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    Dow Jones Newswires 28/08/15

    28 August 2015 Mitsubishi to buy 20% in grain trader Olam for S$1.53 billion [SINGAPORE] Mitsubishi Corp, betting on growing demand for food in Asia, agreed to buy a 20 per cent stake in Olam International Ltd, the commodity trader controlled by Singapore's state investment company, in two deals worth S$1.53 billion.
    Olam said Thursday in a statement that it will issue 332.7 million new shares for S$915 million to Mitsubishi, one of Japan's biggest trading houses. The Tokyo-based company is also acquiring an 8 per cent stake in the agriculture firm for S$615 million from Kewalram Chanrai Group, an Olam spokesperson said.
    The investment by Mitsubishi is a sign of confidence in a company that last year was fending off an attack from US short-seller Muddy Waters LLC and questions about its finances and operations. The Japanese trader will become the second- largest shareholder in Olam after the deals close with Singapore's Temasek Holdings controlling 51 per cent.
    "We see Mitsubishi as a strategic investor who is well aligned to our long-term growth strategy," Shekhar Anantharaman, Olam's executive director of finance and business development, said.
    The price of S$2.75 a share paid by Mitsubishi for the new stock represents a 29 per cent premium to the 2014 trading average of Olam. The Singapore company said in a presentation that the price was set "through a competitive bidding process." Other bidders weren't disclosed. The Kewalram Chanrai Group was the founder of Olam in 1989.
    The Olam-Mitsubishi deal is the latest sign of Asian trading houses spending billions of dollars in agriculture, betting that fast-growing populations in the region will need more food.
    While Olam is not a household name, it's a US$3.3 billion firm and supplies materials to companies including PepsiCo Inc and one in eight chocolate bars eaten globally is made from beans handled by the company. The quantity of rice it handles annually could feed all of Africa for a week.
    Stefan Vogel, head of agricultural commodity research at Rabobank International in London, said Asian companies have pursued a strategy of buying supply chains of food commodities.
    "Overall demand will continue to grow and needs to be supplied," he said by phone.
    Olam's shares have dropped 26 per cent in the past year, more than double the 12 per cent slide in Singapore's benchmark Straits Times Index. It surged 13 per cent before halting its shares on Thursday for the biggest gain since April 2009.
    Other deals in the industry include Marubeni Corp, one of Japan's top-five trading houses, buying in 2013 US grain merchant Gavilon Holdings LLC for US$2.7 billion plus debt. Cofco Corp, China's largest food company, spent US$3.5 billion last year to build a global grain trader, acquiring controlling stakes in Noble's grains arm and Dutch trader Nidera BV.
    Mitsubishi has also made investments in Olam in the past. In June last year, the company agreed to pay US$64 million for 80 per cent of Olam Grains Australia to give it control over a business that handles more than 1 million metric tons of grain a year. The same year, Sanyo Foods Co, a unit of Mitsubishi, agreed to purchase 25 per cent of Olam's packaged-food division. BLOOMBERG

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    Olam to plan sale of more than 10% stake to Mitsubishi Corp

    27 August 2015 Update: Olam to plan sale of more than 10% stake to Mitsubishi Corp

    [SINGAPORE] Olam International Ltd., the food commodity trader controlled by Singapore's state investment company, plans to sell a stake of more than 10 per cent to Mitsubishi Corp, people with knowledge of the matter said.
    The deal will involve Olam issuing new shares to Mitsubishi, said the people, who asked not to be identified as the information is private. Temasek Holdings has a 58 per cent stake in Olam and will remain the largest shareholder, the people said.
    The Olam-Mitsubishi deal is the latest sign of a growing interest by Asian trading houses to expand in agriculture.
    An external representative for Olam declined to comment. Mitsubishi didn't answer a phone call to its office seeking comment outside normal business hours.
    Olam spent two years adjusting its assets, selling stakes in its Australian grain and packaged food businesses, while expanding in cocoa. Already one of the top three traders globally in coffee and rice, Olam agreed to pay a company record US$1.3 billion to Archer-Daniels-Midland Co for its cocoa business, a move that would elevate it into the top-three processors.
    Olam's shares have dropped 26 per cent in the past year, more than double the 12 per cent slide in Singapore's benchmark Straits Times Index. It surged 13 per cent before halting its shares on Thursday for the biggest gain since April 2009.
    Singapore's Temasek took a controlling stake in Olam in March 2014 to help the trading company fend off attacks from US short-seller Muddy Waters LLC. The US company led by Carson Block in 2012 questioned the state of Olam's finances and operations, causing the stock to plummet.
    Little known to retail consumers, Olam supplies materials to companies including PepsiCo Inc. One in eight chocolate bars eaten globally is made from beans handled by Olam, while the trader produces enough cotton to provide all the world with three pairs of socks each year. The quantity of rice it handles annually could feed all of Africa for a week. BLOOMBERG

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    27 August 2015 Interplex Holdings’ FY2015 earnings double

    27 August 2015 Interplex Holdings’ FY2015 earnings double SINGAPORE (Aug 27): Interplex Holdings, the precision engineering company formerly known as Amtek Engineering, reported a two-fold increase in earnings to US$43.4 million ($61 million) for FY2015 ended June.
    Group revenue rose 53% to US$969.5 million, due to the revenue contribution from Interplex Industries which was consolidated from August 2014.
    Revenue from the automotive segment grew 190% to US$254 million, while revenue from the medical and life sciences segment more than doubled to US$27.1 million.
    Interplex introduced several new product segments to group including industrial electronics and telecommunications, which contributed US$54.3 million and US$77 million, respectively.
    Interplex says that while the global economic outlook remains challenging, it remains optimistic that market conditions will stabilize and improve. It says it will also continue to explore new opportunities in its newly acquired geographies, such as the US, Mexico and Hungary as well as new market segments.
    Interplex declared a final dividend of 1.5 cents for the current financial period.
    Interplex’s shares closed 4% higher at 64.5 cents.

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    ASL Marine secures S$140m in shipbuilding contracts

    27 August 2015 ASL Marine secures S$140m in shipbuilding contracts ASL Marine Holdings Ltd said its wholly-owned subsidiary, ASL Shipyard Pte Ltd (ASLS), has secured new shipbuilding contracts worth approximately S$140 million for the construction of a series of tugs and barges.
    All of these vessels are specially designed and built for overseas customers who are engaged in the mining and marine infrastructure industries.
    These projects will be executed at the group's shipyards in Singapore and Indonesia. Revenue from these new shipbuilding contracts will be recognised over the respective contract period in accordance with the group's revenue recognition policy basing on the percentage-of-completion method.
    ASL Marine said these contracts are not expected to have a material financial impact on the net tangible asset and earnings per share of the group for the financial year ending June 30, 2016.

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    27 August 2015 LionGold responds to SGX query on auditor's disclaimer of opinion

    27 August 2015 LionGold responds to SGX query on auditor's disclaimer of opinion The board of Catalist-listed LionGold Corp said the gold miner can operate as a going concern, in response to a Singapore Exchange (SGX) query on external auditor PwC's disclaimer of opinion on the matter.
    "The board confirms that all material disclosures have been provided for trading of the company's shares to continue," LionGold said.
    The company will be seeking approval from shareholders on Sep 14 for the proposed issue of up to S$100 million of redeemable convertible bonds.
    Referring SGX to notes in its recently published annual report, LionGold said the first tranche of S$50 million will be enough to repay its outstanding convertible bonds, which is being restructured. The tranche will also be enough to fund its operations for the foreseeable future, the notes said.
    The notes also said that the ability to obtain shareholder approvals and the certainty of completion of the issuance of the first tranche represent a material uncertainty that may cast significant doubt on the company's ability to continue as a going concern.
    "While a material uncertainty exists, the board believes that the group will be able to raise sufficient funds to enable the group to fund its operations for the foreseeable future," LionGold said in the notes.
    SGX also queried LionGold on the due diligence it performed on auditor Baker Tilly, whom LionGold is proposing to replace PwC with due to cost reasons and the company's reduced scope of operations.
    Among other things, LionGold said that the change in auditors was considered in December 2014 and January 2015, before PwC expressed its disclaimer of opinion.

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    27 August 2015 OCBC and Lion Global

    27 August 2015 OCBC and Lion Global upsize private equity fund by 40% on strong investor demand

    SINGAPORE (Aug 27): OCBC Bank and its asset management subsidiary, Lion Global Investors, say on Thursday that their first private-equity fund with outside investors was closed successfully after being upsized by almost 40% to $550 million from $400 million fund as a result of strong investor demand.
    The Lion-OCBC Capital Asia Fund I, L.P. will invest in small and medium-sized companies in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and China.
    Among the investors are insurance companies, regional banks, sovereign wealth funds and high net worth individuals (HNWIs), including customers of OCBC Bank's private banking subsidiary, Bank of Singapore.
    It took nine months to secure investor subscription after the fund was launched in November 2014. A fund of this size would typically take more than a year to close, the companies say.

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    27 August 2015 LionGold Corp

    27 August 2015 LionGold Corp says Baker Tilly is “suitably qualified” as new auditor

    SINGAPORE (Aug 27): LionGold Corp says it had proposed appointing Baker Tilly as its new external auditors because the audit firm is “suitably qualified and able to provide audit services to the company at more competitive fees”.
    The gold mining firm’s statement was responding to queries from Singapore Exchange (SGX) following its proposal to replace PwC, its current auditors since December 2012.
    LionGold reckons Baker Tilly is able to meet the audit requirements of the company after considering various factors in assessing the suitability of the audit firm.
    The company says it decided to propose a change of auditors during the period December 2014 to January 2015, before its financial year ending Mar 31, 2015.
    It stresses the decision was made before PwC had expressed its disclaimer of opinion on Aug 21.
    LionGold says it has no disagreements with PwC on accounting treatments in the last 12 months from Aug 21, 2015.
    PwC says it was supposed to express an opinion on the financial statements after conducting its audit, but could not get enough appropriate audit evidence to provide a basis for an audit opinion.
    Meanwhile, LionGold says it will be able to operate as a going concern.
    The company says it will be seeking shareholder approval for the proposed issuance of up to $100 million redeemable convertible bonds (RCBS) and the proposed allotment and issuance of up to 33.33 billion conversion shares pursuant to the conversion of the RCBS.
    LionGold is expected to hold its AGM on Sept 14.
    Shares in LionGold ended up 0.2 cent or 16.7% at 1.4 cents.
    27 August 2015 Aspial raises S$146.7m from retail bond offering Aspial Corporation Limited managed to raise net proceeds of S$146.7 million from its maiden retail bond offering, which it said saw overwhelming interest from investors.
    The offer had a subscription rate of approximately 3.9 times of the original offer size of S$75 million, the group said on Thursday.
    Its public tranche, which was open to the public from Aug 19 to 26, received about S$217.3 million of valid applications, representing a subscription rate of 8.7 times of the S$25 million of bonds being offered under the public offer after re-allocation. In view of the strong interest, the issue size under the public offer was increased to the maximum of S$100 million.
    The placement tranche that closed earlier on Aug 19, received a subscription rate of 3 times.
    These five-year bonds come with 5.25 per cent interest. They will be guaranteed by Aspial and issued by its wholly-owned subsidiary, Aspial Treasury Pte Ltd. DBS Bank Ltd is the sole lead manager and bookrunner for the offer.

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    27 August 2015 Sim Lian's full year profit leaps 41%

    27 August 2015 Sim Lian's full year profit leaps 41% Sim Lian's net profit for the full year ended June 30 leapt 41 per cent from a year ago to S$240.37 million, on the back of a 67 per cent jump in revenue to S$1.19 billion.
    Its property development division contributed S$914 million to the group's revenue in FY2015, 80 per cent higher than in FY2014. The increase is mainly due to more development projects completed during the year.
    The construction division contributed S$229 million to the group's revenue, an increase of 33 per cent from FY2014 mainly due to increase in percentage of work done.
    But contract costs also surged 88 per cent over the year to S$906 million in tandem with the increase in revenue. The group also incurred higher operating expenses during the year and S$13.8 million in foreign exchange losses mainly due to the revaluation of intercompany balances which are not denominated in the functional currency of respective subsidiaries.
    Sim Lian said it expects the operating environment for the property market to remain challenging.
    "The group remains committed to seeking strategic investment opportunities for its continued growth and is focused on building a stable base of recurring income to smoothen its fluctuating profits from property development division," it added.
    "The group expects to achieve a set of profitable operating results for FY2016. Following the adoption of IFRS 115 with effect from July 1, 2010, the group expects greater fluctuations in our future earnings as all of its ongoing projects are being accounted for using the completion of contract method."
    The Board has proposed a first and final dividend of 7.28 cents, higher than the 4.6 cents declared for fiscal 2014.
    27 August 2015 Hu An Cable warns of H1 loss due to impairments Hu An Cable Holdings Ltd issued a profit warning on Thursday night, saying that it expects to report a loss for the six months ended June 30.
    Besides facing a slump in sales and gross margins due to shrinking market demand and heightened market competition, the loss was mainly attributable to impairment losses on doubtful prepayments to suppliers and on doubtful trade receivables due to slow debt collection.
    The group had collectively placed 310 million yuan (S$67.7 million) as prepayments to one of its major suppliers to purchase raw materials. But this supplier had declared bankruptcy and was under liquidation stage in June, according to Hu An Cable.
    Given the liquidation status of this supplier and that no collateral was collected, the group had made provision for full amount of prepayments.
    "China's economic reforms have posed an unprecedented challenge to our business environment," it said.
    "Following the shift from an investment-driven growth model to a consumption-based growth model, the Chinese banks have tightened financing facilities for capital-intensive sectors, including the cable and wire industry and its upstream and downstream industries."
    Further details of the group's performance will be released when the company announces its unaudited financial results for the first half ended June 30 on or before Sept 14.

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    27 August 2015 Raffles Education FY net profit slumps 69%

    27 August 2015 Raffles Education FY net profit slumps 69% Raffles Education's net profit for the financial year ended June 30 slumped 69 per cent to S$16.98 million, due mainly to a lack of one-time gains that were recognised in the preceding year.
    Revenue for the year slipped 4 per cent to S$119.9 million. Other operating income dived 87 per cent to S$7.9 million mainly due to an absence of a S$45.5 million gain (before taxes) on "divestment of investment properties of 490 mu land and properties in Oriental University City Limited (OUCL)".
    Share of results of joint ventures plunged 97 per cent to S$901,000 due to an absence of one-time gain that was recognised on the disposal of a 50 per cent equity interest in Value Vantage Investment and Management (Hangzhou) Co Ltd (VVHZ) in FY2014.
    Raffles Education recognised a net fair value gain of S$23 million arising from a S$17.9 million revaluation gain from investment properties in the OUCL and Oriental University City Holdings (HK) Limited and S$5.4 million revaluation gain from the investment properties in Parramatta, Australia.
    The group declared a dividend of one cent per ordinary share, unchanged for the preceding year.

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    27 August 2015 GuocoLeisure posts 23% rise in net profit on cost management

    27 August 2015 GuocoLeisure posts 23% rise in net profit on cost management Thanks to better cost management, GuocoLeisure posted a 23 per cent rise in net profit for the 12 months ended June 30 to US$47.9 million.
    "As the group's operations are predominantly in the UK, revenues were impacted by the depreciation of the Great British pound against the US dollar during the year," the group said in its financial statements.
    "However, earnings were improved by lower finance costs and savings from operating expenses," it added.
    Revenue for the period slipped 8 per cent to US$423.2 million due mainly to lower Bass Strait oil and gas royalty and gaming revenue. Lower average crude oil and gas prices and its production as well as the weakening Australian dollar against the greenback also affected royalty income.
    Its key hotel segment posted a 46 per cent increase in profit after tax for the year to US$42.7 million, notwithstanding the impact of rooms not being available for sale due to the refurbishment. The oil and gas segment marked a 27 per cent drop in profit after tax to US$17.3 million.
    The loss-making property development segment reported a loss after tax of US$2.1 million during the year, similar to the US$2.2 million after-tax loss a year ago. GuocoLeisure explained that the loss was incurred mainly due to lower business activities and no land sales during the financial year.
    The gaming segment reported a decrease in revenue as a result of a significantly lower gaming win margins and drop compared to the previous financial year, resulting in a loss of US$6.1 million for the year following a US$4.6 million loss the year before.
    GuocoLeisure said it managed to lower its cost of sales by 8 per cent during the year due mainly to lower gaming duty that was in line with the decrease in revenue from gaming sector as well as the weakening British pound against the US dollar. Operating and financing expenses were also pared from a year ago.

 

 

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