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  1. #1
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    Dow Jones Newswires

    18 August 2015 Singapore bankers rattled by Asian moves to chase undeclared wealth [SINGAPORE] Singapore-based wealth managers, already under pressure from a global move towards tax information sharing, face a more immediate threat as Asian countries including Indonesia and India look to chase undeclared money in the low-tax city state.
    A global crackdown on tax evasion launched during the 2008 financial crisis has already forced Switzerland and other European offshore hubs to surrender their prized bank secrecy.
    Like those centres, Singapore has committed to automatically start sharing information with foreign tax authorities from 2018, in line with an agreement signed by more than 51 countries last year that seeks to put an end to tax evasion.
    But Singapore banks face a more urgent challenge.
    Indonesia, Singapore's main source of wealth assets, is considering offering a tax amnesty to individuals willing to repatriate funds from abroad - targeting US$225 billion Jakarta says is parked in Singapore alone. "Indonesia accounts for 30-50 per cent of business for private banks in Singapore," a Singapore-based banker at a top global wealth manager told Reuters.
    "Clients are worried and asking about this, (while) accounting and legal firms are pitching to help clients structure their transactions," said another banker.
    Both declined to be named due to client confidentiality rules.
    The second banker said one client was considering whether to pass his wealth directly to one of his children, who is in the process of taking Singapore nationality.
    Singapore, Asia's second-largest offshore centre by assets behind Hong Kong, has thrived as a banking centre due to its political and economic stability, low taxes and rule of law. It manages US$470 billion of private client assets, Deloitte data show.
    Singapore's central bank has said it has a rigorous regime to combat money laundering and is ready to take tough action if there are breaches. Sources said Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) officials have been asking private banks if they have heard any client concerns about the exchange of information mechanism. The MAS didn't comment.
    The finance ministry noted that Singapore would need to sign bilateral agreements before any automatic data sharing, and those deals would depend on partner countries having a "robust" legal framework to maintain information confidentiality and "confine its use to tax purposes", a ministry spokeswoman said.

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    ITALIAN MODEL

    ITALIAN MODEL

    Seeking to recoup funds it first bled in the aftermath of former president Suharto's government, Jakarta is looking to introduce a tax amnesty, but has given no timetable for this. "The idea is to first prepare the legal framework," Suahasil Nazara, who heads the fiscal policy office, told Reuters.
    The planned amnesty, private bankers say, is modelled on a successful but controversial Italian tax scheme that helped Rome recoup billions of euros unlawfully parked in Switzerland against the payment of a modest penalty.
    This system, which was criticised for allowing tax evaders to come clean without too much pain, is a faster way to recover funds than wading through a myriad of tax and bank data.
    PRESSURE MOUNTS
    India, too, is trying to turn up the heat on an estimated US$340 billion of undeclared wealth by its residents.
    The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), the market watchdog, has asked international private banks to register their offshore units with it if they are soliciting business in India, a Reuters report revealed earlier this month.
    If banks agree to register, they could be targeted by requests from SEBI to disclose client information. "These changes will certainly make things more complicated for wealth managers. (They) will have to factor in every high net worth client's residence and domicile," said Mark Wightman, a partner for wealth & asset management at EY Advisory.
    For local banks in Indonesia and elsewhere, the pressure on Singapore is opening up opportunities at home.
    "The hope is that with the tax amnesty, more funds will be returned to Indonesia," said Jahja Setiaatmadja, president director of Bank Central Asia, Indonesia's biggest bank by market value.
    For Singapore-based banks, the move towards data sharing means radically changing a model that had been mainly based on their ability to offer strict client privacy in a low-tax environment.
    Swiss wealth managers including UBS and Credit Suisse were fined by US regulators for allowing clients to deposit untaxed money, and still face lawsuits elsewhere.
    "Everybody's in limbo right now," said a senior banker in Singapore. "Clients are scared about opening new accounts and asking whether certain structures work."
    Experts believe Singapore could continue to be an attractive centre thanks to its strong legal system, security and a deep talent pool for wealth services. "The days of undisclosed assets being held offshore will, in time, become a thing of the past," said Mr Wightman. REUTERS

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    18 August 2015 US dollar heads higher helped by housing sector sentiment

    18 August 2015 US dollar heads higher helped by housing sector sentiment [NEW YORK] The dollar headed higher Monday, notching its third straight gain versus the euro, helped by improving confidence in the US housing sector.
    The greenback rose to US$1.1078 per euro, and to 124.41 yen, the latter hit only slightly by Monday's data showing that the Japanese economy contracted 0.4 per cent in the second quarter.
    The dollar, which also improved to US$1.5586 per pound, gained strength as the construction sentiment index of the US National Association of Home Builders rose to a new high since the recession ended in 2009.
    In addition, the separate Empire State Manufacturing Survey, covering business in the New York area, showed an improvement in medium-term expectations for the economy even if the views of current conditions fell.
    "With Europe essentially flat-lining and Asia now experiencing negative year-over-year growth, the US remains the only region in the world that shows any growth at all," said Boris Schlossberg of BK Asset Management.
    The Chinese yuan remained in a holding pattern at about 6.3949 per dollar, virtually unchanged from Thursday, after the August 10 shock devaluation and the Bank of China's announcement it was loosening its controls on the currency's trading range. AFP

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    18 August 2015 Oil prices continue downward slide

    18 August 2015 Oil prices continue downward slide [NEW YORK] Crude oil prices fell on Monday, deepening a long slide as traders expect US production will remain strong, adding to abundant global supplies.
    US benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for September delivery closed at US$41.87 a barrel, down 63 cents from Friday's settlement after a technical modest rebound Friday.
    In London, Brent North Sea crude for October, the international benchmark, fell 45 cents to US$48.74 a barrel in its first day of trade.
    "Oil prices are starting the new week of trading with further losses after ending last week down for the seventh consecutive week - the longest losing streak since the beginning of the year," said Commerzbank analysts in a research note.
    The WTI contract has lost more than 30 per cent in the past two months, bringing it to the lowest level in about six and a half years.
    WTI was under pressure after Baker Hughes data showed on Friday that the number of rigs drilling for US oil increased last week, the sixth rise in seven weeks.
    Phil Flynn of Price Futures Group said the increase in the rig count spurred "a fear that US production isn't going to fall" amid high output, putting downward pressure on prices.
    Ted Sloup of iiTrader.com said the WTI trading session had been expected to have "more fireworks" at the expiration of the September contract, "but it's actually been very quiet." Mr Sloup said the market has more or less stalled around US$42 a barrel. "There's a nice wall of support" in a market that he called "way oversold".
    "The conditions are there for a big rally but you can't discount the fact that this market is extremely bearish," he added.
    Tim Evans of Citi Futures noted that a firmer US dollar, after Japan reported Monday that its economy contracted in the second quarter, may have contributed to the weight on the market.
    A stronger greenback makes dollar-priced crude oil relatively more expensive, tending to dampen demand. AFP

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    18 August 2015 Global Invacom says renewed sales contract with leading broadcaster

    18 August 2015 Global Invacom says renewed sales contract with leading broadcaster SINGAPORE (Aug 18): Global Invacom Group has renewed its sales contract with a leading Southeast Asia broadcaster, one of its major customers, and this will contribute revenue from this month.
    The Mainboard-listed satellite communications equipment specialist says all of its delayed orders of satellite dishes and low-noise blocks by major customers in the U.S., U.K. and Asia have restarted since delays in 1HFY2015 and they are expected to contribute to the group’s financial performance in 2H.
    The company said on Aug 14 that it had recorded a 1H net loss of US$2.8 million ($3.9 million), compared with earnings of US$3.7 million in the year-earlier period, owing to a delay to major customers in the U.S., U.K. and Asia.
    The counter ended 5.3% lower at 27 cents on Monday.

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    17 August 2015 Pavillon Holding

    17 August 2015 Pavillon Holdings inks sale and leaseback agreement with Haoke Technology to buy equipment SINGAPORE (Aug 17): Pavillon Holdings says its wholly-owned subsidiary, Pavillion Financial Leasing Co. (PFLC), has entered into a sale and leaseback agreement with Haoke Technology.
    Under the deal, PFLC will purchase the equipment from Haoke for a consideration of RMB20 million ($4.39 million).
    Concurrently, Haoke shall also pay a one-off service fee of RMB2 million to PFLC and rent the equipment from PFLC paying quarterly rent of RMB540,000, totaling RMB6.48 million for three years.
    Haoke shall repurchase the equipment from PFLC at RMB20 million after the expiration of the Sale and Leaseback Agreement. The estimated internal rate of return of the project is 15.8%.
    The transaction is funded through internal resources and is expected to have a positive impact on the company’s net tangible assets and earnings per share for the financial year ending Dec 31, 2015.
    Pavillon Holdings shares closed flat at 6.8 cents.

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    17 August 2015 ES Group

    17 August 2015 ES Group to provide marine and offshore electrical installation SINGAPORE (Aug 17): ES Group is planning an acquisition of E-Waves Offshore Automation, a company providing marine and offshore electrical installation and automation services.
    The group intends to do this through its wholly-owned subsidiary, ES Oil & Gas. ES Oil & Gas had formed a joint venture company called ESW Automation on Aug 12 for the purpose of the acquisition. ESW Automation's joint venture partners comprise ES Oil & Gas and E-Waves' majority owner Tang Wei.
    The acquisition will take place through a joint venture agreement between ES Oil & Gas, E- Waves and ESW Automation. Under the agreement, E-Waves will grant ESW Automation an option to acquire all the ordinary shares in the capital of E-Waves. ESW Automation can exercise the call option during an option period, defined as the period commencing 30 days from today, in which all outstanding liabilities of E-Waves as set out in the JV Agreement are cleared.
    The purchase consideration for E-Waves shall be the amount equivalent to its net tangible assets at the date of the call option notice. Under the terms of the joint venture agreement, ES Oil & Gas will secure loan facilities for the working capital purposes of ESW Automation.
    In a separate announcement, ES Group redesignated two of its executives. Christopher Low Chee Leng will relinquish his position and will fill in as chief operating officer. He will be responsible for overseeing ESW Automation. His brother Low Chee Wee will be redesignated as CEO of ES Group. Both parties will remain as directors of the company.
    ES Group closed 0.88% higher at 11.5 cents.

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    17 August 2015 China Gaoxian s

    17 August 2015 China Gaoxian surges 12%; posted higher 2Q revenue from new product Singapore (Aug 17): China Gaoxian Fibre Fabric Holdings jumped 12% to 42 cents on Monday in thin trading after reporting a surge in second-quarter and first-half revenue over the weekend.
    Revenue for the three months to June rose 69% to RMB43.4 million ($9.6 million) from a year ago. This was largely contributed by Drawn Textured Yarn, a new product that was launched in April last year.
    Losses however widened to RMB54.8 million from RMB43.7 million.
    And although 1H15 saw losses widened 14% to RMB125.1 million, revenue surged 31% to RMB60.3 million.
    Company officials told The Edge Singapore recently that they are working towards achieving a revenue of RMB2 billion this year with the help of three more new products that started trial production in the second quarter.
    These products – Polyethylene Terephthalate chips, Fully Drawn Yarn and Partially Oriented Yarn - chalked a revenue of RMB233 million in 2QFY2015 but the amount could not be booked because they are still in trial production.
    A company official contacted by theedgemarkets.com says he could not explain the surge as the only action the company had taken recently was to report its 2QFY2015 results on Friday.
    He adds that the share price surge is nothing to celebrate as China Gaoxian is still trading at the level before it consolidated 20 shares into one on June 23.

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    MSCI India Index ETF

    17 August 2015 Outperforming the Nifty and BSE Sensex Indexes with the iShare MSCI India Index ETF SINGAPORE (Aug 17): Geoff Howie, market strategist at the Singapore Exchange, has designed a winning portfolio to beat the Nifty and BSE Sensex Indexes.
    One half of the portfolio is made up of the iShare MSCI India Index ETF while the other half is made up of three of the biggest India stock plays on the SGX.
    To be sure, the iShare MSCI India Index ETF has been SGX’s most actively traded ETF by turnover and has provided 3.6% total returns from January to June this year.
    The three stocks Howie has chosen are Ascendas India Trust, Religare Health Trust and Sarine Technologies. These are three of the largest capitalised stocks on the SGX that report more than half their revenue from India. They have a combined market capitalisation of $2.5 billion and average indicative dividend yield of 5.5%.
    All together, Howie's portfolio has an annualised return of about 24% in the last 2.5 years.
    In comparison, the portfolio generated better annualised returns than the NSE Nifty Index in USD that only generated annualised returns over last 2.5 years of 10%, and NSE Nifty Index in INR generated annualised returns of 16%. In the same period, the BSE Sensex Index in USD and INR provided annualised returns of 10% and 16% respectively.
    However, the First State Global Growth Funds – Regional India provided annualised returns of 26% in the last 2.5 years.
    Howie says, “This year Asia’s best performing index benchmarks have represented the big economies of China, Japan and India. But in terms of volatility, the least volatile of the three has been the Nifty Index, representing India.”

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    17 August 2015 Lizhong

    17 August 2015 Lizhong Wheel's major shareholder makes voluntary cash offer at 50 Singapore cents a share THE major shareholder of Lizhong Wheel Group has launched a voluntary cash offer for the aluminium alloy wheel maker for 50 Singapore cents apiece.
    The offer was made by Berkley International, an investment holding firm owned by Tianjin Dong An Brothers which in turn is owned by Li Zhong Investment - the investment vehicle of the Zang family that owns 64.23 per cent of Lizhong Wheel.
    Li Zhong Investment and the firm's two other shareholders have executed irrevocable undertakings in favour of the offer, with the undertaking shareholders as at the date of the announcement of the offer representing 66.77 per cent of the firm's total issued shares.
    "The offer provides shareholders who find it difficult to exit the company as a result of the low trading volume in shares with an opportunity to liquidate and realise their investment," said DBS Bank in the offer announcement on behalf of Berkley.

 

 

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