Discover more from The Coffee Break
☕️ Malaysia is multiracial, but ranks 41 of 78 of the least racist countries in 2023
RM2.5 mil lost by a lecturer to Macau scam. Convicted Goldman Sachs banker in 1MDB scandal spotted fine dining in Beverly Hills. Grab Q1 2023 quarterly earnings-the burn continues.
1. MARKET SUMMARY 📈
2. NUMBERS AT A GLANCE 🔢
Malaysia ranks 41 out of 78 on the list of the least racist countries in 2023. The ranking may be just right. An article by The Washington Post revealed that about one-third of Malaysians aren’t tolerant of other races. How did the economists determine this? Based on this one question — who would you not want to have as neighbours? Between 20% to 29.9% of Malaysians apparently answered people of another race.
USD6.8 bil — the revenue from baggage fees made by US airlines in 2022. Major US airlines unbundled their fares (from carry-on or checked bags) as a way to better compete with low-cost competitors. Despite charging fees, the airlines failed to handle the luggage, with nearly 3 million bags lost, destroyed, or delayed across all (US) airlines in 2022. Our national carrier Malaysia Airlines Bhd started unbundling the checked bags from its fares right before the Covid-19 pandemic.
How big is Malaysia’s cocoa industry? It contributed RM7.82 bil in exports in 2022! While Malaysia’s climate can plant cocoa, the country imports about RM6 billion worth of cocoa a year. With that being said, the value-add of 30% is commendable. Malaysia Deputy Prime Minister Fadillah Yusof said the Malaysian Cocoa Board (LKM) is targeting cocoa exports worth RM8 bil this year.
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3. IN MALAYSIA 🇲🇾
Malaysia and Indonesia to team up in meeting EU in regards to the palm oil-related law
Putrajaya and Jakarta have agreed to go on the united front in their mission to discuss with the European Union (EU) in relation to the EU Deforestation Regulation (EUDR). It is unfair that EUDR negatively impacts the industry whilst Malaysia and Indonesia have been working hard to achieve sustainability milestones. EUDR puts the onus on companies registered in EU member states to ensure that the wood, palm oil, soy, coffee, cocoa, rubber, and cattle they import or export have not been produced on land that was deforested after December 31, 2020.
Malaysia and Indonesia are the top two palm oil producers in the world, constituting about 85% of the global supply in 2021. EU is a major importer of palm oil, estimated to import 6.9 mil tonnes in the 2021/22 period, about 14% of the total palm oil imports.
You can get away with anything in Boleh-land, even with corruption
BHIC Submarine Engineering Services Sdn Bhd (BSES), a subsidiary of Boustead Heavy Industries Corporation Bhd (BHIC) which is linked to the troubled RM9 bil littoral combat ship (LCS) scandal, has been granted two submarine contracts worth RM140mil by the Government to provide services to our Prime Minister’s Class submarines. We have a lot to say, and none of them are good.
Tim Leissner, a former Goldman Sachs banker and convicted criminal for money laundering and breaking anti-bribery laws in relation to the 1MDB scandal, is still enjoying the high life — he was recently spotted in a fine dining restaurant in Beverly Hills. Although Leissner already pleaded guilty to his crimes, he is yet to be sentenced and recently pictured socialising with elite individuals in the United States.
Scam Galore Day
RM2.5mil — A university lecturer was duped into revealing her bank account and taking a bank loan after the scammer told the lecturer that the victim was involved in making false claims and money laundering. The scammer that introduced himself as an insurance agent, told the lecturer that he could help the 52-year-old victim, but instead of helping the lecturer, the scammer took away RM2,576,781.
RM132,000 — A retiree in Alor Gajah was lured into investing a total of RM132,407 into a cryptocurrency investment that he stumbled upon on Facebook. The 57-year-old victim was promised that the investment will give him a lucrative return within six hours of joining the scheme.
RM58,000 — A 37-year-old man was scammed into investing RM58,800 into a Bitfine investment that he discovered on Telegram. The scammer lured the victim with a quick and easy return on investment of RM543. Consequently, the victim made eight transactions totalling RM58,800 to the scammer based on that initial return.
RM3,500 - A 40-year-old clerk in Sibu was conned into an investment scheme that led her to invest RM3,500 into an online scam. When she wanted to withdraw her so-called profit, the scammer asked her to transfer more money to cash in the profit. That was the point that she knew she was being scammed.
When something is too good to be true, it usually is, especially when this too-good-to-be-true event can materialise in a short span of time and involve one paying a huge sum upfront. Be mindful of scams!
The Langkawi airspace will be closed to everything, including drones until May 27 to make way for the Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace Exhibition (LIMA). LIMA is a maritime and aerospace exhibition that takes place once every two years in Langkawi and is the brainchild of Tun Dr Mahathir. An estimated RM8 bil worth of deals will be signed during the five-day event.
Composite Technology Research Malaysia Sdn Bhd (CTRM), a subsidiary of DRB-HICOM Bhd has inked a deal with Airbus supply vendors to provide the latter with aero components. The deal that lasts until 2030 is worth RM6.64 bil and CTRM has built a new RM159 mil facility to produce the components under this contract.
Putrajaya is spending between RM5.8 mil and RM11.4 mil to subsidise a total of 17,708 tickets so travellers can purchase a one-way ticket to travel back to Sabah or Sarawak for the Kaamatan Festival and Gawai at a price not more than RM300. The special price is offered by all domestic airlines for the travel periods on May 27, 28, and 29 to Sabah and May 29, 30, and 31 to Sarawak.
Ekuinas seeks buyer for Orkim, price tag of RM1.5 bil
State-owned private equity firm Ekuinas Nasional Bhd is mulling cashing out on its investment in shipping company Orkim Sdn Bhd which the former bought 95.5% of the latter’s stake in 2014. Ekuinas is looking for a final price tag of RM1.5bil for Orkim. Orkim has a fleet of 18 vessels and it is the only Malaysian company that secured long-term contracts from Petronas and Shell for the Clean Petroleum Products’ domestic sea transportation.
4. AROUND THE WORLD 🌎
Criminals face their fate
Deutsche Bank has agreed to pay USD75 mil to settle a lawsuit filed by an unnamed woman that alleged the banking giant continued to do business with Jeffrey Epstein, the sex trafficker who ‘mysteriously’ died in detention, despite knowing that his accounts were used to facilitate this trade. She claimed that she was sexually abused by Epstein and trafficked to his friends for around 15 years while receiving cash payments for her sexual acts. The settlement is expected to pay compensation to dozens of women.
US prosecutors have charged 76-year-old Terry Martin after he was arrested by the FBI over a crime committed 15 years ago. His crime? Theft of major artwork — he stole from a museum the famous red slippers (see it here) worn by Judy Garland’s character Dorothy in the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz. There are four pairs in existence. The Hollywood memorabilia have been valued at USD3.5 mil. No information was disclosed in the charging documents about what led to Martin’s arrest.
Plethora of deals:
Richard Branson’s bankrupt rocket company Virgin Orbit received a USD17 mil “stalking horse” bid for its modified 747 carrier jet and other assets from aerospace venture Stratolaunch. The company went listing through a SPAC at a USD3.7 bil valuation and filed for bankruptcy last month after it struggled to raise funding following a failed launch in January. A “stalking horse” bid is the first bid on assets of a bankrupt company, effectively setting the floor/minimum price for other competing bids.
Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) deals
Amazon Web Services (AWS), the cloud computing division of e-commerce giant Amazon, announced it plans to invest USD13 bil (RM59 bil) in India by 2030 to further build its cloud infrastructure in India that will provide over 100,000 full-time jobs annually. The company currently runs 2 data centres in India. This will bring its total investment in India to USD16.4 bil (RM74,2 bil). Malaysia wasn’t left out from Bezos’ radar (though he’s no longer the CEO) — to recap, AWS earlier in March committed to investing RM25.5 bil by 2037 in Malaysia.
Britain’s PM Rishi Sunak announced Japanese investment of GBP17 bil (USD22.1) bil in the UK ahead of the G7 meeting in Japan. Nearly 60% of it comes from the Japanese trading house Marubeni for offshore wind and hydrogen energy projects. Sunak claimed this is a “massive vote of confidence” towards the UK economy in post-Brexit Britain.
Corporate and venture deals
Chinese fast-fashion company Shein raised USD2 bil in its latest funding round, though its valuation was one-third less than a year ago at USD66 bil. Founded in China, the company is now based in Singapore (why not Malaysia?) and generated USD23 bil in revenue last year. Unlike most startups, it also generated a net profit of USD800 mil. It set a target of 40% revenue growth this year. At this rate, Shein is becoming as big as rival Hennes & Mauritz (H&M) and Zara owner Inditex. In April 2023, Shein recorded 26.1 mil monthly active users from the US alone, according to app analytics company Sensor Tower.
Proton owner Geely doubled its stake in the luxury carmaker Aston Martin with a GBP234 mil (USD290 mil) investment, bringing its total stake to 17% and becoming the third-largest shareholder behind Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund. Aston Martin shot up 12.5% on this news, giving it a market cap of USD2.01 bil. Other car makers Geely holds a stake in: Mercedes-Benz, Volvo, Lotus, and Polestar.
Grab Q1 2023 quarterly earnings - the burn continues
Its performance for the first quarter was relatively good, but investors didn’t seem impressed with it, sending its shares down 12%. Highlights:
Total revenue in Q1 2023 came in at USD525 mil, up 139% YoY.
Total gross merchandise value (GMV) across all services of USD4.96 bil, up 3% YoY.
Losses improved by 43% to USD250 mil from a loss of USD435 mil a year ago.
Platform sales for its delivery business fell 9% to USD2.34 bil due to the early Ramadhan and Chinese New Year but revenue from this segment surged 203% to USD275 mil primarily due to contributions from Jaya Grocer.
Consumer incentives fell significantly by 36% to USD222 mil from USD344 mil - in other words, Grab has reduced the subsidy for our lifestyle, ‘cost of living’ increasing — sad.
GrabUnlimited, its subscription programme, saw its users contributing over a quarter of deliveries GMV and on average, spend 3.7x more in food deliveries vs non-users.
Montana became the first US state to enact a total ban on TikTok, which will take effect from 1 Jan 2024 and will prohibit app stores from offering the app for download in the state. Advocates see this as a violation of American’s First Amendment rights — freedom of speech. TikTok is yet to announce whether it will challenge this new law in court.
The first full-sized digital scan of the world’s most famous shipwreck, Titanic, which sank in 1912, was created using deep-sea mapping. The scan that took more than 200 hours using a submersible drone took 700,000 images to reconstruct a 3d image of the ship, allowing one to tour the ship as though water had been drained away. This imaging will also enable researchers to uncover further information on what exactly led to the ship’s demise.
Kung Fu Hustle and Shaolin Soccer star actor Stephen Chow announced that he will be collaborating with King of Mandopop Jay Chou. He posted on Instagram a picture of him and Jay Chou holding a bottle of wine, asking his followers for ideas to collaborate on. Some eagled-eyed followers pointed out that the bottle of wine they held was a wine produced in 1993 with only 3,000 bottles made and is estimated to cost HKD1 mil (RM573.8k - yeaps, more than half a million ringgit).
Weekend read: Read Old Books by Ted Lamade
“Do yourself a favour. Read old books (as opposed to these “how-to” manuals). What you are going to discover is that anything in them that is still true today will be true forever.”
5. FOR YOUR EYES 📺
Generative AI is all the rage now — learn how an AI model understands a text description and converts that into endless possibilities of images.
The story behind the famous ferocious eight notes opening of Ludwig van Beethoven’s Symphony No.5. He wrote this whilst battling with hearing loss and continued composing music even after he became completely deaf.