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 we received from Aug 28 till the end of the week.

Alibaba’s Vision Language Models

Multi-round question answering via the Qwen-VL-Chat model.

Kuala Lumpur, Aug 28: Alibaba Cloud has introduced two open-source large vision language models (LVLMs): Qwen-VL and Qwen-VL-Chat. These models merge image and text understanding for multi-round question answering in English and Chinese.
Qwen-VL extends Alibaba Cloud’s 7-billion-parameter model, comprehending images and text in both languages.
It excels in tasks like image-related queries and caption generation.Qwen-VL-Chat excels further, using alignment techniques for tasks like multi-image comparison and creative content generation.
Alibaba shares these models through ModelScope and Hugging Face, offering commercial licenses for significant user bases.
These models could aid visually impaired online shoppers.
Qwen-VL processes higher-res images (448*448) for improved recognition.
Qwen-VL stood out in benchmarks for tasks like zero-shot captioning and visual question answering. Qwen-VL-Chat performed impressively in text-image dialogue alignment for both languages.
Alibaba Cloud’s commitment to open-source AI is evident in the success of previous models, Qwen-7B and Qwen-7B-Chat.
Find more info on Alizila, ModelScope, HuggingFace, and the model’s paper:

Golf Event Empowers Inclusivity

Lam Kong Foo announced the Grand Winner Medal A of the Golf Charity Event 2023.

Kuala Lumpur, Aug 28: Persatuan Sindrom Down Malaysia (PSDM) and UKM Fairway Philanthropists (UFP) celebrate the remarkable success of the 2023 Charity Golf Event, which raised around RM100,000 and enjoyed robust community support.
Held at the Bukit Jalil Golf and Country Resort on August 20, 2023, the event was a collaborative effort by PSDM and UFP to establish an Early Intervention Center at University Malaya and provide essential funds.
The event’s impact is substantial, as the raised funds will enhance the facilities and resources of PSDM’s Early Intervention Center, contributing to the holistic development of individuals with Down Syndrome. Dr. Gary Tok of UFP expressed pride in the collaborative spirit, showcasing the potential of community-driven initiatives.
Notably, the event attracted 95 golfers and garnered sponsorships from prominent entities. Winners across different categories were recognized, and a portion of the funds raised will benefit four NGOs, emphasizing the event’s broader positive influence.
Established in 2001, PSDM is a National Voluntary Organization dedicated to advocating for Down Syndrome individuals and their families, while UFP’s role underscores the power of collaboration in meaningful social contributions.

GHL, Standard Chartered Empower Merchants

GHL, Standard Chartered Empower Merchants.

Kuala Lumpur, Aug 28: GHL Systems Berhad (GHL) and Standard Chartered Malaysia have joined forces to offer merchants all-encompassing payment solutions.
This strategic partnership seeks to provide merchants with streamlined payment services, boosting their competitive edge and capabilities.
Both entities are committed to enhancing payment experiences and advancing payment digitalization in the country.GHL, acting as Standard Chartered’s payment service provider, will equip the Bank’s merchants with Point of Sale terminal solutions and e-commerce payment processing services, amplifying customer satisfaction.
GHL will also facilitate personalized onboarding, including installation and efficient settlement processes.
Kevin Lee, CEO of GHL Malaysia, emphasized that leveraging GHL’s expertise and Standard Chartered’s extensive customer reach will offer merchants tailored payment solutions, fortifying their position in the competitive market.
Samuel Ding, Standard Chartered’s Country Head of Transaction Banking and Cash Products, expressed delight in the collaboration, aiming to empower merchants with comprehensive payment solutions.
This partnership aligns with their shared vision of fostering innovation and enabling merchants to meet evolving payment industry demands.

Leon Fuat Q2 Performance

Kuala Lumpur, Aug 28: Leon Fuat Berhad, a major steel products manufacturer and trader specializing in rolled steel, announced a Q2FY2023 revenue decrease to RM217.42 million from RM250.93 million in Q2FY2022.
The Group experienced a 10.8 per cent PBT reduction to RM16.09 million and a 15.3 per cent PAT decline to RM11.88 million for Q2FY2023 compared to Q2FY2022. The drop in revenue was mainly due to decreased trading and processing revenue for steel products.In comparison to Q1FY2023, PBT increased by 25 per cent to RM16.09 million, and PAT rose by 11.2 per cent to RM11.88 million, despite a decrease in Q2FY2023 revenue to RM217.42 million from RM233.70 million.
YTD 2023 saw the Group achieve RM451.12 million in revenue, RM28.96 million in PBT, and RM22.56 million in PAT, contrasting with YTD 2022’s RM523.95 million, RM49.85 million, and RM37.91 million, respectively.
Calvin Ooi Shang How, Executive Director, highlighted the Group’s future-focused approach, including the upcoming Phase 2 facilities commissioning in early 2024.
Despite global economic challenges, the Group remains optimistic due to its diverse portfolio and commitment to innovation.

Hektar REIT: Strong 2Q

Kuala Lumpur, Aug 28: Hektar Asset Management, manager of Hektar Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT), announced strong 2Q 2023 results.
The REIT achieved RM27.2 million in revenue and RM15.5 million in Net Property Income (NPI), marking a 13 per cent NPI growth from the previous year. Improved financial management contributed to a 56.9 per cent NPI margin. Realised Net Income for 2Q 2023 rose almost 6 per cent to RM6.9 million.
The REIT declared a 2.70 sen per unit interim income distribution, totaling RM13.4 million.Hektar REIT showcased enhanced profitability with an 85.7 per cent overall portfolio occupancy.
Notably, three malls – Mahkota Parade, Wetex Parade, and Kulim Central – achieved occupancies of over 90 per cent. The REIT’s commitment to proactive leasing strategies and a dynamic tenant mix played a key role.
Strategic improvements were evident in malls like Subang Parade, undergoing transformative repositioning, and Segamat Central, with promising negotiations for new tenants.
The REIT’s emphasis on Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainability earned it the “Company of the Year – Best in Sustainability Reporting & Community Support” award at the Sustainability & CSR Malaysia Awards 2023.
Johari Shukri Jamil, CEO of Hektar Asset Management, highlighted the 56.9 per cent NPI margin and the REIT’s commitment to ESG initiatives.
The focus remains on enhancing footfall and visitor spending for positive returns and a better world.

Malaysian Genomics: Q4 Shift

Kuala Lumpur, Aug 28: Malaysian Genomics Resource Centre Berhad, a biopharmaceutical specialist, revealed Q4 2023 revenue of RM2.23 million, down from RM6.33 million in the prior year.
The shift from vaccines to genetic screening influenced this strategic move.
Q4 saw a loss before tax of RM9.98 million compared to a profit of RM2.97 million in the same period last year, impacted by receivables impairment and FMCG expansion.
YTD 2023 revenue was RM8.36 million, down from RM28.36 million, with an LBT of RM13.59 million. Despite the transitional phase, the company remains adaptable and focuses on product development and market expansion.
Azri Azerai, Executive Chairman, expressed optimism for the future, foreseeing higher revenue from cell and gene therapy products in the upcoming quarter.
The Group’s advancements, partnerships, and focus on innovative solutions align with their commitment to healthcare enhancement.

SCIB: Robust Q4 Performance

Kuching, Aug 28: Industrialized building systems specialist SCIB has reported positive growth in Q4FY2023 across key financial metrics and strategic business segments.
Q4 revenue reached RM33.3 million, a 27 per cent increase from Q4FY2022.
Gross Profit grew by 73 per cent to RM6.5 million, and Operating Loss was reduced to RM18.2 million. Loss Before Tax (LBT) improved to RM18.5 million from RM47.4 million in Q4FY2022.SCIB’s Manufacturing segment reported a year-to-date increase of 10 per cent in revenue, reaching RM23.2 million, with a profit before tax of RM2.8 million.
The Construction/EPCC segment saw a 92 per cent year-to-date increase in revenue to RM10.2 million, narrowing the loss before tax to RM4.5 million.
Enhanced revenue and profitability were attributed to increased sales volume of foundation piles and two new school projects.
Ku Chong Hong, Managing Director of SCIB, highlighted the company’s resilience and adaptability in navigating challenging business environments. SCIB’s growth underscores its focus on core capabilities in Engineering, Procurement, Construction, and Commissioning (EPCC) and strategic supply of building materials.
With a strong outlook, SCIB aims to capitalize on growth opportunities in the domestic construction industry.SCIB’s proactive engagement in securing small-to-mid-sized construction projects, along with positive market dynamics, positions it well for growth.
The company’s financial position was fortified through a private placement raising RM12.76 million in gross proceeds.
SCIB’s Q4FY2023 results align with its commitment to sustainable growth, complementing an outstanding order book for construction contracts standing at RM275 million.

Epson Invests in startup AI Silk

Epson's Sustainable Recognition Triumph

Sydney, Aug 29: AI Silk has developed a groundbreaking solution to the challenges posed by conductive textiles in automotive parts and wearable devices.
Their innovation, LEAD SKIN®, addresses issues such as sensing accuracy, comfort, safety, manufacturing cost, and durability.
By leveraging a proprietary conductive polymer coating technology derived from Tohoku University, AI Silk has successfully made various materials, including silk, polyester, nonwoven fabrics, and suede, conductive.
This innovative approach significantly enhances sensing accuracy by reducing conductive resistance and improves the overall feel, texture, comfort, and durability of the textiles. Moreover, manufacturing costs are lowered, making the technology economically viable.
Recognizing the immense potential of LEAD SKIN®, AI Silk aims to utilize a third-party share allotment to expand volume production.
Their plans extend beyond Japan, with a focus on addressing global demand for automotive parts and wearable devices, including EMS products.
The company is also considering entry into the medical field.Epson, driven by a commitment to enhance people’s well-being, has chosen to invest in AI Silk due to the transformative capabilities of LEAD SKIN®. Epson envisions this technology as an interface for translating daily-captured biological data into new value, aligning with their mission to offer enriched lifestyles centered on physical and mental wellness. Moving forward, Epson intends to foster partnerships and synergies rooted in its proprietary technologies, products, and services, contributing to the realization of a sustainable society.

Minetech Boosts Revenue, Strengthens Divisions

Kuala Lumpur, Aug 29: Malaysia’s Minetech Resources Berhad reports a 9.5 per cent revenue increase in Q1 FY2024, reaching RM26.4 million compared to RM24.1 million in Q1 FY2023.
The company’s core segments, Civil Engineering and Bituminous Products, contributed to growth.
Civil Engineering achieved RM17.5 million revenue with RM0.6 million profit, benefiting from Selinsing Gold Mine and infrastructural projects.
Bituminous Products reached RM7.6 million revenue with RM1.1 million profit, driven by increased local sales and enhanced production efficiency.Matt Chin, Executive Director of Minetech, attributes the success to their strategic decisions and execution.
The group secured RM56.5 million projects, including the significant MRT Circle Line, showcasing its importance in national infrastructure.
The recent 21st AGM and EGM marked unanimous support for pivotal resolutions, including the Proposed Variation for Utilisation of Proceeds from the Rights Issue and Private Placement, signifying progress in Minetech’s growth journey.

DC Healthcare Boosts Profits and Expansion

Kuala Lumpur, Aug 29: Aesthetic medical provider DC Healthcare Holdings Berhad reports a 6.43 per cent QoQ revenue increase, reaching RM17.89 million for the quarter ended June 30, 2023.
Aesthetic services remain the main revenue driver, contributing 89 per cent to the total.
Profit before tax experiences a significant 65 per cent growth, totaling RM5.27 million, compared to RM3.19 million in the previous quarter.
The overall profit after tax (PAT) for the period is RM4.02 million, with year-to-date PAT at RM6.37 million.The Group’s expansion strategy, including the addition of two new clinics, brings the total to 13 clinics, reinforcing its market presence.
Dr. Chong Tze Sheng, Managing Director, credits this expansion for driving growth and exemplifying their commitment to quality care.
With the Malaysian aesthetic medicine market projected to grow at a CAGR of 18.8 per cent till 2027, the Group’s prospects remain strong.Year-to-date, total revenue is RM34.70 million, and profit before tax stands at RM8.46 million.
DC Healthcare plans to focus on core business, expand existing clinics, enhance medical staff, and upgrade technology to align with aesthetic medicine market growth.
As of August 29, 2023, DC Healthcare’s share price is RM0.51 per share, reflecting a market capitalization of RM513.1 million.

Malaysian Athletes Gain Healthcare

ISN, DOC2US Bolster Mental Health Support for National Athletes.

Kuala Lumpur, Aug 29: Malaysian athletes are set to benefit from an innovative hybrid healthcare program launched by the National Sports Institute (ISN) in partnership with DOC2US, a prominent digital health and e-prescriptions provider.
This collaborative effort aims to provide comprehensive and accessible healthcare support to national athletes, focusing on both their mental and physical well-being.
With a shared commitment to prioritizing athletes’ health, ISN and DOC2US have introduced a holistic approach to healthcare that integrates digital health technology.
The program, which has been operational since the SEA Games in May 2023, offers a combination of virtual and physical healthcare services. Athletes gain access to virtual health advisory, teleconsultations, and e-prescriptions, as well as in-person home support from approved medical professionals.Importantly, the collaboration also addresses the mental health challenges that athletes often face due to the competitive and high-stress nature of sports.
Through DOC2US’s mental healthcare platform powered by TeleHope Health, athletes have access to mental health screening, advisory services, and teleconsultations with licensed psychiatrists and psychologists.
Dr. Raymond Choy, CEO & Co-founder of DOC2US, stressed the significance of this collaborative effort in supporting athletes’ well-being.
He highlighted that athletes are susceptible to mental stress and various mental health issues, making this program crucial in providing them with the necessary support.
This initiative aligns with the Ministry of Youth and Sports’ objectives to ensure the holistic well-being of young athletes.
The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the hybrid healthcare program was witnessed by Minister of Youth and Sports, YB Hannah Yeoh, underscoring the commitment to addressing athletes’ unique healthcare needs.
By combining technology-driven solutions and medical expertise, this partnership seeks to empower athletes and enhance their overall health and performance.

Anaheim Readies for Hockey

ANAHEIM, CA – APRIL 14: Anaheim Ducks fans wave playoff towels in Game Two of the Western Conference First Round against the San Jose Sharks during the 2018 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Honda Center on April 14, 2018 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Debora Robinson/NHLI via Getty Images).

Sydney, Aug 29: Visit Anaheim Gears Up for Hockey Season and Exciting Fall EventsAnaheim, the home of the beloved Anaheim Ducks, is abuzz as the ice hockey season kicks off on Sept 24 with a pre-season game against local rivals, LA Kings, at the Honda Center.
The official home opener against the Hurricanes is scheduled for Oct 15.
Coinciding with this excitement, the Honda Center celebrates its 30th anniversary with a special concert on Sept 7, featuring Gwen Stefani.
Visit Anaheim has also released insightful research on the surge of sports tourism and devoted fans.
The national survey, involving 2,000 US adults, reveals that 45 per cent have traveled abroad to witness a game, with 35 per cent specifically planning vacations around their favorite team’s matches.
Fans are willing to invest generously, spending an average of $762.20 on tickets alone.
Jay Burress, President & CEO of Visit Anaheim, highlights the evolving nature of sports venues, attracting fans from beyond the local base.
The survey also indicates that over half of fans have a favorite team, with 52 per cent watching every game of their chosen team.
Moreover, when the Anaheim Ducks face rivals like the LA Kings or the Angels take on teams such as the San Francisco Giants, out-of-town fans transform into vacationers, embracing Anaheim’s hotels, restaurants, and attractions.As Anaheim boasts various sporting venues, visitors enjoy top-tier sports events coupled with a world-class vacation experience.
The Fall season offers a blend of sports, culture, and Halloween festivities, with parks undergoing Halloween transformations from mid-Sept.
Notably, Anaheim’s annual Fall Parade will celebrate its 100th year on Oct 28, providing a vibrant culmination to this dynamic season.

Cloud Banking Excellence Award

Singapore, Aug 30: Mambu has been honored with the 2023 Google Cloud Industry Solution Technology Partner of the Year Award for Financial Services and Insurance.
This recognition underscores Mambu’s role in empowering financial institutions through its cloud-native core banking platform in collaboration with Google Cloud.
The partnership enables rapid adaptation, market expansion, and enhanced customer experiences, while Mambu’s research demonstrates its capacity to help financial organizations rebound from market turbulence swiftly.

Samaiden Group Achieves Record Revenue

Kuala Lumpur, Aug 30: Samaiden Group Berhad, a leading renewable energy player, has reported a remarkable financial performance for the fiscal year ending June 30. The company, specializing in solar photovoltaic systems and power plants, achieved an impressive revenue of RM170.80 million, marking a significant 13.32 per cent increase from the previous year’s RM150.72 million, the highest in the company’s history.
In a significant move, Samaiden’s Board of Directors announced its inaugural interim single-tier dividend of 0.5 sen per share, with Entitlement and Payment Dates set for Sept 22, and Oct 16. This dividend aligns with the financials of the quarter ending Sept 30.
Samaiden’s consistent acquisition of new contracts has contributed to its substantial orderbook of RM372.8 million as of June 30, indicating strong business growth potential. These contracts are anticipated to positively impact the company’s revenue and profit in the coming years.
Group Managing Director of Samaiden, Ir. Chow Pui Hee, expressed optimism about the company’s prospects, highlighting the alignment between government support for renewable energy and Samaiden’s mission.
As of Aug 30, Samaiden Group’s share price stands at RM1.25, reflecting a market capitalization of RM508.1 million.
Research from RHB Investment Bank Berhad reaffirms a BUY rating on Samaiden, with a revised target price of RM1.55 from RM1.29 on July 28, signaling a 20 per cent upside and showcasing confidence in the Company’s growth in response to Malaysia’s robust local demand for solar energy.

Propel Global Reports Strong Q4 FY2023

Kuala Lumpur, Aug 30: Propel Global Berhad, a prominent player in the oil and gas industry, has posted impressive Q4 FY2023 results. The company recorded a revenue of RM43.5 million and a PBT of RM3.2 million, a substantial increase from Q4 FY2022’s revenue of RM18.7 million and LBT of RM8.0 million.
Key growth was observed in the O&G Segment, achieving a revenue of RM16.2 million and PBT of RM2.3 million, attributed to higher production chemical sales and contributions from a newly acquired subsidiary. The Technical Services Segment reported RM27.3 million in revenue and RM4.3 million in PBT, driven by short-term projects.
For FY2023, the Group’s total revenue and PBT stood at RM110.9 million and RM10.0 million, respectively. The acquisition of Best Wide Engineering (M) Sdn Bhd reflects Propel Global’s strategic expansion.
Angeline Lee, CEO of Propel Global, highlighted the company’s dedication to growth and innovation, aiming to deliver value across its diverse offerings in the oil and gas sector.

Artroniq Berhad Secures Major Project

Kuala Lumpur, Sept 1: Artroniq Berhad has won a significant E-Commerce and Retail Software Development project valued at RM9,596,000.
Set to begin in October 2023, this 12-month venture, in collaboration with Kiddie Shoppe, will bolster retail capabilities.
Artroniq’s CFO, Marcus Chin Choon Wei, sees it as a strategic step in their growth plan and underscores their commitment to innovation.
This high-value project highlights Artroniq’s versatility in a competitive marketplace.

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