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Singapore Daily Bulletin – 15/01/13

Sin Heng Sets Up Heavy Machine Leasing Venture In Myanmar
Mainboard-listed crane specialist Sin Heng Heavy Machinery has incorporated a heavy machinery leasing venture in Myanmar. This came after the company and Starhigh Asia Pacific, a vehicle of Myanmar native and naturalised Singaporean Si Thu Phyo, inked a joint venture agreement earlier in March 2012. Under the arrangement, a joint venture firm named SH Equipment will establish a unit in Myanmar. The unit in Myanmar will undertake heavy equipment leasing, rental, distribution and sales and related activities. Sin Heng’s chief executive officer, Tan Cheng Soon, said that with the incorporation, the company was now ready to do business in Myanmar. “All the paperwork is now done and we can now move in machinery and equipment, and start securing business,” he said. The share price of the company has surged recently, going up some 16 percent since 8 January.

Significance: Tan deemed the move a very big one as there is a huge pent-up demand for infrastructure development considering Myanmar is still some 20 years behind the rest of South East Asia in that aspect, which will in turn translate into potentially huge demand for heavy machinery.

Ezra Registers 49% Tumble in 1Q13 Net Profit
Higher personnel costs and increased financial expenses ate into profits as Ezra Holdings saw its net profit for the first quarter ended 30 November 2012 slipped 49.1 percent to US$6.8 million from US$13.3 million a year ago. The increase in expenses was on the back of the company’s expansion programme to build up its subsea services division’s manpower base in preparation of new projects and vessels. The performance was weaker despite a 54.4 percent surge in revenue driven by a strong step-up in subsea activity at Emas AMC, which accounted for nearly 88 percent of the overall US$98.2 million rise in Ezra’s sales for the quarter. Revenue grew from US$180.5 million in 1Q12 to US$278.7 million. Ezra’s offshore support services division under Emas Marine also performed well as growth in charter income contributed another US$9 million in group sales. The group said its modern construction fleet is in the works for expansion with the exclusive charters of two additional strategic pipelay installation assets giving the subsea services division the capability to efficiently lay conventional and deepwater pipelines of up to 30 inches in diameter.

Significance: As the subsea arm of Ezra continues to build up its capabilities, along with the expansion programme, Ezra will be place in a solid position to ride the strong wave of global subsea activity. The group also demonstrated all-round strength of its business divisions through an announcement yesterday of multiple wins worth more than US$160 million.

Lian Beng’s 1H13 Earnings Decline 36%
For the six months ended 30 November 2012, Lian Beng Group recorded a 36.2 percent drop in its earnings to $19.2 million from $30.1 million in the previous corresponding period. The fall was mainly attributed to a one-off gain of $7.9 million on the sale of an investment property at New Industrial Road in 1H12. Gross margin was also 2.2 percentage points lower at 13 percent. Turnover for the period under review slipped 1.2 percent year-on-year to $234.92 million from $237.67 million as contribution from its property development segment was lower. Though the firm has fully sold out its 55 percent-owned industrial development project, known as M Space at Mandai Estate, revenue and profit recognition will only come in September 2013 or FY14. As of 30 November 2012, Lian Beng’s orderbook stands at some $547 million, providing a continuous flow of construction activities through FY15.

Significance: Moving forward, the company expects more tender opportunities for construction companies, with the government’s target to launch 23,000 build-to-order flats this year. Sales of its 50 percent-owned joint venture residential development known as Spottiswoode Suites has begun and Lian Beng will launch another 50 percent-owned joint venture mixed development project known as Hougang Plaza at Hougang Avenue in due course.