Selasa, 18 Februari 2014

The Star Online: Business

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The Star Online: Business

Baram, Balleh dams get go-ahead

Posted: 18 Feb 2014 08:00 AM PST

KUCHING: Sarawak is going ahead with the development of two major hydroelectric dam projects that would raise the state's total hydro power capacity to nearly 6,000MW.

Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Alfred Jabu said the state was now planning to build the proposed Baram and Balleh dams with installed power capacity of 1,200MW and 1,295MW respectively.

He said the power from the 2,400MW Bakun dam and 944MW Murum dam had been pre-sold to industries in Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (SCORE).

Sarawak Energy Bhd (SEB) is buying the entire power output from Bakun dam owned by the Federal Government. Murum dam is scheduled to begin producing power in early September.

SEB also owns Sarawak's first hydro dam in Batang Ai built in early 1980s with an installed capacity of 100MW. The Baram dam project is in northern Sarawak while the Baleh dam project is in upper Rajang Basin in central Sarawak where the Bakun and Murum dams are located.

Based on SEB's concept phase design, the Baram dam would be a roller compacted concrete type of dam with its crest elevation at 185m while the Baleh dam would be a 204m high concrete faced rockfill dam with gated chute channel spillway, an intake structure, five power tunnels and a power station housing five generator units.

SEB corporate communication manager Ahadiah Zamhari told StarBiz recently that the Baram dam project's social environmental impact assessment study was in the final stage and its report was near completion.

She said the state government had decided to continue with the project's resettlement action plan despite protests and blockades mounted by local villagers to stop the dam development.

Up to 20,000 natives might have to be relocated to pave way for the project.

The Baram dam is expected to also supply electricity to Sabah and Brunei.

Jabu said Sarawak had total hydropower potential of 20,000MW, with coal energy adding another 8,000MW to the mix.

"The attraction afforded by hydropower is that its cost of production is stable in the long run and is green and renewable.

"Sarawak offers the advantage of power supply that is very competitive not only in terms of price but also more importantly in respect of our ability to build a steady growth of power supply.

"We plan to generate sufficient energy to meet the current and future demands from the off-takers, especially energy intensive industries through the systematic development of more power generating facilities," he told participants at the Sarawak-Czech Republic business forum in Prague yesterday.

Thai crisis continues to affect Zhulian earnings

Posted: 18 Feb 2014 08:00 AM PST

PETALING JAYA: The prolonged political crisis in Thailand could continue to be a drag on Zhulian Corp Bhd's earnings with the main issue being the controversial rice subsidy scheme which is falling apart, says Kenanga Research.

It said the Thai government was facing issues raising funds to subsidise farmers under the scheme, which resulted in disposal income in the rural areas been significantly affected and negatively impacting Zhulian's operations in the country.

"As the Thai election has also been postponed to April 2014, this further piles pressure to demand (for Zhulian products) which could last for two quarters.

"Hence, we are taking a conservative stance and slashing our financial year 2014 and 2015 earnings by 38.5% and 35.8% to RM84.7mil and RM96.9mil respectively to account for potential earnings risk," it said in a report.

Kenanga Research also said it believed that coming first quarter results (ending Feb 28) for the multi-level marketing company, which was in the period during the peak of the political crisis, could be worse than the fourth quarter ended Nov 30.

Zhulian is in the business of retailing fast moving consumer goods and products, and its business in Thailand used to make up 57% of its total revenue contribution.

The company's net profit for its fourth quarter fell by 56% to RM13.7mil compared with RM31.3mil in the previous corresponding quarter. Revenue declined 33% to RM77.9mil from RM117.1mil.

Following the disappointing set of results, investors sold its shares, pushing the price down by 32% to about RM3, from a high of RM4.60.

However, Kenanga Research said Zhulian still achieved a higher net profit of RM121mil for its financial year ended November 2013, compared with RM117mil achieved a year ago.

Despite the weaker performance, it said Zhulian was still in an enviable net cash position of about RM128mil as at Nov 30.

According to Bloomberg data, there are only four research houses covering the stock with a consensus target price of RM3.

The research house has cut its target price by 39% to RM2.83 from RM4.70 based on its unchanged price to earnings ratio of 15.4 times on lower financial year 2014 earnings per share.

Light’s out for A+M?

Posted: 18 Feb 2014 08:00 AM PST

KUALA LUMPUR: Singapore-based publisher Lighthouse Independent Media has denied that it plans to close down its Kuala Lumpur office despite market talk otherwise.

Publisher Justin Randles told StarBiz late yesterday that it would continue to publish Advertising+Marketing and Human Resources, and organise events such as the Agency of the Year Awards.

"Some staff may have been told they've been reassigned, but we are not closing down the office," he said.

Lighthouse Independent Media is believed to have a staff of 16 in Kuala Lumpur.

Sources, however, said staff from the office were emailed about the office closure and cessation of the magazines' publication.

The last time a major advertising trade magazine was discontinued in Malaysia was the cessation of Adoi magazine in late 2011.


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