Cheap sale for Tiah?IN a single swoop, Datuk Tony Tiah and his family stands to take both TA Enterprise and its subsidiary, TA Global Bhd (TAG), private at undemanding valuations. After successfully launching the takeover of TAG on Nov 30, the 73-year-old Tiah and parties acting in concert ended up holding 59.75% of TA Enterprise. The increase in shareholding triggered the mandatory general offer for the rest of the shares in the stock brokerage and property outfit. Tiah is offering 65.5 sen for TA Enterprise which has a net asset value of RM1.33 per share. The offer price is a steep discount to the underlying value of TA Enterprise as the group has among others, some 708.88 acres of land located in Kuala Lumpur City Centre and the Klang Valley. According to TA Enterprise’s annual report, the group has plans for a development in Bandar Sri Damansara spanning more than 10 years with a gross development value of RM10bil. TA Enterprise also has vast tracts of land in Johor and the fringes of Kuala Lumpur for township development. TA Enterprise also plans to construct Menara TA Two and Three, an extension to the Menara TA One, which is located a stone’s throw from the iconic Petronas Twin Towers.On top of that, Tiah is getting TAG at a steep discount to its underlying value as well. The independent adviser put a fair value for TAG, which has properties in eight countries stretching from Canada to China at 94 sen. Among the properties under TAG is The Trump International Hotels and Towers in Vancouver Canada, Radisson Blu Plaza in Sydney, The Westin Melbourne and Swissotel Merchant Court in Singapore. At 65.5 sen, Tiah will be getting TA Enterprise for a steal, if he succeeds in the takeover. Which is why it’s easy to fathom that Tiah has stated that he would not keep TA Enterprise listed if he gets more than 75% acceptance and the company fails to meet the listing requirement. Ratings downgradeEARLIER this week, the Finance Minister assured the country that the recent downgrade on the country’s sovereign debt rating by Fitch Ratings would not derail its economic recovery. He further said that since the announcement, there has been no “knee-jerk” reaction from the stock market nor any negative impact on the ringgit. The global credit rating agency had earlier downgraded Malaysia’s credit rating from A- to BBB+, prompting concerns on the country’s economic situation. Such ratings are important as they are often used by investors to decide whether or not to invest in a country and so on. While the Finance Minister’s comments brings back some level of confidence, we should not be completely ignorant of the fact that there was a downgrade regardless whether or not other countries faced a similiar outcome. We should work at plugging the holes instead of brushing off negative feedback. In the case of the local stock market, foreigners have been selling off their holdings extensively this year, which suggests that the only reason the stock market has not suffered any “knee-jerk” reaction is because local funds and the government, are the ones supporting it. Recent data show that a whopping RM24.88bil in foreign funds have flowed out this year up until Dec 11. Comparatively for the whole of last year, net selling by foreign investors stood at less than half of that amount. What does this signify? Criticism, when constructive should be taken seriously. Better year aheadTHE year 2020 has been memorable for the wrong reasons. The pandemic will dominate all year-end wrap-ups of what happened this year and rightly so. Covid-19 has infected, affected and changed the way thing are. The turmoil caused will not be forgotten but we should remember the spillovers from what the pandemic has caused. The acceleration of digital services has meant the ever-reliant increase on what technology will mean for us. It will also show that companies will need to adapt for sustainability and profit ina world that has been hit hard by a global disease. But next year is going to be different. Vaccines are on the way to allow people to resume what they have been used to. Travel and much of what life was will evolve and resume but there is also much to be sanguine about what the immediate future holds. The liquidity-fuelled rally in the capital markets shows the optimism of a recovery. Things will improve but it will take some time before it get back to normal. The exuberance of the markets are borne out of hope and also the initial feedback of the recovery process but people should not discount the changes the pandemic has caused. Businesses will be more cautious as even though there is optimism, there is still great uncertainty. Businesses will take time is replenishing hiring that has been decimated by the crisis. The effects of liquidity and welfare programmes will wear off and the strain on government finances will mean uncertainty on how much more that can be stomached. Malaysians will need to approach 2021 with some trepidation even though there is much room for optimism. The resumption of normality will be a process, a lengthy one especially dealing with a virus that is still causing much constraints like it has with the continuation of the conditional movement control order in the economically-important parts of the country. The economic problems had caused discomfort in government finances, revenue generation of small companies and even questions over the immediate economic future of the country. But there overall mood will be that that is better than 2020. We will leave behind a year that will not forgotten but we should look forward to whatever sliver of optimism 2021 will offer us.
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