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Bank Tempatan Semakin Pudar
By Kapal Berita

17/2/2001 11:42 pm Sat


Prestasi Bank tempatan sudah mula kelam. Keuntungan Maybank lebih rendah dan AMMB mengalami kejatuhan 54%. RHB hanya merekod kenaikkan yang sedikit sahaja. Keadaan pasaran saham kini mula menggigit bank. Time dotCom sahaja sudah menjerut RM1.4 bilion baru-baru ini. Penyusunan semula hutang koporat tidak menampakkan sambutan yang menggalakkan dan mungkin memakan masa yang amat panjang. Ini diakui sendiri oleh menteri berkenaan.

Bank sebenarnya begitu banyak melayan karenah kroni yang meminjam dalam perniagaan yang asyik merugi. Mereka cuba melangsai hutang dengan menawarkan terbitan awam. Sambutan yang tidak menggalakkan itu akan menggugat sistem perbankan. Time dotCom misalnya diskong oleh banyak underwriter supaya bebannya tidak berapa terasa - itu satu petanda bahawa institusi perbankan pun takut juga. Mana tidaknya, pelaburan Renong di Filipina sudah merentungkan RM8 bilion begitu sahaja dengan 4 buah bank tempatan tidak dapat berbuat apa-apa.

NPL semakin meninggi tetapi dilapurkan tidak mencekik mati lagi. Perkembangan ekonomi kelihatan tersangkut-sangkut. Ramai yang dulunya mudah membayar hutang kini sudah mula menunjukkan kesukaran. Ini berpunca daripada aliran tunai yang berkurang kerana sukarnya mengutip hutang perniagaan.

Saya ingin menasihatkan pembaca agar menangguhkan dulu hasrat untuk meminjam. Sediakan payung sebelum hujan dan jangan belayar terlalu jauh di lautan kerana cuaca yang mendung mungkin mengirim taufan. Tersilap langkah si bijak pun akan tenggelam.

-Kapal Berita-

Rencana Rujukkan:

From The Star
16th February 2001

Banking stocks seen losing their shine


The crop of disappointing first-half and third-quarter results announced by major banking groups recently, coupled with the decline in their share prices, are taking away some of the shine of banking stocks, according to banking analysts.

The price of Malayan Banking, Malaysia's largest bank, has been languishing at RM14 a share, while that of RHB Capital and AMMB Holdings Bhd have been knocked down by about 16% and 11% respectively since the beginning of the month to RM2.67 and RM3.46 yesterday.

Maybank reported a marginally lower interim profit of RM1.016bil before tax, AMMB experienced a 54% drop in third-quarter net earnings, and RHB Capital recorded only a small rise in first-half pre-tax profit.

"The unexciting performance of the banks, some below expectations, can be attributed to a number of factors, which can broadly be summarised into two: a fall in the banks' fee-based income and higher provisions because of the fall in collateral caused by the weakness on the KLSE,'' said a senior banking analyst at Affin-UOB Securities.

"The sluggish stock market has affected the performance of their merchant banking arms, stockbroking subsidiaries, unit trusts, insurance arms in fact business volume had dropped in all their subsidiaries,'' he added.

Investment portal Surf88 cited the case of RHB Capital, whose latest result reflected "the plight of a corporate-oriented bank in the current economic scenario.''

It said RHB Capital saw a 10% decline between July September 2000 and October December 2000.

"All major divisions posted lower profits in October December, with the most dramatic reversal of fortunes being at the stockbroking and asset management unit,'' it said. "Stockbroking and asset management incurred a RM16mil loss in October December, against an RM8mil profit in July September.''

"Overall, gross NPLs (non-performing loans) rose, but it is not alarming yet, the recent spate of weak performances notwithstanding,'' the analyst said.

Affin-UOB Securities, in its latest investment review, said the near-term health of the financial system was very much intact, with the banking sector's risk weighted capital adequacy ratio at a healthy 13% in the nine months to September 2000 well above the mandatory level of 8%.

The securities house said that over the past three months the KLSE Finance Index had underperformed the KLSE Composite Index by 5.2 percentage points owing to three concerns:

NPLs inching up again;

  • Perception that the debt restructuring process is taking longer than expected; and

  • Economic growth stagnating this year. The fear is that a slower-than-expected economic recovery, for whatever reason, could further delay the debt restructuring process and, in turn, send NPLs spiralling upwards.

    For the three months to September 2000, new gross NPLs totalled RM2bil, up 4% quarter-on-quarter to 12%. This recent marginal increase in gross NPLs had raised concern that the banking industry could be in for some difficult times ahead, Affin-UOB Securities said.

    It has identified various causes for the rise in gross NPLs, among them:

    Some problematic loans, which were earlier exempted from classification as NPLs, are said to have been classified as such in view of the delay in the loan restructuring process.

    Some of the creditors of restructured loans are said to have defaulted on their servicing due to tight cashflow arising from poorer collection.

    The emergence of fresh NPLs of borrowers who had earlier managed to service their loans with their cash reserves and unutilised borrowing limits.

    The new NPLs were from a broad spectrum of borrowers from retail to corporate loans, and slow collections seemed to be the main reason for the default on loan payments.

    However, most banks surveyed by Affin-UOB agreed that the impact would not be of the same magnitude as that in 1998 and 1999, when the solvency position of the banks was threatened.

    "Barring another major external shock to the Malaysian economy, we also do not expect future NPLs to reach an alarming level such that it will threaten the banking system,'' Affin-UOB said.

    It pointed out that the three-month gross NPL level has been stable at around 15.6% since May 2000.

    "If there are to be any fresh problems on the horizon, the three-month gross NPL level should be the first to show. Instead, it is the six-month gross NPL level that has inched up since June 2000--from 11.7% to 12% as at September 2000,'' the securities house noted.

    This meant that borrowers who typically serviced their repayments four to five months late were now starting to default, it added.

    "Until the three-month gross NPLs start to inch up, there is really no cause for alarm. The rising six-month gross NPL figure only shows borderline cases turning problematic and the amount involved is only RM15bil,'' the brokerage said.

    From The Business Times, Singapore
    15th February 2001

    Halim asks to delay 2nd UEM payment

    By Diana Oon Abdullah in Kuala Lumpur

    TYCOON Halim Saad yesterday asked to change the rules once again, even as he kept the first part of his promise, coughing up RM100 million (S$46 million) for listed United Engineers (UEM).

    Mr Halim had in December stretched the payment period for the exercise of a RM3.17 billion put option granted to him to buy 32.3 per cent of Renong from UEM, an associate company of Renong. Yesterday, he paid up the first of four instalments due under the agreement. However, he also asked to delay paying the second instalment, due on July 14, until Oct 1.

    Mr Halim: likely to get UEM board's approval next week

    Given the precedents, he is more likely than not to get the UEM board's approval for the extension when the board meets next Wednesday.

    UEM's board agreed in December to spread Mr Halim's payment obligations over four instalments -- RM100 million yesterday, July 14 and Dec 14, with the remainder, the bulk of the payment including interest, due on May 14 next year. If interest is to accrue at the previous rate of 9.4 per cent, it has been estimated that the final payment could exceed RM3 billion.

    The put option is the result of a controversial decision by UEM at the height of the financial crisis to buy out unidentified investors in Renong for RM3.24 per share. Renong ended trading at RM1.02 yesterday.

    It is unclear from UEM's brief statement yesterday whether a corresponding delay can be expected for the third and fourth payments.

    Yesterday's development confirmed scepticism among market watchers about Mr Halim's ability to meet the huge financial obligation when the extension was given in December.

    Investors made their unhappiness known, pushing the stock to a two-year low of RM3.24 within days of the announcement. A similar reaction is expected today. UEM closed down 10 per cent to RM3.30 yesterday.

    In recent months, Mr Halim has been pushing for the listing of Time dotCom, to solve the debt problems of its listed parent, Time Engineering. Time, like UEM, is an associate of the Renong Group. Time dotCom's massive RM1.85 billion IPO, which closed last week, was 75 per cent undersubscribed.

    Mr Halim has also engineered a complicated asset buyout of Renong by UEM, which is in progress.