for the project, will communicate mitigation measures to address community concerns. The redevelopment aims to transform the site into the state-of-the-art Shah Alam Sports Complex (SASC), covering an area of 69.53 hectares. The cost? Between RM800 - 900 mil.
Hartalega's glove game: Profit rebound amid industry challenges
Hartalega Holdings Bhd achieved its second consecutive quarterly profit in Q3FY2024, reversing previous losses. Lower raw material costs and operational improvements drove a net profit of RM22.38 mil. Despite a 10% quarterly revenue decline due to lower sales and prices, the company remains upbeat about addressing industry oversupply. Ongoing restructuring aims to mitigate challenges, with completion expected by Q1 2024. Despite pressure on selling prices, Hartalega anticipates demand stabilisation and market recovery by late 2024 or early 2025. Although its share price closed slightly down, it has risen by 72% over the past year, giving it a market cap of RM9.12 bil. View earnings here.
Ringgit rate roulette: Google glitch stunned market!
Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) addressed an error in Google's exchange rate for the ringgit against the US dollar, clarifying that the reported spike to 6.24 was inaccurate. The central bank cites the correct trading range of 4.7480/4.7630 as published on its website, advising the public to avoid relying on unverified sources for currency references.
I’m sorry what the fuck just happened?
— 哈菲择 (@MHaffizJ)
Feb 5, 2024
REDtone bagged RM398.1 mil govt contract for unified communications
REDtone Digital Bhd secured an RM398.1 mil contract from the Malaysian Administrative Modernisation and Management Planning Unit (Mampu) for unified communications solutions. The 60-month MyGovUC 3.0 contract awarded to REDtone Engineering & Network Services Sdn Bhd covers various aspects of government communication. The deal is anticipated to bolster REDtone's future earnings and has no impact on share capital or substantial shareholders' holdings. REDtone's shares surged following the announcement, closing up 5.08% at 93 sen, reflecting investor optimism. Fun fact — His Majesty Sultan Ibrahim is the second largest shareholder of REDtone, with a 17.34% stake. Maybe His Majesty wants to ensure he's always connected.
Former PM Muhyiddin Yassin applied for temporary passport release to attend a Bangkok restaurant opening despite facing money laundering charges. The prosecution opposed it, citing ongoing legal obligations. The hearing coincides with pending court matters on Feb 15. Muhyiddin's passport was surrendered following previous charges, including abuse of power. Not everyone gets a 'get out of court free' card with their airline ticket.
Selangor police officers adhere to a cash limit of RM100 during operations. Chief of Police Selangor Datuk Hussein Omar Khan underscores adherence to established protocols, requiring any excess to be reported beforehand. Ongoing investigations into traffic officers found with over RM3,000 aim to ascertain ownership and potential misconduct. All implicated officers will be on administrative duty until conclusions are reached.
Chief Commissioner of MACC’s Azam Baki revealed that Tan Sri Mokhzani Mahathir and Mirzan Mahathir have not yet declared their assets despite notices issued. The investigation involves Mirzan's business activities related to government-linked companies, while Mokhzani's case is unrelated. Azam mentioned that they might be charged for not completing the asset declarations.
4. AROUND THE WORLD 🌎
G7, EU mull to seize but not seize frozen USD250 bil Russian assets
The Group of 7 and the European Union have long been resisting outright confiscation of the more than USD250 bil of frozen Russian central bank assets in the EU to rebuild Ukraine due to legal concerns and the potential consequences for the stability of the euro. These assets are now held in Belgium and have reportedly generated at least EUR3 bil in interest income.
It is now considering a workaround to serve the same purpose - using these Russian assets as collateral. The West is currently discussing a proposal for Ukraine’s allies to use these assets as collateral to raise debt to finance the reconstruction of Ukraine. Proponents believe that any settlement under international law would find Russia liable to pay for the damage it has caused its neighbour and should Russia reject it, claims could be made on the frozen assets, giving the West some legal grounds in the future for the confiscation.
In separate news, Yandex, also known as the Google of Russia, is exiting its country of origin after its Dutch-based parent company sold the operation in Russia for USD5.2 bil to a consortium of investors, which is believed to be a fraction of Yandex’s market value of USD30 bil in 2021.
Tech news day
WeWork: WeWork cofounder Adam Neumann is trying to pull a Steve Jobs. He’s reportedly in talks with the bankrupt company to discuss buying its assets or providing it with financing. Neumann also formally proposed a USD200 mil debtor-in-possession agreement. His story is similar to that of Apple’s Steve Jobs, who resigned in 1985 to start NeXT. In turn, Apple bought NeXT 11 years later for USD429 mil, marking Jobs's return to the company he founded.
Nvidia: The giant chipmaker shares have soared 40% this year (we are only in the sixth week of the year), adding a staggering USD489 bil to its market cap, which stands now at USD1.7 tril. This appreciation in value is nearly the same as Tesla’s entire market cap and Nvidia is threatening to overtake Amazon and Alphabet to become the third-most valuable US company after Microsoft and Apple. Nvidia commands double the market cap of Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway, although it generated just USD18 bil in revenue last quarter, a fraction of Berkshire’s USD93 bil. Of course, Nvidia is riding on the hot AI boom now.
Spotify: Spotify monthly users passed the 600 mil mark, coming in at 602 mil at the end of 2023, whilst paying subscribers also saw healthy growth of 15% to 236 mil. For the year, Spotify reported EUR13.2 bil in revenue, up EUR11.7 bil year-on-year, though it continued making operating losses of EUR446 mil, an improvement from EUR659 mil from the year before. Despite its success in the music streaming space, the company never reported an annual profit and only occasionally quarterly profits.
View deck: Spotify Shareholder Q4 2023 Updates
Snap: The parent company of Snapchat announced it will be laying off about 10% of its 5,300 global staff. Earlier in 2022, it had laid off about 20% of its staff. The timing of this announcement is interesting - it was announced a day before its quarterly earnings. Seems to be managing investors’ expectations here.
Boycott effective - McDonald’s reported disappointing sales
The fast-food giant reported its first quarterly sales miss in nearly four years due to the weak growth of its international business division. Sales grew just 4% in the fourth quarter, down from 8.8% in the previous quarter and below its annual average. McD’s is amongst several Western companies, including Starbucks and Coca Cola that have seen boycotts against them due to the Israel-Palestine conflict. McD acknowledged the impact of the but blamed it as “misinformation.”
Its business in Malaysia, Indonesia and France has been affected, with the biggest impact felt in the Middle East. McD’s drew criticism after its Israel-based franchisee said it had given away thousands of free meals to members of the Israel military, sparking boycotts. The company relies on a franchise system in which thousands of independent businesses own and operate most of its more than 40,000 stores worldwide.
King Charles III diagnosed with cancer
Buckingham Palace announced that King Charles III has been diagnosed with cancer, although it did not specify which form and will be postponing public-facing duties. The King previously spent three nights in the hospital to undergo treatment for an enlarged prostate, though the palace confirmed that he did not have prostate cancer. PM Rishi Sunak said the King’s cancer was caught early.
Billionaire family seeks to oust Giordano CEO
Hong Kong’s third-richest family, the Cheng family, is seeking to remove Peter Lau as CEO of fashion brand company Giordano International Ltd. following a failed attempt to acquire the company two years ago. The family has about 24.1% of the company and sought to privatise the retailer for about HKD2.56 bil (RM1.5 bil) in 2022. Founded in 1981, Giordano is one of Hong Kong’s largest fashion brands, with 1,798 stores as of mid-2023. The company is expected to report as much as HKD345 mil (RM210 mil) in profit for 2023, up 29% YoY.
5. FOR YOUR EYES 📺
Hari ini meneruskan perbincangan dengan Tun Daim Zainuddin. Mencatur agenda yang jelas bagi memperkasa ekonomi.
Furthering the discussion with Tun Daim Zainuddin today. Charting a clear agenda to strengthen the economy.
— Anwar Ibrahim (@anwaribrahim)
Sep 17, 2018
The beginning of an era?
A chance encounter of an American tourist with 16-year-old Maleesha Kharwa in Mumbai slums has turned her into a supermodel sensation with 442k followers on Instagram (check out her page here) and making her the face of luxury Indian cosmetics brand Forest Essentials.
Talent is equally distributed, but opportunity is not.