Petronas Chemicals, MRCB, Magnum, Media Prima, Kenanga, Star Media, Sunway, BAT, Berjaya Assets and Hengyuan

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KUALA LUMPUR (May 21): Based on corporate announcements and news flow today, stocks in focus for Tuesday (May 22) may include the following: Petronas Chemicals Group Bhd, Malaysian Resources Corp Bhd, Magnum Bhd, Media Prima Bhd, Kenanga Investment Bank Bhd, Star Media Group Bhd, Sunway Bhd, British American Tobacco (Malaysia) Bhd, Berjaya Assets Bhd and Hengyuan Refining Co Bhd.  

Petronas Chemicals Group Bhd's net profit fell 18% to RM1.07 billion in the first quarter ended March 31, 2018 from RM1.3 billion a year earlier.

The company said net profit fell due to a stronger ringgit against the US dollar and a one-off adjustment relating to under accrual of manpower-related expenses.

Quarterly revenue rose to RM4.95 billion from RM4.7 billion, primarily driven by higher sales volumes and product prices, partially offset by the strengthening of the ringgit against the US dollar.

Malaysian Resources Corp Bhd (MRCB) remains hopeful that it can complete its disposal of the Eastern Dispersal Link (EDL) to the Malaysian government by the end of this year.

MRCB executive director Mohd Imran Mohamad Salim said the company will work with the new government to finalise the formula of the mutual termination agreement, and is hopeful that it can be completed by the end of the year.

Taking note of the new government's pledge to abolish tolls, Imran said the disposal of the EDL showed that the group was at the forefront of this initiative. It has already abolished tolls on the highway and handed over operations to the federal government, he noted.

Magnum Bhd recorded an almost 80% surge in net profit for the first quarter ended March 31, 2018, in line with higher gaming revenue and lower prizes payout ratio.

Net profit came in at RM54.94 million, representing a 79.7% increase over the RM30.57 million registered a year earlier.Earnings per share improved to 3.86 sen, from 2.15 sen previously.

Quarterly revenue, meanwhile, grew 2.2% to RM712.35 million from RM697.08 million. The group declared a first interim single tier dividend of four sen per share, payable on June 29.

Media Prima Bhd announced today that Tan Sri Ismee Ismail has resigned as its independent, non-executive group chairman "to focus on other commitments".

The group said Tan Sri Ismee had earlier informed the board of Media Prima of his intention to step down from his current position and resign from the board.

Following Ismee's departure, Media Prima said its independent, non-executive director Datuk Mohd Nasir Ahmad will temporarily chair the media conglomerate.

Kenanga Investment Bank Bhd has gotten the greenlight from Bank Negara Malaysia to commence negotiation to buy out Inter-Pacific Securities Sdn Bhd’s stockbroking business.

The central bank states no objection for it to commence negotiations with Inter-Pacific Securities on the proposed acquisition of the latter’s assets, liabilities and contractual arrangements.

It did not detail the potential value of the acquisition, but said that it will be financed by ways of shares and cash.

Star Media Group Bhd said it will cease all printing activities at its northern hub facility in Bayan Lepas, Penang from September, in line with its efforts to centralise nationwide printing as part of its ongoing cost rationalisation exercise.

Star said the proposed cessation will involve staff redundancies, consideration of future utilisation of the land and building at the facility, as well as disposal of the pressline.

The media company said, however, the decision is not expected to adversely impact its newspaper circulation in the region as the papers will be printed in its headquarters in Shah Alam, Selangor.

Sunway Bhd announced today net profit for the first financial quarter ended March 31, 2018 grew 14.1% to RM121.92 million from RM106.89 million a year ago, mainly due to higher contribution from its property investment segment.

Earnings per share expanded to 2.49 sen from 2.26 sen previously.

Quarterly revenue grew 20.2% to RM1.31 billion, from RM1.09 billion, as all segments — save for property development — showed improved contribution.

British American Tobacco (M) Bhd  said first-quarter net profit fell 16.1%, its third straight quarter of profit decline, on waning legal tobacco volume which impacted the group's volume by 8% year-on-year.

Net profit for the three months ended March 31, 2018 fell to RM95.88 million from RM114.23 million a year ago, resulting in a lower earnings per share of 33.7 sen compared with 41.6 sen previously.

Quarterly revenue came in 14.8% lower at RM637.65 million from RM748.37 million previously, due to domestic and duty free volume decline, and absence of the sale of residual leaf raw materials to related companies outside Malaysia in in line with the winding down of its manufacturing operations.

Nevertheless, BAT Malaysia declared a first interim dividend of 33 sen per share, amounting to RM94.22 million, payable on June 19.

Berjaya Assets Bhd posted net profit of RM16.62 million for the third quarter ended March 31, 2018, down 90.8% from RM179.87 million in the previous corresponding quarter.

The big difference was mainly due to the reversal for taxes in dispute amounting to RM156.47 million accounted for Berjaya Times Square Sdn Bhd, which reversed in the previous corresponding quarter, besides lower contribution from most business segments and higher operating expenses.

Quarterly revenue declined 12.17% to RM76.55 million, compared with RM87.16 million a year ago, mainly due to the gaming business segment operated by Natural Avenue Sdn Bhd which continued to be impacted by rampant illegal gaming activities.

Hengyuan Refining Co Bhd saw its net profit fall 68.94% to RM86.81 million in the first quarter ended March 31, 2018 from RM279.49 million a year ago as margins fell due to a lower crack spread for motor gas.

The decline in the crack spread, which measures the pricing difference between a barrel of crude oil and the petroleum products refined from it, occurred amidst increasing crude prices and high inventory in the region, the refiner noted.

As a result, earnings per share declined to 28.94 sen from 93.16 sen previously despite marginally lower manufacturing expenses.

This was despite a 4.41% increase in quarterly revenue to RM3.06 billion from RM2.93 billion previously due to higher average product prices in the quarter, during which Brent crude oil averaged US$76 per barrel versus US$65 per barrel in the previous corresponding quarter.