Discover more from The Coffee Break
☕️ Good Vibes Festival - what happened so far
7-E Malaysia sells Caring Pharma to BIG Pharma in RM850 mil deal. Domestic Trade and Cost of Living Minister Salahuddin Ayub passed away. Explained: The strange case of the delayed US recession.
1. NUMBERS AT A GLANCE 🔢
7 out of 10 Malaysian consumers are actively using contactless card payments, according to global card issuer Visa Inc., signalling the consumers’ change in attitude and behaviour to such systems. Compared to 2019, only 3 in 10 Visa transactions were contactless payments. Will Malaysia be a cashless society by 2030?
Japan’s ambitious 10 tril yen (USD71 bil) university endowment fund has faced a challenging beginning, reporting a deficit of 60.4 bil yen (approximately USD420 mil) for its first full fiscal year ending in March. Launched in 2022, the fund's primary objective is to provide financial support to Japanese universities, aiming to elevate their global rankings and enhance their standing on the world stage. The fund aims to achieve an investment target of 4.49% annually to generate returns that can be used to provide financial support to students, maintain research facilities, and pay salaries to professors, similar to practices in European and U.S. universities with endowments. Harvard University’s endowment alone has USD50.1 bil in assets as of June 2022.
By the end of 2022, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) had granted tax incentives to approximately 1,100 single-family offices (SFOs), a notable increase from the 700 SFOs that received such incentives by the end of 2021. The tax incentives aim to attract and encourage more SFOs to establish their operations in Singapore and contribute more to environmental and social causes as well as jobs in the country.
Read: What is a Family Office and do you need one?
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3. IN MALAYSIA 🇲🇾
Bad Vibes Festival cancelled after controversial acts from the frontman of 1975
The frontman of the famous British band 1975, Matty Healy, ruined the weekend for the festival goers. Healy went on a tirade on how he almost cancelled the show because he was upset about the country’s discrimination against the LBGTQIA+ community and topped it off with a kiss to his bandmate. At the start of the band’s performance, Healy also spat and destroyed a drone. He was believed to be intoxicated during the performance.
The band’s performance got cut short after the kiss and netizens had a very busy Saturday on social media. On Saturday, Communications and Digital Minister Fahmi Fadzil ordered the immediate cancellation of the Good Vibes Festival 2023, which was supposed to last until Sunday. He emphasised that the Unity Government's position is firm, and there will be no compromise with any party that challenges, belittles, or violates Malaysian laws. Fahmi ordered the organiser to compensate the ticket buyers due to the cancellation. The band has been blacklisted from performing in Malaysia.
The kicker — the central committee for the application for filming and performance by foreign artists (JK-PUSPAL) rejected 1975’s performance for Good Vibes back in June. However, the organisers pleaded with JK-PUSPAL for the band to perform as the band’s team promised they would comply with the guidelines. After absconding from the country via an early flight to Singapore, the band also cancelled its shows at Indonesia’s We The Fest and Taipei.
This is potentially the nail to the coffin of the industry, which has been struggling for a rebound since the Covid-19 pandemic. Will the highly sought-after Coldplay concert suffer the same fate?
And it’s not fake news, the kiss did happen [NFSW!] here.
How to solve the plight of p-hailing workers? Form a committee with a RM1 mil budget
PM Anwar Ibrahim announced that the committee will serve as a platform to express the views and concerns of p-hailing riders, allowing the government to address their needs and issues. Additionally, he expressed his intention to hold meetings with p-hailing companies like Foodpanda and Grab to address the issue of low pay faced by p-hailing riders.
State elections update
BN to contest in 108 seats
BN chairman Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi announced that the coalition will contest 108 state seats in the upcoming elections. Zahid said 63% of the candidates are new faces, 18% are incumbents and the remaining are those who have contested before.
MUDA will be contesting 20 seats in the state elections. 50% of the candidates are women, as announced by the party’s president Syed Saddiq. UK-trained lawyer and climate change advocate Abe Lim will be battling for MUDA in the urban Bandar Utama seat in Selangor — it is PKR’s stronghold, with 91% of votes in the previous election. Meanwhile, Iswan Ishak will be contesting in Repah in Negeri Sembilan, but netizens have shared an unfavourable video of him, making light of disabled people.
PKR is also fielding a questionable candidate for the Kota Anggerik seat — Najwan Halimi. Najwan was caught saying a racist slur against another candidate in a group chat a few weeks back.
The former prime minister also hopes that Perikatan Nasional (PN) takes a clean sweep of all six states in the coming election. Also, if you think you have seen everything, you have not - Tun M donning PAS’ uniform.
Vincent Tan’s 7-Eleven Malaysia Holdings Bhd has agreed to sell its 75% stake in Caring Pharmacy Group Bhd to BIG Pharmacy Healthcare Sdn Bhd for RM637.5 mil. BIG Pharmacy is also acquiring the remaining 25% stake in Caring from Motivasi Optima Sdn Bhd, which includes Caring's founder and managing director, Chong Yeow Siang. The Edge had earlier reported that BIG Pharmacy, with the backing of local private equity firm Creador, was acquiring Caring in a deal valued at approximately RM900 mil. However, the final agreement reached was for a lower amount of RM850 mil.
Logistics service provider KGW Group Bhd’s initial public offering (IPO) was oversubscribed by 50.45 times, with 11,329 applications received for 1.24 bil issue shares, valued at RM260.81 mil, from the Malaysian public. KGW Group Bhd is expected to be listed on the Ace Market of Bursa Malaysia on August 1, 2023.
Domestic Trade and Cost of Living Minister and MP of Pulai Salahuddin Ayub passed away last night. The minister was rushed to the hospital after doctors detected that he had a brain haemorrhage. He had undergone surgery and was said to be in stable condition on Sunday morning — condolences to the family.
Police are investigating an alleged bomb threat against lawyer-activist Siti Kasim after she found two suspicious objects, believed to be an improvised explosive device (IED), underneath her car in Kuala Lumpur. Kasim noticed the suspicious objects after sending her car to a workshop.
A 25m stretch of road between Forest City and the Tanjung Pelepas highway collapsed on Sunday (July 23). Fortunately, no injuries were reported from the incident. The developer, Country Garden Pacificview Sdn Bhd (CGPV), assured that a thorough inspection of the entire bridge would be carried out.
4. AROUND THE WORLD 🌎
The strange case of the delayed US recession
Aggressive rate hikes, more often than not, are followed by a recession. Higher interest rates mean a higher interest burden, shrinking profit margins, a slowing economy and layoffs. Going as far back as 1975, corporate net interest payments would rise as the Federal Reserve raised rates.
However, this time it’s different. As the Fed raised rates over the past 15 months, corporate net interest payments actually fell by 25%. Societe Generale explained that this is due to timely moves by corporations during the period of near-zero interest rates, as corporations took advantage to refinance a significant portion of their liabilities into long-term, low-rate and especially fixed debt. Bank of America found that the debt composition of S&P 500 companies consists of a whopping 76% long-term, fixed debt. This means a lack of profit decline did not call for mass layoffs that would have dented the economy.
Most of these debts will mature in 2025 and beyond, so it’s left to be seen if this is a case of kicking the can down the road. Who knows, interest rates would be lower by then, staving off the risk of recession.
Indonesia arrested 12 over organ trafficking
Indonesian authorities have arrested 12 people, including a policeman and an immigration officer, accused of trafficking 122 people to Cambodia to sell their kidneys. There were accused of recruiting people across Indonesia through social media and sending them to Cambodia for kidney transplant surgery. The victims, who mostly lost their jobs during the pandemic, were promised IDR135 mil (RM40.9k) each. Organ trafficking is said to account for roughly 5-10% of all kidney transplants performed in the world.
Read: 9 body parts you can sell for a profit (2012)
For a Russian oligarch, It’s good to be friends with Richard Branson
The UK government announced that Oleg Tinkov, the founder of digital bank Tinkoff Bank, has been removed from the sanctions list. The Russian businessman has been an outspoken critic, describing the war in Ukraine as “crazy” and labelled anybody who supported it as a “moron”. He also renounced his Russian citizenship in late 2022.
Tinkov’s appeal against the UK sanctions was endorsed by Virgin founder and billionaire Richard Branson, who wrote a letter of support for Tinkov’s legal appeal, saying that he has known Tinkov for the past two decades. Tinkov lost more than USD5 bil and his billionaire status just days after Russia invaded Ukraine.
Not so fortunate for another Russian tycoon Sergei Naumenko, a property developer, who has failed to get back his GBP38 mil (RM48.8 mil) superyacht. The court rejected his challenge, saying that the state has a “broad margin of discretion” in pursuit of foreign policy aims. Interestingly, he was not sanctioned by the UK but fitted with the criteria of a person “connected with Russia”.
YouTuber Jimmy Donaldson (aka Mr Beast) is ramping up his chocolate war with Hershey’s. He launched his own chocolate brand, Feastables, last year and is expected to be stocked in as many as 50,000 locations by year. The Hershey Company, the maker of Reese’s and Hershey’s Kisses, generated USD10.74 bil revenue in 2022 and is trading at a market cap of USD50.41 bil. MrBeast doesn’t have such financial firepower but has 169 mil YouTube followers to capitalise on.
The high-interest rate environment ain’t stopping private equity firm CVC Capital Partners from successfully raising the world’s biggest-ever buyout fund of EUR26 bil (RM131.3 bil). CVC is one of the world’s largest PE firms with EUR140 bil assets under management.
The firm has been rather active in the Malaysian scene, snapping up Affin Hwang Asset Management Bhd last year. Other notable deals in Malaysia: QSR Brands Holdings (KFC, Pizza Hut operator), Munchy’s, Nirvana Asia. See its complete portfolio here.
Amazon will invest USD120 mil to build a satellite construction facility at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in its bid to challenge Elon Musk’s Starlink. Known as “Project Kuiper”, it will provide fast broadband to unserved and underserved communities around the world.
5. FOR YOUR EYES 📺
Lionel Messi made an incredible debut for Inter Miami, scoring the winning goal in the very last minute (literally) of the match.
Malaysia covered in snow - generated by AI. As much as it looks beautiful, the world and the climate have gone to sh*t if this happens. This gives 2012 movie vibes.