Sunday, 15 January 2012

Plantations to lead local rally, says Affin Research’s Nazri

KUALA LUMPUR (Jan 15): The PLANTATION [] sector may lead the local market rally this week, starting Monday, despite the worries about the downgrade of several European countries especially France.

Affin Investment Bank head of retail research, Dr Nazri Khan said the market may shift focus back toward Q4 corporate earnings and economic data.

He added equity markets may face a barrage of critical data which includes China Q4 GDP, US industrial production and inflation report and Bank of Canada’s interest rate statement.

“Given that there is a lot of liquidity sitting at the sidelines, any stronger than expected recovery in the economic data may bring huge inflow of liquidity which in turn could become the tsunami the market has been waiting for,” he said.

Nazri pointed out the plantation sector (which have gained an impressive 4.8% gain over the last two weeks) to lead the local market rally.

He added there was a strong resurgence of interest in plantation stocks such as KLK, Kulim, Genting Plantation, Sarawak Oil Palms, Rimbunan Sawit and Gleanely Plantation.

“If the pick-up in liquidity and the stirrings by selected blue-chips and frontliners are maintained - especially in the plantation and CONSTRUCTION [] sector - are any indication, our view is that the local market may actually be inching towards an early 2012 recovery,” it said.

However, he said on the negative front however, the direction of oil can still be a wild card on the current positive sentiment.

He advised investors should keep a close eye on the price of crude oil as there are tensions between the west and Iran over the latter’s nuclear ambitions threaten to destabilise oil supplies.

Nazri said any serious embargo on Iranian exports by the USA may produce retaliations which can hike up the oil price.

“Technically speaking, we see positive MACD, Stochastics and RSI as well as healthy average trading volume (above 1.5 billion shares) as indicating upside momentum and more accumulation next week.

“Finally, we see positive local newsflow to sustain the local sentiment,” he said.

Nazri said the following headlines to excite the markets which may include rumours on RHB and MBSB merger, Genting Group getting a casino licence in Miami, CIMB expanding big into Laos, MMC proposed privatisation of KTMB, AirAsia X expanding into Australia after withdrawing flights in India and Europe, TM bidding for digital television broadcasting, UEM LAND HOLDINGS BHD [] mega launch of RM5.5 billion of property projects and Sapura Crest US$100 million construction award in offshore Vietnam.

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Decision on successful bidder for Khazanah's Proton stake this week

KUALA LUMPUR (Jan 15): As the decision on the new owner of Khazanah Nasional's 42.7 per cent stake in PROTON HOLDINGS BHD [] is expected to be known early this week, there is deep concern by industry players that the move will have an impact on the development of the national auto industry.

Among the major areas concern include the company's vendor programme which involves many vendors.

They opined that the new shareholder should continue to outsource the manufacturing of parts and components for Proton vehicles, which Proton has been doing since its inception, spawning a brisk auto parts industry in the country.

"If the new shareholder has manufacturing units involved in manufacturing parts and components, they should divest these units or should not be involved in this area for Proton vehicles. They are a lot of vendors involve in the manufacturing of components and parts for Proton vehicles," an industry source said.

Another source said Proton, being an Asian brand, needed someone who had deep knowledge of its business and not merely possess the financial capability.

"It's the national car project. Proton needs a personal touch. You have to understand well the nature of the business of Proton. It's an Asian brand," he said.

He also said that the new shareholder must have an expansion plan for the export market of Proton.

Industry sources said the new shareholder should have the capacity not only in turning around Proton's financial performance but taking the national car maker to greater heights.

Proton's net profit fell to RM20.1 million for its six months ended September 30 2011 from RM150.6 million in the previous corresponding period.

Net profit for second quarter was RM15.5 million compared with RM65.9 million in the second quarter of its previous financial year.

The sources also feel that there is lack of transparency in the decision making process on the new shareholder of Khazanah's stake.

"If Khazanah wants to change partners for Proton, there will be a new leadership for the national carmaker. It should be transparent on the parties that it is negotiating with," he said.

Among the parties that have submitted proposals for the 42.7 per cent stake include DRB-HICOM BHD [] and chairman of Proton Holdings Datuk Seri Mohd Nadzmi Salleh.

It is believed that Mohd Nadzmi's bid is not the cheapest compared to others.

Mohd Nadzmi's plans include transforming Proton into a global player, starting with the upcoming model codenamed "P3-21A" which will transform Proton's DNA.

Mohd Nadzmi would also re-look the export markets for Proton, naming China, Iran, India and the Asean countries as potential markets for the national car maker.

He had said that there would be more tie-ups with Mitsubishi Motors Corp which is keen to share its electric vehicle mechanism with Proton.

He also planned to privatise Proton in order to restructure its whole organisation.

Mohd. Nadzmi was appointed Chairman of Proton on Jan 1, 2009 and is also the chairman of boards of various subsidiaries within the PROTON Group of Companies.

He was the managing director of Perusahaan Otomobil Nasional Bhd from 1993 until 1996.

He was also the Manager in the Marketing Services Department of Edaran Otomobil Nasional Bhd in 1984 and later assumed the positions of Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of the company.

DRB-Hicom, however, has not revealed its plans for Proton. - Bernama

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