Scientex, Sime Darby Plantation, Public Bank, Gas Malaysia, Muhibbah, Malaysia Smelting Corp, Axiata Group, MBM Resources, Vivocom, Kian Joo and Apex Healthcare

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KUALA LUMPUR (Feb 22): Based on corporate announcements and news flow today, companies in focus on Friday (Feb 23) may include: Scientex Bhd, Sime Darby Plantation Bhd, Public Bank Bhd, Gas Malaysia Bhd, Muhibbah Engineering (M) Bhd, Malaysia Smelting Corp Bhd, Axiata Group Bhd, MBM Resources Bhd, Vivocom International Holdings Bhd,  Kian Joo Can Factory Bhd and Apex Healthcare Bhd

Scientex Bhd said trading in its shares will be suspended tomorrow pending the release of a material announcement. The group said Bursa Malaysia today approved its request for the 9am-5pm suspension.

Sime Darby Plantation Bhd saw its net profit rise 34.5% to RM429 million in the second quarter ended Dec 31, 2017 from RM319 million a year ago on higher earnings from its upstream operations arising from higher sales of palm products and reduced finance costs as a result of lower borrowings.

Quarterly revenue grew 4.1% to RM4.09 billion from RM3.93 billion.

The group declared an interim dividend of 3.5 sen per share, payable on May 4.

For the cumulative six months, Sime Darby Plantation’s net profit more than tripled to RM1.45 billion from RM470 million a year ago. Revenue increased 13.08% to RM7.63 billion from RM6.74 billion.

Public Bank Bhd’s net profit grew by a marginal 0.18% to RM1.49 billion in the fourth quarter ended Dec 31, 2017 from RM1.48 billion a year ago, mainly due to higher net interest income, net fee and commission income, income from Islamic banking business and other operating income.

Quarterly revenue was also up 5.2% to RM5.35 billion from RM5.08 billion.

The group declared a second interim dividend of 34 sen per share,  payable on March 23.

For the full year, the group's net profit increased 5.1% to RM5.47 billion from RM5.21 billion a year ago, while revenue rose 3.8% to RM20.86 billion from RM20.1 billion.

Gas Malaysia Bhd has entered into a pipeline development agreement with the Perak state government to provide gas infrastructure development for the supply of natural gas to its customers in Kinta Valley at a cost of RM180 million.

The group will develop, operate and own the natural gas distribution system pipeline with a capacity of 50,000 standard cubic meter per hour and measuring approximately 140km in length from the take-off point located at Ayer Tawar to supply natural gas to areas identified by the parties.

Muhibbah Engineering (M) Bhd's 49% owned Muhibbah Engineering Middle East LLC has bagged a construction project worth about RM149 million from the Economic Zones Company, Qatar (MANATEQ), a company owned by the government of Qatar.

The contract is for the design, construction and erection of syncrolift and travel lift with ancillaries and all associated works in Marsa Um Alhoul.

Muhibbah said the construction works will commence immediately and is expected to be completed by the first quarter of 2019.

Malaysia Smelting Corp Bhd (MSC) swung into a net loss in the fourth quarter ended Dec 31, 2017, dragged down by its tin smelting segment which recorded a pre-tax loss of RM23.4 million due to lower sales volume, lower profit from sale of by-products, higher production cost and operating expenses.

The tin miner and metal producer posted a net loss of RM13.36 million compared to a net profit of RM2.38 million a year ago. Quarterly revenue declined 9% to RM318.52 million from RM350.14 million.

The weak quarterly performance dragged down MSC's net profit for the full FY17 to RM15.93 million, a 53% drop from RM34.33 million in FY16, while revenue contracted 3% to RM1.44 billion from RM1.48 billion.

MSC is proposing a final dividend of 4 sen per share. This represents a dividend payout of 25% of FY17 net profit.

Axiata Group Bhd returned to the black in the fourth quarter ended Dec 31, 2017, posting a net profit of RM24.73 million compared to a net loss of RM309.49 million a year ago, largely due to improved earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (Ebitda) and forex gains.

Quarterly revenue climbed 8.15% to RM6.26 billion from RM5.79 billion on strong growth from Indonesia, Malaysia and Bangladesh, which are Axiata’s key mobile operating entities.

Axiata declared a final dividend of 3.5 sen, bringing a total payout of 8.5 sen for FY17 compared with eight sen in FY16.

For the full FY17, the group's net profit expanded 80.36% to RM909.48 million from RM504.25 million, while revenue rose 13.16% to RM24.4 billion from RM21.57 billion in FY16.

MBM Resources Bhd suffered its first loss in the fourth quarter ended Dec 31, 2017, posting a net loss of RM191.74 million compared to a net profit of RM7.57 million a year ago due to impairment charges.

Quarterly revenue, however, rose by a marginal 1.5% to RM443.77 million from RM437.23 million.

The poor quarterly performance resulted in the group posting its first net loss of RM148.83 million for the full FY17 compared to a net profit of RM66.07 million the previous year. Revenue, however, increased 3.7% to RM1.73 billion from RM1.67 billion in FY16.

MBM declared a second interim dividend of 1.5 sen per share.

Vivocom International Holdings Bhd, whose share price has more than halved since May 2016, is proposing a two-for-three rights issue wanting to raise up to RM75.27 million.

The cash will be sweetened by free detachable warrants on the basis of one-for-two warrants E for every two rights shares subscribed.

From the RM75.27 million to be raised from the exercise, RM49.07 million will be used for working capital, while RM25 million will be for its future viable investments, which include mergers and acquisitions of businesses or investments, while the remaining will be for the estimated expenses in relation to the exercise.

Kian Joo Can Factory Bhd posted a 77.58% increase in its net profit to RM46.9 million for the fourth quarter ended Dec 31, 2017 from RM26.41 million a year ago, contributed by higher revenue.

Quarterly revenue rose 15.17% to RM494.42 million from RM429.31 million on increasing demand for the group's products and upward adjustments of selling price to absorb the increase in the cost of direct material.

Despite the better fourth quarter earnings, Kian Joo’s net profit for the full financial year ended Dec 31, 2017 (FY17) dropped 30.05% to RM89.96 million from RM128.61 million in the previous year. Revenue grew 7.05% to RM1.84 billion against RM1.72 billion in FY16.

Apex Healthcare Bhd’s net profit for the fourth quarter ended Dec 31, 2017 grew 89.4% to RM12.8 million from RM6.76 million a year earlier, due to the higher sales and a greater proportion of high margin products in the associates’ revenue mix.

Revenue rose 5.85% to RM152.59 million from RM144.15 million on good growth in pharmaceutical sales to both private and government sectors.

The group recommended a final single-tier dividend of 6.5 sen per share, which is payable on June 14.

For the full financial year, Apex Healthcare’s net profit rose 27.19% to RM44.46 million or 37.95 sen per share versus RM34.96 million or 29.84 sen per share in FY16 . Revenue increased by 6.71% to RM620.26 million from RM581.27 million.