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 we received from Jan 30 till the end of the week. This column updates regularly throughout the week.
Universal Robots Reports Record Revenue
Singapore, Jan 30: Universal Robots, the Danish collaborative robot (cobot) company, has reported Q4 revenue of USD 85 million, bringing 2022 annual revenue to USD 326 million, up 5 per cent on 2021.
On a constant currency basis, growth over the year was 12 per cent.
“We are proud to have continued to grow our business despite facing a difficult macroeconomic environment in 2022. We focused on those things we are able to control, and we overcame supply chain challenges to report our highest annual revenue to date,” the company’s Chief Financial Officer, Kim Andreasen, said:
The demand for automation in Europe slowed in 2022 following the start of the war in Ukraine. Universal Robots’ results have also been impacted by the change in exchange rates, which created an additional headwind to growth.
Despite the change in global markets, overall demand for automation is predicted to continue to grow in 2023 and beyond, driven by growing labor shortages and changing workplace expectations.
VCCPU Pays Courtesy Visit
Putrajaya, Jan 30: A delegation from the Vice Chancellors’ Council for Private Universities (VCCPU), led by the Chairman of VCCPU and Provost and Chief Executive Officer of Heriot-Watt University Malaysia (HWUM) Professor Mushtak Al Atabi, paid a courtesy visit to the Ministry of Higher Education (MoHE).
The VCCPU delegation was received by Higher Education (MoHE) Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin and Yang Berbahagia Director-General of Higher Education Professor Datuk Dr Husaini Omar.
During the visit, both MoHE and VCCPU representatives engaged in a wide-ranging discussion that spanned a variety of topics related to the advancement of higher education in Malaysia, including the development of policies and pathways to enable Malaysian private universities to positively contribute to the knowledge and talent development necessary to maintain a vibrant and sustainable economy for the nation, the region, and the world in the era of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (“4IR” or “Industry 4.0”).
Both parties reaffirmed their commitment to making Malaysia a regional Higher Education hub and explored the obstacles that may delay the realisation of this aspiration, the pathways to overcome these obstacles, and encourage more international students to choose Malaysia as an educational destination.
Both the Higher Education Minister and VCCPU Chairman have agreed to have regular sessions to ensure the effective communication and exchange of ideas and viewpoints in service of the flourishing of the Higher Education sector in Malaysia.
Meta News Fund Awards $5M To 52 Newsrooms
Sydney, January 31: Fifty-two news publishers and independent journalists will be awarded AU$5 million in funding from the Meta Australian News Fund, in the latest round of a AUD$15M three-year investment
in partnership with the Walkley Foundation.
Now in its second year, the fund program has so far supported more than 100 eligible Australian-based newsrooms and journalists to foster innovation and improve public interest journalism in Australia.
The Walkley Foundation managed the judging process independently of Meta.
Here is the link to the recipients’ project.
Two New Appointments At Wellous
Kuala Lumpur, Jan 31: Wellous Group Limited a fast-growing Asia-based international nutrition company that develops, manufactures, markets and sells health and wellness products, today announced key leadership appointments to help further the company’s global expansion and prepare for transitioning to life as a public company.
Lee Koon Tan has been appointed as group president of Wellous. Lee Koon brings decades of experience as a corporate leader. In this role, he oversees and drives the Company’s transformational initiatives and expansion plans.
He is responsible for corporate development activities, including strategic partnerships and investment opportunities.
Wellous also announced the appointment of Jorrine Ang as chief financial officer, effective from Dec last year.
Jorrine has over 10 years of experience in senior management roles of public companies listed on the Bursa Malaysia Stock Exchange, where she was responsible for the formulation and implementation of corporate strategies as well as overseeing corporate finance, fund raising, and investment management.
Prior to joining Wellous, Jorrine founded and ran her own advisory practice, providing pre-IPO advisory, capital fundraising, mergers & acquisitions and corporate restructuring services for corporate clients.
Top Glove in Bloomberg Gender Equality Index
Shah Alam, Jan 31: Top Glove’s commitment to creating a gender neutral workplace, where all employees have equal opportunities to career advancement and learning and development opportunities, has earned it a spot in the 2023 Bloomberg Gender Equality Index (GEI) for the second year running.
This year’s GEI includes a total of 484 global companies from 45 countries and regions, across 11 sectors (Communications, Consumer Discretionary, Consumer Staples, Energy, Financials, Health Care, Industrials, Materials, Real Estate, Technology and Utilities) and 54 industries.
Top Glove attained a score of 75.07, marking an improvement from its maiden inclusion in the 2022 index, and an above average score among its peers globally in the Industrials sector, which consists of 29 companies this year.
The glove maker is one of four Malaysian companies to make it to the 2023 GEI, an index developed to gauge the performance of public companies dedicated to reporting gender related data.
This reference index measures gender equality across five pillars: leadership and talent pipeline, equal pay and gender pay parity, inclusive culture; anti-sexual harassment policies; and external brand.
Size Matters For Online Food Ordering
Adelaide, Feb 1: What effect does verbal size descriptors have on portion size selections when people order their meals online?
Quite a lot – and some cues can prompt people to order a larger size – according to new research from Flinders University.
The availability of an XL option, rather than the number of available options, proved influential in determining a person’s choice for a larger order – although surprising restraint was shown by diners who admitted they were following dietary regimes.
Study recipients were all female students, some following diets (restrained eaters) and some unrestrained.
They were asked to select a side dish, drink, and dessert from one of three online menus with varying portion size options: SRL (small, regular and large), RLXL (regular, large, and extra-large) or SRLXL (small, regular, large, and extra-large).
Participants most frequently selected the ‘regular’ size for sides and drinks, or a small size for desserts. However, when an XL size was available, the ‘unrestrained’ eaters were more likely than ‘restrained’ eaters to select a Large or XL side dish.
Professor Eva Kemps, from the College of Education, Psychology and Social Work at Flinders University, says this suggests that when an XL size option is available, people adjust their ordering choices.
The research paper – “Small, regular or large? The effect of size options on online food choices”, by Eilish Mckay, Eva Kemps, Ivanka Prichard and Marika Tiggemann – has been published in the Food Quality and Preference journal and is available here.
Live Verdure Reports Record Sales and Cash Receipts
Sydney, Feb 1: Live Verdue has delivered unaudited sales for the quarter of around $871,000 in the December 2022 quarter.
This record result was up 62 per cent on the figure for the previous corresponding period.Live Verdure Group cash receipts of approximately $858,000 in the December 2022 quarter (excluding government grants) also represented a record quarterly total.
It is worth noting that these figures do not include Edible Beauty’s October 2022 revenue, as this acquisition was not completed until 1st November 2022.
The healthy sales figures for Edible Beauty in the November/December 2022 period came as Live Verdure’s executive and in-house digital marketing staff quickly and efficiently combined with the Edible Beauty team to deliver a number of successful sales strategy and working capital initiatives.
As Live Verdure noted in its September 2022 quarter activities report, this work commenced ahead of the acquisition completion date.
In line with the Company’s recent shift to an omni-channel approach, this figure includes more than $100,000 of wholesale sales to retailers, including Heinemann and David Jones.
Inflation Forces Migrants to Reduce Remittances
Sydney, Feb 2: WorldRemit, a leading digital remittances company, announces the results of its second Cost of Living index, where the organisation has sought to understand how the worsening inflation crisis has affected the lives of international money senders around the world.
The survey found that 82 per cent of remittance senders agreed that the cost of living for the people that they send money to has risen since the start of the year.
Highlighting the impact of inflation on people around the world, almost half (45 per cent) noted they now only send money to immediate family, rather than friends and distant relatives.
One in nine people worldwide rely on money sent from friends and relatives who have migrated abroad for work. With several factors contributing to increased financial pressure, new data showed that 72 per cent of respondents in the US, 41 per cent in Australia, and 44 per cent in the UK have taken up a side hustle (a job in addition to their main source of income), with 27 per cent of respondents on average across our three markets indicating they did so to support the increase in their own cost of living.
Of the respondents who cited having a side hustle, 89 per cent reported that they would maintain their side hustle in the next 12 months.
Households around the world are set to re-examine their spending habits in light of inflation, with more than a quarter of respondents (26 per cent) saying that they are curtailing discretionary spending on entertainment such as dining out or going to the cinema or theatre.
For example, in the UK, nearly two-thirds (65 per cent) of people noted concerns regarding the cost of utility bills, highlighting the change in spending habits of UK households as a result of the energy crisis.
Company Launches Meltable American Slices
New York, Feb 3: Cutting-edge global food tech company, Armored Fresh, announces the consumer launch of ‘Almond Milk American Slices,’ their latest innovation in zero-dairy, plant-based cheese. ‘Almond Milk American Slices’ marks the company’s second product launch, which is available through retail distribution in more than 100 NYC regional supermarkets including Key Foods, Met Fresh, C Town, City Acres, & Associated stores throughout Manhattan and Brooklyn.
To announce the launch, Armored Fresh has unveiled its latest billboard on 49th Street and Broadway. Using their proprietary world-changing technology and plant-based ingredients, Armored Fresh’s ‘Almond Milk American Slices’ replicates animal proteins found in dairy, resulting in a delicious cheese that duplicates the aroma, texture, and flavour of their dairy counterparts. Armored Fresh developed a process that allows for their ‘Almond Milk American Slices’ to have the perfect melting properties, a characteristic that is long considered technically difficult to achieve with vegan cheese.
Through their cutting-edge innovation, Armored Fresh has improved on the texture that challenges other plant-based cheese brands.
“We are very excited to introduce our ‘Almond Milk American Slices’ to the U.S. market. At Armored Fresh, we believe we can make a great impact through plant-based food that is delicious,” Rudy Yoo, Armored Fresh Founder & CEO said.
SYCARDA and CUE Group Join Forces
Kuala Lumpur, Feb 3: Retail data analytics platform SYCARDA and Singapore-headquartered digital solutions provider CUE Group signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Thursday, to begin an era of innovative collaboration to produce more comprehensive and effective retail solutions across Malaysia, Singapore, and eventually the rest of Asia.
Both organisations have consistently prioritised their dedication to adding value to clients’ systems and ways of working towards more dynamic retail data solutions, knowledge exchange in data analytics, visual AI, and machine learning.
Upon officiating this collaboration, SYCARDA and CUE will integrate their expertise and develop a bespoke retail solution to address a Malaysian grocery chain’s pilferage and sweethearting issue.
SYCARDA’s mission is to assist traditional brick-and-mortar retailers to reduce their costs and increase their revenue in a rapidly challenging retail landscape by using data analytics and business intelligence.
The platform is completely independent and can be used across most Points-of-Sale (POS) without the need for integration, which enabled SYCARDA to be deployed across 2,000 retail and food and beverage outlets across Southeast Asia.
DIY Made Possible for all Malaysians
Kuala Lumpur, Feb 3: The rising cost of living and materials, and the increase in workmen rates are driving many Malaysians to turn to do-it-yourself [D-I-Y] projects to keep their homes up to date and in good repair.
The lockdown during the pandemic also inspired many to start their own home improvement projects, relying on YouTube videos and other DIY-er’s to teach them the tips, tricks and techniques needed.
This in turn has resulted in a growing interest in stocking up on useful tools and supplies, to ensure these are always ready at hand at home for the next DIY project.
Understanding this, Malaysia’s largest home improvement retailer and a favourite of DIY-ers and handymen around the country has announced its first ‘MR D.I.Y Hardware Mega Sale’ at its more than 1,080 stores nationwide.
The more than a month-long sale, which runs until Feb 28 includes up to 30 percent discounts on a wide range of hardware products.
Subang Parade Celebrates CNY
Kuala Lumpur, Feb 4: Subang Parade, the popular neighbourhood mall located in the heart of Subang Jaya since 1988 and a core property owned by Hektar REIT, today celebrated the lunar new year with children and representatives from Persatuan Rumah K.I.D.S and Rumah Charis with a fun-filled programme including a movie and special treats. The programme, which was held at the West End Concourse of the mall, was graced by the attendance of Majlis Bandaraya Subang Jaya (MBSJ) councillor and Majlis Perwakilan Penduduk (MPP) Zone 1 chairman Chia Yew Ken.
Hosted by Subang Parade management, the event was led by Senior General Manager Nubly Zainuham bin Ambotang and attended by officials from Hektar REIT.
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