- The Coffee Break
- ☕️ Health Minister: No return of MCO, 5-point strategy to address surge in Covid-19 cases
☕️ Health Minister: No return of MCO, 5-point strategy to address surge in Covid-19 cases
RM185k for ONE Musang King. Baskin Robbins MY owners acquires majority stake in layer cake maker Apollo Food Holdings. Vatican approves blessings for same-sex couples but with conditions.
1. MARKET SUMMARY 📈
2. NUMBERS AT A GLANCE 🔢
RM185,000 — the price of a Musang King durian fetched in a charity auction in Raub with bid starting from RM2,000, making it one of the most expensive in the world. The second highest bid during the event was for a Black Thorn durian which fetched RM15,000. Durian runtuh for SMK Sungai Ruan as the proceeds from the bids were donated to the school to improve its infrastructure. On top of that, the school also received RM204,444 from Datuk Ken, chairman of Pahang Durian Traders Association, bringing the total donation to RM404,444 (Chinese people would say not so good feng shui number).
There were 153 initial public offerings (IPOs) so far in 2023 in Southeast Asia’s key stock exchanges - Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam and the Philippines - raising a total of USD5.5 bil, the lowest amount raised in 8 years. However, this is down from a total of 163 in 2022 and below the USD7.6 bil raised. About half of this IPO came from Indonesia, contributing to about 66% of the region’s total amount raised. Indonesia is the fourth-strongest stock exchange globally in 2023, behind China, the US and the UAE. No comments on Malaysia’s Bursa performance. Thanks.
GBP617.8 mil (RM3.67 bil) - the financial impact of footballer injury in the 2022/23 season across the English Premier League, Spanish La Liga, Italian Serie A, German Bundesliga and French Ligue 1 calculated based on wage data. There were 946 reported injuries across Europe’s big 5 leagues, amounting to a 25% reduction from the previous season but in dollar terms, it increased by 27.% from GBP485.2 mil to GBP617.8 mil due to “increased injury severity”. One of the reasons attributed to the rising injury is due to the Winter World Cup in Qatar last year where more games were condensed in the first half of the year ahead of the World Cup. Read: Why are Premier League injuries at a new high?
3. IN MALAYSIA 🇲🇾
Health Ministry unveils five-point strategy amid COVID surgeHealth Minister Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad emphasised no consideration for reinstating movement restrictions like the MCO despite a notable surge in Covid-19 cases. Instead, the Health Ministry introduced a five-point strategy:
Early detection through the Heightened Alert System
Strengthening the Triss system for testing, reporting, and isolating cases
Vigilant monitoring of health facilities and managing high-risk groups
Improved communication via data sharing and enhanced risk communication
Advancements in digital health systems, particularly via MySejahtera and arrangements for Paxlovid treatments. Paxlovid is an antiviral medication used to treat COVID-19 to help reduce the progression to severe COVID-19, which may result in hospitalisation or death.
In related news, Communications Minister Fahmi Fadzil clarified that boosters aren't mandatory, dismissing social media claims. He stated that the government only encouraged people in vulnerable and high-risk groups to take a third booster shot of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Prosecution plans to summon ex-1MDB counsel Jasmine Loo as witness in 1MDB-Tanore trialIn the ongoing 1Malaysia Development Bhd-Tanore (1MDB-Tanore) trial, the prosecution intends to call Jasmine Loo Ai Swan, the troubled fund's former general counsel, as a witness. This decision comes after investigating officer ACP Foo Wei Min's testimony raised potential gaps in evidence. Loo, missing since 2018 but surrendered herself on July 7 to the police, helped identify assets worth over RM93.2 mil purchased using 1MDB funds, and she remains under investigation by various agencies.
Previously, defence counsel Muhammad Shafee Abdullah highlighted Loo's testimony, stating it could either "put a nail in Najib's coffin” or acquit him regarding Tanore’s operations. The trial is set to resume on Jan 2. Exciting new year to look forward to.
Customs seizes RM45 mil Fentanyl haul in KLIA cargo raid, marks first seizureRoyal Malaysian Customs made a significant achievement by seizing a fentanyl haul worth RM45 mil in a KL International Airport (KLIA) cargo raid. This marked the first-ever seizure of this potent drug by the customs, weighing almost 808kg and hidden in 72 containers labelled as fragrance compounds, enough to be used by some 4 mil drug users. The cargo was en route to Dubai from KLIA. Fentanyl is said to be 20-40 times more potent than heroin and 100 times more potent than morphine. He mentioned that the customs conducted 398 operations this year, resulting in the seizure of illicit drugs worth RM295 mil.
Jakim says ok to "Merry Christmas" messages on cakes by Halal certificate holdersJakim (Islamic Development Department of Malaysia) confirmed on Dec 17 that halal certificate holders can inscribe "Merry Christmas" greetings on cakes, after an internal circular sparked concern. Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Religious Affairs) Dr Mohd Na'im Mokhtar highlighted this stance. Sarawak Premier Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg voiced support, saying that it is ridiculous for festive greetings on cakes to become an issue, calling it “stupid” and this would not happen in Sarawak. Jakim also stated that their earlier directive from 2020 regarding non-Islamic festive greetings on products no longer applies.
PMX’s Japan visit brings back RM6.56 bil in potential investmentsDuring the Asean-Japan Commemorative Summit, PM Anwar Ibrahim's Japan visit garnered potential investments valued at RM6.56 bil. Discussions focused on varied sectors like renewable energy, electronics, chemicals, and digital economy. Anwar highlighted increased confidence among Japanese investors in Malaysia and praised local workforce professionalism. Japanese firms, including Rohm Wako in Kota Baru, Kelantan, displayed keen interest in expanding their investments. Anwar assured support for Rohm Wako's proposed expansion, emphasizing prompt government consideration for the initiative.
Scoop Capital acquires majority stake in layer cake maker Apollo Food HoldingsApollo Food Holdings Bhd's controlling shareholder, Keynote Capital Sdn Bhd, is exiting as Scoop Capital Sdn Bhd, owned by the same owners of Baskin-Robbins Malaysia franchisee, buys its entire 51.31% stake for RM238.08 mil in cash at RM5.80 per share, a premium of 7.4% to its last closing price and at a 13.18 price-to-earnings multiple. Scoop Capital is obligated to extend a mandatory takeover offer for the remaining 48.49% stake at the same price but aims to uphold Apollo's Bursa Malaysia listing. Apollo, previously suspended, will resume trading today. The exit of Chiang Heng and Kim Poh, with no clear succession, stirred reports of their intention to divest. Apollo has maintained profitability over the years and pays a healthy dividend yield of more than 4%. The company recorded a net profit of RM9.95 million for 2QFY2024 and RM17.59 mil for 1HFY2024. View its financials here.
Global fund eyes stake in MMC Corp's port businessMMC Corp Bhd, led by tycoon Syed Mokhtar Al-Bukhary, plans to sell a 49% stake in MMC Port Holdings Sdn Bhd (MMCPH), the nation’s largest port operator, to an international private equity (PE) fund. The potential deal's value remains undetermined, but sources suggest a valuation of over RM12 bil. The US-based Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP), managing USD100 bil (RM466.5 bil) in assets, is a potential investor. GIP previously invested in ports globally, indicating interest in port infrastructure. MMCPH has seven ports in Malaysia: Port of Tanjung Pelepas, Johor Port, Northport, Penang Port, Tanjung Bruas Port, SPT Services and Andaman Port — all located along the Strait of Malacca, one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes.
4. AROUND THE WORLD 🌎
Egypt, the most populous Middle East nation, has chosen its presidentEgypt’s President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has won his third term as the leader of Egypt, a nation of 109.3 mil (2021) people, securing a landslide victory of 89.6% of the votes, with 39 mil over Egyptians voting for the former army chief. Sounds like a major victory but this election performance was ‘disappointing’ as in the previous 2 elections, he won with 97% of the votes. el-Sisi’s 3 other opponents, none of whom were high profile, didn’t come anywhere close to him. Runner-up Hazem Omar received just 4.5% of the votes.
el-Sisi became the fifth president to emerge from within the ranks of the military since 1952. el-Sisi has been in power for a decade and now face a multitude of crisis, including the Israel-Hamas conflict in neighbouring Gaza and the country’s worst-ever economic crisis (e.g. the Egyptian Pound losing half its value since 2022, inflation at 39.75 in August). The Egyptian president will be serving his third, and according to the constitution, final term, which he amended to raise the limit on consecutive terms in office from two to three. What is to stop him from amending the Constitution once more so he can serve for eternity?
Vatican approves blessings for same-sex couples but with *The Vatican has approved a landmark ruling to allow Roman Catholic priests to administer blessings to same-sex couples but with conditions attached — so long as they are not part of regular Church rituals nor related to civil unions or weddings. The document, approved by Pope Francis, said such blessings would not legitimise irregular situations but be a sign of God welcoming all. It offers an extensive definition of the term “blessing”, that those seeking a relationship with God and looking for his love and mercy should not be subject to “an exhaustive moral analysis” as a precondition for receiving it.
The Vatican holds that marriage is an indissoluble union between man and woman and, as a result, has long opposed same-sex marriage. Pope Francis has recently criticised law that criminalises homosexuality as “unjust” saying God loves all his children just as they are and called on Catholic bishops who support the laws to welcome LGBTC people into the church.
Tencent turns to rival ByteDance to challenge its other rival NetEaseAfter years of banning each other from their platforms, Tencent has turned to its bitter rival TikTok parent ByteDance now to help retain its status as China’s biggest gaming firm. Tencent released its mobile party game Dreamstar to challenge Eggy Party (check out the game trailer here), a similar game by rival NetEase, which has become a surprise hit this year with 100 mil monthly active users. Analysts are expecting NetEase to rake in RMB8 bil (RM5.28 bil) from Eggy Party this year, owing much of its success to advertising on ByteDance’s platforms (Douyin is the Chinese TikTok version also owned by ByteDance).
Tencent has spent 38% of its advertisement budget on ByteDance’s online ad service Pangolin in the last 30 days to promote Dreamstar — this is a remarkable amount considering that Tencent has its own ad network and has only put only 12% of Dreamstar ads on its own network, Youlianghui. It’s not certain how big is Dreamstar’s ad budget but the ad layout is part of the RMB1.4 bil (RM924 mil) investment committed to building Dreamstar’s ecosystem.
China’s video game market is massive at RMB303 bil (RM200.1 bil) with a record 668 mil gamers as the industry returned to growth of 13% following Beijing’s 8-month industry crackdown 2 years ago.
Bankrupt crypto exchange FTX plans to exit bankruptcy FTX Trading Ltd, the crypto exchange ran into the ground by disgraced and convicted criminal Sam Bankman-Fried, unveiled its latest proposal to return billions to customers and creditors. The reorganisation plan left some of the most important questions unanswered — will FTX restart the defunct exchange, how the company will estimate the value of the digital tokens and how much haircut creditors are expected to get hit with.
Adobe calls off USD20 bil acquisition of Figma Adobe and Figma, the product design platform, announced that both companies are mutually terminating the acquisition agreement, following pushback from competition regulators in the UK and EU. For Figma, they still can walk away happily with a cool USD1 bil, which Adobe will pay as a reverse termination fee. Learn: What is a reverse termination fee?
5. FOR YOUR EYES 📺
James Dyson, the maker of vacuum cleaners and hair dryers, shifts his engineering focus towards farming. Someday we might be feasting on Dyson’s Strawberries.
LVMH’s jeweller Tiffany & Co. x Pokemon collaboration. Prices yet to be announced, but reportedly between USD1,290 and USD29,000. Visit here for more of the collection. Below: an 18-karat yellow gold Pikachu necklace accented with diamonds.