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ASEAN STOCK WATCH Asean Affairs  19 October 2012

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China Growth Slows

During recent talks on economic conditions, Premier Wen Jiabao said China’s economic growth had started to stabilize and witnessed positive changes with the economy running well in Q-3.

The country has made “stabilizing growth” a top priority this year amid the economy’s downward pressure. The government has quickened the process of export tax rebates for enterprises as one of the measures to stabilize trade. It has also approved a raft of investment projects to shore up growth.

The central bank has twice cut the reserve requirement ratio for banks and lowered benchmark interest rates this year.

Wall St Falls

Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) reported earnings today that were below estimates reflecting what the real global economy looks like, forget QE3 and the manipulation of Wall St, things are not good in Economic terms.

Google shares halted on NASDAQ after slide, last down 9 percent.

Google Inc reported net revenue of $11.3 billion for the third quarter, below Wall Street’s expectations.

The surprise announcement, which had been expected after the market close, helped send its shares down 9 percent to $688.

As Economist Shayne Heffernan of said before this weeks trading, in addition to last weeks note, we can add the issue of lower corporate earnings in the USA, while QE3 mania lifted markets close five-year highs in September, reality is kicking in and U.S. stock market investors are shifting their focus back to corporate expectations, and that’s going to be unpleasant.


 Westports Malaysia Sdn Bhd is looking to raise as much as US$500mil (RM1.52bil) in an initial public offering (IPO) in the second quarter of 2013, two sources with direct knowledge of the plan said.

The funds raised from the IPO will help Westports expand Port Klang, which has reported double-digit growth in container handling over the last five years.

Westports, which counts Hutchison Port Holdings and Malaysia's state investor Khazanah Nasional Bhd as shareholders, is launching an IPO at a time when privatisation schemes and economic growth have cemented the country's position as Asia's top destination for initial share sales.

“Although the roles of bankers are not confirmed yet, Malayan Banking Bhd will likely lead the deal,” said one of the sources yesterday, declining to be identified as the matter was still private.

Credit Suisse Group AG and Goldman Sachs Group Inc would also help arrange the sale, said the second source.

Westports officials were not immediately available to comment.

The IPO would follow the planned US$1bil offering for independent power producer Malakoff Corp Bhd, 51%-owned by MMC Corp Bhd, in the first quarter of next year.

The founders of Malaysia's AirAsia Bhd, Tan Sri Tony Fernandes and Datuk Kamarudin Meranun, are also set to kick off an IPO spree in 2013 with three listings worth more than US$500mil.

Malaysia accounted for US$7.9bil of the US$30.03bil worth of new listings in the Asia-Pacific region this year, according to Thomson Reuters data.

By comparison, IPOs in Hong Kong have raised US$1.81bil and those in Singapore US$3.44bil.

Headed by G. Gnanalingam, Malaysia's 24th-richest man according to Forbes, Westports helped move Port Klang a notch higher to the 13th spot in the world port traffic league last year, according to the Westports website.


CIMB Thai Group recorded a consolidated net profit of 1.4 billion baht (about RM140 million) for the nine months of this year.

President/chief executive officer of CIMB Thai, Subhak Siwaraksa, said the figure represented an increase of 565.1 million baht (about RM56.5 million), or 66 per cent, from third quarter of last year.

"This was mainly due to the shared gains from Thai Asset Management Corp (TAMC) and a gain on sale of investment in a CIMB Thai bank's subsidiary," he said, based on unaudited consolidated financial results for the nine months ended Sept 30, 2012.

He said on a year-on-year basis, consolidated income for CIMB Thai Group increased by 1.7 billion baht (about RM170 million), or 38.1 per cent, from third quarter of last year to 6.4 billion baht (about RM640 million).

In a statement, he said, the higher operating income was mainly due to higher net interest income, net fee and service income, gains on trading and foreign exchange transactions and other operating income.

On net interest income, a year-on-year increase of 249.8 million baht (about RM24.9 million), or 7.1 per cent, was recorded, largely underlined by loan expansion.

Subhak said net fee and service income increased by 116.8 million baht (about RM11.6 million), or 25.5 per cent, mainly due to the increase in corporate finance and mutual fund fees.

He said there was an increase of 1.4 billion baht in non-interest and fee income, which amounted to a year-on-year increase of 205.4 per cent.

This was largely arose from the shared gains from TAMC and gain on sale of investment in a CIMB Thai bank's subsidiary, he said.

As at Sept 30, total gross loans stood at 127 billion baht (about RM12.7 billion), marking an increase of 6.2 per cent from end-December 2011 and it was largely underlined by retail portfolio expansion.


Singapore, one of Asia’s most robust economies, is taking notice of the Philippines’ recent economic gains and is looking to expand its investments in the Philippines, according to the Department of Foreign Affairs.

A DFA statement said that Singapore Foreign Minister K Shanmugam took note of the country’s rosy economic performance in a meeting with Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario, during the latter’s official visit to the city state on October 11.

“The Philippines has been a quiet economic story,” the DFA quoted Shanmugam as saying during the meeting.

The Singaporean foreign minister called the Philippines’ economic achievements “fairly impressive” and that Singaporean businessmen have started to take notice.

“He admitted that some Singaporean investors experienced ups and downs in the country in the past, but added that more are likely to come in once they see the Philippines on a steady path,” the DFA said in a statement.

Singapore is the country’s fifth-biggest investor, with some $357.74 million worth of investments into the Philippines in 2011.

The city state is the Philippines’ fourth-largest trading partner, with total trade volume amounting to $9.17 billion. This accounts for 8.5 percent of the country’s total international trade.

Del Rosario credited the country’s economic performance, rated one of the best in Asia this year, to the Aquino administration’s campaign for good governance, a reform initiative seen as the key in improving investor confidence and easing business transactions in general.

“I come with head held high, proud of what is happening in my country,” Del Rosario told his Singaporean counterpart.

The officials also talked about moving bilateral air talks forward to further expand people traffic both ways to boost both business and tourism ties, the DFA said.

There are already 167 weekly flights connecting the Philippines and Singapore. Singapore tourist arrivals in the Philippines have also increased by almost 50 percent between 2007 and 2011, the DFA said.

The two diplomats also discussed the establishment of a bilateral mechanism for regular discussions on areas of cooperation.

Del Rosario also paid a courtesy call on acting Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean, the DFA said.

Bank Danamon Indonesia

Bank Danamon Indonesia, the country’s sixth largest lender by assets, had its profits rise more than 20 percent in the first nine months of this year from the same period last year. This is due to Indonesia’s strong loan demand.

The company’s net income rose 22 percent to Rp 2.99 trillion ($311 million) in January to September this year from Rp 2.45 trillion in the same period last year.

Danamon and Bank Tabungan Pensiunan Nasional are part of only a few Indonesian companies that have started to report their third quarter financial results. Other Indonesian lenders such as Bank Mandiri and Bank Central Asia are due to report theirs in the coming weeks.

The rise in net income at Danamon, was “supported by loan growth in the mass market, small and medium-sized companies and wholesale segments,” the lender said in the statement.

Henry Ho, president director of Bank Danamon, said that Indonesia’s loan growth and banking system remains strong and was not affected by the impact of the global financial and European debt crisis.

“Indonesia’s economy remains relatively immune to the effects of the EU crisis, which has shown its adverse impact to the global economy,” he said.

“The resilience of the Indonesian economy allows for a conducive environment for the banking industry, particularly for Danamon, which has maintained the positive performance throughout the last nine months,” Henry added in the statement released in Jakarta.

Outstanding loans at Danamon rose 16 percent to Rp 113 trillion at the end of Sept. this year from Rp 97 trillion last year.

Lenders including Danamon, have benefited from rising loan demand in Indonesia amidst low borrowing costs. Bank Indonesia, the central bank, has kept its benchmark rate at a record low of 5.75 percent this month. They forecast lending by the country’s 119 commercial banks to grow 24 percent this year.

The government forecasts that the economy will expand by 6.5 percent this year, the same pace it recorded last year.

Bank Danamon has been an acquisition target by Singapore’s Temasek Holdings.

DBS Group Holdings announced in April that it planned to acquire a 67.4 percent stake of Danamon from Temasek Holdings, Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund. DBS would pay Rp 7,000 per share for the stake via a stock swap that would result in Temasek owning 40 percent of DBS’s enlarged capital, up from 29 percent currently but is still waiting for approval from Bank Indonesia and the Monetary Authority of Singapore.

Yehey! Corp

Shares of Yehey! Corp. surged by 170 percent on the Internet solution firm’s stock trading debut Thursday, lifted by rosy prospects for digital marketing and the upbeat global markets.

Within the next five years, Yehey! can hit the P100-million sales mark as a growing number of companies allot a bigger chunk of their advertising budget to the digital space, Edmundo Bunyi Jr., president of parent firm Vantage Equities, said in a briefing.

In 2011, sales amounted to P34 million, which the company targets to exceed by 8 percent this year.

Although it listed by way of introduction, or without an initial public offering, 33 percent of Yehey! is now owned by the public.

Yehey! listed 278 million common shares on the second board of the Philippine Stock Exchange at an initial price of P1 per share, the same as the par value. Shares sizzled on the firm’s listing day, hitting as high as P4.50 in intra-day trade before closing at P2.70 per share.   About P58.7 million worth of Yehey! shares changed hands on the local bourse.

“Yehey! investors are establishing what they think is a fair price,”  said PNB Securities deputy chief Manny Lisbona. “It also helps that overseas news is positive—such as China’s gross domestic product growth falling within forecasts and  positive US housing data.”

“We see a good future for the business, especially coming from zero. There’s a bright future for it,” said Wilson Sy, a director at Vantage.

Internet penetration rate in the Philippines is estimated at about 33 percent, up from only 10-17 percent in 2004.

Sy, a stock market veteran, said Yehey!’s strong debut could also be attributed to the bullish market sentiment globally. With the global monetary easing bandwagon, he said “there’s so much money going around.”

The local Internet firm is also debuting at a time that the technology sector was making a strong comeback in the global markets, long after the bursting of the dotcom bubble in early 2000s.  Among the world’s most valuable companies now are technology firms such as Apple and Microsoft.

Asked whether Vantage was keeping Yehey! for the long haul or eventually getting a new investor, Sy said: “We’re open to synergies. Digital marketing is just a small component of the big advertising industry. We’re open to JVs (joint ventures) with big marketing/advertising companies in the world.”

Of the P100-billion total marketing budget spent on media, only 0.2 percent goes to digital marketing at present, suggesting a huge room for growth, especially as some big regional companies now set aside as much as 30 percent of their advertising budget for the digital space.

About 80 percent of Yehey!’s business comes from digital marketing while the rest comes from other media and advertising services. For instance, Yehey! and SM have a tie-up in “proximity” marketing that blasts brand campaigns to mall-goers over SM’s free WiFi in its shopping malls.

Yesterday in Asia

Shanghai rose 1.24 percent, or 26.07 points, to 2,131.69 while Hong Kong added 0.48 percent, or 102.07 points, to 21,518.71.

Tokyo closed 2 percent higher, adding 176.31 points to 8,982.86 as a weakening yen boosted exporters, while Sydney gained 0.69 percent, adding 31.2 points to 4,559.4 and Seoul advanced 0.20 percent, or 3.97 points, to 1,959.12.

China said its economy grew 7.4 percent in the third quarter to the end of September, easing for a seventh straight quarter and underscoring its weakest performance since the global financial crisis.

However, the figure matched expectations, while other economic data pointed to a possible bottoming out of the economy, which has been severely hit this year by troubles in its key export markets of Europe and the United States.

– Singapore closed up 0.48 percent, or 14.69 points, at 3,060.36.

Singapore Airlines gained 1.32 percent to Sg$10.75 and Jardine Cycle and Carriage added 2.03 percent to Sg$52.23.

– Taipei was flat, edging 1.01 points higher to 7,465.41.

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. added 0.80 percent to Tw$88.1 while Hong Hai Precision was 0.11 percent higher at Tw$87.5.

– Manila closed flat, dipping 2.44 points to 5,435.94.

– Wellington closed 0.93 percent higher, adding 36.77 points to 4,001.95.

Telecom rose 0.8 percent to NZ$2.46 and Fisher & Paykel Appliances gained 2.4 percent to NZ$1.27, while Fletcher Building surged 3.27 percent to NZ$7.59.

– Kuala Lumpur added 0.29 percent, or 4.75 points, to 1,665.42.

Hong Leong Bank rose 1.6 percent to 14.20 ringgit while PPB Group added 2.1 percent to 12.46 ringgit. Malayan Banking fell 1.8 percent to 9.11 ringgit.

– Jakarta rose 0.45 percent, or 19.44 points, to 4,356.97.

Hero supermarket rose 17.5 percent to 4,025 rupiah, car maker Astra added 3.1 percent to 8,200 rupiah and Bank Rakyat Indonesia gained 1.3 percent to 7,800 rupiah.

– Bangkok finished 0.76 percent higher, adding 9.93 points to 1,311.21.

– Mumbai rose 0.97 percent, or 181.16 points, to 18,791.93.

Tata Power rose 3.13 percent to 106.95 rupees while the largest commercial bank State Bank of India rose 2.8 percent to 2,276.65.

Shayne Heffernan Ph.D.  

Linda Johnson, Business Development Director - Private Client Group, Heffernan Capital Management
3 Raffles Place #07-01
Bharat Building Singapore 048617
Tel: +65 6329 6408 Fax: +65 6329 9699
Email :
Suite 53 Athenee Tower
63 Wireless Road, Lumpini, Pathumwan, Bangkok 10330
New York 347 5th Avenue, Suite 1402-508 NY, NY 10016


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This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More


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