#Stocks To Watch* Index stocks, Amway, MAHB, AirAsia, Prima Media, PBA, Protasco and ECS.

KUALA LUMPUR (Feb 20): With the GDP for the fourth quarter expanding faster than expected, index-linked stocks – if they could escape election worry temporarily – may stir on Thursday (Feb 21).

Bank Negara Malaysia announced late today that Malaysia’s fourth quarter for 2012 grew 6.4% year-on-year, up from 5.3% in the third quarter, due to growth in all sectors – particularly construction.

For the full year, 2012 GDP expanded 5.6% versus 5.1% growth in 2011.

Based on corporate announcements, the companies that could lure investor interests include Amway, Malaysia Airports, AirAsia, Prima Media, PBA, Protasco and ECS.

Amway Malaysia Holdings Bhd posted a net profit of RM26.24 million for its fourth quarter ended December 31, 2012, up 5.2% from RM24.93 million in its fourth quarter 2011, due to increase in sales.

Its rise in net profit was on the back of RM205.43 million in revenue, a 12.6% more than the previous year’s corresponding quarter of RM182.37 million.

Amway has declared a fourth interim dividend of 10 sen net per share and a special interim dividend of 22.5 sen net per share.

For the full year of 2012, Amway posted a net profit of RM99.76 million, up from its 2011’s RM89.99 million. Its revenue also increased to RM797.523 million, from RM735.818 million.

Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) reported a 20% drop in fourth quarter net profit from a year earlier as provision for soured investments in Maldives undermined the firm's bottom line.

MAHB said net profit came to RM78.03 million in the quarter ended December 31, 2012, compared to RM96.75 million previously although revenue rose 64% to RM1.33 billion from RM813.21 million.

MAHB's full-year net profit was at RM394.46 million, down 2% from RM401.12 million a year earlier as revenue climbed 29% to RM3.55 billion from RM2.75 billion.

AirAsia Bhd said its investment arm, AirAsia Investment Ltd (AAIL), has applied to the Indian foreign Investment Promotion Board for a joint venture with Tata Sons Ltd to set up a new airline.

Air Asia said AAIL is seeking approval to invest 49% in a new airline to be known as AirAsia India, after a September 2012 decision by the Government of India to open up the aviation sector to foreign direct investment from foreign carriers.

AirAsia said Indian aviation has enormous long-term growth potential and is expected to produce tremendous upside for first movers.

Media Prima Bhd’s net profit for the fourth quarter ended Dec 31, 2012 slipped marginally by 1.9% to RM73.15 million, despite a 11.41% increase in revenue to RM477.73 million.

On a full year basis, the company’s net profit was at RM209.31 million, gaining 1.32% from RM206.59 million. Revenue improved 4.67% to RM1.7 billion.

“The results reflect moderate advertisement expenditure growth on the back of challenging economic and operating conditions in 2012 and continuous investment in quality content and Digital media for its future sustainability,” it said.

PBA Holdings Bhd (PBA) posted a net profit of RM7.09 million for its fourth quarter ended Dec 31 2012, a plunge of about 58% from the RM16.74 million it recorded for the fourth quarter in 2011.

But the company’s fourth quarter revenue was up at RM62.25 million, from RM56.13 million in 4Q11.

PBA attributed the fall in net profit to “the increase in the administrative and depreciation expenses”.

For its full year results, PBA recorded a net profit of RM28.97 million, about 37% down from its FY2011 net profit of RM45.69 million. Revenue was RM244.56 million, up from RM236.32 million.

Protasco Bhd said its net profit for the fourth quarter ended Dec 31, 2012, came in at RM5.16 million, which was lower by 58% as compared to RM12.28 million a year ago, due to losses suffered by its  engineering division.

For the current quarter, its engineering recorded an operating loss of RM2.9 million as compared to profit of RM5.84 million a year ago due to the expiration of the 15-year concession.

However, revenue jumped by 20.28% to RM295.34 million from RM245.55 million previously.

On a full year basis, the company’s net profit increased 12.76% to RM35.89 million on revenue of RM779.37 million.

ECS ICT Bhd (ECS) posted a net profit of RM9.6 million for its fourth quarter ended December 31, 2012, an 8.1% fall from RM10.5 million in similar quarter a year ago.

ECS managing director Foo Sen Chin said, “2012 was a tough year for the ICT industry overall as consumers and corporate customers turned cautious on account of dampened economic sentiment.”

Despite this, ECS has declared a final dividend of 2.5 sen per ordinary share.

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