Discover more from The Coffee Break
☕️ MYAirline - mess cleaning in progress, refunds by end of year
Statistics on workplace romance. Apex Court rules Najib, son to settle over RM1.69bil in unpaid taxes. How to stop a depreciating currency? Borrow more.
Regarding the property investment talk organised by BON Estates, we featured yesterday, the right location is at its gallery in Bangsar. The address, and to register, visit here. Apologies for the error.
1. MARKET SUMMARY 📈
2. NUMBERS AT A GLANCE 🔢
27% of respondents said they were previously or currently involved in a workplace romance, according to a January survey by the Society for HR Management. Of this, 10% said they have dated a subordinate, whilst 18% reported dating their superiors. Although it is not entirely wrong, it is questionable to date someone at work; many high-profile CEOs had to step down due to not disclosing their personal relationships within the company, such as CEO of BP and CNN chief last year.
View report: New SHRM Survey: The Rise of Workplace Romance.
Duffy the Disney Bear, despite being a little not-so-well-known character from the Disney universe, has generated USD500 mil in annual merchandise sales, making it the best-selling line of toys in its theme parks in Asia. Duffy bear was introduced to the world in 2002. The back story — Duffy is Mickey Mouse’s bear, made by Minnie Mouse to sailor Mickey as he was leaving Cape Cod on a long voyage. Duffy has yet to make a TV appearance, but that’s coming soon as the character is slated for a 6-episode, animated series on Disney+. Check out Duffy here.
The number of occupational injuries increased by 58.9% to a record 34,216 cases in 2022 as compared to 21,534 cases in 2021, according to the Department of Statistics Malaysia (DOSM). This translates to a rate of 2.2 occupational injuries per 1,000 workers in 2022, up from 1.43 in 2021. Of this total, 317 (0.93%) involved fatal injuries. In terms of nationality, Malaysian citizens accounted for 88.6% of cases.
3. IN MALAYSIA 🇲🇾
MYAirline saga - mess cleaning in progress
MYAirline Sdn Bhd has had its air operator's certificate (AOC) suspended by the Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia (CAAM) effective October 16 for 90 days. The suspension follows concerns over the airline's financial stability and the potential implications for safety.
Earlier this year, in May, CAAM conducted a safety audit of MYAirline during the AOC renewal process and found no signs of financial distress. Additionally, a recent analysis by the Malaysian Aviation Commission (Mavcom) in October did not reveal any financial issues that warranted a suspension of operations.
The airline said it will refund all passengers and pay salaries by year-end - mark your calendars. Around 125,000 passengers, who collectively spent RM20 mil on tickets, are grappling with the consequences of the suspension. It’s now known how much it owes its nearly 700 employees.
In response to the crisis, MYAirline's major shareholder, Allan Goh Hwan Hua, has expressed his willingness to relinquish his entire shareholding. The airline is actively exploring potential strategic partnerships and undergoing recapitalisation efforts.
MYAirline has applied to renew its air service license, due in mid-November, but the airline's future remains uncertain. It is currently in the final stages of negotiations with potential investors, aiming to resume operations.
According to Deputy Transport Minister Datuk Hasbi Habibollah, if MyAirline fails to refund passengers, it could lead to penalties of at least RM200,000 in accordance with Malaysian aviation regulations.
Federal Court rules Najib and son must settle unpaid taxes totalling RM1.69 bil
The Federal Court of Malaysia has ruled that former prime minister Najib Razak and his son, Mohd Nazifuddin, must pay their outstanding taxes worth RM1.69 bil and RM37.6 mil, respectively. On October 16, the court made the final decision, rejecting Najib and his son’s appeal to challenge the High Courts' rulings that allowed the Inland Revenue Board to use a summary judgment to collect the unpaid taxes. The court stressed that tax laws apply equally to all citizens, dismissing claims of unfair treatment or constitutional violations. Nevertheless, Najib and his son still have the option to request a reassessment of their case through the Special Commissioners of Income Tax. Perhaps some royal donation from the Middle East could be tapped to settle their dues with LHDN.
KNM hostile takeover saga updates
Johor princess Tunku Kamariah Aminah Maimunah Iskandariah Sultan Iskandar (eldest sister of Sultan Johor) and German billionaire Andreas Heeschen, among others, aiming for a management takeover of KNM Group Bhd, have expressed concerns about the results of the group's recent extraordinary general meeting (EGM). Tunku Kamariah’s group calls for an investigation into alleged "possible irregularities in the vote count." At the recent EGM called by Heeschen, who had an 8.25% deemed interest in KNM as of Oct 10, there were issues with how the votes were counted. This has raised concerns about whether the physical proxy forms were properly acknowledged and counted in the final vote tally.
The concerns on the EGM were about two rejected resolutions:
Removal of the largest shareholder Tunku Datuk Yaacob Khyra as a director of the company. It was rejected by 184 shareholders with a total of 1.043 bil shares (62.18%). It is alleged that this vote did not include Heeschen’s 323 mil votes.
Appointment of Tunku Kamariah to replace Tunku Yaacob. It was rejected by 195 shareholders with a total of 1.054 bil shares (52.34%). The marginal difference was questioned by Tunku Kamariah.
Transport Ministry to review regulations for electric vehicles
The Malaysian Transport Ministry has directed the Road Transport Department to evaluate and amend regulations and procedures related to electric vehicles (EVs). The goal is to expand the market for EVs, including heavy vehicles. Transport Minister Anthony Loke emphasised that many current regulations are more suitable for traditional diesel commercial vehicles and may not be directly applicable to EVs, especially heavy vehicles.
MPs barred from live-streaming parliament sessions
Members of Parliament (MPs) in Malaysia can no longer live-stream Parliament sessions using their electronic devices starting October 16. The Speaker of the Dewan Rakyat, Johari Abdul, issued this directive as it violates Standing Order 35 (1), which requires MPs to address the Chair during sessions. The move aims to ensure that MPs remain focused on parliamentary proceedings rather than engaging with online audiences.
Selangor plans Zero Discharge Policy to curb river pollution
The government in Selangor is creating a new plan called the Zero Discharge Policy (ZDP) to keep the rivers clean. This plan will be sent for approval and, if accepted by the council, will start next year. The goal of the ZDP is to prevent zero discharge into water sources, particularly from industrial activities along waterways. The ZDP would require industries to recycle waste instead of releasing it into drainage systems and rivers.
4. AROUND THE WORLD 🌎
Roller-coaster: Market edition
GoTo - co-founder sells shares, share price hammered
Indonesian tech giant GoTo (merger of ride-hailing giant Gojek and e-commerce firm Tokopedia) saw its share price collapse as much as 19.4% after one of its co-founders William Tanuwijaya disclosed that he had unloaded his shares by a mere 0.05%, reducing his stake in the company from 1.77% to 1.72%. The company has lost USD1.5 bil in the past five trading sessions and is down more than 70% from its November high as it faces multiple headwinds (e.g. weak consumption, intensifying competition).
MoneyHero - SPAC listing, share price nearly halved
Singaporean financial comparison site MoneyHero Group (think RinggitPlus) listed on the Nasdaq stock exchange through a merger with a special purpose acquisition company, Bridgetown, backed by PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel and Richard Li, son of Hong Kong tycoon Li Ka-Shing. The first day of trading saw its share price nearly halved, down 42.4% from its opening price of USD5.39 and closing at USD3.39. The company’s market cap stands at USD254.8 mil.
Shell - rising oil prices + strategy pivot, share price hits record high
The oil and gas giant hit a record high, marking a 3x increase from the pandemic low about three years ago. A multitude of factors contributed to its stellar performance. It goes without saying rising oil prices is the primary factor. The new CEO Wael Sawan’s pivot from its predecessor’s shift towards a ‘greener’ O&G firm to focusing on its bread and butter has drawn investors back to the company.
Bitcoin - pumped and dumped over fake news
Bitcoin saw a rally of more than 10% last night, briefly hitting USD30k before falling to USD28k at the time of writing following fake news that Blackrock’s spot Bitcoin ETF was approved by the SEC, which the SEC has long and consistently rejected all applications for a spot Bitcoin ETF for incoherent reasons — futures Bitcoin ETF were approved but not a spot. However, underlying both instruments is the same asset class, which is Bitcoin.
In a separate crypto news, supercar brand Ferrari said it will start accepting cryptocurrencies as payment in the US and will roll it out to the rest of the world due to growing demand from its clients for this form of payment.
Learn: What is spot Bitcoin ETF and why does it matter?
Israel-Hamas - the politics part
The US Secretary of State, Anthony Blinken, went on a Middle East tour last week to convince its allies to rally around the US’ position, which is to condemn the brutal violence of Hamas. One of his stops is Saudi Arabia, which is a long-time US ally (sort of). In a major snub towards Blinken, Saudi Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman made Blinken wait for hours for the meeting, only to not show up and postpone to the next day. During the meeting, the Crown Price called for Israel to halt military operations in the Gaza Strip, in contrast to the position of the US, which is backing Israel’s bid to eliminate Hamas.
Saudi has long been among the US’ key regional allies, but in recent years has sought to look east and align itself more with China. If you ever wondered how the US dollar established itself as the global reserve currency, the Americans have to thank the Saudis as the kingdom played an instrumental role in establishing the petrodollars, which led to the global dominance of the USD.
The Israel Defense Forces said there are 199 hostages taken by Hamas who were kidnapped during the Oct 7 attack, including elderly, women and children. Cardinal Pierbattista Pizzaballa, the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, Pope Francis’ representative in the Holy Land, said that he is willing to exchange himself for the child hostages being held by Hamas. Pizzaballa said the offer was not formalised with Hamas because “it is very difficult”, without elaborating further.
How to stop a depreciating currency? Borrow more
Whether an asset price goes up or down, it comes down to basic economics — demand vs. supply. When a currency falls, this means there are more sellers in the market than buyers of the currency. Conventional methods to bolster the currency would involve selling foreign reserves or raising rates, which could weaken the economy.
Emerging Asian central banks have found an ‘innovative’ way to stem the depreciation of their currencies - by issuing more high-yielding local bonds, or in simple layman’s terms, borrowing more at higher rates to drive demand for its currencies. When a local bond is issued, the local currency is needed before one can invest in the bond, hence driving additional demand. India adopted this measure with relative success, with the rupee unchanged for the year. China and Indonesia are also adopting similar measures. There’s no such thing as a free lunch - there’s only so much the government can borrow, and increasing indebtedness, ironically, in this case, will turn away investors and reduce demand for the currency.
British billionaire Jim Radcliffe is said to have made a bid of over USD1.5 bil for a 25% stake in Manchester United, valuing the listed football club at close to USD6.5 bil, about twice its current market cap on the stock market of USD3.3 bil. This offer is slightly higher than a competing offer from Qatar’s Sheikh Jassim, which had pulled out from this bid. The club is controlled by the American Glazer family, which acquired their stake in 2005 for GBP790 mil.
Microsoft’s LinkedIn (acquired in 2016 for USD26.2 bil in cash) announced it will lay off 668 employees across its engineering, talent and finance teams in the second round of job cuts this year, affecting more than 3% of its 20,000 workforce. The tech sector has laid off 141,516 employees in the first half of the year compared with 6,000 a year ago, according to employment firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas.
5. FOR YOUR EYES 📺
Today is about properties — the aesthetics of it (nothing about investments)
Ryohin Keikaku, the owner of Muji, has begun renovating old houses and idle buildings around Japan for use as lodging for travellers. Its first project involved a renovated farmhouse in Kamogawa, Chiba Prefecture, that was built more than 100 years ago. You can book it on Airbnb here for RM835 per night.
MrBeast is back with a new video of property tours of homes ranging from USD1 to USD100 mil. The most. outrageous feature - a private, indoor water park. Special guest appearances by Mark Cuban and Justin Timberlake.