Isnin, 27 Januari 2014

The Star Online: Business

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The Star Online: Business

MIFF: Local furniture makers must take advantage of rising costs in China

Posted: 27 Jan 2014 08:00 AM PST

KUALA LUMPUR: With manufacturing costs in China inching up, Malaysian furniture manufacturers have the opportunity to attract furniture importing countries seeking price-competitive alternative sources.

Malaysian International Furniture Fair (MIFF) chairman Datuk Dr Tan Chin Huat said the rising costs in China, together with a move towards diversifying its products towards the higher-end market, have sparked an interest among furniture-importing countries to look at other export regions.

"This is a good time for us to draw their interest towards us in South-East Asia," he said at a press conference yesterday.

With the increasing costs in China, Tan said China was no longer cheaper than Malaysia.

"Their consumer items are still cheap but when it comes to furniture, we are on par already."

In Malaysia, he said the furniture industry has improved a lot. "We have gained a good reputation, not only in terms of quality and skills but also delivery and punctuality," he said.

Tan said MIFF 2014 should see higher sales this year, supported by an expected bigger turnout coupled with currency fluctuations.

He said the sales from the fair was usually expected to grow 2% to 3% yearly but in some years, revenue growth went up by between 4% and 5%.

"Maybe this time, we can hit 5% or more as we are looking forward to a better crowd turn-out.

"South-East Asia has steady growth and this is where the focus is at the moment. Also, the ringgit has depreciated," he added.

Last year, MIFF recorded total sales of US$854mil. MIFF 2013 had 504 exhibitors, 161 of them were from 11 foreign countries.

Total visitors amounted to 18,397, with 6,054 being visitors from 140 countries, 5,238 were invited guests and the rest were Malaysians.

This year, the organisers expect over 500 furniture manufacturers and exporters again, with about 70% of them local and 30% international.

The furniture fair, to be held March 4 to 8 this year, will have participation from Malaysia, China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Singapore, Korea, United States, United Kingdom, India, Spain and Vietnam.

MIFF will also bring in delegates from Japan, Belgium, Russia and Italy.

Tan gave credit to the Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation for its effort in attracting international visitors to the fair.

Like last year, the fair will be sprawled over 80,000 sq m of exhibition space at the Putra World Trade Centre and Matrade Exhibition & Convention Centre.

Tenaga, TM, Maybank power KLCI’s rebound

Posted: 27 Jan 2014 06:56 PM PST

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia's FBM KLCI was firmer in Tuesday's late morning trade, as the mild rebound was underpinned by some fund buying of heavyweights Tenaga Nasional, TM and Maybank.

At 10.47am, the KLCI was up 7.64 points to 1,786.52. Turnover was 492.17 million shares valued at RM412.53mil. There were 284 gainers, 189 losers and 261 counters unchanged.

However, following the weaker external sentiment and recent foreign selling pressure, BIMB Securities Research was more cautious.

On Monday, foreign selling hit net RM336.40mil while local institutions were net buyers at net RM278.7mil. Retailers were net buyers at net RM57.7mil.

It expects the local market to remain negative for the moment due to lack of fresh catalysts and continuous outflow of foreign investors. "Expect to see immediate support at 1,770 and 1,765," it said.

Tenaga rose 16 sen to RM11.16 in active trade while TM added 13 sen to RM5.41 and Maybank 12 sen to RM9.59.

Petronas Dagangan was the top gainer, up 34 sen to RM30.38 and Uzma up 16 sen to RM5.86.

Among the consumer stocks, BAT gained 24 sen to RM60.34 and F&N up 20 sen to RM18.30 but Nestle fell 24 sen to RM67.06 and GAB was down 20 sen to RM14.80.

Allianz-PA was the top loser, down 40 sen to RM11.80 and Allianz 10 sen to RM11.80 while HL Cap lost 26 sen to RM11.70.

Apple shares tumble despite new revenue high

Posted: 27 Jan 2014 06:50 PM PST

SAN FRANCISCO: Record iPhone and iPad sales pushed Apple quarterly revenue to a new high but shares tumbled Monday over concerns of weaker profits ahead in fierce mobile gadget markets.

The California-based tech giant reported net income of US$13.1bil on revenue of US$57.6bil in the quarter that ended Dec 28, helped by selling 51 million iPhones.

The profit was the same as Apple reported in the same quarter a year earlier when its revenue was US$54.5bil.

Apple shares fell more than 7% to US$506.75 in after-hours trade on a weaker-than-expected outlook ahead.

While Apple profit beat Wall Street expectations, shares were "trading down" largely due to "disappointing" guidance that revenue will drop in the current quarter despite the benefits of launching the iPhone last week on China's largest telecom network, RBC Capital Markets said in a note to investors.

"China Mobile has more subscribers than anyone in the world," Apple chief Tim Cook said during an earnings call when asked about the iPhone launch on that network.

"I do see it as a watershed moment for Apple and have a very strong belief in the ability of the two companies to do great things together."

Apple said it sold 26 million iPads during the quarter, also an all-time quarterly record, as well as 4.8 million Macs.

"We are really happy with our record iPhone and iPad sales, the strong performance of our Mac products and the continued growth of iTunes, software and services," Cook said.

While Apple remains the most valuable and among the most profitable companies, some analysts are concerned it is losing its edge and failing to keep up with rivals in the smartphone and tablet markets.

"Some of the shipments may be records, but Apple shares are taking it on the chin here. Sometimes great is not great enough," said Jon Ogg at 24/7 Wall Street.

Apple profit topped Wall Street forecasts, but Apple's outlook for the current quarter is less than was expected at between US$42bil and US$44bil in revenue.

Apple has been facing pressure from billionaire Carl Icahn, which wants the company to boost the size of its share buyback to deliver more cash to shareholders.

Apple is progressing on a plan to return US$100bil to investors through dividends and repurchasing shares by the year 2016 and gave no indication it intended to expand the program.

"We are a big believer in buying back the stock," Cook said.

Some analysts expressed concern that while sales of iPhones and iPads leapt, the overall smartphone and tablet markets jumped much higher in a sign that Apple was not gaining share.

International Data Corporation (IDC) reported that global shipments of smartphones last year topped a billion for the first time, up 38.4% from the 725.3 million shipped in 2012.

Apple had the "lowest year-on-year increase" of all major smartphone makers even though 5S and 5C models were available in more countries, according to IDC.

"Samsung ended the quarter the same way it began the year: as the clear leader in worldwide smartphone shipments," IDC said.

"Now that Apple has finally arrived at China Mobile, it remains to be seen how much Apple will close the gap against Samsung in 2014."

Cook assured analysts that Apple remained on track to release later this year innovative new products that are more than improvements on devices the company already offers.

Apple has been under pressure to wow the world yet again with another lifestyle-changing innovation like it did with iPads and iPhones.

"It is a bit of a tempest in a teapot," Forrester analyst Frank Gillett said of the market's reaction to Apple's earnings report.

"Apple as a company seems to be doing fine; it is just that expectations are so out of whack because they haven't invented a new category in a while."

All smartphone makers are under pressure to expand the market, which increasingly means tailoring prices or models to countries where potential customers are on tight budgets, according to Gillett.

He recommended that investors begin looking more closely at streams of revenue promised by the trend toward buying games, music, films and more using mobile devices – AFP.


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