Barefoot Investor: Highlights: Stellar performance for Public Bank, Ramunia back to rig business, Ann Joo to buy stake in Anshin, 'Proton, Perodua free to decide', Low response to MESB takeover

Stellar performance for Public Bank
Public Bank, the country's third largest lender, saw net profit rise by 21% to a record last year and said it can probably maintain a similar growth rate this year despite stiffer competition. "Given the healthy economy that is expected for this year, we expect a similar magnitude of earnings growth can be achievable, barring unforeseen circumstances," its chief operating officer Leong Kwok Nyem said yesterday afternoon. The group, which expects the Malaysian economy to expand by as much as 6% this year, is also targeting to maintain its annual return on equity (ROE) at 27% in the next two to three years. The group's fourth quarter net profit last year rose by 25% to RM846m, its highest quarterly earnings ever. This brought net profit for the full year to RM3.05bn compared with RM2.52bn in 2009. Revenue improved by 13.6% to RM11bn. (Business Times)

Ramunia back to rig business
Ramunia Holdings is returning to its old core business of making oil rigs, almost a year after it sold its major asset to Sime Darby for RM560m. It has made an offer to Oilfab SB, a 51% unit of Oilcorp, to buy the Pulau Indah Integrated Fabrication Yard and assets in Klang, Selangor, for RM83.8m. Its new purchase will allow it to start operating a fabrication yard immediately, the group said in a statement to Bursa Malaysia. Ramunia expects to take over the fabrication yard, which is fully equipped and ready with infrastructure, from 1 March 2011. The company said it will pay RM3.8m in cash for the acquisition. The rest will be settled with new Ramunia shares to Oilfab at an issue price of 51 sen each. Oilfab is expected to place out half of the shares to unidentified investors at the same price. (Business Times)

Ann Joo to buy stake in Anshin
Ann Joo Resources has entered into a share sale agreement to acquire a 38% stake in Anshin Steel Processor SB, at a cash consideration of RM2.10 per share worth RM11.970m. The agreeement is with SHH Holdings SB and Chuan Huat Hardware Holdings SB to acquire 3m and 2.7m RM1 shares, respectively, said the company in a filing with Bursa Malaysia yesterday. Ann Joo currently holds the balance 62% of the share capital of Anshin. Upon completion of the acquisition, Anshin would become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Ann Joo, it said. (StarBiz)

'Proton, Perodua free to decide'
The Government will not force Proton Holdings and rival Perodua to merge as shareholders of both carmakers need to agree for it to happen, said International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed. "There is a long spectrum involved; at one end is loose cooperation and at the other, a merger, which has yet to be decided," he told reporters yesterday. The Government is the major shareholder of Proton via Khazanah Nasional while Japan's Daihatsu owns the majority of Perusahaan Otomobil Kedua SB's manufacturing arm. While Proton, which needs to reduce excess capacity at its Tanjung Malim plant, wants a merger, Perodua is not keen. (Business Times)

Low response to MESB takeover
The conditional takeover offer by Teoh Hwa Peng and parties acting in concert for MESB shares at 33 sen each, received acceptances of just 3.15%. Hwang DBS Investment Bank, which was acting on behalf of the offerors, said in a note by MESB to Bursa Malaysia yesterday that at the final closing date of the offer yesterday, the offerors held 50.09%, or 21.037m shares. Of the shareholders holding 3.15% shares which had agreed to the offer, 0.47% had been verified as valid acceptances while 2.68% had been acquired or agreed to be acquired. As of 17 Dec, 2010, which was the posting date of the offer document, the offerors held 46.94%, or 19.71mi shares.(StarBiz)


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