Haze triggers health warnings

September 15, 2011 · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Business News 

KUALA LUMPUR: Patients with diseases associated with respiratory illnesses are advised to take extra precautions during the haze period.

Institute of Respiratory Medicine director Datuk Dr Abdul Razak Muttalif said asthma patients and people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease should not expose themselves too much outdoor.

“Even if the air quality index is moderate, they must take precautions and stay indoors,” he said.

Dr Razak said for those with lung problems, the bad air quality could trigger an asthma attack.

“They have to increase their medication and wear masks when outdoor. If their conditions do not improve, they must go to the hospital,” he said.

Dr Razak also advised people to drink more water especially during this time.

The cause for the recent haze that hit the country was identified after satellite images indicated 600 hotspots with high temperature levels in Sumatra.

Smoke from the forest fires in Sumatra was then brought to Peninsular Malaysia by the monsoon winds and subsequently caused the current haze enveloping the affected areas in Peninsular Malaysia.

However the situation was not as bad as it was in 1997 and 2005, when the air pollutant index (API) reading recorded never seen before highs.

In 1997, Sarawak even declared an emergency because of the high API readings and this forced schools to close due to risk of contracting respiratory illnesses.

In 2005, an emergency was announced in Port Klang and Kuala Selangor when the API reached 500, again caused by massive and widespread forest fires from neighbouring countries.

Meanwhile the recent API readings showed good air quality in 39 areas and moderate in 11 others as of 11am on Thursday.

As at the time of reporting, the Department of Environment (DOE) has yet to highlight any area with unhealthy API reading.

The air quality in Malaysia is described in terms of API. It is an indicator of air quality and was developed based on scientific assessment to indicate the presence of pollutants and its impact on health. Good API ratings range from 0 to 50, while a moderate API is from 51 to 100. An API level of above 100 is unhealthy.

The API system in Malaysia follows the Pollutant Standard Index (PSI) developed by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (US-EPA).

According to the DOE, what could help the country in this situation is the wind blowing the polluted air to another area or air-cleansing rain.

A spokesman from DOE also stated that right now the relatively dry winds of the monsoon are carrying smoke particles and pollutants from the Sumatra fires in the direction of the peninsula.

“Open burning, continued emission of toxic fumes and generation of other air pollutants through our own over-consumption and activities are contributing to the haze,” he said.

Gas Malaysia guarantees dividends in first 2 years

September 11, 2011 · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Business News 

Kuala Lumpur: Gas Malaysia Bhd will pay a guaranteed dividend of 100 per cent and 75 per cent in the first two years, respectively, after floating its shares on Bursa Malaysia in December this year.

MMC Corp Bhd group managing director, Datuk Hasni Harun said Gas Malaysia is on track for a listing as part of MMC’s strategy of unlocking value and reducing debt.

“The dividends are also to reward shareholders’ loyalty over the years,” Hasni told Business Times in an interview last Friday in conjunction with MMC’s 100-year anniversary.

MMC and Shapadu Group own 55 per cent of Gas Malaysia. Tokyo Gas-Mitsui and Co (Holdings) Sdn Bhd and Petronas Gas Bhd hold another 25 per cent and 20 per cent, respectively. Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas) also has a golden share in Gas Malaysia.

Gas Malaysia submitted its initial public offer (IPO) request to the Securities Commission on August 23 and is waiting for approval.

“Gas Malaysia’s strong balance sheet with zero debt will attract good response for the IPO. MMC is optimistic of Gas Malaysia’s prospects as it is poised to deliver strong and sustainable performance driven by continued demand from industrial customers,” said Hasni.

Gas Malaysia is the sole supplier of natural gas to the non-power sector and supplies energy to over 31,000 residential and 600 commercial customers as well as industrial costumers throughout Peninsular Malaysia.

The company enjoys strong backing from Petronas and has a long-term agreement with the national oil corporation to supply 300 million standard cubic feet per day of gas.

Gas Malaysia’s recession-proof gas reticulation business will continue to provide MMC with a steady stream of cashflow. Hasni revealed that Gas Malaysia’s volume grew six per cent in the first half of 2011, underlying stable demand for the product.

Hasni was reported to have said that Gas Malaysia could have a market value of about RM5 billion and raise up to RM167 million. MMC’s stake would be diluted to 30.93 per cent from 41.80 per cent.

MMC, controlled by tycoon Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar Al-Bukhary, is also planning other IPOs after Gas Malaysia.

These include 51 per cent unit Malakoff Bhd next year and subsequently either wholly-owned Johor Port Bhd, subsidiary Port of Tanjung Pelepas (PTP) or Johor Port and PTP combined.

“We will see what happens. We want the port business to mature first generating RM300 million or RM400 million of profit by 2013 before we go for listing,” Hasni added.

PTP and Johor Port made a pre-tax profit of RM52 million and RM155 million, respectively, in 2010.

Hasni said the listing of the ports is necessary as they are hitting maximum capacity. It would, therefore, need to spend some RM1 billion to expand.

MMC, which operates ports and power plants, is the country’s largest container port operator, commanding 40 per cent of Malaysia’s total container throughput with a maximum capacity of 8.5 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) last year.

MMC is also the project delivery partner for the country’s RM36 billion mass rapit transit project together with Gamuda Bhd, its joint venture partner.

Japan’s debt rating downgraded by Moody

August 25, 2011 · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Global 
After the downgrade of the credit rating of the United States, another major economic superpower is seen to be following suits as Japan is the next in line. Moody’s Investors Service has downgraded Japans’ credit ratings from Aa3 to Aa2. The agency said that this was due to the weak growth prospects of the country as well as its massive government debt and its uncertainties of the country’s political climate. Read more

CIMB posts record Q2 earnings

August 25, 2011 · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Company News 
One of the country’s major bank networks, CIMB Group Holdings Bhd recently announced their improvement of earnings by 9.1% to a new record of RM970.01million for the second quarter (Q2) that ended recently in June 30. Comparatively, the banking group recorded earnings of RM889.46million for the same quarter in 2010 and this was widely contributed by the local consumer banking services segment as well as the CIMB Niaga’s high growth rate. Read more

Prince Court Medical Centre continues to operate losses, RM654million in last 2 years

August 25, 2011 · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Company News 
Prince Court Medical Centre Sdn Bhd, one of the most prestigious medical centres in the Klang Valley has reported a net loss of RM451million after recording a revenue of RM82million for the financial year ending April 30, 2011.

The medical center is a wholly owned subsidiary of national oil and gas company Petronas (Petroliam Nasional Bhd) is located in the heart of the Klang Valley where it reported that they had non-current liabilities of RM714.3million while current liabilities were at RM35.1million. Read more

Plenitude 4Q net profit down by 19.5%

August 25, 2011 · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Company News 
One of the major property developers in the country, Plenitude Berhad has recorded a net profit of RM22.2million for the fourth quarter of its current financial year. This is a 19.5% drop as compared to the corresponding quarter last year. This was due to the lower progressive profit from its properties sold, completed and handed over. Read more

Telekom Malaysia posts higher earnings thanks to internet and multimedia services

August 25, 2011 · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Company News 
National telecommunication company, Telekom Malaysia Bhd reported a 2.3% increase in its earnings for the second quarter (Q2) for the current financial quarter ending June 30, 2011 where they recorded RM127.24 million as compared to the corresponding quarter when they recorded earnings of RM124.38 million. This was made possible by its Internet, multimedia and data services where revenue reached RM2.23billion from last year’s RM2.15billion, which translates to 3.8%. Meanwhile, its earnings per share were RM3.60 sen as compared to RM3.50 previously. Read more

SapuraCrest, Kencana merger to become fifth largest O&G service provider in the world

August 25, 2011 · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Company News 
The proposed merger of 2 of the country’s major oil and gas companies SapuraCrest Petroleum Berhad (SapuraCrest) and Kencana Petroluem Berhad (Kencana) will be a move towards creating a single entity which will be expected to be a major player in the international market. The merger which is currently on track into becoming a reality will enable the company to compete for more capital intensive projects with other oil companies. Read more

MAS records Q2 loss, trend likely to continue

August 24, 2011 · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Company News 
National carrier MAS (Malaysia Airlines) has recorded a net loss of RM526.8 million loss in its second quarter. The loss for the second quarter ending June 30 was however better as compared to the corresponding quarter last year when it recorded a net loss of RM534.73milloin. This is despite the 8% growth of its overall revenue for the same quarter which stood at RM3.49billion. Read more

Head of Standard & Poor stepping down, analysts said he is ‘helped to the door’

August 24, 2011 · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Global 
Devan Sharma, the president of Standard & Poor is reportedly resigning. This came in the wake of the recent move by S&P to strip the United States of its AAA credit rating to AA+ for the first time in its history and saw most markets being affected by the move. Taking his place would be Douglas Peterson who is currently the Chief Operating Officer of Citbank N.A the banking arm of Citigroup. Read more

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