News In Brief

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Welcome to our ‘News In Brief’ column in which we digest all the news releases for you in no more than five paragraphs. Below are snippets of all the media releases that we received from Feb 21 -27. Please check back throughout the week for more updates.

Australia’s First 3D Billboard Launches 

Australia’s first ever 3D billboard launches in Melbourne.

Melbourne, Feb 21: Circles.Life – one of Australia’s fastest growing digital telcos has unveiled Australia’s first 3D billboard. 
Featuring individuals as bespoke 3D avatars, Circles.Life is springing the metaverse atop Melbourne’s iconic Emporium shopping center in the city.
With the aim to always make their customers feel like the main character in their own story – not just with their telco – Circles.Life makes sure to keep their customers center stage, literally.
Launching the billboard today are a range of Circles.Life customers and notable Aussies – including the likes of AJ Clementine, creator, model and LGBTQI+ advocate, gaming influencer Joel Bergs, and Josh and Matt, the creative, maximalist duo of Josh and Matt Design, among others who will be pumping out their passionate messages into Melbourne’s own metaverse.
Working with some of the industry’s best and brightest to bring the campaign to life and straight into the metaverse, Circles.Life’s 3D billboard will feature a mix of full body and head-only avatars that have been created in a bespoke way for each individual.

About the 3D billboard

  • Location: Above Emporium Melbourne (287 Lonsdale St, Melbourne VIC 3000) on the corner of Lonsdale Street and Swanston Street
  • Dates: Feb 21 at 12:01am – Feb 27 at 11:59pm
  • Best viewing times: While you can view it at any time during the day, your viewing experience will be enhanced when the sun is set

Hospitality 360 Launches Kuantan 188

Hospitality 360 Launches Kuantan 188, Malaysia’s Second Tallest Tower; Targeting 350,000 Visitors This Year. Supplied.

Kuantan, Feb 21: Hospitality 360, the hospitality arm of MAA Group Berhad has announced the unveiling of Kuantan 188, a 188-metre tower that graces the heart of Kuantan, Pahang as well as Malaysia’s second-tallest tower, on Feb 20.
Locals and tourists alike can now buy tickets online at Kuantan 188’s official website, travel Artificial Intelligence (“AI”) technology platform Go Tifi and on site to visit this iconic tower with the only 360-degree view of Kuantan.
They can enjoy a panoramic view of Kuantan City and the Kuantan River, while adrenaline junkies are sure to enjoy extreme activities such as the ‘Sky Walk’, ‘Drop Zone’ and ‘Anthena Climb’ similar to those found at Macau Tower and Taipei 101.
Kuantan 188 is a strategic landmark developed by the Federal Government through the East Coast Economic Region Development Council (ECERDC) in collaboration with Pahang state.
Guests may visit the tower from 10.00am to 10.00pm on weekdays or 10.00am to 12.00am on weekends with tickets beginning from RM15 for adults and RM10 for children to visit the observation deck; RM28 for adults and RM18 for children to visit the Skydeck; and RM38 for adults and RM18 for children to visit both the observation deck and Skydeck.

Asian Futsal Announces New Licensing Criteria

Kuala Lumpur, Feb 21: Asian futsal has grown steadily in recent years with the Continent’s sides achieving success on the world’s biggest stages and the sport is poised to usher in a new chapter of development with the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) confirming the pilot implementation of futsal club licensing beginning this year.
The AFC Futsal Club Licensing Criteria was ratified by the AFC Executive Committee in October 2021 and subsequently included as part of the annexure of the AFC Club Licensing Regulations (Edition 2021) and looks set to benefit the AFC’s Member Associations (MAs)’ efforts towards elevating the professional standards of clubs and leagues across the Continent.
The pilot implementation will play a crucial role for aspiring Asian clubs looking to compete in the AFC Futsal Club Championship 2023 with the entry requirements set to be made mandatory beginning from the 2024 edition.
Similar to the AFC’s Club Competitions, which this year marked a decade-long impact of club licensing implementation, the Futsal Club Licensing Criteria comprises five main categories – Sporting Criteria, Infrastructure Criteria, Personnel, and Administrative Criteria, Legal Criteria, and Financial Criteria.
In preparation of the launch, the AFC will continue to provide expert advice and work in close partnership with club licensing administrators from the AFC MAs and Participating Clubs to ensure a seamless transition through a series of informative and insightful workshops, which includes the upcoming AFC Club Licensing Seminar.

FedEx and BigCommerce Join Forces 

Hong Kong, Feb 21: FedEx Express (FedEx), a subsidiary of FedEx Corp and one of the world’s largest express transportation companies, announced a new alliance with BigCommerce, an open SaaS ecommerce platform.
BigCommerce merchants signing up for the FedEx-BigCommerce alliance program can enjoy enhanced shipping capabilities, with access to a premium delivery experience for their customers at reasonable prices. 
“The collaboration with BigCommerce is yet another milestone for FedEx as we continue strengthening our capabilities within the e-commerce ecosystem to best serve businesses in this region,” Kawal Preet, president of Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa (AMEA) at FedEx Express said. 
“With e-commerce being a key driver of global trade in the post-pandemic world, a level playing field will support e-merchants of all sizes to compete on a global scale.
“That’s why alliances such as these are so critical for SMEs to strengthen their delivery capabilities and meet their customers’ heightened expectations while expanding their footprint overseas.”

Synergy Collaborates With Malaysian State Government

Hong Kong, Feb 21: Synergy Group Holdings International Limited, stock code 1539.HK signed a memorandum of understanding with Lembaga Perumahan dan Hartanah Selangor, a Malaysian government agency, and Odesi Ecob Sdn Bhd, a property technology company, last week to launch a green composite program in Selangor, Malaysia.
The green composite program consists of two parts, the “Light Saving Program”, which focuses on lighting energy efficiencies, and “COVID Fighting Program” which focuses on reducing airborne bacteria by air quality treatment and COVID-19 transmission risk.
The program is in line with Selangor’s initiatives to become a smart and sustainable city and is also compatible with the forthcoming approach to urban planning development in Selangor.
As the core green technology solution provider of the “Light Saving Program”, Synergy Group anticipates installing approximately six million LED lights over 6,000 condominiums in Selangor with an energy performance contract.
Synergy Group’s patented LED light has a 10 years lifespan and saves 50 per cent more energy than traditional LED light in the market which will minimise product replacement costs and maximise savings.

Ta Win Marks Turnaround, Records Q2 Profit

Kuala Lumpur, Feb 21: Ta Win Holdings Bhd, an integrated Malaysian manufacturer of copper products, marked a turnaround in its second quarter ended Dec 31, returning to the black with a profit after tax (PAT) of RM6 million compared with a deficit of RM1.6 million in the previous year’s corresponding quarter, while profit before tax (PBT) grew to RM6.4 million. 
These positive results were achieved on the back of an improved revenue of RM172.5 million.
For the first half of the financial year ended Dec 31, the Group recorded a higher PAT of RM2.1 million, while PBT rose to RM2.6 million.
Revenue for the six-month period grew to RM239.3 million.
“This is a significant achievement for the Group, more so during the challenges of the pandemic,” Ta Win Holdings Bhd group managing director Tieng Ngu said.

PLS Net Profit Soars With A 340pc Increase

Kuala Lumpur, Feb 21: PLS Plantations Berhad has announced a 340 per cent jump in the net profit for their second quarter financial performance for the period ended 31 December 2021 (Q2FY2022).
The Company recorded a net profit after tax of RM9.97 million, a 4.4 times jump from RM2.26 million for the same quarter of the preceding year ended 31 December 2020 (Q2FY2021) on the back of higher revenue and managed costs.
For the same quarter, PLS Plantations’ profit before tax stood at RM14.0 million, 265 per cent higher compared to RM3.84 million posted for the same period, Q2FY2021, due to higher sales and an increase in the profit after tax margin of 17.4 percent up from 8.2 percent for the period.
The surge in revenue and profit before tax were mainly attributed to the improved Fresh Fruit Bunches selling price realised under the plantation segment, and the improved sales of frozen durian products under the manufacturing and trading segment to overseas customers.
The Company, via its subsidiary, continuously expanded their contracting and plantation development.
Earnings per share stood at 1.77 sen (fully diluted) in Q2FY2022 compared to EPS of 0.33 sen in Q2FY2021.

FC Entry Control Body’s Decision Upheld 

Kuala Lumpur, Feb 22: The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) welcomes the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS)’s decision to dismiss Esteghlal FC’s appeal against the AFC Entry Control Body (ECB)’s decision to withdraw the club’s license to participate in the AFC Champions League 2022, pursuant to Articles 14.4 and 14.5 of the AFC Club Licensing Regulations (read together with Article 4.1.4 of the Procedural Rules Governing the AFC Entry Control Body).
On Jan 6, the ECB determined that Esteghlal FC and two other IR Iran clubs – Persepolis FC and Gol Gohar Sirjan FC – had not satisfied all of the mandatory criteria (as required under Articles 3.1 and 3.2(a) of the AFC Club Licensing Regulations) and, accordingly, should not have been granted licenses to participate in the AFC Champions League 2022.
Subsequently, Esteghlal FC appealed to CAS, which has now confirmed the ECB’s decision. 
No appeals were made by Persepolis FC and Gol Gohar Sirjan FC against the ECB’s decisions.

IPC Shopping Centre Upgrades Key Facilities

Installation of new escalators at Levels LG1 & G. Image supplied.
Installation of new escalators at Levels LG1 & G. Image supplied.

Selangor, Feb 22: The quintessential neighbourhood shopping centre, IPC Shopping  Centre has invested in upgrading and refurbishing equipment within the centre to provide an improved  shopping experience for its customers.
These new enhancements continue to build on the centre’s  attractive atmosphere, making it the chosen destination for family and friends to meet, bond and share  memorable moments. 
“IPC has been receiving tremendous  support from the surrounding community for over 18 years,” Karyn Lim, General Manager of IPC Shopping Centre said.
“As IPC aims to provide its customers with  a “Home Away from Home” experience, we strive to continue upgrading ourselves by improving our  hospitality services, offering a wider retail tenant-mix, and hosting more unique family-friendly events  to engage with our shoppers and their loved ones.” 

Standard Chartered And Etika In Partnership

Kuala Lumpur, Feb 22: Standard Chartered Malaysia has entered into an environmental, social and governance (ESG)-linked derivative transaction worth RM251 million with one of Malaysia’s leading beverage manufacturers, distributors and marketers, Etika Group of Companies, marking the first such transaction executed by a homegrown fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) corporate in Malaysia.
The structure of the transaction involves a pricing mechanism where a discount or premium will be applied depending on whether Etika achieves the pre-agreed sustainability-related key performance indicators (KPIs) that are tied to the greenhouse gas emissions intensity of the Etika Beverage Plant and Etika Dairy Plant.
The KPIs are in support of Etika’s sustainability commitments to promote environmentally conscious practices within the FMCG industry.
Standard Chartered Malaysia has been at the forefront of a number of first-to-market ESG transactions, in line with the Bank’s ambition to become the world’s most sustainable and responsible bank. Leveraging on its strong ESG product offerings and associated governance structures, the Bank is in a unique position to offer clients an innovative and comprehensive suite of ESG financial solutions including trade, treasury and transition financing and has executed various notable deals including the first ESG interest rate swap, first ESG cross-currency swap and first sustainable supplier finance solution. 
ESG-linked derivatives are structured to help clients achieve their sustainability performance targets (SPTs) which are specific, measurable, verifiable, transparent and associated with material ESG issues for the company.

MR D.I.Y.’s Social Media Campaign Brings Joy

Dr. Joseph Pang, Founder of House of Love (left) receiving the cash vouchers from Muhammad Nuramin, Branding Assistant Manager of MR D.I.Y. Group (M) Berhad (right). Supplied.

Kuala Lumpur, Feb 22: MR D.I.Y. Group (M) Berhad has once again turned to social media to ensure underprivileged communities were not left behind during the recent Chinese New year festive season.  
Malaysia’s favourite home improvement retailer activated its popular “You Share, We Donate” campaign, urging Malaysians to like and share its Chinese New Year web-film entitled ‘Family’ on the MR. D.I.Y. official Facebook page. 
The 3.5-minute ‘Family” web-film depicts the story of three multiracial friends, who remained faithful to the values they were taught at the orphanage they were brought up in, and how they returned to the orphanage to celebrate Chinese New Year.  
The web film inspired a total of 1,380 shares on Facebook and received more than 11.8 million combined views on Facebook, YouTube, and TikTok, prompting the retailer to channel a total donation of  RM4,140 in cash vouchers (RM1,380 each) to three children’s homes – House of Love, SHELTER – Home for Children, and BRDB Rotary Children Residence.   
Apart from the cash vouchers, each home received nasal, saliva, and whistle COVID-19 self-test kits, as well as face masks.  

Carsome Unveils Largest Car Refurbishment Facility

Carsome Introducing Its Certified Lab. Supplied.

Kuala Lumpur, Feb 22: Carsome has launched Carsome Certified Lab, the largest car refurbishment facility in the region.
Spanning over 185,000 square feet, the fully-functional Lab is a state-of-the-art facility that transforms a pre-owned car to be as good as new.
It is able to refurbish up to 2,000 Carsome Certified cars per month, an unprecedented scale across Southeast Asia. 
Carsome Certified CEO Mei Han said that Carsome Certified Lab plays an integral part in supporting the company’s pursuit of delivering peace of mind to consumers.
Carsome relentlessly refurbishes each Carsome Certified car, which are carefully selected through a stringent 175-point inspection to ensure that it is free from fire, flood and major accident damages. 

Shipsy Sets Up Regional HQ In Indonesia

 Soham Chokshi, CEO and Co-founder, Shipsy. Supplied.
 Soham Chokshi, CEO and Co-founder, Shipsy. Supplied.

Kuala Lumpur, Feb 22: Shipsy will be setting up its regional headquarters in Indonesia to strengthen its presence in Southeast Asia (SEA).
The regional HQ will enable the organisation to provide faster, better and localised support to existing and drive new business growth in Singapore, Philippines, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia.
“We are thrilled with the response we received in SEA. We have partnered with several large manufacturers and new age retailers in the past couple of quarters,” Shipsy co-founder and CEO Soham Chokshi said.
In 2021, to support a growing customer base in the Middle East, Shipsy established its regional HQ in Dubai. 
The company also clocked a growth rate of 2.5 times in the top line and grew its customer base by 75 per cent.

Australia Post Delivers Solid Revenue

Sydney, Feb 23: Australia Post has announced a group revenue for the first half of $4.80 billion, up 10.4 per cent year-on-year, driven by the strongest parcel volumes in Australia Post’s history.
The improved Group profit before tax of $199.8 million was underlined by asset sales and revaluations, as well as favourable bond rate movements.
Letters revenue of $935 million was down 1.2 per cent on last year, despite the significant 2021 Census mail out.
Operational costs which increased by 13.2 per cent on last year, reflect volume increases and COVID-19 related network constraints which are likely to continue in FY23.
Capital investment during the period increased to $217.8 million, up $28.4 million on last year.
This forms part of the $400 million committed to new parcels facilities, fleet and technology by mid-2022 to help service the growing demand for services, bringing the total committed investment to more than $1 billion over three years.
The business also committed an additional $20 million in upgrading systems to cloud based solutions over the next year to improve parcel scanning and tracking in the network.

AFC Cup 2022 Confirms Venues 

AFC Cup 2022™ Group Stage centralised venues confirmed. Supplied.

Kuala Lumpur, Feb 24: The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) has today confirmed the centralised venues for the AFC Cup 2022 Group Stage, which is scheduled to be played in the West and South Zones from May 18 to 24, and in the ASEAN, Central and East Zones from June 24 to 30.
The AFC Cup 2022 Group A matches will be held in Muscat, Oman, where three-time winners Kuwait SC will battle Lebanon’s Al Ansar as well as Al Seeb Club from Oman and Jableh of Syria.
Group B will take centrestage in Kuwait City, featuring Al Riffa from Bahrain, Palestine’s Shabab Al Khalil, Dhofar Club of Oman and Kuwaiti side Arabi SC, while Manama, Bahrain, will host the matches in Group C, which consists of Syrian side Tishreen, Nejmeh from Lebanon, East Riffa of Bahrain and Palestine’s Hilal Alquds.
Meanwhile, in the South Zone, Kolkata, India, will stage the matches in Group D, comprising Gokulam Kerala from India, Bangladesh’s Bashundhara Kings, Maziya Sports and Recreation of the Maldives along with the winner of a six-team South Asian contest in the Preliminary and Playoff Stages.
Please click here for all the latest news on the AFC Cup 2022.

Earn While You Shop With FriendsWith

From left: FriendsWith founders Daniel Hubbard and Paige Patten. Supplied.

Auckland, Feb 24: Two New Zealand-based entrepreneurs have seamlessly bridged the gap between offering a marketplace that combines online shopping and the affiliate marketing world. 
Daniel Hubbard and Paige Patten said the combo service is possible through their FriendsWith mobile application by allowing users to join an affiliate programme and earn on their  shared content whilst organically promoting and inspiring sales for partnering brands.
There is no complicated affiliate sign-up page  and even the least tech-savvy person can use the platform to earn by sharing a photo of an item you see and like and the amount earned depends on the engagement with the external website link.
The second way is through promoting a  product you have purchased and telling your followers the key details about the item.
The FriendsWith marketplace is uniquely built though a dedicated website synced to the app – meaning  users can shop on both the website and app.

Alibaba Group Announces Dec Quarter 2021 Results

Hangzhou, Feb 24:  Alibaba Group Holding Limited has announced its financial results for the quarter ended Dec 31, 2021. 
The group had delivered steady progress this quarter as it continued to execute their multi-engine growth strategy in a complex and volatile market environment.
“Our global annual active consumers grew at a solid pace, reaching 1.28 billion on the strength of a quarterly net increase of 43 million,” Alibaba Group Chairman and CEO Daniel Zhang said.
“We delivered healthy results this quarter with revenue growth of 10 per cent year-over-year,” he added.

Hektar REIT Announces Annual Results

One of Hektar REIT’s regional malls, Mahkota Parade, Melaka. Image supplied.

Kuala Lumpur, Feb 25: Hektar Asset Management Sdn Bhd, the Manager of Hektar Real Estate Investment Trust has announced Hektar REIT’s annual results for the financial year ended 31 December 2021 (“FY2021”) with revenue at RM96.60 million in FY2021, down by 13.1 per cent compared to the same period in the preceding year.
Property Operating Expenses reduced by RM8.59 million or savings of 14.8 per cent compared to the previous year.
Net Property Income (NPI) was reported at RM47.02 million, a decline of 11.2 percent compared with 2020.
FY21 was a challenging year for the retail sector due to the COVID-19 pandemic and implementation of various Movement Control Orders, National Recovery Plan, mobility restrictions & closure of non-essential businesses for an extended period.
Despite these challenges to the malls, the REIT managed to attract new and secured existing tenants covering 39.2 percent of Hektar REIT’s Net Lettable Area in FY21. 

Leon Fuat Bhd PAT Jumps 61.8pc

Leon Fuat Bhd logo. Supplied.

Shah Alam, Feb 25: Leon Fuat Bhd, a manufacturer and trader of steel products, specialising in rolled long and flat products released the Group’s financial results for the fourth quarter ended Dec 31, 2021 recording 61.8 per cent growth in profit after tax to RM29.09 million compared with RM17.98 million in the corresponding quarter of the preceding year.
The Group noted that for the quarter under review, revenue increased by 27.8 per cent to RM254.21 million compared with RM198.96 million in Q4FY2020 while profit before tax recorded a 106.5 per cent increase to RM38.61 million compared with RM18.7 million.
On a segmental basis, revenue from trading of steel products registered a 26.5 percent increase to RM81.95 million while revenue from processing of steel products recorded a 28.4 per cent rise to RM172.18 million. The trading segment’s contribution to revenue stood at 32.2 per cent in Q4FY2021 compared with 32.6 per cent in the corresponding quarter of FY2020 while the processing segment’s contribution stood at 67.7 percent compared with 67.4 per cent in Q4FY2020.
For the financial year ended Dec 31, 2021, PAT grew 377.6 per cent to RM135.98 million compared with RM28.47 million in the preceding financial year. 
PBT increased 418.1 per cent to RM172.85 million compared with RM33.36 million while revenue gained 50.4 per cent to RM886.58 million compared with RM589.58 million registered in FY2020.

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