Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Daily news - 2 Sep

DBS signs pact with China Unionpay
DBS Bank – DBS and Chinese card payment network operator China Unionpay (CUP) have struck a deal that will allow Chinese visitors to Singapore to use their CUP cards at participating merchants. The memorandum of understanding also allows DBS to issue CUP debit and credit cards in markets where DBS has a presence, including Singapore, China and Indonesia. Takashimaya Shopping Centre - the largest department store here - is the first merchant to accept payment by CUP cardholders under the agreement. DBS is targeting other department stores popular with Chinese visitors, including BHG and OG. It hopes eventually to expand the service to the rest of its near 10,000 merchants here. Under an agreement between DBS and CUP in April last year, CUP cardholders could already withdraw money at DBS cash machines in Singapore and Hong Kong. The latest deal will expand this to all DBS cash machines in the region. DBS said that withdrawals by Chinese visitors at its cash machines here have doubled since last year. The agreement also paves the way for DBS to offer all of CUP's card products and services through the bank's network.

ST Engg unit wins $112m LTA job
Singapore Technologies Electronics – Has won a $112m contract from the Land Transport Authority of Singapore (LTA) for Half Height Platform Screen Doors (HHPSD) and its associated works for all existing elevated Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) stations. Under the contract, Singapore Technologies Electronics - the electronics arm of Singapore Technologies Engineering (ST Engg) - will design, supply, install and commission the HHPSD and deliver associated works for all 36 existing elevated MRT stations. This is the first such HHPSD retrofit project in Singapore and work will start this month. Completion is set for 2012. ST Electronics offers system solutions to government, commercial, defence, and industrial customers worldwide. It has a presence in more than 18 countries and 28 cities worldwide and markets its solutions to more than 70 countries internationally. It specialises in the design, development and integration of advanced electronics and communications systems.

Alpha to put US$1.2b in Asian properties
Keppel Land – Alpha Investment Partners, KepLand’s fund management unit, said its new fund will invest US$1.2bn into Asian retail, residential and hospitality property by 2011 despite a global slowdown. The group, which closed the Asia Macro Trends fund in July, now has five Asia-focused funds with S$3.9bn in property assets under management. Alpha managing director Loh Chin Hua said the fund takes a long-term view of eight to 10 years. It believes that the region will do well in the medium to long-term. The new fund has set an internal rate of return of 16-18% and has so far invested US$41m in a hotel near South Korea's Incheon Airport, and US$30m in a stake to build a Hong Kong hotel with an unlisted local developer. Mr Loh said that the Korea hotel already provides a yield higher than the projected 17.3%. He added that he is more prudent about the office and logistics sectors as these have already seen strong growth. Asia's developers are also more willing to accept property funds as equity partners for their projects, Mr Loh said, as other sources of financing become more expensive after banks turned increasingly prudent about lending.

Wilmar to pay US$36m for Fortune Gas stake
Wilmar International Limited – Is investing US$36m for a 15% stake in Fortune Gas Investments Holdings - a holding company for London-listed Fortune Oil's gas business. The investment is part of a conditional subscription agreement which also sees Star Medal - owned by the Kuok Group in Hong Kong - paying US$36m for a similar stake. Hong Kong-headquartered and London-listed Fortune Oil owns oil and gas supply infrastructure in China. It will own the remaining 70% stake in Fortune Gas. Fortune Gas is a Hong Kong-registered company holding all of Fortune Oil's gas operations, including gas distribution and coal bed methane. Both Wilmar and the Kuok Group have substantial business interests and experience in China that will assist in the development of Fortune Gas, Fortune Oil said in an announcement released by Wilmar. The investment is subject to completion of certain due diligence and Fortune Oil and Fortune Gas having to provide warranties and indemnities to the new investors concerning the gas business. Completion is expected within two months. For the six months ended June 30, 2008, Fortune Gas reported an unaudited operating profit of 2.3m pounds (S$5.9m), with unaudited gross assets of 63.7m pounds.

Source: Kim Eng

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