Thursday, October 28, 2010

Rich Girlfriends and AIA Asia IPO

AIA, the Asian life insurance arm of AIG, raised $17.9 billion by pricing its IPO at the top of its range. The pricing of the IPO, likely the world's third biggest, comes as new listings proliferate in Asia. The AIA IPO is expected to generate up to $355 million in fees for banks involved in the sale.

That's not the big news, not even Kuwait's $1bn investment in the IPO. There were some juicier news about some of the other IPO bidders.

The Standard / Mandy Lo

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Two girlfriends of tycoon Joseph Lau Luen-hung each plonked down a whopping HK$5.6 billion to grab a massive share of insurer AIA Group's retail tranche.

The big-ticket subscriptions by the girlfriends of Chinese Estates (0127) chairman Lau account for more than 50 percent of AIA's retail tranche, sources told The Standard.

And their personal bids to grab such a huge portion of the public offering could well be a world record. The women - Yvonne Lui Lai-Kwan and Chan Ho-wan - have emerged as the biggest potential investors, trouncing large fund houses.

The subscriptions, made separately as their "personal investments," add up to a staggering HK$11.2 billion.

Rumors are rife that the subscriptions were applied for by Lau, but his spokesperson denied the reports and declined to comment further.

Lui and Chan were the biggest retail subscribers for AIA, each accounting for almost 50 percent of the retail portion.

The two women will be allotted at least HK$509.6 million worth of shares each - 9.1 percent of their total subscription, the source said.

They could each post a paper gain of HK$50.96 million if AIA shares rise 10 percent on their trading debut tomorrow, as they did earlier this week in the gray market for institutional investors.

As lovers of Lau, who frequently invests in listing candidates, it is no surprise that Lui and Chan are testing their luck with AIA.

But the huge amount involved has drawn intense market attention. There is speculatio

n that the subscriptions were Lau's latest gift to his girlfriends, or it could be an investment for his children's education.

Lui gave birth to a boy in August, after having a daughter in 2003, while Chan gave birth to a girl in 2008.

Lau has invested in numerous large IPOs including Agricultural Bank of China (1288), Sinopharm Group (1099) and Evergrande Real Estate Property (3333).

AIA, the Asian arm of American Insurance Group, priced its IPO at the top of its range at HK$19.68.

It seeks to raise funds to repay bailout debts owed by parent company AIG to the US government. AIA starts trading tomorrow.

AIA's total fund-raising size, including institutional and retail tranches, was boosted by 20 percent to HK$138 billion from HK$115.27 billion after the warm market response.

The insurer's IPO is set to become the third largest in the world.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Dilbert@Malaysia by SDali, Part 6

Dilbert's Mashup Top Bar

How Do You View Kuchai Developments

Look at the chart. If you peruse the financial results, no one would bother with the company. Companies like Kuchai should not be listed anymore as its an asset holdings company. The good thing is bulk of the assets are now valued on the upside of their respective cycle. It might be a good time to finally cash out. Not that the owners need the money, the family is one of the richest in Singapore anyway. But its time to streamline their holdings.

To note, the company owns a shophouse at Emerald Hill Road, Singapore. In addition, KUCHAI has a 26% equity stake Sg. Bagan.
Sg. Bagan owns and cultivates approximately 2,600 acres of oil palm plantation in the District of Machang, Kelantan. Sg. Bagan is also engaged in the long term portfolio investment in securities.

Funnily enough, for a sleepy counter like Kuchai this would be the second time I am writing about the stock. Back in March I wrote on a few companies that presents itself as a 'value trap', lol. Good to read again:


Kuchai Development

Its basically a holding company. Its got a substantial stake of 26% in palm oil Sg Bagan and a highly attractive 3m shares of Great Eastern (traded now btw S$15-16). All in the total net asset value for Kuchai Development is around RM260m. It has 120.7m shares (50 sen), which makes for a NAV of RM2.15. Guess what's the share price??? Its just 80 sen. How to go wrong?

Technically you have to outlive the owners or wait till they finally decide to do something with their shares. When looking at a value company, the first thing to check is the shareholdings level. For Kuchai:
Kluang Rubber 41.9%
Sg Bagan 9.38%
Lee Foundation 4.18%
Kota Trading 1.77%

The top 3 are basically the same group of people and they made doubly sure they have more than 50% as that will stop anyone thinking of raiding the company. So if someone comes along and collect shares and then make a G.O. at RM1.60, he/she will not succeed as long as the controlling shareholders do not sell. They will probably sell if someone comes along and offer a substantive premium to NAV, say RM2.60-2.80 or thereabouts. The value is in the NAV and then the listing vehicle as a value add.

Once the owner controls more than 50%, there's very little you can do. If you can locate a value company and there is ample free float, plus the controlling shreholder holds less than 40%, then I bet you that many vultures will be cirlcling to take over the company, thus narrowing the gap between NAV and the share price.

It might be OK to hold on forever if the company pays a decent dividend, but in Kuchai's case it paid 0.8 sen in 2008 and 0.45 sen in 2009. If you take the share price of 80 sen, that works out to be a paltry dividend yield of 1% and 0.56%. Really no incentive to own this stock.

I really think that there is a strong case for the SC to come down hard on Kuchai because it does not resemble a normal company with on-going businesses. Its strictly a holding company. It does NOT allow shareholders to participate in the growth of the company, it just holds the stakes forever. It does NOTHING to extract value from their inherent value. Some may say so is Berkshire Hathaway - in Buffett's case, he actively manages his positions, positions will be sold once they reach above fair value and vice versa. Kuchai's position makes a mockery of being a listed counter - anyone in their right mind would be 100x better off to invest directly into Great Eastern or Sg Bagan - there is absolutely no value to its existence.

After my posting 6 months back, this might be the trigger for something big. Kuchai does not really move into speculative or syndicate plays. One day could be an aberration but 3 or 4 continuous days would mean something else. If I was the controlling shareholder, and I want to streamline my holdings. I will be doing a General Offer. RM285m / 120m ~ RM2.37 or thereabouts.

Hence a G.O. would have to be close to the NAV. Your guess is as good as mine, RM1.80 to RM2.10 could be reasonable. I find it hard to think of any other reason for the price movements other than a G.O. Other possibilities could be selling their 26% in Sg. Bagan, which is close to realising the full value of the company anyway.

This is not a recommendation in any way, just trying to make sense of the stock movements. Kuchai is helmed by very rich people, no syndicate play is likely or necessary. If I were to make a wild and outrageous guess ... how about ... using Kuchai as the backdoor listing vehicle for Great Eastern Malaysia???!!! Just an absolutely wild guess, but they have the "same shareholders" really!

Why then the assiduous collection? Answer that, you could have a profitable trade here.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

How To Spot A Good Trade - Part 5

Yes, haulage, containers, shipping, vessels ... all are still struggling to recover from slowdown. Hence if you point to someone about a stock in those industry, its not going to generate much enthusiasm. I know zilch about the stock, but managed to gather 6 different research reports on Alam Maritim (all issued over the last 2 months).

I looked at the chart after seeing a significant jump in volume, which, if you go back 12 months, you would not find a similar jump. Then there is the news submitted by the company on an MOU signed with Yayasan Sabah. OK, now got to check if there was a run over the past few weeks so you are not trapped by a sell on news scenario. Look at the chart, very clean, cannot see any assiduous accumulation anywhere. This got interesting.

Checked the various analyst reports. All issued prior to the Yayasan news.

Kenanga - 1HFY10 net profit of RM38.1m came in at a dismal 34% of our forecast and consensus due to softer earnings from Offshore Marine Vessels (OMV) and Underwater Division, which is on stand-by pending delivery of the pipelay barge expected to be in September 2010.

Vessel chartering revenue came from 29 vessels (total 32 vessels) which have been contracted out and together with a special contract for a work barge (chartered from 3rd party). However, the work barge’s low margin from high 3rd party charter rate contributed the 9% decline in OMV’s operating profit margin.


The decline in Underwater division’s revenue (-58%) and operating profit (-115%) was due to deliberate idling of some of the assets ahead of the delivery of the pipelay barge so as to avoid being caught between jobs.

Pipelay barge is expecting a charter rate of up to RM100k per day but no contract secured at this juncture as management is
still in the midst of contract bidding. YoY, YTD net profit of RM38.1m was 25.6% lower on the back of c.7% decline in OMV division’s revenue and 24.4% decline in underwater water’s division.

Underwater division contributed mere RM31.0m revenue as oppose to c. RM41.0m in IHFY09.
Promising quarters ahead. OMV division is also anxiously waiting for the remaining two AHTS deliveries within the year under the 49:51 JV with Lembaga Tabung Haji worth USD121.5m, bringing to total six. No prospective contracts secured as yet, but the much anticipated domestic upstream contracts to be awarded in 2HFY10 should help to sustain fleet utilisation especially newbuilds.

Revising FY10 net profit downward by 6% from RM111.5m to RM105m and FY11 by 4% from RM112m to RM108m as we factor in lower contribution from the Underwater division due to the idling time. Downgrade to HOLD with revised target price of
RM1.06 based on 8x FY11 FD EPS 13.2sen. Although we remain positive on Alam’s prospects in view of upcoming new builds (AHTS and pipe-lay barge) and sustained utilisation, we are cautious at this juncture until contracts are secured.

Maybank Research
- Cut TP to RM1.15 (-28%). We expect Alam’s next two quarterlyperformances to mirror 2Q’s. Tenders for vessels are building up but most of the contracts are only expected to be realised in 4Q.

- JVs with Swiber and Pacfic Crest to anchor earnings going forward. Recall, Alam has earmarked an estimated RM100m capex (Alam’s 50% portion under the Swiber JV deal) for the acquisition of a 300 men accommodation pipelay work barge. The remaining balance is for the purchase of 2 remote operating vehicle (ROVs) equipment and a dive set.

Separately early this month Alam has entered into a joint venture agreement with Pacific Crest Pte Ltd to purchase an accommodation work barge. Both these ventures are expected to anchor earnings going forward. Alam’s growth driver beyond FY10 will be largely underpinned by contribution from its JV partners as well as an estimated 70% of its vessels are locked in on long term charter rates. Specifically only an estimated 6 vessels and 4 vessels would be due for renewal in 2010 and 2011 respectively out of a total of 32 vessels.

Maintain Buy.
Our target price is RM1.48 based on 10x FY11 EPS.

OK, the research is all over the place. Now let's look deeper into the announcement:
The MOU was entered into, to record the understanding of the Parties;

a. to collaborate and form a joint venture company to be involved in,

(i) the provision of offshore installation construction, including pipeline replacement, pipeline repairs, shoreline approach, export facilities and offshore facilities;

(ii) the provision of offshore marine operations, including platform supply vessels and other specialized vessels particularly for deepwater operations;

(iii) the provision of subsea works, including commercial diving and remotely-operated vehicles, (all these hereinafter referred as Services) to the energy industry in Sabah;

b. to co-own strategic assets required for the provision of the Services such as offshore construction assets (including a pipe-lay barge) subject to mutually agreed terms; and

c. to facilitate the localisation and transfer of oil and gas-related technology into Sabah.

While its still at MOU stage, the jv looks to be a highly significant venture to Alam Maritim's bottomline. Why, you might ask. Let's look at what Yayasan Sabah is all about:
YSS is a wholly owned subsidiary of Yayasan Sabah Group, a private limited company incorporated in Malaysia. Yayasan Sabah Group has significant investments in various industries in Sabah.

Having been successful in timber, agro-plantation sector and oil palm, the Group has recently identified oil and gas sector as another key economic area to be developed in the State. YSS has been identified to lead the State Governments thrust in tapping this fast-growing sector.

Scope of the MOU

AMRB and YSS have agreed to enter into the MOU to set out their non-binding responsibilities, obligations, intentions and mutual understanding in connection with their interest in developing the oil and gas opportunities in Sabah waters. The way I look at it, Alam Maritim is locked at the lower end of valuations owing to a sluggish industry recovery. Hence pricing wise its not expensive. It might not be the sector exposure you want to be in right now, you might be a tad early. Or if you believe Alliance research piece alone, on its current ops, its worth RM1.48 already. Throw in the MOU, I think its a highly significant boost should it come through. Take it together with the share price / volume movements yesterday, I like it a lot.

NOTE: The above opinion is not an invitation to buy or sell. It serves as a blogging activity of my investing thoughts and ideas, this does not represent an investment advisory service as I charge no subscription or management fees (donations are welcomed though). The content on this site is provided as general information only and should not be taken as investment advice. All site content, shall not be construed as a recommendation to buy or sell any security or financial instrument. The ideas expressed are solely the opinions of the author. Any action that you take as a result of information, analysis, or commentary on this site is ultimately your responsibility. Consult your investment adviser before making any investment decisions.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Mama, Don't Let Your Sons Grow Up To Be Scrabble Players

From Wall Street Journal:


Forum For Technical Chartists

Just doing my friends a favour here, if you are technically inclined, if you have lost hope on reading/predicting the markets via fundamentals ... this may be for you.

Day 1- Schedule

Here is the proposed schedule for Day 1, Saturday, Oct 30, 2010

Please come early to register and pay at the door. We expect a large crowd on that day.


Day 2- Schedule

Here is the proposed schedule for Day 2, Sunday, Oct 30, 2010:


There are 3 types of ticket fee available:

1) Special Invitation Fee (For TTR Subscribers, Book Buyer, Invitees, TG Users): RM 288 per pax

Early Bird Special Discount Cash (Bank-in before Oct 26, 2010) : RM 288 per pax

2) Public, general audience and walk-in fee : RM 358 per pax

3) Master the Markets Main Course Graduates Only : RM 188 per pax (Those graduates who attended Main Course Workshop conducted by Bill & Martin).

The convention spans over 2 days.

Registered and paid participants will receive a copy of Tom Williams’ Master the Markets Book – An introduction to Volume Spread Analysis (VSA).

Please take note: There’s a special session for TradeGuider Malaysia Buyers on Friday morning, Oct 28, 2010 at our office at Phillip Capital Management, K.L . The session time details will be announced soon.

To register for the 2 days event, please type in your name, email and contact number below.

If you have any queries, you can email to or call 016 322 3386.

Kuan yew's Oktoberfest With Spiegel

SPIEGEL's Interview with Lee Kuan Yew

"It's Stupid to be Afraid"

Singapore's first-ever prime minister, long-time government head and current political mentor Lee Kuan Yew talks about Asia's rise to economic power, China's ambitions and the West's chances of staying competitive.

SPIEGEL : The political and economic center of gravity is moving from the West towards the East. Is Asia becoming the dominant political and economic force in this century?

Mr. Lee: I wouldn't say it's the dominant force. What is gradually happening is the restoration of the world balance to what it was in the early 19th century or late 18th century when China and India together were responsible for more than 40 percent of world GDP. With those two countries becoming part of the globalized Trading world, they are going to go back to approximately the level of world GDP that they previously occupied. But that doesn't make them the superpowers of the world.

SPIEGEL: Their leading politicians have publicly discussed the so-called "Asian Century".

Mr. Lee: Yes, economically, there will be a shift to the Pacific from the Atlantic Ocean and you can already see that in the shipping volumes of Chinese ports.
Every shipping line is trying to get into association with a Chinese container port. India is slower because their infrastructure is still to be completed. But I think they will join in the race, build roads, bridges, airports, container ports and they'll become a manufacturing hub. Raw materials go in, finished goods go out.

SPIEGEL: You've been the leader of a very successful state for a long time. Returning from your time in China , are you afraid for Singapore 's future?

Mr. Lee: I saw it coming from the late 1980s. Deng Xiaoping started this in 1978. He visited Bangkok , Kuala Lumpur and Singapore in November 1978.I think that visit shocked him because he expected three backward cities. Instead he saw three modern cities and he knew that communism -- the politics of the iron rice bowl -- did not work. So, at the end of December, he announced his open door policy. He started free trade zones and from there, they extended it and extended it. Now they have joined the WTO and the whole country is a free trade zone.

SPIEGEL: But has China 's success not become dangerous for Singapore ?

Mr. Lee: We have watched this transformation and the speed at which it is happening. As many of my people tell me, it's scary. They learn so fast. Our people set up businesses in Shanghai or Suzhou and they employ Chinese at lower wages than Singapore Chinese. After three years, they say: "Look, I can do that work, I want the same pay." So it is a very serious challenge for us to move aside and not collide with them. We have to move to areas where they cannot move.

SPIEGEL: Such as?

Mr. Lee: Such as where the rule of law, intellectual property and security of production systems are required, because for them to establish that, it will take 20 to 30 years. We are concentrating on bio medicine, pharmaceuticals and all products requiring protection of intellectual property rights. No pharmaceutical company is going to go have its precious patents disclosed. So that is why they are here in Singapore and not in China .

SPIEGEL: But the Chinese are moving too. They bought parts of IBM and are trying to take over the American oil company Unocal.

Mr. Lee: They are learning. They have learnt takeovers and mergers from the Americans. They know that if they try to sell their computers with a Chinese brand it will take them decades in America , but if they buy IBM, they can inject their technology and low cost into IBM's brand name, and they will gain access to the market much faster.

SPIEGEL: But how afraid should the West be?

Mr. Lee: It's stupid to be afraid. It's going to happen. I console myself this way. Suppose, China had never gone communist in 1949, suppose the Nationalist government had worked with the Americans -- China would be the great power in Asia -- not Japan , not Korea , not Hong Kong, not Singapore . Because China isolated itself, development took
place on the periphery of Asia first.

SPIEGEL: Such a consolation won't be enough for the future.

Mr. Lee: Right. In 50 years I see China , Korea and Japan at the high-tech end of the value chain. Look at the numbers and quality of the engineers and scientists they produce and you know that this is where the R&D will be done. The Chinese have a space programme, they're going to put a man on the Moon and nobody sold them that technology. We have to face that. But you should not be afraid of that. You are leading in many fields which they cannot catch up with for many years, many decades. In pharmaceuticals, I don't see them catching up with the Germans for a long time.

SPIEGEL: That wouldn't feed anybody who works for Opel, would it?

Mr. Lee: A motor car is a commodity -- four wheels, a chassis, a motor. You can have modifications up and down, but it remains a commodity, and the Chinese can
do commodities.

SPIEGEL: When you look to Western Europe , do you see a possible collapse of the society because of the overwhelming forces of globalization?

Mr. Lee: No. I see ten bitter years. In the end, the workers, whether they like it or not, will realize, that the cosy European world which they created afte
r the war has come to an end.

SPIEGEL: How so?

Mr. Lee
: The social contract that led to workers sitting on the boards of companies and everybody being happy rested on this condition: I work hard, I restore Germany 's prosperity, and you, the state, you have to look after me. I'm entitled to go to Baden Baden for spa recuperation one month every year. This old system was gone in the blink of an eye when two to three billion people joined the race -- one billion in China , one billion in India and over half-a-billion in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union .

SPIEGEL: The question is: How do you answer that challenge?

Mr. Lee: Chancellor Kohl tried to do it. He did it halfway then he had to pause. Schroeder tried to do it, now he's in a jam and has called an election. Merkel will go in and push, then she will get hammered before she can finish the job, but each time, they will push the restructuring a bit forward.

SPIEGEL: You think it's too slow?

Mr. Lee: It is painful because it is so slow. If your workers were rational they would say, yes, this is going to happen anyway, let's do the necessary things in one go. Instead of one month at the spa, take one week at the spa, work harder and longer for the same pay, compete with the East Europeans, invent in new technology, put more money into your R&D, keep ahead of the Chinese and the Indians.

SPIEGEL: You have seen yourself how hard it is to implement such strategies.

Mr. Lee: I faced this problem myself. Every year, our unions and the Labour Department subsidize trips to China and India . We tell the participants: Don't just look at the Great Wall but go to the factories and ask, "What are you paid?" What hours do you work?" And they come back shell-shocked. The Chinese had perestroika first, then glasnost. That's where the Russians made their mistake.

SPIEGEL: The Chinese Government is promoting the peaceful rise of China . Do you believe them?

Mr. Lee: Yes, I do, with one reservation. I think they have calculated that they need 30 to 40 -- maybe 50 years of peace and quiet to catch up, to build up their system, change it from the communist system to the market system. They must avoid the mistakes made by Germany and Japan . Their competition for power, influence and resources led in the last century to two terrible wars.

SPIEGEL: What should the Chinese do differently?

Mr. Lee: They will trade, they will not demand, "This is my sphere of influence, you keep out". America goes to South America and they also go to South America. Brazil has now put aside an area as big as the state of Massachusetts to grow soya beans for China . They are going to Sudan and Venezuela for oil because the
Venezuelan President doesn't like America . They are going to Iran for oil and gas. So, they are not asking for a military contest for power, but for an economic competition.

SPIEGEL: But would anybody take them really seriously without military power?

Mr. Lee: About eight years ago, I met Liu Huaqing, the man who built the Chinese Navy. Mao personally sent him to Leningrad to learn to build ships. I said to him, "The Russians made very rough, crude weapons". He replied, "You are wrong. They made first-class weapons, equal to the Americans." The Russian mistake was that they put so much into military expenditure and so little into civilian technology. So their economy collapsed. I believe the Chinese leadership have learnt: If you compete with America in armaments, you will lose. You will bankrupt yourself. So, avoid it, keep your head down, and smile, for 40 or 50 years.

SPIEGEL: What are your reservations?

Mr. Lee: I don't know whether the next generation will stay on this course. After 15 or 20 years they may feel their muscles are very powerful. We know the mind of the leaders but the mood of the people on the ground is another matter. Because there's no more communist ideology to hold the people together, the ground is now galvanised by Chinese patriotism and nationalism. Look at the anti-Japanese demonstrations.

SPIEGEL: How do you explain that China is spending billions on military modernisation right now?

Mr. Lee: Their modernisation is just a drop in the ocean. Their objective is to raise the level of damage they can deliver to the Americans if they intervene in Taiwan. Their objective is not to defeat the Americans, which they cannot do. They know they will be defeated. They want to weaken the American resolve to intervene. That is their objective, but they do not want to attack Taiwan .

SPIEGEL: Really? They have just passed the aggressive anti-secession law and a general has threatened to use the nuclear bomb.

Mr. Lee: I think they have put themselves into a position internationally that if Taiwan declares independence, they must react and if Beijing 's leadership doesn't, they would be finished, they would be a paper tiger and they know that. So, they passed the anti-secession law to tell the Taiwanese and the Americans and the Japanese, "I do not want to fight, but if you allow Taiwan to go for independence, I will have to fight." I think the anti-secession law is a law to preserve the status quo.

SPIEGEL: Another critical point in Asia is the growing rivalry between China and Japan .

Mr. Lee: It's been dormant all this while, right? But I think several things happened that upped the ante. They possibly coincide with the policy of Japanese
Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi. There is this return to "we want to be a normal country." They are sending ships to Afghanistan to support the Americans, they sent a battalion to Iraq , they reclaimed the Senkaku islands, and most recently, they joined the Americans in declaring that Taiwan is a strategic interest of Japan and America. That raises all the historical memories of the Japanese taking away Taiwan in 1895. Then they're applying to be a permanent member of the Security Council. So, I think the Chinese decided that this is too much. So, they have openly said they will object to Japan becoming a member of the Security Council.

SPIEGEL: Well, the United States said the same to Germany .

Mr. Lee: Exactly. So, the whole process is trying to define the position for the next round, maybe in 10 to 15 years, by which time the world will be a different place.

SPIEGEL: Can the Chinese convince their North Korean ally Kim Jong-Il to get rid of his nuclear program?

Mr. Lee: North Korea is a riddle wrapped up in an enigma. The leaders in North Korea believe that their survival depends upon having a bomb -- at least one nuclear bomb. Otherwise, sooner or later, they will collapse and the leaders will be put on trial like Milosevic for all the crimes that they have committed. And they have no intention of letting that happen.

SPIEGEL: Who can stop them? The Americans?

Mr. Lee: Yes, but at a price, a heavy price.

SPIEGEL: Could the Chinese do it?

Mr. Lee: Possibly. By denying food, denying fuel, so they would implode. But will the Chinese benefit from an imploded North Korea ? That brings the South into the North. That brings the Americans to the Yalu River . So, the North Koreans have also done their calculations and know that there are limits.

SPIEGEL: So Kim is in a strong position?

Mr. Lee: If I were Kim I would freeze the programme, tell the Americans you can inspect, but if you attack me, I will use it. That leaves the Americans with the problem of checking and verifying and intercepting ships, aircraft, endless problems.

SPIEGEL: Would that save Kim's regime?

Mr. Lee: In the long run I think they will implode sooner or later because their system cannot survive. They can see China , they can see Russia and Vietnam , all opening up. If they open up, their system of control of the people will break down. So they must go.

SPIEGEL: If the six party talks fail, do you foresee an arms race in Eastern Asia?

Mr. Lee: If the nuclear program is frozen, there won't be an arms race. Eventually, it is not in China 's interests to have an erratic Korea nuclear-armed and a Japan nuclear-armed. That reduces China 's position.

SPIEGEL: Many Americans fear that China and the US are bound to become strategic rivals. Will this become the great rivalry of the 21st century?

Mr. Lee: Rivals, yes, but not necessarily enemies. The Chinese have spent a lot of energy and time to make sure that their periphery is friendly to them. So, they settled with Russia , they have settled with India . They're going to have a free trade agreement with India -- they're learning from each other. Instead of quarreling with the Philippines and the Vietnamese over oil in the South China Sea , they have agreed on joint exploration and sharing. They've agreed on a strategic agreement with Indonesia for bilateral trade and technology.
SPIEGEL: But the Americans are trying to encircle China . They have won new bases in Central Asia .

Mr. Lee: The Chinese are very conscious of being encircled by allies of America . But they are very good in countering those moves. South Korea today has the largest number of foreign students in China . They see their future in China . So, the only country that's openly on America 's side is Japan . All the others are either neutral or friendly to China .

SPIEGEL: During your career, you have kept your distance from Western style democracy. Are you still convinced that an authoritarian system is the future for Asia ?

Mr. Lee: Why should I be against democracy? The British came here, never gave me democracy, except when they were about to leave. But I cannot run my system based on their rules. I have to amend it to fit my people's position. In multiracial societies, you don't vote in accordance with your economic interests and social interests, you vote in accordance with race and religion. Supposing I'd run their system here, Malays would vote for Muslims, Indians would vote for Indians, Chinese would vote for Chinese. I would have a constant clash in my Parliament which cannot be resolved because the Chinese majority would always overrule them. So I found a formula that changes that...

SPIEGEL: ... and that turned Singapore de facto into a one party state. Critics say that Singapore resembles a Lee Family Enterprise. Your son is the Prime Minister, your daughter-in-law heads the powerful Development Agency...

Mr. Lee: ... and my other son is CEO of Singapore Telecoms, my daughter is head of the National Institute for Neurology. This is a very small community of 4 million people. We run a meritocracy. If the Lee Family set an example of nepotism, that system would collapse. If I were not the prime minister, my son could have become Prime Minister several years earlier. It is against my interest to allow any family member who's incompetent to hold an important job because that would be a disaster for Singapore and my legacy. That cannot be allowed.

The interview was conducted by editors Hans Hoyng and Andreas Lorenz.

Translated from the German by Christoper Sultan / 2005

Dilbert@Malaysia by SDali, Part 4

Dilbert's Mashup Top Bar
Dilbert's Mashup Top Bar

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Miele Guide, Asia's Best Restaurants

Following is a list of Asia's top 10 restaurants, according to The Miele Guide:

1. Iggy's, Singapore

2. L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon, Hong Kong, China

3. Robuchon a Galera, Macau, China

4. Jaan, Singapore

5. Antonio's, Cavite, Philippines

6. Mozaic, Bali, Indonesia

7. Zuma, Hong Kong, China

8. Cilantro Restaurant & Wine bar, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

9. L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon, Tokyo, Japan

10. Caprice, Hong Kong, China

Singapore restaurant Iggy's reclaimed its crown as the top dining spot in Asia in the third annual edition of a regional dining guide which saw a Malaysian restaurant make the top 10 for the first time.

Iggy's run by restaurateur Ignatius Chan topped the list of Asia's 20 best restaurants in the 2010/2011 Miele Guide, knocking last year's top choice, L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon in Hong Kong, into second place. Iggy's topped the inaugural list in 2008/2009.

Celebrity chef Robuchon saw his three Michelin-starred Robuchon a Galera in Macau retain its third-place listing in the guide, which covers 450 restaurants in 17 countries. The Parisian chef's Tokyo venue shot up to number 9 from 20 last year. China had the most restaurants in the top 20 with eight -- six of them in Hong Kong -- followed by Singapore, with five, reflecting which parts of the region are recovering fastest from the recent economic crunch.

"I think restaurants had a hard time last year. I'd go into some places and see only corporate customers," said Aun Koh, director of Ate Media, the Singapore-based company that publishes The Miele Guide.

"But they're coming back now. I think Singapore and Hong Kong have bounced back really well, but I still worry about Japan."

Cilantro Restaurant & Wine Bar in Kuala Lumpur became the first Malaysian restaurant to make the top 10.

A rise in restaurants opened by big-name foreign chefs across the region, especially in Singapore, has helped spur local chefs on to new efforts, Koh said.

"There's been a lot of pressure on chefs and restaurants to keep standards high consistently. They think, 'I'm going to compete with these guys now,' it's pushing them to get better."

The Miele Guide was created in 2008 to better recognize Asia's best chefs and restaurants, and is selected after several rounds of public voting and judging by experts.

Like last year, Robuchon's Tokyo restaurant was the only Japanese entry in the top 20 even though Japan as a whole had the greatest number of restaurants in the guide, with 56.

Koh attributed this to an overabundance of success that meant votes were split. In addition, many of Japan's better restaurants have nearly "cult" status and might not be as well known to casual visitors, especially from other countries.

Overall, he said, the guide tended to show that Asians place a high value on physical comfort when eating good food -- not surprising given the climate in much of the region.

"You can go to a lot of these restaurants in jeans and a nice shirt, but you don't have a snooty waiter looking down at you," he said.

The 17 countries in the guide are Brunei, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Dilbert@Malaysia by SDali, Part 2

Dilbert@Malaysia by SDali

Obviously too much time on my hands ... my first attempt at creating a cartoon strip ...

Dilbert's Mashup Top Bar

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Value Caunter, ... I Mean... Counter For The Times

Sometimes the winds need to be blowing in the right direction. Normally many investors would not bother much with Hua Yang. Its a small property player and has been in the business for over 30 years.

Its paid up following the recent 1 for 5 bonus is just 108m shares of 1.00 par value. Thus its market cap is a smallish RM108m. Hua Yang has carved out a niche and its reputation, though not stellar, is credible. Its showcase include Taman Pulai Indah in Johor, Oasis in BU, Symphony Heights @ Selayang and Bandar Universiti Seri Iskandar. The latter two projects have been quite successful.

The Group‘s better financial performance for the 1st 6 months of the financial year (revenue +48.5% YoY & net profit +66.0% YoY) was due to better sales achieved and construction progress for the current period. The bulk of the profit contribution was derived from the unbilled sales from Symphony Heights @ Selayang and Bandar Universiti Seri Iskandar.

For the year ended March 2010, it recorded revenue of RM103.54m and a net profit of RM11.6m, a jump of 32% from the previous year. Judging from the spectacular jump in profits for the 1Q 2011, Hua Yang is on track to register a revenue of RM160m for year ending March 2011 and a net profit of RM20m, which translates into an EPS of 19 sen. PER wise its very cheap.

What's gratifying is that its pipeline is on track into 2012 and 2013 which should see revenue jumping to nearly RM300m. Its NTA is at a comforting RM2.25 per share.

If you look at the chart above, the sharp jump recently and its fallback was due to over speculation for its 1 for 5 bonus. Realistically speaking, I prefer Hua Yang over the Mah Sings and IJM Lands because their exposure is towards the more affordable range of properties.

The government will introduce Skim Rumah Pertamaku through Cagamas Bhd, which will provide a guarantee on down payment of 10% for houses below RM220,000. This scheme is for first-time house buyers with household income less than RM3,000 per month. In other words, the house buyers will obtain a 100% loan without having to pay the 10% down payment. In addition, first-time house buyers will also be given stamp duty exemption of 50% oninstruments of transfer on a house price not exceeding RM350,000. The Government also proposes that stamp duty exemption of 50% be given on loan agreement instruments to finance such first-time purchase of houses. Hence, Hua Yang is a clear-cut winner under these incentives.

Major Shareholders
Heng Holdings Sdn Bhd (30.7%)
Poh Meng Cham (14.9%)

You might like to know that the Chairman of the company is none other than Ting Chew Peh. Read into it however you like. Its a very well managed small cap. Winds are blowing the right way. I see RM1.30 as easily attainable before the year is over. If you like property sector in Malaysia, this is a safe bet.

NOTE: The above opinion is not an invitation to buy or sell. It serves as a blogging activity of my investing thoughts and ideas, this does not represent an investment advisory service as I charge no subscription or management fees (donations are welcomed though). The content on this site is provided as general information only and should not be taken as investment advice. All site content, shall not be construed as a recommendation to buy or sell any security or financial instrument. The ideas expressed are solely the opinions of the author. Any action that you take as a result of information, analysis, or commentary on this site is ultimately your responsibility. Consult your investment adviser before making any investment decisions.