Discover more from The Coffee Break
☕️ This week in Court: Zahid's DNAA, Bung Mokhtar & Wife's DAA
IGP: TUN M, Abdul Hadi Awang investigation papers now with AGC. Proton's 5th consecutive year of sales >100k units. SoftBank's portfolio poor IPO performance - 21 out of 25 below IPO prices,
1. MARKET SUMMARY 📈
BNM’s Monetary Policy Committee had decided to maintain the overnight policy rate (OPR) at 3%, similar to its stance in July. BNM stated the decision was driven by the measly growth of the national economy due to slower external demand and a decline in commodity production.
2. NUMBERS AT A GLANCE 🔢
The Red Cross found itself as the new owner of 120 gold bars worth some USD27.7 mil*. This stash of gold bars, which were labelled with a logo and serial numbers, was found on a Swiss train in Oct 2019. Despite extensive investigation, its owner could not be identified. The Red Cross ultimately became the final owner as on the packaging was written “ICRC valuables”, in an apparent reference to the Geneva-based International Committee of the Red Cross. It is assumed the unknown owner wanted to hand over the gold to the organisation.
*1 gold bar is worth USD230.2k = 3.732 kg x USD61.7k / bar
10 minutes — that’s how long on average it takes for people to decide on what to watch on streaming services, according to Nielsen. This is up by 41% since 2019, when people took a little more than 7 minutes. We are spoilt for choice - there are now 2.7 mil individual titles to choose from, almost more than 1 mil more than was available in 2019.
The Yamaha grand piano that Freddie Mercury used to compose Bohemian Rhapsody and other hits by Queen was sold at a Sotheby’s auction for USD2.2 mil and the manuscript for the chart-topping song fetched USD1.7 mil. More than 1,400 items from the late Queen singer’s collection are put up for auction, with a record 2,000 bidders from 61 countries taking part in person, online and by phone. Check out the song here, if for some reason, you have not ever heard of it. The song is unlike all other songs — it’s a mix of a cappella, ballad, opera, rock and coda.
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3. IN MALAYSIA 🇲🇾
Will Tun M, Abdul Hadi Awang be charged?
In relation to allegations of disrupting public order by playing 3R (race, religion, royal) issues, Inspector-General of Police Razarudin Husain told the media that the investigation papers on Tun Dr Mahathir and Abdul Hadi Awang had been submitted to the Attorney General's Chambers (AGC) to advise on next steps. Razarudin had told the media that the police are not following the nod of politicians when it comes to 3R matters and this has been consistent even under previous administrations. Earlier in the week, Bung Mokhtar’s boss, UMNO President Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, was discharged but not amounting to an acquittal (DNAA) in Yayasan Akalbudi case — 11 reasons for the DNAA by deputy public prosecutor Ahmad Dusuki Mokhtar.
Catch and release - after Zahid Hamidi, now Bung Mokhtar and wife’s turn
The High Court led by Judge Azhar Abdul Hamid, had overturned the previous Session Court’s decision that ordered Kinabatangan MP Bung Moktar Radin and his wife to enter their defence on an RM2.8 mil corruption charges related to an RM150 mil investment into Public Mutual Berhad unit trust utilising Felcra’s fund. Judge Azhar concluded that there was no evidence that the couple received any bribes, and he subsequently invoked Section 325 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC) to discharge and acquit (DAA) both of them.
All eyes on Borneo
Utilising the ceremonial royal power in the right way — The Yang di-Pertuan Agong concluded the first leg of his Borneo tour in Sabah yesterday. The King stated that he cherished all the memories made and Tuanku will take note of all the issues in Sabah and will voice out to PM Anwar Ibrahim when he meet him. The King and Queen will continue their Borneo tour to Brunei before concluding the tour in Sarawak on September 13.
Our King and Queen’s tour has made East Malaysians closer to West Malaysia, at the backdrop where the spirit of federalism started to deteriorate lately. This Borneo tour has a slight resemblance to the late Queen Elizabeth II 1953-1954 Commonwealth Tour that some may say had slowed down the calls from then-British colonial states to gain independence.
Deputy Finance Minister Ahmad Maslan hinted that Sabah may again get the highest development allocation from Putrajaya compared to other states. In Budget 2023, Sabah received RM6.5 bil compared to RM5.2 bil in 2022. There have been calls from certain corners that the development allocation should be split three-way to Sabah, Sarawak and Peninsular Malaysia. However, Ahmad Maslan said that no decision has been made yet and the Government may continue using the existing model based on the consecutive needs of each state.
Sarawak Premier Abang Johari Tun Openg told the media that Sawarak, alongside Putrajaya, will initiate a feasibility study on the possibility of creating a comprehensive railway network across Sarawak, including connections to Brunei and Kalimantan, Indonesia.
Our sovereign wealth fund, Khazanah Nasional Bhd, has sold RM1.5 bil worth of shares in CIMB Group Holdings Bhd and Tenaga Nasional Bhd (TNB) since March 2023. In the two days on September 4 and 5 alone, Khazanah had disposed of RM444.27 mil worth of CIMB and TNB’s shares. On the other hand, Khazanah purchased an additional 0.21% stake in Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) in May, spending RM25.8 mil to increase its holding in MAHB to 33.24%.
Our first national car producer, Proton Holdings Bhd, crossed the 100,000-unit threshold one month faster than it did in 2022. This marked the company’s fifth consecutive year, achieving the six-figure milestone. Year to date, the company has sold 104,602 units and controls 20.8% of the market. Proton said X90, X50, Persona and Exora continue to lead their respective segments.
4. AROUND THE WORLD 🌎
Kim Eng (now Maybank Kim Eng) founder passed away at 97
You might not be familiar with the name Kim Eng but you might have seen or heard of it around. Maybank acquired Kim Eng in 2011 in a deal that valued the company at RM4.26 bil and was rebranded to Maybank Kim Eng. Kim Eng was founded by Ms. Gloria Lee in 1972 in what was then a male-dominated industry. She was laid to rest last Friday. She was a former air stewardess who became a housewife. She went into the broking industry as her doctor told her to keep out of the sun and stop playing so much golf, according to her in an interview.
She made history in 1972 by being the first woman who booked a seat at the stock exchange with SGD700,000 in savings and bank loans. The firm’s name - Kim - is after her late husband, Dennis Lee Kim Yew and Eng from the name of a family friend. Her husband is the younger brother of Singapore’s founding PM, Lee Kuan Yew. Kim Eng became Singapore’s first broker to list in 1990, attracting SGD23 bil in subscriptions for an offering of SGD29.3 mil - an oversubscription of 785 times.
Amer Sports, known for making Wilson tennis rackets and other brands, has filed for a US IPO that could value the company as much as USD10 bil. The IPO could take place as early as next year, raising between USD1 to 3 bil. Amer Sports was taken over by China’s sportswear giant Anta Sports Products in 2019 for USD3.2 bil, and other buyers in the takeover include Tencent Holdings and Lululemon founder Chip Wilson. This is part of an effort to bring high-end athletic equipment to China’s growing wealthy middle class. Anta’s most recent annual report showed that Amer Sports recorded a 22% growth in revenue last year to hit USD3.3 bil.
Nestle is acquiring a major stake in Brazilian premium chocolate maker Grupo CRM as it seeks to expand into luxury confectionery. Grupo CRM operates a direct-to-consumer model with over 1,000 chocolate boutiques under the Kopenhagen and Brasil Cacau brands. Nestle, which is buying the stake from private equity firm Advent International, did not disclose the financial details of the deal. It’s reported that Nestle would be paying USD602.8 mil for the company.
China’s massive wage fraud scheme
A Chinese woman has been exposed in a wage fraud scheme where she held 16 different corporate jobs and not show up for any of them for three years that cost USD7 mil. When she got the jobs, she would pass it out to friends and take a commission on the role. The scheme was exposed by an anonymous tech CEO after an employee let slip that he worked for another company at the same time. Ultimately, 53 people were arrested in connection with the case.
Labour fraud of this kind is a massive problem in China, with an estimated 700-800 groups actively taking multiple jobs from employers. According to reports, they are experts at getting hired, becoming polished interviewees and boasting impeccable but fake resumes.
WeWork announced that it has started a global engagement with landlords to renegotiate nearly all its leases. The SoftBank-backed company reported a 3% drop in total physical memberships from a year earlier to 664k memberships, citing increasing competition, macroeconomic volatility and softer demand than anticipated. View WeWork’s latest quarterly announcement here.
How good is SoftBank as an investor? Based on the IPO performance of its portfolio of companies — not so good. FT Alphaville’s analysis found that SoftBank doesn’t have a great record with public listing. Only 4 IPOs of SoftBank-backed companies are still trading above their issue price, with 21 underwater. The average loss from IPO across its portfolio is 46%. SoftBank could be a good inverse indicator when it comes to your stock market investment.
US President Joe Biden has cancelled oil and gas leases in an Alaskan wildlife refuge, which was granted under former president Donald Trump. This would preserve 13 mil acres of wilderness that is home to grizzly and polar bears and migratory birds. The area has an estimated 11 bil barrels of oil, which works out to USD957 bil worth of oil at current market prices. That said, Biden did not reverse his recent approval of a USD8 bil drilling project in the same region.
Weekend Read: No other investor has a life story quite as unbelievable as Li Lu
Li Lu is dubbed the “Chinese Warren Buffett” by Charlie Munger, Buffett’s partner. Munger said Li is the only outsider he’s ever trusted with his money - Munger invested about USD88 mil with Li in the early 2000s and now has made “unholy good returns” of about 4-5x, Munger said. FT wrote a profile on Li Lu - read on for more.
5. FOR YOUR EYES 📺
Swifties, the trailer to The Eras Tour Concert Film.
Interesting POV - a skydiver in Spain recorded himself free-falling through a rain cloud.
Weekend reflection from Malaysia’s leading business community, the Entrepreneur and Startups in Malaysia Facebook group.