Beleggen in Azië

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Malaysia: Petra Energy Wins Work for Accommodation Workboat

Bursa Malaysia-listed Petra Energy has secured a contract with Petronas Carigali to provide accommodation workboat Petra Galaxy.

The value of the contract is based on work orders issued by PCSB throughout the contract duration, Petra Energy said Friday.

The duration of the contract is up to 255 days from the start date, effective from February 17, 2023, with an option to extend up to 60 days.

According to Petra Energy's website information, the Petra Galaxy can accommodate 189 persons aboard.

http://www.oedigital.com/news/503713-ma ... n-workboat
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Relaunch of Campa drinks triggers price war in India

INDIA – Reliance Consumer Products Limited’s (RCPL) relaunch of the iconic beverage brand, Campa, which has over 50 years of heritage, back to the Indian market has sparked price wars.

Some of India’s leading distributors are protesting against price wars between FMCG companies, which they said will severely hurt their margins, as soft drinks companies push consumer promotions in states where Reliance Consumer Products has launched Campa Cola at prices lower than all national brands.

RCPL, the FMCG arm of Reliance Retail Ventures, relaunched Campa in cola, lemon, and orange variants in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. With the launch, analysts predict the lower-priced drink brand will steal market share from Coca-Cola and PepsiCo.

A Coca-Cola spokesperson said the company has broadly kept the same prices since last year for all its entry packs.

Having new players in the market presents a great opportunity for investments to develop the market further and bring innovations to evolve the category and ultimately benefit the consumers, Coca-Cola noted.

Dhairyashil Patil, president of All India Consumer Products Distributors Federation (AICPDF), which represents 4 lakh distributors, said: “This competition between large companies with lower consumer prices and promotions directly hurts the margins of lakhs of distributors. We fear the price wars can escalate to other FMCG categories like biscuits and confectionery where Reliance is foraying into…all this will hurt margins of distributors severely.”

“The price war has begun. The AICPDF is closely watching the developments as distributors will be at a loss… will write to all the companies on this unethical competition.”

Patil said the entity is “escalating the matter” to the government and the Competition Commission of India (CCI).

Data and analytics company GlobalData revealed that leveraging penetration pricing, high marketing expenditure, and Reliance Consumer’s broad retail distribution network were all poised to bring Campa at par with the carbonate brands of multinational operators, Coca-Cola and PepsiCo.

According to its market analysts, Coca-Cola and PepsiCo currently dominate the US$18 billion Indian carbonates market.

GlobalData India business development manager Francis Gabriel Godad revealed that the Reliance Consumer also announced plans to launch an intensive marketing campaign at the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2023, a popular domestic cricket tournament with a viewership of over 200 million.

This is a powerful marketing strategy given that endorsements by celebrities or organizations are an essential feature that 29% of Indians actively look for when purchasing products, according to GlobalData’s 2022 survey.

Godad stated: “Campa’s brand nostalgic value among Gen X and the Millennial cohorts will also aid it in making a comeback. Similarly, as homegrown brands both Reliance and Campa can capitalize on the localism trend, which favors domestic brands. Reliance can also leverage its own offline retail and e-commerce stores to quickly narrow the gap with Coca-Cola and PepsiCo’s nationwide distribution networks and bolster Campa’s market penetration. In terms of pricing, the Reliance Consumer can go toe-to-toe with multinational operators.”

https://www.foodbusinessafrica.com/rela ... -in-india/
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Indonesian airline TransNusa to intensify competition in Malaysia’s airline industry

KUALA LUMPUR (March 21): The airline industry in Malaysia will see the entry of another new operator — Indonesian airline PT TransNusa Aviation Mandiri — which will launch its inaugural international flight service from Jakarta to Kuala Lumpur on April 14, making it the latest operator to join a growing number of airlines, including SKS Airways Sdn Bhd and MYAirline Sdn Bhd, to enter the market following the Covid-19 pandemic.

TransNusa chief executive officer of group aviation Datuk Bernard Francis said the carrier will operate a twice-daily service between Terminal 3 of the Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Jakarta and the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) using the Airbus A320 aircraft.

Francis, who has experience in both low-cost carriers (LCC) and full-service airlines, including Malaysia Airlines and AirAsia X Bhd, said air traffic and capacity between Jakarta and Kuala Lumpur have yet to return to their pre-pandemic levels.

“Industry data showed that the annual number of passengers between Jakarta and KL was about 2.4 million before the pandemic, and the average load factor was 77%. Also, there used to be about 35 flights a day between all the carriers in Indonesia and Malaysia before the pandemic. Currently, there are only about 20 flights,” he told a news conference via Zoom on Tuesday (March 21).

“Thus, the market is only back to about 50-55% (of pre-Covid-19 levels). So (the Jakarta-KL route) is not saturated,” he added.

As for the overall domestic market in Indonesia, he said capacity has returned to 60% of its pre-Covid-19 levels; the figure stands at about 70% in Jakarta and Bali.

“Maybe towards the third quarter of this year, the overall market could come back to 80% before Covid-19. And by the middle of next year, when the Chinese market is really back, we will see a full recovery to pre-pandemic figures,” he said.

The 15-year-old airline is 51%-owned by PT Panca Global International Indonesia, which is controlled by Indonesian businessman Leo Budiman. The remaining 49% is held by Singapore-based Linkasia Airlines Group Ltd, in which China Aircraft Leasing Group Holdings Ltd (CALC) owns 72.82%.

With hubs in Bali and Jakarta in Indonesia, TransNusa currently operates 10 daily flights between Jakarta and Bali, and thrice-a-day flights from Jakarta to Jogjakarta.

According to Francis, TransNusa, which has been operating as an LCC in Indonesia, will be positioned as a premium service carrier in the international market.

“In Indonesia, the domestic market is extremely competitive and price-sensitive, and almost all of the domestic airlines are known as low-cost airlines.

“However, the (past) three years (had given) us the opportunity to relook, reengineer and reinvent ourselves. We looked closely at our passengers' wants and needs, which had changed drastically due to the pandemic, and developed a new business model that sits comfortably between full-fledged commercial airline offerings and above low-cost airlines products. By making things a bit more simple and straightforward in terms of product bundles and pricing (them) reasonably well, we want to position ourselves as a premium service carrier,” he added.

The Jakarta-KL route will be its maiden foray into the international market. Flights are now open for booking and TransNusa is offering promotional one-way fares from RM299 till March 31, in conjunction with the upcoming Hari Raya Aidilfitri travel period.

“(After the promotion, we will price our tickets) somewhere in-between (full-fledged airlines and LCCs). We are not here to create a price war. We want to benchmark ourselves competitively, not to undercut any airlines. I believe our product will sell very well once customers understand the value that we provide... because they now have many travel hassles to deal with,” said Francis.

TransNusa currently owns and operates four A320s, which it expects to increase to six before the end of this year, with three Comac ARJ-21 regional jets.

Francis said TransNusa is set to become China’s ARJ-21s' international launch operator.

“We have completed 100 hours of non-revenue flights last week. We are waiting for the final stages of certification. I hope in two weeks, our aircraft will be commercially certified to fly. We will be the first airline out of China to operate the ARJ-21s.

“Once we understand how the demand pattern is between Malaysia and Jakarta, we could alternatively use (the aircraft) on days when the demand is not high because the ARJ-21s come only with 95 seats,” he said

Francis added that TransNusa is in the midst of getting approvals to fly from Indonesia to Johor Bahru, and expects to start flights in early June.

https://www.theedgemarkets.com/node/660126
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IMF approves $3 billion bailout for Sri Lanka

CNA

The International Monetary Fund has approved a $3-billion bailout for Sri Lanka, with the first tranche to be made available in the next two days.

This marks a crucial step for the bankrupt nation to stabilise its economy and begin restructuring its debt.

The bailout comes with strings attached.

IMF managing director Kristalina Georgieva said Sri Lanka must stick with its controversial tax reforms, manage government expenditure and do away with energy subsidies.




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Toshiba accepts US$15 bil buyout bid from JIP-led consortium

(March 23): Toshiba Corp accepted a buyout offer from a Japanese consortium, as the iconic conglomerate moved a step closer to ending a troubled chapter in its more-than-140-year history.

The Tokyo-based company’s board approved on Thursday a bid of about 2 trillion yen (US$15.3 billion) from a group led by domestic private equity firm Japan Industrial Partners Inc, or 4,620 yen per share, it said in a statement. The offer is at about a 9.7% premium to Toshiba’s closing price on Thursday.

About 20 Japanese companies, including Orix Corp, Rohm Co and Chubu Electric Power Co, will participate in the buyout, the Nikkei reported before the statement, confirming earlier Bloomberg News reports.

The move could bring down the curtain on years of turbulence at the storied Japanese firm after a series of scandals plunged it into difficulty and set it on the path to a sale. Toshiba’s management, the Japanese government and the company’s large proportion of vocal foreign shareholders have been at odds over the company’s future, with activist investors seeking to maximize returns while the state prioritized keeping sensitive technologies and businesses out of foreign hands.

“Having a resolution here would be a positive, as one of the issues for Toshiba has been a lack of a consistent strategy due to the constant changes of direction,” said Mio Kato, an analyst at LightStream Research. But “it still leaves some work to do in terms of establishing new growth drivers and maximizing the potential of some of the emerging businesses.”

The saga has become a test case for corporate governance in Japan as a list of prominent activist investors saw an opportunity and took stakes in the company. They included billionaire Paul Singer’s Elliott Management Corp, Seth Fischer’s Oasis Management Co. and Singapore-based funds Effissimo Capital Management Pte and 3D Investment Partners Pte.

And some of the world’s biggest private equity firms considered making buyout offers, including Bain Capital, CVC Capital Partners and KKR & Co.

Toshiba’s nuclear power business is deemed important to national security. It’s involved in decommissioning the Fukushima Dai-Ichi atomic power plant, which was wrecked in the earthquake, tsunamis and nuclear meltdowns of 2011. That made it hard for the government to accept a transfer of ownership to an overseas firm.

If the sale goes through, it will be one of the largest Asian transactions this year at a time when deal volumes have plunged. It will also be one of the biggest ever private equity-led buyouts in Japan.

The path to the board’s acceptance has been far from smooth. The process faced multiple delays, with Bloomberg News reporting that the JIP-led group faced headwinds securing financing as banks became more cautious about providing funds for large deals in a less favorable economic environment.

Toshiba has lurched from one disaster to another over the past eight years, starting with an accounting scandal in 2015 that devastated profits and led to a company-wide restructuring. The subsequent unraveling of a costly foray into nuclear power business in the US led to a $6.3 billion writedown and saw it teeter on the edge of delisting. It was forced to sell its crown jewel memory-chip unit and offer stock that was snapped up by foreign investors.

Since then, stock owners and executives have clashed over the company’s future. When Effissimo sought in 2020 to put one of its co-founders and other candidates on Toshiba’s board, shareholders rejected it. Suspicious about how the vote was conducted, Effissimo proposed that independent investigators be appointed to look into it, winning a landmark shareholder vote in 2021. The report from the probe alleged that Toshiba management worked hand in hand with government allies to sway the outcome.

Early last year, stock holders rejected a proposal by management to split the company in two, which had been put forward as an alternative to selling the conglomerate to private equity, which investors had called for. The failure of that plan set in motion a search for strategic options for Toshiba’s future, including a possible sale. JIP was chosen as the preferred bidder in October.

Tokyo-based JIP was founded in 2002 by Hidemi Moue, who is still the buyout fund’s chief executive officer. He began his career at Industrial Bank of Japan Ltd, which was one of the companies that merged to form Mizuho Financial Group Inc in 2000. JIP has been involved in carving out businesses considered peripheral by their parents, and is known for buying PC maker Vaio Corp from Sony Group Corp in 2014.

https://www.theedgemarkets.com/node/660416
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China voices strong opposition to any forced sale of TikTok

(March 23): China would firmly oppose any sale of TikTok forced by Washington, its Ministry of Commerce spokesperson said hours before the app’s leader goes to testify before the US Congress.

Forcing the owner to sell TikTok’s US operations would “seriously undermine the confidence of investors from all countries including China to invest in the US”, Shu Jueting of the Chinese ministry told reporters at a briefing on Thursday (March 23). TikTok is owned by Beijing-based ByteDance Ltd, which US lawmakers have argued cannot be trusted with the personal data of American users.

Any TikTok sale or spin-off would amount to a technology export, and would have to adhere to Chinese law and administrative approvals, Shu added. “The Chinese government will make decisions according to the law.”

TikTok chief executive officer Shou Chew is set to testify before the House Energy and Commerce Committee on Thursday. He’s expected to address a slew of issues including kids’ mental health and allegations that TikTok could be used to spy on Americans or to push Chinese Communist Party propaganda.

At stake is TikTok’s most lucrative market — the app doesn’t operate at home in China, where ByteDance runs sister app Douyin, and it’s banned in India — and indications ahead of the testimony are that the legislators are unlikely to be swayed. Many of the arguments that Chew plans to present are also reiterations of points the company has raised in the past.

The US has told TikTok’s owners in China to sell up or risk a ban of the popular video-sharing app, Bloomberg has reported, marking a major escalation in the long-running stand-off over privacy concerns around Chinese control of its data and algorithm.

Separately, Shu urged the US to ease curbs on exports to China, and remove trade restrictions on Chinese companies in order to help make bilateral trade more balanced.

She also called on Washington to remove all additional tariffs on the Asian country as soon as possible, in response to a question suggesting US importers bore almost the entire burden of the punitive levies placed on Chinese goods during Donald Trump’s presidency.

https://www.theedgemarkets.com/node/660462
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Vedanta says talk of stake sale baseless as shares drop 6%

Indian billionaire Anil Agarwal-led Vedanta Ltd called talks of any stake sale in the mining major “untrue and baseless” on Thursday, after a media report said the tycoon was weighing selling less than 5% stake in the company.

Bloomberg News reported citing people familiar with the matter that Agarwal was studying options including selling a minority stake in Vedanta, as he looked to shrink his commodities business empire’s massive debt load.

However, a Vedanta spokesperson said in an emailed statement to Reuters that “any talk of stake sale in Vedanta Ltd is untrue and baseless.”

A 5% stake in $12.3 billion Vedanta would be worth some $615 million, according to Reuters calculations.

Shares of Vedanta fell as much as 6.3% on Thursday after the report to their lowest since early March before cutting some losses.

A stake sale in Vedanta is a last resort for Agarwal and will only be considered if other fundraising options fail, according to the report.

Vedanta Resources, the majority shareholder of Vedanta Ltd, has been looking to cut its debt through a $3 billion zinc asset sale to Hindustan Zinc but has faced stiff opposition from the Indian government, which owns a stake in Hindustan Zinc.

Last month, Vedanta Resources said it had slashed net debt by $2 billion in the past 11 months, with plans to cut it further, seeking to allay concerns after S&P Global Ratings raised doubts about the group’s financial health.

(Reporting by Neha Arora in New Delhi, Hritam Mukherjee and Chris Thomas in Bengaluru; Editing by Rashmi Aich)

https://www.mining.com/web/vedanta-says ... es-drop-6/



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Chinese food delivery giant Meituan posts 21.4% rise in 4Q revenue

SHANGHAI (March 24): Chinese food delivery giant Meituan posted a bigger-than-expected 21.4% rise in quarterly revenue on Friday (March 24), as it fended off competition from powerful rivals such as Alibaba-backed Ele.me.

Meituan — whose so-called super app provides services ranging from bike-sharing, movie ticketing, mapping, to food delivery and restaurant bookings — said its total revenue rose to 60.13 billion yuan (US$8.76 billion or RM38.72 billion) for the three months ended December, from 49.52 billion yuan a year earlier.

Analysts on average expected a revenue of 57.88 billion yuan, data from Refinitiv showed.

Net loss for the fourth quarter narrowed to 1.08 billion yuan, from a loss of 5.34 billion yuan a year earlier.

Meituan was hit hard by Covid-19 curbs last year, but it swung to a profit in the third quarter, as it cut back investment in new initiatives.

Fourth-quarter revenue from core local commerce, which includes food delivery and non-food delivery service Meituan Instashopping, rose 17.4% to 43.47 billion yuan.

Operating profit for the segment jumped 56.8% year-on-year (y-o-y) to 29.5 billion yuan.

Quarterly revenue from Meituan's in-store, hotel booking, and travel sector businesses declined due to the impact of Covid-19 curbs in China. The firm described the y-o-y decline as being "to a similar extent as that of the second quarter".

https://www.theedgemarkets.com/node/660633
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China, Saudi Arabia start joint construction of fine chemicals and raw materials project

CGTN

Oil giant Saudi Aramco and Chinese firms officially started the joint construction of a fine chemicals and raw materials project in Panjin City, northeast China's Liaoning Province on Wednesday, with the overall investment totaling more than 83.7 billion yuan (about 12 billion U.S. dollars).

It serves as a major project of joint Belt and Road construction and promoting the comprehensive strategic cooperation between China and Saudi Arabia.

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Thai exports drop less than expected, rebound not seen until 2H

BANGKOK (March 30): Thailand's customs-based exports contracted for a fifth straight month but by less than forecast in February, as the global economy slowed, with shipments expected to drop further in the first half of the year, the Commerce Ministry said on Thursday (March 30).

Exports, a key driver of growth, dropped 4.7% in February from a year earlier, better than a 6.9% fall forecast in a Reuters poll, and against January's 4.5% decline.

In February, imports rose 1.1% from a year earlier, compared with a forecast rise of 2.1%, resulting in a trade deficit of US$1.11 billion (RM4.8 billion) for the month.

Shipments are expected to show a further drop in the first and second quarters before improving in the second half, Phusit Ratanakul Sereroengrit, head of the ministry's department of international trade promotion, told a news conference.

"There remains a large stockpile which slows imports from other countries," he said. "The second half should be more positive," he added.

The ministry will maintain its target of 1%-2% export growth this year, official Poonpong Naiyanapakorn said.

February's export fall, which was also due to a high base last year, was led by lower shipments of industrial goods, with electronics down 4.7% year-on-year and hard disk drives tumbling 45%, the ministry said in a statement.

The value of rice exports rose 7.7% in February from a year ago but the volume dropped 5.7% to about 600,000 tonnes.

February's exports to the United States dropped 9.5% year-on-year while those to Southeast Asia fell 5.8%. Exports to China declined 7.9% from a year earlier, the ministry said.

https://www.theedgemarkets.com/node/661439
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