Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Daily news - 13 Oct

S'pore banks in sound shape: MAS MD
Financial institutions in Singapore are sound and operating normally, even in the wake of the ongoing global turmoil that has seen hundreds of billions of dollars lost in the mortgage and securities markets. This assurance was made yesterday by the central bank as it made a concerted effort to calm consumers worried about the safety of their deposits, insurance plans and investments. Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) managing director Heng Swee Keat described banks here as being 'sound and operating normally'. He cited a number of reasons for this optimism. First, Singapore has no sub-prime mortgages that originated here, which means that banks and insurance companies have limited exposures to such assets or to the banks that have failed. Second, MAS has been conservative in its approach to how it supervises financial institutions. Lastly, unlike banks elsewhere that face liquidity problems, depositors and investors here maintain a high level of confidence in Singapore's banks, especially as the MAS is also very strict about the spreading of rumours.

SPH profit slips 12.4% on lower investment gains
Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) – Reported a 12.4% drop in net profit to $437.4m for its full year ended Aug 31, 2008 as investment income tumbled. Net income from investments sank 67.3% to $47.7m amid global financial turbulence. It was also affected by a downward fair valuation. And there was a $26.7m impairment charge to write down the carrying amount of investments in associates - mainly Chinese billboard company TOM Outdoor Media Group - to the estimated recoverable amount. Fully diluted EPS fell to 27 cents from 31 cents. The previous year's higher investment income stemmed largely from profits on the sale of investments and gains from capital reduction exercises by MobileOne and StarHub.Excluding the drop in investment income this time around, net profit from SPH's media and property businesses rose 17.5% to $501.7m, driven by the better performance of its print media and a higher contribution from its Sky@eleven condo project. Full-year operating revenue rose 12.1% to a record $1.3bn. Revenue from the core newspaper and magazine division rose 5.7% to $1bn, with print advertisement revenue jumping 7.6% to $780.1m.

HLA says it can make Thakral successful
Thakral Corporation – Hong Leong Asia (HLA) can make Thakral Corporation a success but needs support from other Thakral shareholders to push its plans through, a spokesman for HLA unit China Yuchai said Friday. Amid HLA's attempt to remove Thakral chairman Kartar Singh Thakral and gain greater board representation, the spokesman said that when HLA was offered the opportunity to invest in Thakral, it believed in Thakral’s business and were prepared to help it expand to other new industrial activities in China. China Yuchai owns a 34.42% stake in Thakral, whose core business is consumer electronics distribution. Thakral is most active in China and Hong Kong. The spokesman said that HLA has extensive experience and expertise in running large profitable industrial companies, especially in China. He added that HLA is also part of Hong Leong Group which owns a strong stable of companies. He said that this track record and network will be leveraged on in seeking to turn around Thakral.

Source: Kim Eng

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