#Stocks To Watch* Scomi, Petronas-linked firms, property firms, PPB, Dominant, plantation firms

KUALA LUMPUR (Mar 7): Based on news flow and announcements to Bursa Malaysia today, companies that may attract investor interest on Friday (March 8) could include Scomi, Petronas, property companies, PPB, Dominant and plantation firms.

Scomi Group Bhd said its unit, Scomi KMC Sdn Bhd, has received a letter of award worth RM2.1 billion to provide drilling fluids and barites materials, equipment and services to Petronas Carigali Sdn Bhd.

In a statement to Bursa Malaysia today, Scomi said the contract is expected to be for a period of five years commencing from 1 March 2013 to 28 February 2018.

The contract award is expected to contribute positively towards the earnings and net assets of the company for its financial years ending March 2013 to 2018, the company added.

Petronas, the national oil company, today announced a fall in net profit of 14% to RM59.1 billion for its financial year in 2012. It attributed this to the cessation of operations in South Sudan and investment impairment in Egypt.

Datuk George Ratilal, Petronas’ executive vice president (finance), said the stoppage of South Sudan operation translated to a loss of 120,000 barrels of crude oil per day.

For its fourth quarter ended Dec 31, Petronas’ profit after tax declined 45% to RM8.7 billion, while revenue dipped slightly to RM76.8 billion.

Among listed companies under the umbit of Petronas are Petronas Dagangan Bhd, Petronas Gas Bhd and Petronas Chemical Bhd.

Property stocks could see interest as the government’s Economic Transformation Programme (ETP) is attracting local and foreign investors into the property market.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s department YB Senator Datuk Sri Idris Jala, speaking at a function this morning, said that private investments had increased by more than one fold since the start of the ETP in 2011.

He added that the property landscape would continue to flourish with additional jobs created, increased property development and enhanced gross national income.

PPB Group Bhd has allocated about RM590 million as capital expenditure (capex) for the next two years, with the highest amounts going towards its grains trading, flour and feed milling divisions.

Part of the capex would also include the expansion of the overseas flour milling businesses.

Group managing director Lim Soon Huat said that RM183 million would be used for the expansion of the group’s cinema arm, Golden Screen Cinemas Sdn Bhd. In 2013, the group plans to build three new cinemas.

Dominant Enterprise Bhd, through its wholly-owned unit, Ecopanel Industries Sdn Bhd, has entered into a sale and purchase agreement with one Tan Cho Chin to acquire a piece of agricultural land.

The land parcel, measuring about 449,000 square feet, was acquired for a total of RM10.3 million. The acquisition is funded by internally generated funds and bank borrowings.

Dominant said that the acquisition will enable the consolidation of all its Central Peninsular Malaysia operations into a single location, thereby generating savings in terms of operational cost and efficiency.

Plantation shares may continue to come under the scrutiny of market players following a Reuters report that said a decline of nearly a fifth in palm oil output would have probably eased Malaysian palm oil stocks in February to a six-month low.

Inventory could have fallen 6.1% in February, the steepest decline since January 2011, to 2.42 million tonnes, according to a Reuters survey of major plantation firms.

Production in the world's second-largest producer may have fallen to 1.31 million tonnes, a decline of nearly 18.1% from 1.6 million the previous month, crimped by seasonal factors, the Reuters report added.

In addition, CPO futures prices today rose substantially, with the benchmark 3-month May futures contract adding RM36 to RM2,435 per tonne and June futures climbing RM33 to RM2,440 according to Bursa data.

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