Nov 22, 2012

ASEAN - ASEAN Market Preview: Banco de Oro, Guinness Anchor, Bank Rakyat, UOB, Siam Cement

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Another day of slow and choppy trade is expected in ASEAN as investors around the world seek clarity on several major issues, a Debt Crisis is on the horizon in the EU and the USA.

Greece’s international lenders failed again to reach a deal to release emergency aid to the debt-saddled country. Lenders will try again next Monday, but Germany signaled that significant divisions remain.

A truce between Israel and Hamas gave stocks some support around midday after Egypt announced a ceasefire would come into effect later in the day.

Fears that the fiscal cliff discussions in Washington could be drawn out or yield no resolution have been at the forefront of investors’ minds in recent weeks. Combined with concerns about the euro zone’s continued debt problems, the worries had driven a sell-off that has taken more than 5 percent off the S&P 500 since Election Day in early November.

Positive comments from U.S. politicians that they will work to find common ground have helped the S&P 500 recoup some of that loss in recent sessions.

The Dow Jones industrial average .DJI gained 48.38 points, or 0.38 percent, to 12,836.89 at the close. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index .SPX added 3.22 points, or 0.23 percent, to 1,391.03. The Nasdaq Composite Index .IXIC rose 9.87 points, or 0.34 percent, to close at 2,926.55.

China will not follow other economies in delaying implementation of tougher capital requirements on banks, a senior banking regulator said on Tuesday.

Instead, the country will allow banks to introduce new instruments to raise capital, said Wang Zhaoxing, vice-chairman of the China Banking Regulatory Commission.

Wang said China will not follow in the footsteps of the United States, Europe or any other economies that have considered postponing the adoption of tougher banking requirements called for by global regulatory standards.

“China has promised to anticipate the establishment of the global financial supervision system and adopt the international standards,” Wang said. “More importantly, we took the domestic situation and our own development needs into consideration when we drafted the rules.”

He said regulators want to improve the ability of banks to manage risk and encourage banks to improve their business structures.

“It will be a Chinese version of capital criteria, tailored to suit Chinese banks’ balance sheets, risk and business models.”

The banking regulator also expects the new rules to help banks improve their capital quality. The stricter criteria will call for larger banks to have a capital adequacy ratio of 11.5 percent and non-systemically important ones to have a ratio of 10.5 percent.

Wang said regulators will soon release guidelines to encourage banks to develop capital instruments that will help them replenish their capital. Those are likely to come out before the end of the year.

“Banks will not maintain the pace of expansion they have seen in the past 20 or 30 years, when they piled up profits very easily and rapidly.”

The State Council announced in June that the new rules will take effect at the beginning of 2013.

Economist and Hedge Fund Manager Shayne Heffernan of takes a look at Banco de Oro, Guinness Anchor, Bank Rakyat, UOB, Siam Cement


Thailand’s Siam Cement Group (SCG) has announced plans to build a new plant in Myanmar’s Tanintharyi Region, but awaits the approval of both the Myanmar Investment Commission and President U Thein Sein.

SCG President and CEO, Mr Kan Trakulhoon, has said that the company is also analysing the impact that the recently signed foreign investment law will have on the project. However, in spite of the announcement, there has been no mention made of the plant’s potential production capacity.

SCG officials have discussed the project with President U Thein Sein during his official visit to Thailand in September, during which he stated that he would make a decision regarding his approval of the project once he returned to Myanmar.


ING Groep NV agreed to sell its Thailand asset management unit to Singapore’s United Overseas Bank Ltd for 10 million euros (S$15.7 million) in cash, as the Dutch financial group pushed ahead with its Asian divestments.

After failing to find a single buyer for its entire Asia business, ING is breaking up the sale along different geographies. The disposal of the Thai unit leaves ING with asset management operations in South Korea, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Taiwan and Japan.

The sale is part of ING’s wider asset disposal programme aimed at repaying the 10-billion-euro ($12.7 billion) state bailout received during the 2008 financial crisis. Last month, ING agreed to sell part of its Asia insurance operations for $3.8 billion.

UOB, the smallest of Singapore’s three banks, said in a statement on Tuesday that ING’s Thai unit held about 113.8 billion baht ($3.70 billion) of assets as of the end of September. The purchase is not expected to have a material impact on UOB’s earnings, the bank said.

The Thai unit is the third-biggest of ING’s Asian fund management unit. South Korea is the largest and Taiwan the second-biggest.

ING’s Asia investment management business has a book value of 200 million euros and manages about 43.3 billion euros of assets in the Asia-Pacific region, according to company filings.


Bank Rakyat Indonesia, the country’s second largest lender by market, plans to sell dollar-denominated bonds in the first half of next year to help meet its lending growth target.

“We will probably issue dollar-denominated global bonds,” Sofyan Basir, chief executive of the lender, said in Makassar, South Sulawesi.

Sofyan, who was attending the ground-breaking ceremony of a Bosowa Group cement plant, said the minimum amount of the bonds should be $500 million, “because it will be global bonds.”

In the debt and investment banking business, typically the benchmark size of bond sales is equal to $500 million.

“It will probably be issued in the first semester of next year,” Sofyan said, without disclosing the terms of the bond sale.

BRI will join its rivals in tapping global investors funds.

Bank Mandiri, the country’s largest lender by assets, might sell rupiah- and dollar-denominated bonds next year as part of its plan to increase lending in Indonesia.

The Jakarta-based lender, which was created by the merger of four state banks more than a decade ago, plans to sell between $500 million and $800 million in bonds, Pahala N. Mansury, the bank’s finance director, said last week.

BRI and Bank Mandiri are gearing up to boost their lending activities in the country to meet rising demand by the consumers and corporations.

Sofyan said that the cost to sell dollar-denominated bonds would be cheap.

“When it’s cheap, we will take it,” Sofyan added.

BRI, which focuses on lending to small- and medium-sized enterprises, said lending is expected to grow about 20 percent next year.

“In the past two years, BRI has consolidated [its management], but next year it will be ready,” said Sofyan, in a show of optimism that the lender will achieve such a target.

Small and medium enterprises account for 70 percent to 80 percent of BRI’s outstanding loans. BRI is the Indonesian version of Grameen bank in Bangladesh.

Sofyan said that net income is expected to grow 15 percent next year. He did not provide details.

Net income at BRI rose to Rp 13.6 trillion ($1.4 billion) in the first nine months of this year from Rp 10.43 trillion in the same period last year.

Net interest income, or income from loans after deducting interest charges on depositors, rose 2 percent to Rp 26.7 trillion in the period this year from Rp 26.2 trillion last year.

Net income at BRI is expected to jump to Rp 16 trillion this year. The lender posted a net income of Rp 15 trillion.

Shares of the lender closed unchanged at Rp 7,200 on the Indonesia Stock Exchange (IDX) on Tuesday.

(Shayne Heffernan’s Macro Notes are distributed to Hedge Fund members and institutional clients. They will become available on a subscription basis beginning in 2013, to register your interest please click here)


Guinness Anchor Bhd’s (GAB) earnings rose 2.9% to RM56.83mil in the first quarter ended Sept 30, 2012 from RM55.21mil a year ago.

It said on Wednesday its revenue was down 11.8% to RM392.28mil from RM444.62mil while earnings per share were 18.81 sen compared with 18.28 sen.

“The drop (in revenue) can be attributed to two reasons. First, there was no speculative buying by the trade this year ahead of the National Budget announcement.

“Second, the company instituted a nine-day business freeze at the end of its first quarter to facilitate the migration phase of the company’s IT infrastructure project, Project Quantum. Sales achieved during this nine-day period will be recognised in Q2 performance,” it explained.

GAB managing director Charles Ireland said the results were ahead despite there being no speculative buying as the government announced that there will be no beer excise increase well ahead of the Budget 2013 announcement.

Charles added that the nine-day business freeze also meant a shorter first quarter for F13.

“Our first quarter has always been 91 days, while the second quarter is 92 days. But Project Quantum’s business freeze meant our F13 first quarter was only 82 days, while the second quarter will be 101 days due to the rollover of nine days.”


Philippine stocks surged to a new record high for the 27th time this year as propects of a new round of local banking merger and acquisition (M&As) and progress on the legislation of revenue-generating “sin” tax reforms boosted investor sentiment.

The main-share Philippine Stock Exchange index soared by another 33.6 points, or 0.61 percent, to close at 5,534.18. A new intraday peak was also hit at 5,553.57.

Value turnover was high at P14.92 billion including a block transaction on Banco de Oro. Tycoon Henry Sy has been realigning shares to certain family-owned holding firms and has not sold to any external party, industry sources said.

The outperformer among index stocks was Ayala Corp. (+4.9 percent) after it was confirmed that the group was in talks on a prospective Bank of the Philippine Island-Philippine National Bank consolidation. BPI and PNB went on voluntary trading suspension after confirming ongoing talks.

Metrobank (+2.26 percent), DMCI (+1.95 percent), JG Summit (+1.89 percent), AGI (+1.44 percent), BDO (+1.32 percent) and Petron (+1.16 percent) also contributed to the day’s gains.

Index heavyweight PLDT (+1.13 percent) was up even as National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) has ordered telco service providers to reduce off-net SMS charges from P1 to 80 centavos, and to reimburse subscribers 20 centavos per off-net SMS since December last year.

Jose Vistan, head of research at AB Capital Securities, said the market was driven by financial services (+1.72 percent) in turn due to the excitement over BPI’s prospective acquisition of PNB. Vistan said this news had a spillover effect on other banking issues as investors were revaluing these issues on expectations that this may lead to similar M&A deals.

Vistan said AB Capital would stick to its yearend index target of 5,600. He said the market has been trading at a price-to-earnings ratio of 17-18x, which meant that investors have been paying 17 to 18 times the amount of money made for a given year.

“Right now, the market will be starting to price in fundamentals of 2013, which would involve ratings upgrade, momentum on corporate earnings, growth from construction spending, government spending and election spending,” Vistan said. “So it’s a pretty positive local fundamental backdrop. In terms of external concerns, we’ve seen the worst, so there’s nowhere to go but up.”

Vistan said the PSEi might rise to 6,100 at yearend 2013.

Joseph Roxas, president of Eagle Equities Inc., said sentiment was also boosted by the progress of sin tax legislation. “The enactment will lead to a credit rating upgrade and a drop in the government’s interest payments,” he said.

The Philippine government is currently rated at one notch below the much-coveted investment grade by the three major global credit-watchers—Moody’s, Fitch and Standard & Poor’s.

Other stocks that rose in heavy volume on Wednesday were Empire East (+3.26 percent), Bloomberry (+4.74 percent), ABS-CBN preferred (+1.96 percent), LT Group (+1.21 percent), GT Capital (+3.66 percent), Manila Mining (+8.2 percent) and East West Bank (+7.59 percent).

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