☕️ Parliament to reconvene from Jul 26 to Aug 2 but...
Another durian fiasco - farmers wanting to harvest stopped by authorities. The rising cost of TV production thanks to global streaming giants. Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, officially stepped down.
1. MARKET SUMMARY
2. NUMBERS AT A GLANCE
USD43 mil - Hollywood star Leonardo Dicarpio’s donation to support rewilding Galapagos Island.
USD4 trillion — a United Nations report’s estimate of the economic effects of tourism's plunge since the Covid-19 pandemic broke out in 2020. The UN expects tourism to return to pre-pandemic levels in 2023 at the earliest.
850,000 — the number of jobs the US economy added in June as wages continued to climb. However, there were still 6.8 mil fewer jobs in June 2021 than there were in February 2020.
3. COVID-19 SUMMARY
Penang peeps can rejoice as the state will move into Phase 2 of the National Recovery Plan on July 7, 2021, after fulfilling the key indicators.
According to Health Ministry, Lambda strain has been detected in over 30 countries, and it is much more dangerous than the Delta variant. The Lambda strain is believed to have originated from Peru, the country with the highest mortality rate in the world.
Senior minister for security Ismail Sabri Yaakob has clarified there are no restrictions on what supermarkets and shops can sell. Many shop owners cordoned off areas of non-essential items to prevent them from being fined for not adhering to the SOP.
The Economist has put together a “normalcy index” with eight indicators to track how behaviour has changed and continues to change because of the pandemic. Out of 50 countries, guess where Malaysia ranked? 50th, with an index score of only 27.3 out of 100. #KerajaanGagal
4. IN MALAYSIA 🇲🇾
Axiata Group Bhd is in advanced talks to buy a stake in Indonesian internet provider PT Link Net which has a market value of USD857 mil based on its closing price yesterday. Private equity firm CVC Capital Partners owns 36% of Link Net, while an arm of the billionaire Riady family’s Lippo Group conglomerate, PT First Media, holds 28%. The two entities considered divesting a majority stake in Link Net as early as 2015.
Durian farmers, including a teenager, were remanded for allegedly trespassing the Batu Talam permanent forest reserve. The farmers tried to harvest their produce on Sunday but were stopped by police and forestry department officials. The farmers maintained they are allowed to enter the land since the Court of Appeal had issued a stay against their eviction.
The police have opened two investigation papers against Sungai Pelek assemblyman Ronnie Liu for obstructing public servants at the Raub Magistrates’ Court and possibly for flouting SOP as he crossed state borders to Pahang.
The Pahang state government is attempting to evict the farmers as it had leased the land to a firm that is planning its own durian plantation. The firm is Royal Pahang Durian Resources-PKPP Sdn Bhd (RPDR-PKPP), a joint venture between the state government and a company linked to the Pahang royalty.
After the country was downgraded in US State Department’s Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report last week to the lowest rung, the Human Resources Ministry has said they will examine fees charged to workers and review its agreements with the home countries of migrant workers. The report highlighted that forced labour was the predominant human trafficking crime in Malaysia.
Melima Consortium, comprising of four subcontractors of the Damansara-Shah Alam Elevated Expressway (DASH), is left in the dark and stands to lose RM100 mil following a legal dispute between the project’s turnkey contractor, Turnpike Synergy Sdn Bhd, and main contractor Panzana Enterprise Sdn Bhd. Melima had to stop construction works on DASH package CA4 in March this year, following Turnpike's unilateral termination of their contract with Panzana.
News in brief
Maybank Investment Bank Bhd cut its forecast of Malaysia’s GDP growth from 5.1% to 4.2% and expects Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) to maintain overnight policy rate (OPR) at 1.75% for the rest of the year.
Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin will finally advise the Yang di-Pertuan Agong to hold a five-day special parliamentary sitting from July 26 to 29 and August 2 for the Dewan Rakyat and August 3 to 5 for Dewan Negara. There are growing concerns that there will only be briefings, no debates.
5. AROUND THE WORLD 🌎
Sydney Airport owner, Sydney Airport Holdings Pty Ltd received a buyout offer of AUD22.3 bil (USD16.7 bil) from a group of infrastructure investors, a consortium calling itself the Sydney Aviation Alliance comprising of experienced airport investors, namely IFM Investors, QSuper and Global Infrastructure Partners. Although Australia’s international borders are widely expected to remain closed until at least the end of the year and domestic travel taking a dive as well, the consortium said it was a good time to bid for the airport as its stock price looks cheap, having fallen 30% from its pre-pandemic level.
If the deal goes through, it would be amongst the largest ever M&A activity in Australia by enterprise value, on par with the USD22 bil purchase of mall operator Westfield Group by Unibail-Rodamco in 2017 and the 2nd largest airport purchase, behind the USD30.2 bil buyout of British’s Heathrow Airport in 2006.
With the streaming wars heating up, US media giants like Disney and WarnerMedia are starting to commission more shows internationally, following Netflix’s playbook of expanding into local programming. Local content producers can now expect more of these global streamers on top of Netflix, such as Amazon, Apple TV+, Disney+ and HBO Max, to seek their content.
This has resulted in higher TV budgets. In Israel, Yes Studios used to produce drama series for USD184,000 to USD245,000 per episode. Now, the conversation starts at USD245,000 up to USD370,000, depending on the number of episodes per season. Similarly, in India, the budget for “Sacred Games”, Netflix’s first Indian original, nearly doubled in 2019 to USD11.5 mil for its second season, from roughly USD6 mil in season one. That said, these budgets pale in comparison to Disney+’s “The Mandalorian”, where a single hour cost USD15 mil to produce.
Another week, another hack. Kaseya, a Miami-based IT firm, has experienced a ransomware cyberattack affecting hundreds of its clients worldwide. REvil, the Russian-linked cybercrime gang, has publicly acknowledged that it was behind it. It’s amongst the cybercriminal world’s most prolific extortionists and notoriously famous for extorting USD11 mil from the world’s largest meat processor, JBS.
The victims are spread across at least 17 countries. In Sweden, as many as 500 out of 800 supermarket stores operated by Swedish Coop were forced to close as its checkout stopped working. This time around, REvil is demanding a significantly larger amount - USD70 mil for the global decryption key.
News in Brief:
Through its subsidiary Z Holdings, which owns Yahoo Japan, Softbank is buying a perpetual Yahoo trademark license from Verizon Media for USD1.6 bil, ending an arrangement of paying a regular royalty for the rights to use Yahoo brand name in Japan and associated technologies. This will give Verizon significant resources upfront to pare down its debt load.
BlackRock, the largest asset manager globally, is launching a JPY55 bil (USD495 mil) fund aimed at developing infrastructure for green energy transportation in emerging markets in Asia, Latin America and Africa. The fund will be created in collaboration with government agencies and private institutions from Japan, France and Germany.
July 5, 2021, marks the day Jeff Bezos officially stepped down as Amazon’s CEO since its founding on July 5, 1994. These 6 charts show how the tech giant’s dominance grew over the years.