Ahad, 19 Januari 2014

The Star Online: Business

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The Star Online: Business

Malaysia's MOL picks Deutsche, Credit Suisse for US$300mil US IPO

Posted: 19 Jan 2014 06:36 PM PST

KUALA LUMPUR: MOL Global Pte, a Malaysian online payment company owned by billionaire Vincent Tan, has picked Deutsche Bank AG and Credit Suisse AG to work on a US$300mil US IPO, said a person with direct knowledge of the plans.

The firm is aiming for a Nasdaq listing by the first half of this year, changing from an earlier plan to list in Kuala Lumpur as its peers such as eBay Inc are listed in the US, the source told Reuters.

Also known as Money Online, MOL is expanding in South-East Asia and plans to tap a push by Malaysia's government to drive e-payments in preparation for a new consumption tax that kicks in next year.

MOL, which snapped up Friendster Inc – one of the earliest social networking sites – in 2009 to boost its online reach, has said it currently processes an annual payment volume of over half a billion US dollars.

"The aim for Nasdaq will give investors something else to invest in apart from the usual US-centric tech companies," said the source, who could not be identified as he is not authorised to speak to the media.

MOL has a market presence in South-East Asia, India and Australia. It has recently turned its focus to the US and Brazilian markets by taking up a majority stake last year in Silicon Valley-based e-payment company Rixty Inc for an undisclosed sum – Reuters.

MOL executives did not respond to requests for comment.

Deutsche Bank declined to respond to queries while Credit Suisse was not immediately available to comment.

MOL might be the biggest listing this year for Tan, who as Malaysia's 10th richest man with a net worth of US$1.3bil, made his fortune running businesses from lotteries to hotels and fast food franchises.

He plans to list Seven Convenience, operator of all 7-11 stories in Malaysia in a US$250mil IPO in March. Sources have also said Tan is exploring a listing of Welsh football team Cardiff City on Singapore's small cap Catalist exchange.

Last year, Tan listed two smaller Malaysian companies for a combined RM100mil (US$30.33mil) - Reuters.

Asia manages only muted cheer for China growth

Posted: 19 Jan 2014 07:10 PM PST

SYDNEY: Asian markets managed a muted cheer on Monday as China reported economic growth that was a fraction ahead of forecasts, though it was not enough to brighten the general mood of risk aversion.

Most share markets in the region stayed in the red with Tokyo off 0.6 percent, Sydney 0.45 percent and Shanghai 0.2 percent.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan pared its losses but was still down 0.2 percent.

Liquidity was lacking with U.S. markets closed on Monday for a holiday. Neither was there much of a lead from Wall Street where the Dow ended last week with a slim gain of 0.1 percent, while the S&P 500 lost 0.2 percent for the week.

China's annual economic growth slowed a tick to 7.7 percent last quarter, which was just ahead of market forecasts for 7.6 percent and at least countered fears that monetary tightening could have caused a sharper pullback.

"The economy may be a little more robust than people thought coming into 2014," said Tim Condon, an economist at ING Group in Singapore.

"I had thought the monetary tightening in 2013 would pose a downside risk. The numbers reduce that downside risk."

The other data out were much in line with foremasts, with retail sales growing 13.6 percent in December from a year earlier, while industrial output rose 9.7 percent.

That resilience was considered a positive for Australia given China is its single biggest export market, and helped the Australian dollar clamber off a three-year trough of $0.8756 to reach $0.8797.

Yet the Australian currency remains out of favour having shed 2.4 percent last week due to disappointing domestic data and demand for U.S. dollars and yen.

In contrast, the U.S. dollar gained 0.9 percent last week against a basket of major currencies on expectations the Federal Reserve will stick with plans to scale back its bond buying at a policy meeting later this month.

The yen had been in demand on Monday as general mood of risk aversion led speculators to cut back on short positions, which has been a very popular trade for months now.

The euro was particularly affected, dropping to a six-week low at one stage before steadying at 140.65 yen. The dollar eased to 103.97 yen from an early 104.32.

The Bank of Japan holds its policy meeting on Tuesday and Wednesday and is expected to maintain its massive asset buying program.


Deutsche Bank started the week by reporting a surprise pre-tax loss of 1.15 billion euros for the fourth quarter of 2013 due to heavy costs for litigation, restructuring and balance sheet reduction.

The bank was originally scheduled to report its results on Jan. 29, but the Wall Street Journal on Friday reported that a profit warning was possible.

The unexpected loss is likely to compound the problems that have dogged the bank over the past year, especially a lengthening list of lawsuits and regulatory matters, and redouble pressure on co-chief executives Anshu Jain and Juergen Fitschen to prove their turnaround plan is on track.

Deutsche Bank's U.S.-listed shares closed down 3 percent at $52.27 on Friday.

The EU's quarterly earnings season goes up a gear this week. STOXX Europe 600 companies are seen missing consensus by 0.4 percent on revenues and by 0.9 percent on earnings, according to StarMine SmartEstimates, which focuses on the predictions by the most accurate analysts.

In commodity markets, spot gold made an early push to a five-week peak of $1,259.46 an ounce, thanks in part to talk of strong physical demand from Asia.

Brent crude oil for March delivery was off 21 cents at $106.27 a barrel, while U.S. crude fell 59 cents to $93.78. - Reuters

China Q4 economic growth eases to 7.7% on year

Posted: 19 Jan 2014 06:22 PM PST

BEIJING: China's annual economic growth eased to 7.7% between October and December 2013 from 7.8% in the previous three months, slightly ahead of market expectations for growth of 7.6%, data showed on Monday.

The world's second largest economy grew 7.7% in 2013 from a year earlier, data from the website of the National Bureau of Statistics showed. The government's target was for 7.5% growth in 2013.

Other data released alongside GDP showed industrial output grew 9.7% in December from a year ago, versus expectations of 9.8% showed in the Reuters poll.

Retail sales in December rose 13.6% on a year ago, in line with expectations.

Fixed-asset investment grew 19.6% in 2013 from a year earlier, versus an expected 19.8%. The government only publishes cumulative investment data – Reuters. 

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