Qantas partner Malaysia Airlines will resume non-stop flights between Brisbane and Kuala Lumpur in June 2018, after axing the route two years ago amid broad cost-cutting measures.
With an initial four flights per week in each direction from Wednesday June 6, the airline will fly its Airbus A330-300 jets to the Queensland capital, fitted with its latest fully-flat business class seats.
Flights in each direction will run on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.
From Brisbane, MH134 pushes back at 11.20pm to reach Kuala Lumpur at 5.50am the following day: allowing for onward connections to London (at 9am on flight MH4) or a host of other destinations across Asia.
Out of Kuala Lumpur on the return leg, MH135 takes to the skies at 9.50am to reach Brisbane at 7.50pm.
The airline hopes to upgrade its Brisbane service to a daily flight once demand picks up.
In Brisbane, business class passengers will have access to the recently-revamped Qantas business class lounge, as will Gold- and Platinum-grade frequent flyers on the same flights, including Qantas and Enrich Gold/Platinum members.
Other travellers stuck in economy who are also American Express Platinum Charge Card holders or Priority Pass members may instead visit Brisbane Airport's Plaza Premium Lounge.
Through Malaysia Airlines’ membership in the global Oneworld alliance, Qantas Frequent Flyer members will be able to book these flights using Qantas Points (subject to availability), and can earn frequent flyer points and status credits when travelling on eligible Malaysia Airlines fares.
That said, the earn rates on this route are rather paltry: many economy fares earn nothing at all; higher-priced flexible fares earn at Qantas Frequent Flyer’s ‘discount economy’ rate, and business class fares accrue points and status in line with ‘flexible economy’, not ‘business class’.
For example, a paid business class ticket will deliver a mere 4,000 Qantas Points and 30 status credits each way, while the higher-end economy fares offer just 1,000 Qantas Points and 15 status credits in each direction.
By comparison, you’d earn more status credits on a one-hour Qantas business class flight from Brisbane to Sydney than flying Malaysia Airlines business class to KL; and likewise with a Qantas flexible economy ticket to Sydney versus the MH equivalent to Malaysia, on a flight considerably longer.
Since its departure in August 2015, Brisbane has been without any non-stop flights to Kuala Lumpur, with the closest option being a one-stop journey via Denpasar (Bali) aboard a Malindo Air Boeing 737, with domestic-style recliners in business class as opposed to flatbeds.
Source : Australian Business Traveller
KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA - NS BlueScope Malaysia has increased its efforts to forge a sustainable future through community engagement and diversity. Recognising that a fully engaged community is an essential component of sustainability to unlocking further economic value. NS BlueScope has continued to implement changes which have started to see positive results. This is in-line with the Malaysian government's recent efforts to create a business-friendly ecosystem which takes into consideration, "People, Planet and Profit" as the country moves closer to becoming a high income develop nation.
Given the rising challenges from the increasingly competitive global marketplace, we believe that Budget 2018 will play an integral part in maintaining Malaysia's strong levels of productivity and most importantly moving towards inclusive economic growth that incorporates the need for diversity in the workplace as a factor of success into the future.
NS BlueScope welcomes the government's initiative in improving the levels of diversity on boards of companies both GLC's and GLIC's will include up to 30% women, childcare facilities in all new office buildings and personal income tax exemption to encourage women to return to the workforce. With 2018 named "Women Empowerment Year" it is clear that the government is serious about these policies to empower and build diversity in the workplace.
At NS BlueScope, we know that our success comes from our people, moving sustainably into the future success will come from the diversity of our people. In 2018, we are focused and committed to improve gender diversity in our manufacturing operations to exceed our current level of 10% female workers. Through focused recruitment strategies and development & training initiatives our aspirations for a gender diverse workforce can be achieved in coming years.
Our vision for gender diversity has become easier following the steps taken in the latest budget, at NS BlueScope we know that diversity helps produce superior products and services for a diverse global market. Diversity of thought is also key to ensure that we innovate and get ahead of the competition.
Diversity needs a conducive environment to take root, with an allocation of RM2.2 Billion aimed at making available thousands of houses and units for the public in various income levels the government remains committed to the wellbeing of the people. NS BlueScope remains committed to the supply of quality roofing materials so that the next generation of Malaysians will know homes that are safe, durable and sustainable.
As the nation sets its sights on a new aspiration as spelled out in TN50, NS BlueScope believes that workplace diversity and inclusion is necessary to raise the quality and standards of local steel to ensure competitiveness in the current market environment. With this approach, moving forward through continual investment in diversity, innovation and technology to develop highly skilled human capital is viewed as the best pathway to success.
About NS BlueScope Malaysia Sdn. Bhd.
For more than 20 years NS BlueScope Malaysia has been an integral part of the building materials industry in Malaysia. Now as a reputable and major manufacturing, marketing and distribution company we continue to serve the needs of the construction industry in Malaysia.
A global company with a significant local footprint, it currently owns and operates a coated steel building plant (NS BlueScope Malaysia, Kapar) and five roll-forming manufacturing plants -- NS BlueScope Lysaght, Shah Alam; NS BlueScope Lysaght, Sabah; NS BlueScope Lysaght, Sarawak; NS BlueScope Lysaght, Singapore; and NS BlueScope Lysaght, Brunei -- employing some 500 people.
With products produced locally, used in iconic projects and housing that improve the daily lives of people, NS BlueScope Malaysia is the only local manufacturer of COLORBOND® pre-painted steel, ZINCALUME® and TRUECORE® aluminium and zinc coated steel.
NS BlueScope Malaysia is a leader in innovative and green manufacturing practices, as the first coated steel manufacturer in Malaysia to receive SIRIM's Eco-Label certification. Our commitment to sustainability has been recognised by the Malaysian Green Building Confederation in the publication of the Green Pages Malaysia directory and MyHIJAU directory by GreenTech Malaysia. NS BlueScope is also accredited by the Singapore Green Building Council and its continual improvements in best practices are accredited through Quality Management System ISO 9001 and Environmental management System ISO14001.
NS BlueScope Malaysia is a part of BlueScope Steel Limited Australia, one of the world's largest manufacturers listed on the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX: BSL). As the leading the supplier of premium metallic coated and painted steel building products, the strength of BlueScope is its global network with more than 100 facilities in 17 countries, employing over 17,000 people serving thousands of customers.
BlueScope drives growth in premium branded coated and painted steel markets in the Asia-Pacific region and builds on the strong value proposition offering customers across the Pacific Rim from Asia, Australia, New Zealand and to the west coast of North America high quality building materials.
Source: Asia One
A competitive global economy coupled with shift in geopolitical trends in the US and Europe have led international students to be in search for alternatives, particularly for those in the Muslim countries. While Brexit, recent developments and travel bans in the US have affected students in the Muslim regions, it created opportunity for Malaysia to offer places to this group of individuals.
Malaysia is increasingly becoming a popular study destination because English is widely spoken, inexpensive accommodation and unique experience. In 2015, the country has increased its target of hosting international students to 250,000 by 2025. By the end of 2016, the nation has already attained a total of 172,886 international students.
In addition, cultural similarities means Asia is the big market for Malaysia’s higher education. Due to the conservative nature of Asia, many parents have concerns about the liberal culture of the West. Hence, many see Malaysia as a great alternative undergraduate destination for their children who may then move on to postgraduate degrees in the West.
Further, impression, brand perception and ranking are highly regarded in Asian countries due to the immense amount of options these students are furnished with. Malaysia’s lower fees and living costs is another reason for the thriving transnational education. Even though a western degree has a greater prominence in Malaysia where many of its elites have received education, the devaluation of the ringgit over the last years has made it difficult for many to pursue an overseas education.
Foreign universities mostly from the UK and Australia now conduct campuses in Malaysia. Thereby allowing cost conscious students to receive the same degree certificate while paying lesser fees. Private universities, including branch campuses, are now also exempted from the five percent cap on international students at the undergraduate level, similar to that of the public universities.
Funding cuts have also made it mandatory for public universities to seek for alternative sources of incomes. However, to attract international students, universities will have to demonstrate that their qualifications are portable, and of quality.
Malaysian universities also act as a place for students to prepare. Pathway agreements have been active in Malaysia, and ELS Malaysia is one such example. It provides pathways for around 20 private universities, with the first opening in 2005. This is part of the nation’s initiative to have English competent students and graduates contribute to the globalised job market; and Malaysian students are well aware that proficient English is the key to enrolling in a foreign university.
The international school sector has been thriving, and the government has been the driving force behind it. The government has removed limits on foreign ownership, introduced tax incentives and remove enrolment caps on local students. As a result, schools’ enrollment rate surged from below one percent in 2002 to 15 percent in 2013. In addition, there were a total of 71,589 students enrolled in 170 English-medium international schools as of the start of 2017, according to ISC Research data.
However, at the same time, the Education Ministry is making calculated moves on which schools it allows to operate. The ministry wants more foreign investment in schools outside of the already highly-populated Greater Kuala Lumpur and Klang Valley areas.
If Malaysia wants to achieve its objective of becoming an education hub for international education, it will have to address the challenge of providing practical work experience. At present, internships are difficult to secure unless a student’s course of study requires one. Moreover, part-time work is not allowed during term time and restricted to 20 hours per week during holidays and semester breaks.
Source: QS WOW NEWS
PERTH: A special event to showcase a new Sarawak-inspired garden to visiting Curtin Malaysia pro-chancellor Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Dr George Chan and board of directors was held recently at the main campus of Curtin University in Perth, Western Australia.
According to Curtin University vice-chancellor Prof Deborah Terry, the garden provides a special connection to the Malaysian campus in Miri, Sarawak, for staff and students at the main campus.
She added that the garden with plants and shrubs indigenous to this region was created by staff of the main campus’ public places team.
An Australian garden would also be developed at the Malaysian campus.
“This garden also serves as a tribute to the dedicated people at the Curtin Malaysia campus, who through the years have worked hard to build its reputation both within Malaysia and internationally.
“We are pleased that Curtin Malaysia is today an institution that the whole of Curtin and our respective nations can be proud of,” she said.
Dr Chan said Curtin Malaysia was very honoured to have such a beautifully landscaped garden in Perth dedicated to it.
He thanked all those who envisioned such a garden and spent considerable time and effort in making it a reality.
Like Prof Terry, he said the garden went beyond being a representation of the campus in Miri and was a fitting tribute to the campus’ founders, both in Sarawak and in Western Australia, who had the bold vision of creating Curtin’s first international campus in the state.
Source: Star Online
ISKANDAR PUTERI: Medini Iskandar Malaysia Sdn Bhd (MIM) sees the next five to 10 years to be the most exciting growth period for the Medini City township project.
Managing director and chief executive officer James Tee said 10% of the township spanning about 902.44ha have been developed with another 10% of the total area still under construction.
“We still have many years to go before we can really see the transformation of Medini City into the new central business district (CBD) of Iskandar Puteri,” he said.
Tee said this after signing a memorandum of understanding between MIM and Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM), which was represented by vice-chancellor Prof Datuk Wahid Omar.
“Interest from domestic and foreign companies planning to set up offices in the township remains strong despite uncertainties in the global economic growth,’’ he said.
Tee added that the completion of several catalytic projects in Iskandar Puteri over the last few years was a testimonial that the flagship development zone has been progressing and developing well.
About RM1bil has been invested so far on infrastructure in Medini since its inception in 2008, including improving connectivity and accessibility to the area.
He said the KL-Singapore High Speed Rail connecting Singapore and Kuala Lumpur with the station in Iskandar Puteri would boost development in Medini.
“The station located about six to seven km from the CBD here will definitely push demand for commercial, office and residential properties,’’ said Tee.
Medini caters to property development projects, which enjoy, among others, zero restrictions on foreign ownership, a RM1mil threshold for foreign property buyers and real property gains tax.
Medini, located in the 3,930.48ha Iskandar Puteri, formerly known as Nusajaya, which in turn forms one of the five flagship development zones of the 2,217 sq km Iskandar Malaysia, has three development clusters – the financial district, Medini Central, and lifestyle and leisure – with each developed by different developers.
Source: The Star
KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 15 (Reuters) - Malaysian property developer Eco World International Bhd said on Friday it had acquired a 70 percent stake in a dozen British sites, agreeing to pay 64.9 million pounds ($87 million) for half of the assets first.
Eco World said it would buy the stake in a unit of construction group Willmott Dixon which owns the 12 sites in Greater London and southeastern England, and would become joint development manager with its British partner.
The acquisition will be done in two stages, and the purchase consideration for the remaining six sites was not finalised yet.
Eco World planned to fund the acquisition of the first six sites through its initial public offering proceeds, and the rest through a combination of borrowings and proceeds from its IPO.
Eco World launched its IPO on the Malaysian bourse in April, raising 2.58 billion ringgit ($631.42 million). It was backed by state-linked funds Employees Provident Fund and Permodalan Nasional Bhd, and has Singapore-listed GuocoLand Ltd as a strategic investor.
President and Chief Executive Teow Leong Seng said the joint venture would enable the group to establish a footprint in Britain’s build-to-rent subsector and enter the private rental sector in which demand had been increasing.
“Regardless of what people say about Brexit, our sales are still improving, momentum is still very much intact,” he said.
The Malaysia-based company, 27 percent-owned by Eco World Development Group Bhd, focuses on overseas projects and currently has projects in Britain and Australia. ($1 = 0.7445 pounds) ($1 = 4.0860 ringgit) (Reporting by Liz Lee; Editing by Stephen Coates)
Few companies come back from a 99% plunge in their share price, but that's what an Australian rare-earths miner and chemical processor has done-thanks to the electric-car revolution and an environmental cleanup in China.
Lynas Corp. was a highflier six years ago as strong demand and tight supplies lifted prices for the unusual metals it produces, such as praseodymium and neodymium--they're used to make high-strength magnets and other products essential for a range of technologies. But from a market capitalization on the Australian stock exchange of $3 billion in 2011, Lynas' value plunged to $3 million in 2015. It was only a penny stock, worth just 2.3 Australian cents a share. High debt, problems building its processing plant in Malaysia and tumbling prices for rare earths had driven the company to the brink of collapse.
Tightly controlled rare-earths production in China, the world's major source of the odd elements, coupled with export restrictions, had driven prices sharply higher in 2011. But after the price boom came a rare-earths flood and a price crash. The only U.S. rare-earths company, Molycorp, went bankrupt in 2015. Lynas, a former gold miner, somehow survived, and today it's enjoying a rerun of the rare-earths shortage as China's tougher pollution laws and the growing popularity of electric cars are boosting prices.
For Lynas Chief Executive Amanda Lacaze, the road back has been rocky, with her first job being to stabilize the business and satisfy creditors while ensuring that the Malaysia plant was able to meet customers' demanding specifications. She laid off much of the headquarters staff in Sydney and moved the rest and herself to Malaysia. Only in the past 12 months has the mood at Lynas started to reflect the rising prices for rare earths. Indeed, the price of its most basic product, a mix of praseodymium and neodymium that is marketed as NdPr, has risen from around $40 a kilogram in September of last year to more than $90 a kilogram now.
That rise, coupled with record rates of production, enabled Lynas to lift its revenue from $139 million in the 2016 fiscal year to $194 million in the year ended June 30 and cut a $68.5 million loss to $11.2 million. That trend accelerated in the quarter ended in September, with sales reaching a record $88 million, up 108% from the same quarter last year. "It was our first champagne quarter," says Lacaze. "Revenue, production and cash flow from operations all reached record levels. In addition, we recorded significant improvements to our balance sheet."
The straight-talking Melbourne-born Lacaze, 57, who lives with her husband near the company's plant outside of Kuantan in east Malaysia, is quick to advise against seeing Lynas as a miner. "We are a specialty chemical company," she says. "We just happen to mine the raw material we need for the production of a range of unique products."
It's rare for a woman to lead a chemical or mining company--Australia's richest person, iron ore queen Gina Rinehart, is another exception--but it's probably more unusual that Lacaze's background isn't in chemicals or mining. Her career has been spent mostly in marketing with companies such as Nestl? and Australian telecommunications leader Telstra, where she worked as marketing director. It was her marketing and management skills that persuaded Lynas to hire her as CEO in 2014.
Those skills have been instrumental in smoothing relations with the Malaysian government, particularly on the thorny issue of preventing leaks of radioactive waste. Lynas is required to report regularly to the Malaysian Atomic Energy Licensing Board, as well as pay a security deposit.
Lynas' rare earths come from the Mount Weld mine in Western Australia. It's an unusual mine because it does not operate continuously. Instead, roughly two "campaigns" a year lasting a few months each are all that's required to extract enough ore for a year of processing in Malaysia.
Richer in rare earths than most Chinese mines, Mount Weld is a competitive advantage for Lynas, while the modern Malaysia processing plant and its strong customer support, especially from Japanese manufacturers keen to support a non-Chinese source of supply, are also key assets. Because some rare earths have military uses, such as in precision-guided weapons, they have sometimes been at the center of diplomatic disputes. One time was in 2010, when China banned exports to Japan after a Chinese fishing boat was detained by the Japanese coast guard.
Electric cars are the biggest driver for rare earths today, with each requiring 2 kilograms of rare-earths magnets for power steering, power train and chassis components; the small electric motors that operate windows, wipers and seats; and other uses. The average electric car uses ten times more permanent magnets--ones that never lose their magnetism--than a traditional car. Wind turbines generating energy are another significant growth area for rare earths, with a turbine gear box requiring 220 pounds of rare-earths magnets.
Notoriously tricky in every way, the 17 elements that make up the rare-earths family not only have tongue-twister names such as dysprosium, ytterbium and gadolinium, but are neither rare (just hard to produce and pronounce) nor earths (they're minerals).
In addition to their use in long-life, high-strength magnets, rare earths find their way into a wide variety of products, such as oil refining (lanthanum), glass production (cerium), X-ray machines (thulium), naval sonar systems (terbium), aerospace equipment and golf clubs (scandium, as an alloy with other metals). None of the rare earths are required in large quantities, which means that the market can be quickly satisfied. This presents a challenge for achieving a balance between supply and demand, a test made more difficult by the nature of China's centrally planned economy.
Extreme price moves and a very thin market have been a feature of rare earths for decades. A 2006 story in Forbes Asia (before Lynas started mining rare earths) chronicled an earlier surge in demand, when the rare earth europium was expected to be the big profit earner. But demand for europium, which is used in lasers, never developed as expected.
Lacaze acknowledges the importance of Chinese production controls in lifting rare-earths prices and cautions that it would be unwise to assume this will become a permanent feature of the market. "The next trap is believing the market will look like it does now forever," she says.
That view means that Lacaze remains focused on cost controls at the Malaysia plant and in expanding its range of products. In its latest quarter Lynas produced 1,442 metric tons of NdPr, up 99 tons on the previous quarter. Lacaze said in her quarterly report that demand for NdPr was being driven by factors that included magnet makers stocking up as a hedge against future price rises, speculation about China building a strategic stockpile and "intensification" of environmental compliance investigations by Beijing.
More work is required for Lynas to rid itself of the memories of its near-death experience, including the continued retirement of debt and a one-for-ten share swap to shrink a bloated stock register. It's also developing new products, including new grades of cerium. And its lanthanum product has been approved for purchase by two new customers. Commercial shipments are scheduled to start next month.
Source: Forbes Asia
KUALA LUMPUR: Eco World International Bhd (EWI) has today secured access to a prime development land situated 12 kilometres northwest of Sydney’s central business district with plans to develop a AU$139 million gross development value (GDV) project there.
The project site is at 1-3 Lachlan Avenue, Macquarie Park, Sydney adjacent to Macquarie University in the Macquarie University Precinct.
In a statement today, EWI said the area is home to one of Australia’s top 10 universities and top two per cent universities in the world that attracts thousands of international students annually.
It is also strategically positioned within close proximity to the Macquarie Innovation Park District (MIPD), Macquarie University Train Station and Macquarie Shopping Centre.
MIPD is Sydney’s second largest business district and one of the largest business and technology precincts in the Southern Hemisphere.
“We are delighted to be able to add the Macquarie Park site, which is situated in a fast-growing location extremely popular with Sydney-siders, to our growing project portfolio in Australia.
“Our decision to focus on serving the needs of the domestic property market began with the acquisition of the Yarra One site in South Yarra, Melbourne.”
The latest deal followed EWI’s recent deals with Willmott Dixon to potentially acquire 12 projects in the UK.
“The announcement today is therefore in line with our overall strategy to localise our brand wherever we operate,” said EWI president and chief executive officer Datuk Teow Leong Seng.
EWI said at present, there is an existing building located on the project site with 30 en-bloc apartment units.
It said under the Strata Schemes Development Act 2015 (Australia), 75 per cent of unit owners in a strata scheme can agree to end their strata scheme, so the site can be redeveloped or sold.
EWI has also entered into a call and put option agreement with owners of 25 of the apartment units to acquire these units by way of a collective sale, representing 84.2 per cent of the strata scheme which enables the company to proceed with the acquisition of all the apartment units through a strata renewal process under the Act.
It said the estimated purchase price to acquire the entire site is about AU$40 million and the proposed acquisition is expected to be completed by November 2018.
EWI said it plans to develop 125 units of residential apartments with a small component of retail.
The project is targeted to be launched in the first half of 2019 and completed over three to four years from the date of launch.
Funding for the proposed acquisition of the Sydney project is expected to come from a combination of the proceeds of EcoWorld International’s recent IPO and bank borrowings /other debt instruments, it said.
Source: NST Business
KUALA LUMPUR: More than a quarter of the net lettable area (NLA) of retail space at Lendlease’s Lifestyle Quarter in the Tun Razak Exchange (TRX) has been successfully leased to three anchor tenants.
Lendlease Development Malaysia Sdn Bhd managing director Stuart Mendel told reporters at a luncheon that 26% of its 1.3 million square feet will be occupied by Seibu, a new-to-market leading Japanese departmental store, an upscale supermarket brand by Dairy Farm Group of Hong Kong, as well as a new concept in cinema and entertainment by Golden Screen Cinemas.
Lendlease, an Australia-based property and infrastructure group, has a 60% stake in the joint venture (JV) with TRX City Sdn Bhd, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Malaysian Ministry of Finance, holding the remaining 40%.
Lendlease’s lifestyle quarters occupy up to a quarter of TRX’s total 70 acres and will be the heartbeat of the financial centre.
Mendel said the total gross floor area was about 5.5 million sq ft, which means there will be a lot of open space.
“TRX will be really different (from other retail malls). There is nothing similar to it in the country at the moment,” Mendel said, adding that the team was working to secure the first 50% of the leases currently.
A number of the retailers would be opening their flagship stores at TRX, said Mendel.
By February 2018, Lendlease aims to work on the second 50% of the leases.
It is working on 20% of the NLA to be food and beverage-based, with the option to raise this to a third of NLA when needed.
On the oversupply of mall space in the country currently and the challenge posed by online retail, Mendel said the plan is to offer shoppers an experience like no other.
“We will get them out of their homes,” said Mendel.
The catalyst will be the seamless MRT connectivity which opens on to the mall’s lower level. Despite the public rail connection, there will be 2,700 car park bays for the retail portion. Three levels will sit above ground level.
The other catalyst is the 10-acre public park, said Mendel. “TRX will be a destination,” he added.
He declined to detail rental rates and the tenure of their anchors other than that the retail portion would be the first to be completed by 2020.
Besides retail, the lifestyle quarter will also have 2,400 high-rise residential units spread over six blocks. Mendel said there would be 900 units in the first phase, but it would not put all 900 on sale. Built-up areas of the units range between 500 sq ft and 2,000 sq ft.
“We will have a multi-country approach and we will launch in different countries,” he said.
Besides TRX, Lendlease has also commenced construction of phase 2 of Setia City Mall, Shah Alam. The mall is owned by Greenhill Resources Sdn Bhd, a JV between Asian Retail Investment Fund 2, a Lendlease managed fund, and SP Setia Bhd.
The extension will add 400,000 sq ft of space, bringing the combined lettable floor area to 1.2 million sq ft. Middle East-based retailer LULU will operate a departmental store and a supermarket, occupying more than a third of the extension.
Source : The Star
KUCHING: Ceramic tile manufacturer Kim Hin Industry Bhd's sales in Australia will be bolstered as the company has secured a contract to be the sole supplier of tiles for the Melbourne Square project.
The Melbourne Square project, undertaken by OSK Property Holdings Bhd in partnership with the Employees Provident Fund (EPF), has an expected gross development value (GDV) of A$2.8bil (RM9.4bil). Stage one of the project, Melbourne’s single largest integrated development, will feature two eliptical residential towers comprising over 1,000 apartments with a GDV of over A$900mil.
Executive chairman Chua Seng Huat said Kim Hin secured the order for the supply of ceramic tiles to Melbourne Square’s first apartment tower project.
“We will supply Johnson tiles to the entire apartment project in the next five years. The supply value is estimated to be more than RM10mil,” he told StarBiz.
Kim Hin, which ranks among Malaysia’s top three ceramic tile makers, will also be expected to supply Johnson tiles, a premium product, to Melbourne Square project’s other development components. However, the tiles requirements for these proposed developments have not been worked out.
Kim Hin’s plants in Malaysia and China took over the manufacturing of Johnson tiles for both the domestic and export markets after the company acquired UK-based Norcros Industry Pty Ltd, a major importer and distributor of Johnson tiles in Australia, and properties owned by Johnson Tiles Pty Ltd for a total of RM22.65mil in 2014.
Chua sees Australia, a key export market for Kim Hin, driving growth for the company especially after its acquisition of Outset Holdings Pty Ltd, a distributor of premium building products in New South Wales for RM19.4mil last September.
Outset operates a network of 24 franchise Amber stores and three company-owned stores. Outset controls Amber Group Australia, which also operates a wholesale business h comprising a distribution centre located in Sydney.
“Kim Hin now has its own distribution network for products via 23 franchised outlets,and we have control of the retail market in Australia. The Amber group has started to buy our products and the profit margins are good,” he said.
In the first half of 2017 (H1’17), the total sales of Kim Hin’s Australian operations soared to RM75.3mil from RM31.2mil in H1’16 and contributed some 38% to the company’s total sales of RM198.7mil during the period under review.
Domestic sales in Malaysia, however, fell about 20% to RM98.7mil from RM125.1mil
The company’s China sales were flat at RM33mil but its Vietnam sales improved to RM2.3mil from RM1.8mil during the same period.
In H1’17, the company’s Australian and Chinese operations contributed RM4.93mil (against a loss of RM527,000 in H1’16) and RM4.91mil (RM3.7mil) respectively to the group’s pretax profit of RM6.4mil. The earnings were, however, impacted by its Malaysian operation as it incurred losses of RM3.46mil, a reversal from a profit of RM5.1mil in H1’-16.
Chua attributed the dismal performance of the Malaysian operation to the slowdown in the property market.
“Due to the delay of their projects, a lot of developers delayed the take up of tiles from us. However, domestic sales are expected to pick up in the second half year,” he said.
According to Chua, the OSK group has also committed to use Kim Hin tile products for all its property projects in Malaysia.
“OSK will become one of our major clients in the years to come. Our current major clients include developers Ecoworld and SP Setia which use both Johnson Tiles and Kim Hin’s other tiles under the Kimgres brand,” he added.
To boost its production in Seremban, Kim Hin will set aside RM10mil from the proceeds of the proposed disposal of its property in Australia for a major upgrading project of the plant acquired from Johan Ceramic Bhd.
Wholly-owned subsidiary Kim Hin Investments Pty Ltd entered into a sales contract with Ouson Pty Ltd on Sept 4 for the disposal of a two-level building at 362 Wellington Road, Mulgrave Business Park, Victoria for A$8.8mil (RM29.9mil).
The sale is expected to be completed by March.
Kim Hin will utilise RM9.8mil from the sales proceeds to purchase one penthouse at Melbourne Square project. Another RM3.5mil will be used as capital expenditure for property, plant and equipment in Malaysia and RM5.5mil for short-term working capital.
Chua said old machineries at the former Johan Ceramic plant would be replaced and other facilities upgraded to boost production capacity.
Source: The Star
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