#Stocks to Watch* Hong Leong group, Astro, Amway, Tomei and Zelan

KUALA LUMPUR (Nov 14): Based on corporate developments and results on Wednesday, the stocks to watch on Friday (after Thursday's holiday) may include the Hong Leong group of companies; Astro Malaysia Holdings Bhd; Amway (Malaysia) Holdings Bhd; Zelan Bhd; and Tomei Consolidated Bhd.

Net profit after tax of Hong Leong Bank in the first quarter of the financial year ending June 31, 2013 (1QFY13) rose 19.5% to RM478 million, from RM400 million in the same quarter a year ago, due to higher non-interest income and improved operating efficiencies.

The group recorded total income of RM1.003 billion, an increase of 10.7% from RM905 million in the corresponding period last year, as its non-interest income rose 69% to RM275 million contributed by higher gains from treasury operation.

Hong Leong Financial Group made RM347.2 million in net profit during the first quarter of the financial year ending June 30, 2013 (1QFY13), an increase of 56.4% from RM222 million during the same quarter last year due to better results in all its business segments.

The group's businesses comprise commercial banking through Hong Leong Bank Bhd, investment banking through Hong Leong Investment Bank Bhd, insurance through HLA Holdings Group and other unstated businesses of which the group has a stake in.

Hong Leong Capital Bhd reported a slightly higher net profit for the first quarter in the current financial year to June 2013.

For the first financial quarter ended Sept 30, 2012, the group reported net profit of RM8.16 million on turnover of RM66.92 million, versus RM8.05 million on RM41.80 million in first quarter of preceding year, due to higher contribution from investment banking and stockbroking segments.

Astro beat other bidders to win the broadcast rights for the next three seasons of the English Premier League (EPL) football matches at what is said to be "a respectable" cost increase from the previous three seasons to about RM1 billion, industry sources told theedgemalaysia.com.

In a statement Wednesday, Astro said it won the tender for the broadcast rights for the EPL or Barclays Premier League (BPL) in Malaysia for the upcoming three years from season 2013/2014 to 2015/2016. This confirmed an earlier theedgemalaysia.com report.

Amway reported unexciting results, with slight increase in net profit to RM26.64 million for the third quarter in 2012, but it declared a 10- sen interim dividend.

Tomei posted a sharply lower third quarter (3Q) net profit in 2012 due to fluctuation in gold prices and higher composition of gold sales versus jewellery.

The group's revenue for the current quarter ended Sept 30, 2012 was RM136.150 million, higher as compared to RM 135.279 million achieved in the preceding year's corresponding quarter. But net profit fell to RM2.82 million, from RM10.44 million.

Zelan said its wholly-owned unit Zelan Construction Sdn Bhd has been awarded a RM179.32 million contract for the construction of wharf structures at Pelabuhan Tanjung Pelepas in Johor by MMC Corporation Bhd's unit .

The completion period for the abovementioned works is 17 months, commencing on Nov 12, 2012, Zelan said in an announcement.

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