Discover more from The Coffee Break
☕️ Capital A's founder Tony Fernandes ready to step down, starts succession planning
Swiss authorities charged 2 individuals for stealing USD1.8 bil from 1MDB. Report: Islamophobic bias in the US cools down for the first time in >2 decades WeWork is worth <1% of its peak value today.
1. MARKET SUMMARY 📈
2. NUMBERS AT A GLANCE 🔢
USD225.9 mil (RM1.01 bil) — the total compensation of Google parent Alphabet Inc CEO Sundar Pichai in 2022, 808.1 times the median Alphabet employee pay of USD279,802, according to the company’s security filing. His annual base salary is just USD2 mil. About 96% or USD218 mil of his total compensation was stock grant and the remaining USD5.9 mil was for his personal security — it cost USD500k a month to protect the CEO of Alphabet.
RM6.4 bil — the estimated value of gold exports of Malaysia in 2023, flattish year-on-year, according to Penang Goldsmith Association (PGA). In 2022, the nation exported RM6.4 bil worth of gold, up by one-third from RM4.8 bil in 2021. About 80% of Malaysian gold jewellery exports come from Penang-based manufacturers and exporters. The top buyers of Malaysian gold in 2022 were Singapore, UAE, Australia, Canada, Japan and Hong Kong.
Islamophobic bias in the US is appearing to cool down for the first time in more than two decades, according to a report from Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organisation. The organisation received a total of 5,156 total complaints in 2022, down 23% from the previous year. This is the first recorded decline since the data started tracking in 1995. This is attributed to a change in administration and the fallout of the Jan 6 insurrection in 2021. A 32% increase in total complaints was received in the first year of the Trump presidency.
View report: 2023 CAIR Civil Rights Report: Progress in the Shadow of Prejudice
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In collaboration with arteesan
“Wheels Rhapsody” is a stunning and heartfelt collection of 10 award-winning watercolour paintings by the renowned artist Lok Kerk Hwang, AWS. This online exhibition reveals Lok's keen eye for finding beauty in the seemingly mundane and ordinary aspects of everyday life.
If you are an art collector — something for you to add to your collection. Limited to just 10 Hahnemühle German Etching Giclée prints, each work comes with an RFID+NFT Certificate of Authentication, providing collectors with a truly unique and valuable investment opportunity in Lok's extraordinary artistic journey - check out the collection here.
3. IN MALAYSIA 🇲🇾
Declassified Australian report backs most of the findings in the Malaysian report related to the 1976 Double Six crash
Declassified Australian Government Aircraft Factories’ (GAF) report basically supported the findings of the Malaysian team that the plane’s rear was overloaded due to the fact the loading of the luggage was supervised by an unqualified co-pilot that did not correctly weigh the baggage. Apart from that, similar to the Malaysian report, the pilot, Gandhi Nathan, was partly blamed for the crash as he was not skilled enough to fly the Nomad aircraft and only managed to become the pilot for the airline due to his best bud and former general manager of Sabah Air, Captain Wahab.
However, one finding from the Australian report that contradicted the Malaysian version was that the airline did submit an operating manual. Still, the Civil Aviation Department (CAD) did not fulfil its role in ensuring Sabah Air complied with its operational obligations. In the Malaysian report, CAD claimed that Sabah Air did not apply for approval to operate the Nomad aircraft.
Penang South Island (PSI) reclamation project is a go
The Department of Environment (DOE) approved PSI’s Environment Impact Assessment (EIA), given that the project complies with 71 conditions that include implementing a social impact management plan and an ecology offset master plan. The artificial islands will cover a land area of 1,821 hectares, equivalent to 2,550 football fields. Visit the project’s website here to learn more.
According to Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow, the 71 conditions will be addressed in the upcoming environmental management plan (EMP). Once the EMP is green-lighted soon, then the project can actually start, which is predicted to commence by Q32023. Previously, the first EIA of the project was torpedoed by the local fishermen, supported by former Permatang Pauh MP Nurul Izzah Anwar, due to fear that the island reclamation project would negatively impact the livelihood of the fishermen.
Hopefully, they will make the newly reclaimed islands a bit higher than the surrounding lands considering that a huge part of the Penang coast will be underwater by 2100. Penang Green Council (PGC) predicted that low-lying areas in Seberang Perai could be underwater by 2100. Alternatively, Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM)’s Professor Datuk Dr Zulfigar Yasin made a bolder claim and stated that Kepala Batas and Juru could be a part of the sea in the next 10 years.
Spotlight on court cases
The authorities in Switzerland charged two executives that were allegedly involved in using a joint venture (JV) with PetroSaudi, backed by ‘fake’ USD2.7bil in assets, as a front to steal USD1.8 bil from 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB). According to The Edge, the duo are likely to have been PetroSaudi International executives Tarek Obaid and Patrick Mahony.
The Court of Appeal made a landmark decision that states the number forecast totalisator (NFT - but not Non-Fungible Token) is not a lottery but a regulated form of gambling, governed by the Racing (Totalisator Board) Act 1961. Due to the court’s decision, an NFT operator Superole Sdn Bhd was awarded RM1.2 mil by the court as previously; a legality confusion issue led to a few Telelink agents withholding payments to Superole.
The engineering arm of Capital A Bhd, Asia Digital Engineering (ADE), managed to secure an RM466 mil investment from OCP Asia Ltd for the expansion of ADE’s maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) business, including the construction of a new 14-line aircraft maintenance hangar facility in Sepang. According to Capital A CEO Tony Fernandes, the new hangar facility will be completed by Q3 2024.
Speaking of Tony Fernandes, he is now preparing to step down from the limelight and is currently looking for new leaders to replace him. Anyone interested can quickly submit your resume to him.
Sabah state-owned SMJ Sdn Bhd had purchased a 25% stake in Petronas Chemicals Fertiliser Sabah Sdn Bhd (PCFS) from Petronas Chemicals Group Bhd (PCG) for an eye-watering RM1.25 bil. PCFS is an entity that constructs, owns and operates an integrated ammonia and urea plant in Sipitang Oil and Gas Industrial Park, Sabah.
Tokio Marine Holdings is mulling over the sale of its life insurance business in Southeast Asia which includes its Malaysian unit in a deal worth about RM4.45bil. The company prefers the buyer to purchase its assets in entirety, but it is also open to a piecemeal deal.
4. AROUND THE WORLD 🌎
On terrorism: ISIS leader killed, US fined by Iran for ‘creating and guiding’ ISIS
The senior ISIS leader behind the deadly Kabul airport bombing attack in Aug 2021 that left 170 Afghans and 13 US service members dead during the chaotic withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan has been killed by Taliban fighters. The ISIS leader, whose identity has not been released yet, was killed in early April as the Taliban conducted a series of operations against the group. There are about 4,000 members of the Afghanistan-based offshoot of ISIS, which the Taliban considers its bitter enemy and top military threat.
An Iranian court has ruled that the US government and a few individuals and entities, including former president Barack Obama, George W. Bush, American Airlines, and Lockheed Martin, must pay compensation of USD313 mil for the June 2017 attacks in Tehran that saw its Parliament getting attack during daylight that killed 17 people. How is the US blamed for this? Not directly though, as the court found the US & Co. responsible for “organising and guiding terrorist groups”. The judiciary also acknowledged that this is also a response to numerous US court orders over the years that blamed Iran for “terrorist” assaults.
Learn more about the fraught US-Iran relationship here.
Tech quarterly earnings
Microsoft Q3 FY2023: Revenue up 7% YoY to USD52.9 bil, net income of USD18.3 bil, up 9% YoY.
The tech giant attributed the growth in sales boosted by AI-powered products. Bing now has 100 mil daily active users, and Teams has over 300 mil monthly active users.
Alphabet Q1 FY2023: Revenue up 3% YoY to USD69.8 bil, net income of USD15.1 bil, down 8.4% YoY.
Google Search still contributes the lion's share of Alphabet’s revenue at 57.8% (USD40.4 bil). YouTube contributed YSD6.69 bil to revenue. The board authorised a share buyback of USD70 bil.
Spotify Q1 FY2023: Revenue up 13% YoY to EUR3.04 bil (USD3.36 bil), operating loss increased to EUR156 mil (USD172.3 mil), up 25x from EUR6 mil YoY.
Monthly active users surpassed the 500 mil threshold for the first time at 515 mil. 40.8% or 210 mil users are paid or premium subscribers.
Venture Capitalists formed an alliance to save the climate
A coalition of more than 20 venture capital firms launched the Venture Capital Alliance (VCA) to increase its commitment towards climate tech. The alliance, which includes renowned firms like Tiger Global and Union Square Ventures, managed a combined USD62.3 bil in assets. The alliance will lay out guidance that its members and their portfolio companies must follow to ensure they meet their green objectives, such as decarbonising operations, using less-energy intensive software, rebuilding supply chain etc.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky took to Twitter to announce that he had a “long and meaningful” phone call with China’s President Xi Jinping for the first time since the War began. Until now, Beijing has sought to show a neutral stance on the Russian invasion. It earlier proposed a 12-point peace plan - that didn’t seem to result in any progress in the conflict.
iSpace, the Japan-based space company, hopes to be the first to pull off the first private lunar landing successfully. However, that dream was crushed as its lunar lander crashed into the moon. Earlier attempts by private companies from Israel and India failed too. Only the US, Russia and China have managed to put a rover on the lunar surface, all through government-sponsored programmes.
Remember the once-hot WeWork? The company announced it is in danger of being delisted as the stock has traded below USD1 for so long. At its peak, the company was valued at USD47 bil. Now, its market cap is USD345.7 mil, about 99% of its value wiped out. The biggest losers? Investors and SoftBank, which owns about 62% of the company. The winner? WeWork founder Adam Neumann - he exited the company in 2021 with an exit package of USD445 mil and moved on to raise USD350 mil for his new real estate startup, Flow.
How did WeWork even hit USD47 bil valuation? It was a sad case of syok sendiri - SoftBank, having invested or burned USD10.65 bil in total; singlehandedly pushed the company’s valuation from USD16.95 bil to that point in various fundraising rounds.
Read: Why WeWork went wrong
5. FOR YOUR EYES 📺
After eight years, James Corden’s Carpool Karaoke comes to an end. The finale featured Adele — she’s the one doing the driving this time.
Boxing legend the late Muhammad Ali KOed by a kid