Media Prima, Hong Leong Industries, Sunway, Jaks Resources, Tatt Giap, Paramount Corp, Sime Darby, Wah Seong and Kerjaya Prospek

KUALA LUMPUR (Aug 1): Based on corporate announcements and news flow today, stocks in focus on Wednesday (Aug 2) may include: Media Prima, Hong Leong Industries, Sunway, Jaks Resources, Tatt Giap, Paramount Corp, Sime Darby, Wah Seong and Kerjaya Prospek.

Media Prima Bhd and Hong Leong Industries Bhd have announced that their associated company, Malaysian Newsprint Industries Sdn Bhd (MNI), has initiated creditors' voluntary winding up proceedings.

In separate filings to Bursa Malaysia, the two groups said MNI has appointed Lim San Peen of PricewaterhouseCoopers Advisory Services Sdn Bhd as the interim liquidator of the exercise.

"The board of MNI was of the opinion that MNI could not continue its business. MNI had been operating under very difficult market conditions, especially declining newsprint demand, and has incurred losses for the past three years," said Media Prima and Hong Leong Industries.

MNI, which is principally engaged in the manufacture and sale of newsprint, is an indirect associate of Media Prima via its 98.17%-owned The New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd (NSTP), which in turn holds 21.36% direct equity interest in MNI.

Meanwhile, Hong Leong Industries and Norwegian company Norse Skog Papers (M) Sdn Bhd each has a 33.65% stake in MNI, while another investor, Rimbunan Hijau Group — which is controlled by Sarawak billionaire Tan Sri Tiong Hiew King, owns an 11.34% stake.

Sunway Bhd has acquired two freehold plots — a 14.8-acre freehold land in USJ 1, Subang Jaya, for RM167.59 million and a 5.28-acre one in Kajang for RM63 million.

The land in USJ was purchased from Premier Place Property Sdn Bhd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Bursa Malaysia-listed Jaks Resources Bhd.

Sunway will be using the land in USJ for warehousing and storage facilities for its trading manufacturing businesses upon acquisition, but will look to subsequently redevelop the land into a proposed mixed development with a gross development value (GDV) of approximately RM1.4 billion in the next five years.

As for the Kajang land, it was purchased from Concept Housing Development (M) Sdn Bhd and comes with semi-completed structures which are part of a previously approved development whose construction had been discontinued.

Sunway intends to continue building on the semi-completed structures but will replace the development with a proposed mixed-development comprising a retail podium or commercial lots and serviced apartments or Small Office Home Office (SOHO) with an estimated GDV of RM460 million in the next five years.

The USJ and Kajang land acquisitions follow Sunway's earlier purchase of a parcel of freehold land measuring 4.53 acres in Jalan Belfield, Kuala Lumpur, less than a month ago and the acquisition of 8.45 acres in Jalan Peel in February.

Cumulatively, in the last six months, the developer has acquired four plots of strategic land with GDV of RM5 billion.

Tatt Giap Group Bhd is disposing of 41% of its 51% stake in Tatt Giap Steel Centre Sdn Bhd (TGSC) to Japanese steel player Hanwa Co Ltd for RM12.3 million.

Hanwa, which is listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange and Osaka Stock Exchange, already holds a 15% equity interest in TGSC and the acquisition of the 41% stake will see its shareholding rise to 56%.

Tatt Giap said the stake disposal enables the group to unlock its investment in TGSC, realise its value, and thus strengthen its financial position.

Paramount Corp Bhd's wholly-owned subsidiary plans to dispose of its private and international schools, Sekolah Sri KDU and Sri KDU International School, to newly-formed Alpha Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) for RM165 million.

The proposed disposal is in line with Paramount's aim to pursue an asset light strategy and monetise its real estate assets through a sale-leaseback transaction.

Paramount said Sri KDU Sdn Bhd entered into a master agreement and triple net lease with Alpha REIT to dispose of the properties in Pekan Baru, Sungai Buloh in Selangor.

The sale-leaseback enables it to unlock capital resources from being tied up in long-term assets by providing growth capital, while allowing it to focus on its core activities that would reward shareholders better.

Paramount said proceeds from the proposed sale, expected to be completed in the fourth quarter of 2017, would be used to cut back on leverage for the group (RM113 million), reward shareholders (RM31.8 million) and for working capital (RM19.7 million).

Meanwhile, Paramount's sale-leaseback with Alpha REIT marks the start of the first education REIT in the country.

In a statement, Alpha REIT chairman Datuk Stewart LaBrooy said it expects a second acquisition of an international school at RM140 million in a month.

Sime Darby Bhd is disposing of its 40% stake in Seriemas Development Sdn Bhd to Permodalan Nasional Bhd (PNB) for RM625 million cash to monetise the seller's real estate assets.

"The proposed disposal is in line with Sime Darby's strategy to unlock value through monetisation and opportunistic divestments, while enabling Sime Darby to reduce its borrowings via the proceeds from the proposed disposal.

According to Sime Darby, PNB Development already owned 60% of Seriemas, the assets of which include vacant tracts besides malls and hotels.

Sime Darby said its original cost of investment in Seriemas was RM449 million.

Wah Seong Corp Bhd has bagged a contract from France-based Siemens SAS to provide engineering, design, supply and fabrication services for a project in Kazakhstan worth RM103.6 million.

Its subsidiary PT Wasco Engineering Indonesia secured the contract for the design and build up of three substations, including heating, ventilation and air conditioning for the project.

Kerjaya Prospek Group Bhd announced that its 70%-owned subsidiary Future Rock Sdn Bhd has accepted a letter of award from China Communications Construction Company (M) Sdn Bhd for a sub-construction job in Penang worth RM45.95 million.

It said Future Rock will be undertaking a "perimeter bund" job for Phase 2B of the Seri Tanjung Pinang Phase 2 Project, the duration of which is expected to be for 10 months, starting from July 27, 2017 and ending on May 26, 2018.