Selasa, 21 Januari 2014

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The Star Online: Business

Axis REIT eyes RM380mil assets by end of this year

Posted: 21 Jan 2014 08:00 AM PST

KUALA LUMPUR: Axis Real Estate Invesment Trust (REIT) Managers Bhd, plans to acquire RM380mil worth of assets by the end of this financial year ending Dec 31.

Chief executive officer Datuk Stewart LaBrooy said the trust was in talks with several potential targets including industrial and office buildings in Johor, Penang, and the Klang Valley.

"We are back in the acquisition market and will gear up for this exercise this year.

"Thereafter we will conduct a placement exercise (new shares) as part of our capital management exercise this year," LaBrooy said at a press presentation yesterday.

"The yields today make more sense than they used to. Last year, we were more focused on asset enhancement exercise instead. We (plan to) place 90 million shares that should raise RM250mil in cash," he added.

The trust which last year disposed one of its properties named Axis Plaza said it did so as it had already optimimsed the potential of the said warehouse.

Shareholders are expected to see an additional dividend per unit of 2.37 sen from the net gains of RM10.9mil post its disposal that would be completed this financial year.

Axis REIT will use the balance capital from this exercise of RM22.7mil to cut gearing levels from 32.66% to 31.9%.

"We wanted to seal the deal with Singapore Post Ltd (via Collective Developers Sdn Bhd) last year as it would incur a real properties gains tax of 5% this year," Labrooy said.

Meanwhile, LaBrooy also said Axis REIT had been slowly reducing air conditioning cost at the corridors and carpark lightings by replacing the air conditioners with more energy efficient ones.

"The tenants pay for their own electricity but we pay for those at the corridors – air conditioning is a big ticket item in any building," he said.

Its property operating expenses for the FY2013 was flat at RM20.81mil from RM20.13mil in the year prior. The "maintenance and others" segment was the only segment which saw a reduction of RM350,000.

Its investment properties' net yield averaged at 9.07% last year with key gross yields averaging at a headline 10.55%.

Axis REIT reported its fourth quarter FY2013 net profit at RM29.37mil from RM43.4mil in the same quarter a year ago on the back of fourth quarter trust revenue increasing slightly to RM36.19mil from RM35mil a year ago.

Chipmaker Renesas cutting 25% of Japan workforce: reports

Posted: 21 Jan 2014 06:37 PM PST

TOKYO:  Renesas Electronics will slash 5,400 jobs in Japan, or about one quarter of its domestic workforce, reports said Wednesday, as the struggling Japanese chipmaker overhauls its money-losing business.

The leading Nikkei business daily reported that the firm would usher in the cuts by the end of March 2016 and had already sent a plan to its labour union with details still to be negotiated.

The mass circulation Yomiuri Shimbun and other Japanese newspapers had similar reports, saying the job cuts were tied to plans to close factories at home.

In a statement, Renesas responded that "we are studying various measures, including personnel plans, towards improving profitability but no decision has been made".

In June, Renesas said it would shed more than a thousand jobs in Europe, part of a wider layoff plan that has seen thousands of cuts in recent years. As of late last year, the company had about 28,500 employees globally.

Renesas, the world's biggest supplier of automotive micro-controller chips, was created through a merger of the chip units of Hitachi, Mitsubishi Electric and NEC.

The firm has been hammered by intense competition with US IT giant Intel and South Korean rival Samsung Electronics, stoking growing losses.

Last year, it received 150 billion yen (US$1.44bil) in capital from the government-backed Innovation Corporation Network of Japan and leading companies including auto giant Toyota.

The firm, due to report its latest financial results next month, still booked an 8.8 billion yen net loss in the three months to September. Its Tokyo-listed shares fell 3.74% to 591 yen in late morning trade – AFP.

IBM misses revenue targets again after atumbling in China

Posted: 21 Jan 2014 06:28 PM PST

 IBM missed revenue expectations for the fourth straight quarter as it grappled with weakening demand for servers and storage in emerging markets such as China.

Shares in the world's largest technology services company fell 3.5 percent to $181.68 (110.26 pounds) in after-hours trade.

Chief Executive Officer Ginni Rometty and her team will forego their annual incentive payments for 2013 as IBM failed to increase revenue. Particularly in China, the government-owned corporations that IBM relies on for a large chunk of revenue are putting the brakes on IT spending.

China accounts for about 5 percent of IBM's business, about 40 percent of which is hardware sales. The country's economy, the world's second largest, is tough to read, executives said. A new government headed by Xi Jinping is spearheading significant structural reforms that are affecting state-owned companies.

"China is going through a very significant economic set of reforms," IBM Chief Financial Officer Martin Schroeder told analysts. "While they have slowed, we don't think that this opportunity has gone away."

"We'll be on a trajectory to growth as we exit 2014 and we're comfortable that we get back to mid-single digits across the growth market regions by the end of the year."

IBM, for years a tech-infrastructure provider of choice for large corporations and government agencies, is expanding into higher-margin software and cloud computing services as its hardware business sputters.

Revenue in that business, which includes server and storage products, fell for the ninth straight quarter as more companies switched to the cloud from traditional infrastructure.

Sources said IBM and China's Lenovo have revived discussions about a sale of Big Blue's low-end server unit, though executives did not mention that on Tuesday.

Some analysts said a backlash against U.S. government spying in emerging economies contributed to plummeting demand at IBM. Asia-Pacific revenue fell 16 percent, while that from BrazilRussiaIndia andChina fell 14 percent in the quarter.

"Their growth markets were everything but growth," Forrester analyst Andrew Bartels said. "They have had quite a bit of success with sales of hardware in these emerging markets, but these markets are not doing well. They're facing competition in those markets."

IBM forecast that full-year 2014 adjusted profit would beat analysts' expectations and also affirmed its 2015 target for operating earnings of at least $20 (12.14 pounds) per share. Some analysts said they thought IBM would need to grow non-hardware revenue substantially to hit that mark.

Edward Jones analyst Josh Olson told Reuters the company would need solid performance in software and services to meet its target, since expectations are that hardware will not contribute to profit in 2014.

"Assuming a normalized tax rate, this doesn't leave a lot of room for error to meet the $18 EPS target," he said.


Total revenue fell 5 percent to $27.7 billion in the fourth quarter ended December 31, missing analysts expectation of $28.25 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

"In view of the company's overall full-year results, my senior team and I have recommended that we forgo our personal annual incentive payments for 2013," CEO Rometty said in a statement. For 2013, her base pay was $1.5 million and annual incentive payment target was $4 million.

Revenue from IBM's system and technology unit, which includes servers and storage, fell 26.1 percent to $4.26 billion. Revenue from global technology services, its largest business, fell 3.6 percent to $9.92 billion.

Software revenue was the only bright spot. It grew 2.8 percent to $8.14 billion in the quarter.

IBM and rivals such as Oracle and SAP are racing to meet surging demand for web-based software products, better known as cloud computing.

Moving to the cloud allows businesses to cut costs by ditching bulky servers for network-based software and using remote data centers run by technology companies instead.

The global cloud services market last year grew by almost a fifth to an estimated $131 billion, according to research firm Gartner. IBM Markets Intelligence estimates the market could be as big as $200 billion by 2020.

Net income for the fourth quarter rose to $6.2 billion, or $5.73 a share, from $5.8 billion, or $5.13 per share a year earlier. It got help though from a lower tax rate of 11.2 percent in the fourth quarter, down 14.3 points from a year ago.

On an adjusted basis, it earned $6.13 per share, above analysts' estimates of $5.99 per share.

Before its after-hours decline, the stock closed at $188.43 on Tuesday on the New York Stock Exchange. It has gained about 2 percent since it reported third-quarter results in October.


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