*****Petronas Chemicals Bhd, a unit of Malaysia’s state energy company, said it’s in talks with petrochemical firms from Asia and Europe to invest in a $27 billion oil refining and petrochemical project, sustaining hope it can find a partner after at least three previous deals fell through. Companies from Japan, South Korea, China, Taiwan and Italy have expressed interest in joining the Refinery and Petrochemicals Integrated Development, or RAPID, said Chief Executive Officer Sazali Hamzah. Earlier plans by Petronas Chemicals’ parent, Petroliam Nasional Bhd., to develop petrochemical plants at the complex in Johor with Evonik Industries AG, BASF SE and Kuokuang Petrochemical Technology Co. never materialized. RAPID was originally scheduled to start last year. It received a boost last month when Saudi Arabian Oil Co., the world’s biggest oil exporter, said it will invest $7 billion. As RAPID’s development accelerates, Petronas Chemicals plans to increase capital spending by as much as one-quarter this year and next from last year’s roughly RM4 billion ($900 million).
*****The proposal to merge the automotive businesses of Sime Darby Bhd and UMW Holdings Bhd may not be feasible because of differences and difficulties in getting the various principals of car manufacturers, according to sources. “The two operate in different segments and their principals have different views, going forward. A merger is not the best option to create value for the major shareholder due to the lack of synergistic opportunities. The focus now is more on creating efficiency and reducing complications, not the other way around,” said a source familiar with the matter. The major shareholder – Permodalan Nasional Bhd (PNB) – is keen on the restructuring of Sime Darby and UMW Holdings, primarily to boost the dividend contributions from its respective holdings.
*****Malaysia’s Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said the opening of the International Organisation of Securities Commission’s (IOSCO) Asia-Pacific Hub in Kuala Lumpur is a recognition of Malaysia’s international leadership role in building sound global capital markets. The Hub, which is IOSCO’s first hub outside its headquarters in Madrid Spain. IOSCO, established in 1983, is the leading global body of capital market regulators from both developed and emerging economies. Meanwhile, Securities Commission Malaysia Chairman, Tan Sri Ranjit Ajit Singh, said the Hub was expected to be fully operational by mid-year, with specific regulatory focus initiatives for Asia-Pacific such as capacity-building programmes and technical assistance. Today, Asia-Pacific countries contributed close to 30 per cent of global gross domestic product, that is almost doubled what it was in 1980, and together they accounted for 47 per cent of the world’s manufacturing output. By 2030, the region would account for 66 per cent of the world’s middle class and represent 59 per cent of global middle class consumption.
*****Recognising the importance of Smart Manufacturing or Industry 4.0 technologies, the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) and the Malaysian Investment Development Authority are aggressively leveraging on the presence of German investors in Malaysia that already have a strong foothold and capabilities in that area. Germany has pioneered the concept of Industry 4.0 in Europe, and started to set down new standards around it, said MITI minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed at a dialogue with members of the Malaysian-German Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MGCC). Source: Various