For several years, Malaysia must have seen the changes that Thailand has made to its automotive market with some envy. Thailand has certainly become the most dynamic industry in Asia, surpassing the Indonesian and South East Asian markets. When Malaysia’s Auto Institute’s chief executive officer, Madnani Sahari, was asked his opinion about a competitive and meaningful auto sector in the nation, he expressed that the country’s auto industry is set to enter an electrifying decade of growth and liberalization, where customers not only get to see a wide variety of choices, but also enjoy them as market would be more competitive, open, and valuable.
Madnani Sahari said that the next review of the National Auto Policy is intended to form a fresh ecosystem, which will help produce local vendors in terms of operational efficiency, move towards recycling and re-manufacturing components, and other technological advancements. It also aims to attract foreign brands to invest, setting up plants for energy efficient autos. The revision of the policy is in line with the nation’s aim of achieving a high-income status by 2020.
MAI is a group under the Industry Ministry and International Trade, which was formed as the coordination and focal point center for the growth of the local auto industry. The officer clears that Energy Efficient Vehicles (EEV) aren’t just electric or hybrid, but include conventional petrol cars too. Their main intention is to lower the carbon emission levels and not to destroy petrol/diesel-powered internal combustion engines. They are also considering cleaner diesel engines. Their main aim with these vehicles is to transform Malaysia into a regional production hub for EEVs.
He said global brands are always looking at reducing carbon emission levels and enhancing fuel economy. Although Thailand has a very strong auto market, it is more focused on pickups. Hence, they are considering Malaysia over Thailand as a hub for ultra-efficient passenger cars. The original equipment makers and auto manufacturers will have to decide what technology is to be incorporated to reduce emission, making it fuel efficient. He said Malaysia will also contribute to such vehicles using international criteria and standards.
Thailand formulated its eco-vehicle program in 2007 for producing environment-friendly and energy-efficient vehicles. The cars had to meet certain criteria, like less than 120g/km emission and average fuel mileage of 20km/l. Such automakers received incentives, such as duty reduction on imported components or materials, which resulted in significant in reduction of overall production cost.
Latest Developments: Ballard Power Systems Inc. (USA) (NASDAQ:BLDP), EZCORP, Inc. (NASDAQ:EZPW), Fusion-IO, Inc. (NYSE:FIO)
Ballard Power Systems Inc. (USA)(NASDAQ:BLDP)’s shares jumped 16.57% to $4.15. The company on June 3 held the Company’s 2013 Annual General Meeting in Burnaby, British Columbia at which all of the nominees listed in the Management Proxy Circular dated April 11, 2014 were elected as directors of the Company. Each of the Ballard directors was re-elected by a majority of the votes cast by shareholders present or represented by proxy. At the Annual General Meeting Ballard’s leadership team also provided an update on the business, including: 2013 financial results; 2014 outlook; commercial progress; quality and service developments; and the recent acquisition of the intellectual property portfolio from United Technologies Corporation.
EZCORP, Inc. (NASDAQ:EZPW)’s stock fell 2.44% to $11.61. The company on June 18 announced the pricing of its $200 million aggregate principal amount of cash convertible senior notes due 2019 (the “Convertible Notes”). The Convertible Notes were offered in a private offering to qualified institutional buyers pursuant to Rule 144A under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the “Securities Act”). The Company granted an option to the initial purchasers for up to an additional $30 million aggregate principal amount of Convertible Notes. The Convertible Notes will pay interest semiannually at an annual rate of 2.125% and will be convertible solely into cash based on the applicable conversion rate at such time.
Fusion-IO, Inc. (NYSE:FIO)’s shares climbed 1.67% to $11.60. SanDisk on June 16 announced a definitive agreement to acquire Fusion-io (FIO), a leading developer of flash-based PCIe hardware and software solutions that enhance application performance in enterprise and hyperscale datacenters. The acquisition will be an all-cash transaction valued at approximately $1.1 billion, net of cash assumed. Under the terms of the agreement, SanDisk will commence a tender offer for all outstanding shares of Fusion-io for $11.25 per share in cash. SanDisk will fund the acquisition with cash available on its balance sheet.
Stocks In Focus: Oi SA (ADR)(NYSE:OIBR), Genco Shipping & Trading Limited(NYSE:GNK), Zale Corporation(NYSE:ZLC), Celldex Therapeutics, Inc.(NASDAQ:CLDX)
Oi SA (ADR)(NYSE:OIBR) stock decreased 9.05% to $1.81. Oi SA, formerly Brasil Telecom SA, is a Brazil-based holding company engaged in the telecommunication sector. The Company is primarily involved in the provision of fixed telephony services in Brazilian states of Acre, Rondonia, Mato Grosso, Mato Grosso do Sul, Tocantins, Goias, Parana, Santa Catarina and Rio Grande do Sul. Additionally, it offers a range of integrated telecommunication services, including mobile telecommunication services, data transmission and Internet service provider (ISP) services, among others.
Genco Shipping & Trading Limited(NYSE:GNK) shares fell 6.60% to $3.54. Genco Shipping & Trading Limited (GS&T) transports iron ore, coal, grain, steel products and other drybulk cargoes along worldwide shipping routes through the ownership and operation of drybulk carrier vessels. As of December 31, 2012, GS&T’s fleet consisted of 53 drybulk carriers, including nine capesize, eight panamax, 17 supramax, six handymax and 13 handysize drybulk carriers, with an aggregate carrying capacity of approximately 3,810,000 deadweight tonnages. The average age of the Company’s fleet was approximately 7.8 years as of December 31, 2012.
Zale Corporation(NYSE:ZLC) shares decreased 8.63% to $14.39. Zale Corporation, through its wholly owned subsidiaries, is a retailer of fine jewelry in North America. The Company operates in three segments: fine jewelry, kiosk jewelry and all other. As of July 31, 2012, the Company operated 1,124 specialty retail jewelry stores and 654 kiosks located mainly in shopping malls throughout the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. The Company’s fine jewelry segment consists of five brands: Zales Jewelers, Peoples Jewellers, Zales Outlet, Mappins Jewellers, and Gordon’s Jewelers The Company’s kiosk jewelry operates under the brand names Piercing Pagoda, Plumb Gold, and Silver and Gold Connection (collectively, Piercing Pagoda) through mall-based kiosks.
Celldex Therapeutics, Inc.(NASDAQ:CLDX) stock fell 6.27% to $34.41. Celldex Therapeutics, Inc. (Celldex), is a biopharmaceutical company focused on the development and commercialization of several immunotherapy technologies for the treatment of cancer and other difficult-to-treat diseases. The Company’s drug candidates include CDX-110, CDX-011 and CDX-1127. CDX-110, is an immunotherapeutic vaccine that targets the tumor-specific molecule, epidermal growth factor receptor variant III (EGFRvIII). CDX-1127 is a human monoclonal antibody that targets CD27.
Automakers unfazed by U.S. spending cuts: Ford Motor Company, General Motors Company
Spending cuts announced by the U.S. government on Friday were unable to make a dent in the confidence levels of automakers such as General Motors Company(NYSE:GM) and Ford Motor Company(NYSE:F), who expect demand for their vehicles to remain robust.
The U.S. is a nation obsessed with cars and though demand has been a bit sluggish of late due to the prolonged slowdown that the country is passing through, there has been a revival in consumer sentiment in recent months.
Automakers are determined to hang on to this optimism and not let it die away and have announced a slew of new fuel-efficient cars designed to be easier on the pockets of buyers, so far as their fuel consumption is concerned.
Despite a fall in the sales of its Lincoln brands, Ford reported its best February sales in six years.
It’s inevitable there might be a slight, slight offset, but I think the positive factors” boosting auto demand “will overcome,” Ken Czubay, Ford’s vice president of U.S. marketing, sales and service, said on a conference call.
According to industry figures U.S. light-vehicle sales in February rose 3.7 percent to 1.19 million, matching the average estimate of 10 analysts. The annualized sales rate, which is adjusted for seasonal trends, rose to 15.4 million from 14.5 million a year earlier. The average sales pace projected by 15 analysts was 15.3 million.
With Democrats and Republicans deadlocked over how to replace across-the-board cuts, known as sequestration, totalling $1.2 trillion over nine years, President Barack Obama issued an order Friday night putting the reductions into effect — $85 billion worth for the remaining seven months of the current fiscal year.