OCBC mulls bid for control of Indonesia’s Bank Permata

(Aug 19): Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp is weighing a bid for Standard Chartered’s Indonesian bank, people with knowledge of the matter say, a move that may create the country’s fifth-largest lender.

OCBC is considering an offer for almost 90% of Bank Permata, which has a market value of about $1.9 billion, say the people, asking not to be named as the deliberations are private. OCBC is interested in the stakes held equally by Standard Chartered and Astra International, the people say.


Southeast Asian leaders to meet in shadow of Trump's trade war

(June 21): The leaders of Southeast Asia’s economies are set to gather in Thailand this weekend as the shadow of President Donald Trump’s trade war keeps the region on edge.

The summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations comes two weeks after Group of 20 finance ministers faced similar challenges: wobbling demand and bleeding business and investor sentiment as the US and China feud. The weakening electronics cycle is particularly bad news for Asian exporters.

Escape Reality

A list of 10 beach reads about true crime, exotic locations and heartbreaking love affairs

(June 24): Even if you are living the perfect life, in the perfect location, there is just something about summer that makes you long to experience new things. The best books of beach season all have that in common: a desire to escape place, time or circumstance. We read the most highly anticipated releases — both fiction and non-fiction — and picked our favourites.

Short seller Iceberg of Noble Group fame now takes aim at Trafigura

(June 20): Iceberg Research, the short seller that targeted commodities trader Noble Group, has another trading house in its sights: Trafigura Group.

Trafigura is overstating the value of debt securities related to its 49.5% stake in Porto Sudeste, an iron ore export terminal in Brazil, Iceberg, headed by Arnaud Vagner, said Wednesday in a report on its website. Iceberg estimates those securities may be worth only a 10th of the US$490 million ($665 million) carrying value that Trafigura attributes to them.

Uber said to have reached in-principle agreement to sell Southeast Asia business to Grab

SINGAPORE (Mar 13): The battle between ride-hailing giants Grab and Uber Technologies for market share in Southeast Asia could draw to a close.

According to sources of the Wall Street Journal (WSJ), Uber has agreed, in principle, to sell most of its Southeast Asia operations to Grab in exchange for a 30% stake in the firm or less.

The two companies are said to be still hashing out the final terms of the pact.

Are ride-sharing companies the new banks?

(Sept 5): In Southeast Asia, mobile banking is taking on a whole new meaning. Last week, Grab, one of the region's top ride-hailing companies, announced that users of its app can start sending credits -- used to pay for rides -- to each other. By the end of the year, they'll be able to use those credits at more than 1,000 restaurants and retailers. If all goes well, Grab will one day be known as an e-payment platform that just happens to offer a taxi service.

Stocks have gotten ‘less attractive’ but still better than bonds: Buffett

From Bloomberg

(Aug 31): Warren Buffett, the billionaire chairman and chief executive officer of Berkshire Hathaway Inc., said the rally in markets over the last several years has made it harder to find bargains, but that stocks remain his choice over bonds.

When asked why cash has been piling up at Berkshire, he told Bloomberg Television’s David Westin, “It tells us stocks aren’t as cheap as they’ve been most of the time.” Buying shares after the 2008 financial crisis, Buffett said, was like “shooting fish in a barrel.”


With its treasure trove of data, Bloomberg expands into corporate advisory services

(Aug 23): Bloomberg, better known for its financial information terminals and wire service, has become the first major publisher to enter the arena of corporate advisory services.

The financial information provider will use data from across its assets to provide bespoke brand consulting, corporate communications and marketing strategy advice.

By charging clients between US$150,000 and US$200,000 (between $204,450 and $272,614) a month on average, Bloomberg hopes that its consulting offering will boost flagging advertising revenues.

Philippines, Indonesia and India have got a Fed problem

(Aug 23): The populist leaders of India, Indonesia and the Philippines won office with promises of massive spending to upgrade their nation’s roads, railways and ports. Doing so, the thinking goes, would supercharge economic growth and emulate China’s success.

Could this be the best time to buy Best World?

SINGAPORE (Aug 23): Maybank Kim Eng is maintaining its “buy” call on Best World International with an unchanged price target of $1.88, which is pegged to 19 times FY18E earnings per share (EPS) estimate of 9.9 cents.

The research house is forecasting total sales of $303 million for FY18E, which translates to a core P/E of 12.1 times and P/BV of 3.9 times.

In a Monday report, analyst John Cheong echoes the direct selling company’s management belief that China’s marketing practices crackdown will have minimal impact on the company’s earnings performance.

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