This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on October 23, 2015.
SMRT Holdings Bhd (-ve)
SHARES of ACE market-listed education services provider SMRT (Fundamental: 0.85/3, Valuation: 0.9/3) saw active trading yesterday with 14.0 million shares exchanging hands. The stock, which has shed some 44.5% year-to-date, rose 7.6% to close at 35.5 sen.
For 1H2015, SMRT registered a net loss of RM1.5 million despite a 3.7% increase in revenue to RM55.0 million. This was attributed to a share of loss from associate amounting to RM1.4 million, higher finance costs, and lower revenue generated from the technology segment.
Notably, its net gearing surged to 54.4% at end-June from 2.2% at end-2014, due to increased borrowings to fund the purchase of a 23% stake in Asiamet Education Group (formerly Masterskill Education Group) in March.
Last month, the company proposed to establish an employee share option scheme (ESOS) of up to 15% of its issued and paid-up capital. The listing application for the new shares was submitted on Tuesday.