PREVIEW-Malaysia’s Najib faces budget test amid oil slump and graft scandal

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Dogged by scandal and hampered by falling oil and gas revenues, Malaysia‘s Prime Minister Najib Razak will present a budget on Friday that will look to shore up economic growth and appease voters unhappy with his leadership and rising living costs. It is unlikely to alter investors’ disillusion with Najib’s… Read more »

Why Australia’s IAG threw in the towel on China

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When Insurance Australia Group , the country’s largest general insurer, announced ambitious plans in June to ramp up its business in mainland China, several institutional investors including Jason Kim were seriously concerned. Kim, a portfolio manager at Nikko Asset Management which owns about A$143 million ($104 million) worth of IAG… Read more »


India: Why Infosys’ best financial performance wasn’t good enough for investors?

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Infosys Ltd’s September quarter results were its best in four years. In fact, it has done so well this could well be the first time in six years that it beats Tata Consultancy Services Ltd (TCS) in terms of year-on-year revenue growth. Adjusted for one-offs, dollar revenues grew by 5%… Read more »


India: Coffee Day not a great investment yet; will IPO investors fare better?

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In early March, Coffee Day Enterprises Ltd sold shares to Nandan Nilekani, Rare Enterprises, Ramesh Damani and a few others at Rs.362.50 apiece. This week, the company announced that its initial public offering (IPO) in mid-October will be priced between Rs.316 and Rs.328 per share. The broad markets have declined… Read more »


Can Apax Partners expect high returns from its investment in Indian IT player Zensar?

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Zensar Technologies Ltd turned out to be a terrific investment for private equity fund Electra Partners. Including dividends, the value of its investment rose by about 19 times, generating an annual return of 18% over an 18-year period. Now, Apax Partners has bought Electra’s 23.2% stake in Zensar for around… Read more »


Could ‘basic income’ solve APAC wealth inequality?

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With its fragmented economies, diverse language and geographies, as well as differing developmental status, the Asia Pacific (APAC) region is often seen as a challenging regional economy for businesses to operate in. Another major issue is the wealth inequality seen across the region, especially in major economies like India, the Philippines… Read more »


Thai military’s plan for ‘Great Firewall’ risks Internet competition, says ex-information minister

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A proposal by Thailand‘s junta for a single Internet gateway to allow authorities to monitor content would destroy competition and was reminiscent of the most authoritarian measures to stifle free speech, a former information minister said on Thursday. The plan to create a single gateway for all Internet traffic was… Read more »


Emerging Asian affluent class optimistic of achieving financial goals: StanChart

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The emerging affluent consumers across Asia and Africa are, on the whole, confident about their market’s growth prospects, expect their incomes to rise, have clear savings and spending plans, and are confident in achieving their long-term wealth goal, an independent study commissioned by Standard Chartered has found. The study took… Read more »


Blockchain-powered marketplaces: The future of private transactions

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The advent of blockchain technologies, especially the emergence of Bitcoin as a digital commodity, in addition to the other cryptocurrencies arising from it, have led to the introduction of a number of disruptions in the financial technology (fintech) and financial services (finserv) space. According to the Blockchain Wiki, the blockchain is: “…a transaction database shared… Read more »


The R-Com-Reliance Jio deal: More questions than answers

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Shares of Reliance Communications Ltd (R-Com) have risen 8% in the past two trading sessions, on hopes that the company would gain from a tie-up with Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd for sharing and trading radio spectrum. R-Com’s investors have, on numerous occasions, displayed a tendency to put the cart before… Read more »