CCM: Sell pharmaceutical operations to subsidiary



Chemical Company of Malaysia (CCM) Bhd plans to sell six pharmaceutical units in Malaysia, the Philippines and Singapore to 73.7%-owned subsidiary CCM Duopharma Biotech Bhd for RM133.3mil.

Proceeds from the disposal would be reinvested in its subsidiary, CCM told Bursa Malaysia.
 
The rationalisation of the group’s pharmaceutical assets under CCM Duopharma would allow the company to bid for larger contracts announced by the Health Ministry, it said.
 
To pay for the acquisition, CCM Duopharma will undertake a renounceable rights issue of 139.48 million new shares at RM1.40 each, to raise as much as RM195.27mil.
 
The company has allocated RM140mil to pay for the acquisition. It will invest RM50mil to expand the group’s pharmaceutical manufacturing operations.
 
“The rationalisation is expected to improve the utilisation rate of the combined production facilities by channelling capacity of any production facility within CCM Duopharma to any under-utilised production facilities,” CCM said.
 
By subscribing to the rights issues, CCM said it would continue to participate in and benefit from the growth, potential earnings and any capacity expansion of the subsidiaries through its shareholding in CCM Duopharma.
 
The corporate exercise involves three conditional share sale agreements (SSA) between CCM Duopharma and CCM for the proposed acquisition of the entire equity interest in four companies.
 
In the first SSA, CCM Duopharma agreed to acquire CCM Pharmaceuticals Sdn Bhd and Innovax Sdn Bhd for RM17.6mil together with the cash settlement of advances due from both amounting to RM10.66mil as at Sept 30, 2014.
 
In the second SSA, it agreed to acquire CCM International (Philippines) Inc from CCM’s wholly-owned subsidiary CCM Investments Ltd for RM1,000.
 
In the third SSA, it agreed to acquire CCM Pharmaceuticals (S) Pte Ltd (CCM Singapore) from CCM’s wholly-owned subsidiary CCM International Sdn Bhd for RM2.4mil together with the cash settlement of advances due from CCM Singapore to CCM amounting to RM27,000 as at Sept 30, 2014.
 
Meanwhile, CCM Duopharma’s wholly-owned subsidiary Duopharma (M) Sdn Bhd, also entered into a conditional SSA to acquire the entire equity interest in CCM Pharma Sdn Bhd and Upha Pharmaceutical Manufacturing (M) Sdn Bhd.
 
This is for RM113.3mil together with the cash settlement of advances due from CCM Pharma and Upha Pharmaceutical to CCM amounting to RM101.1mil as at Sept 30, 2014.
 
CCM Duopharma also proposed to increase its authorised share capital from RM100mil, comprising 200 million shares, to RM250mil comprising 500 million shares.

/theSTAR28-11-2014

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Malaysia: Jumps to No 5 in IMD Talent ranking, 2014



Malaysia has jumped 15 notches over the past decade to fifth place in the latest world talent ranking based on investment and ability to attract and retain talent.

In the IMD World Talent Report 2014, that surveyed 60 countries, Switzerland, Denmark, Germany and Finland were the top four.

IMD, a top-ranked business school in Switzerland, released the report on Thursday.

“The best-ranked countries have a balanced approach between their commitment to education, investment in developing local talent and their ability to attract overseas talent,” said IMD World Competitiveness Centre director Prof Arturo Bris.

“Countries with smart talent strategies are also highly agile in developing policies that improve their talent pipeline.”

For the investment and development factor, Denmark was ahead of Switzerland (second) and Austria (third) while Germany was fourth and Sweden fifth.

Switzerland was ranked top for the appeal factor, followed by Germany, the United States, Ireland and Malaysia.

Switzerland was also rated the highest for readiness, ahead of Finland, the Netherlands, Denmark and the United Arab Emirates.

The IMD report assesses a country’s ability to develop, attract and retain talent for companies that operate there. It reflects three key factors: investment and development in home-grown talent; appeal, which is a country’s ability to retain home-grown talent and attract talent from overseas; and readiness, which reflects a country’s ability to fulfil market demands with its available talent pool. 

/PEMANDU 24-11-2014

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Health Ministry to study use of vaccine to fight dengue



The Malaysian Health Ministry will carry out an in-depth research on dengue vaccine with companies producing the drug before it is distributed in Malaysia.
 
Its Minister, Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam, said the research was needed to ensure the four dengue serotypes could be effectively treated by the vaccine.

He said research had shown that the vaccine did not have the same effect on the four dengue serotypes. “The effects of the vaccine on serotype DEN 2 were below satisfactory, compared with the other serotypes.”

However, he said, the vaccine was effective in reducing the number of patients who were hospitalised and lowering the severity of the disease.

“In Thailand, tests were conducted on those aged 18 and below. But we must understand that in Malaysia, most dengue deaths occured among those aged between 25 and 30.

“This is why we need to conduct a wider research before deciding to use vaccination as a method to fight dengue.”

He said there were 21,900 dengue cases in 2012 with 35 deaths; 43,340 cases last year with 92 deaths; and 74,335 cases as of September 20, 2014 with 143 deaths.
/NewStraitsTimes 27-11-2014
 

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Papaya leaf extract: A supportive treatment to Dengue recovery process ?



The Institute for Medical Research (IMR), in a circular to state health directors recently, revealed that clinical research on papaya leaves had shown that its extract could help increase the blood platelet count of dengue patients.

The circular, dated Sept 19, also stated that IMR would soon share its findings and distribute pamphlets detailing the correct preparation and use of the extract for dengue patients to government hospitals and clinics.

 Health  Director-General Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said papaya leaf extract had increased blood platelet count and could assist in the recovery of patients with fewer complications.

“The damage from a dengue infection, however, could be more than a platelet count issue, such as blood plasma leakage or dengue shock syndrome, in which dangerously low blood pressure could occur,” he said.

It was earlier reported that a study, led by Dr Soobitha Subenthran and a team from IMR Kuala Lumpur, had found that Carica papaya leaf extract could assist in increasing blood platelet count.

The researchers conducted clinical trials on 288 dengue fever and dengue hemorrhagic fever patients, in which half were given the extract for three days while the remaining received standard dengue treatment.

The two groups were constantly monitored and their blood platelet count checked every eight hours for 48 hours. It was found the group that was administered the extract showed a significant increase in their platelet count.

It was also reported that those intending to take the extract should consult a doctor first before doing so. Once cleared by a certified health specialist, they can start taking two tablespoons a day for a maximum of three days.

The right method of extracting papaya leaf juice includes using mature leaves and washing the leaves thoroughly before soaking them in water for 15 minutes. The leaves are then either blended or pounded and filtered using a sieve.

/New Straits Times 02-10-2014

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IMF: Malaysia's Deficit Could Dip Below 3 Per Cent With Fuel Subsidy



With fuel subsidy locking in the impact of lower oil prices, Malaysia's deficit could decline below 3% of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2015, said the International Monetary Fund.

Its Mission Chief for Malaysia, Alex Mourmouras said the overall fiscal strategy should bolster equality, with budgeted cash transfers tightly targeted at low-income groups.

"The mission welcomes the move toward performance-based budgeting, and the plans to introduce accrual accounting," he said in a statement today.

Mourmouras led the IMF team to Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya on Nov 13-24, 2014 to conduct discussions for the 2014 Article IV Consultation with Malaysia. Under Article IV of the IMF's Articles of Agreement, the IMF holds bilateral discussions with its members, usually every year.

Mourmouras said the current account surplus is projected to rise to about 5.0 percent of GDP in 2014, as import growth has slowed and supported by a modest recovery in external demand.

"The mission commends the authorities for taking significant steps to strengthen the resilience of the Malaysian economy, while maintaining macroeconomic stability," he added.

He said measures such as the removal of fuel subsidies and the introduction of a goods and services tax (GST) are decisive moves that should help ensure the sustainability of government finances.

Mourmouras added that the measures also allow more spending aimed at promoting sustainable and equitable medium-term growth.

He also noted that Bank Negara Malaysia's proactive policies, including a series of measured controls on bank lending and an increase in its policy rate last July, have helped contain inflationary pressures and address financial imbalances.

Malaysia's near-term growth prospects also remain strong, with real GDP growth in 2014 projected at close to 6.0 per cent, while private domestic demand is expected to remain robust.

"A moderate increase in inflation is expected in 2015 following GST implementation but subdued underlying inflationary pressures will mitigate its impact," said Mourmouras.

He added that Malaysia's recent strong economic growth, high investment and improvements in business environment scorecards were impressive.

However, he said, lower potential growth in the advanced economies makes maintaining the growth performance more challenging and provides an additional imperative for structural reforms.
/Bernama 26-11-2014

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IHH: Profit for Q3 rises 25.5% to RM147mil



IHH Healthcare Bhd’s net profit for the third quarter ended Sept 30 jumped 25.5% to RM146.91mil on the back of higher inpatient volumes, revenue intensity and contribution from new hospitals.

Revenue increased 6.71% to RM1.78bil. Earnings per share (EPS) improved to 1.8 sen from 1.44 sen previously.
 
For the nine-month period, net profit was up 28.4% to RM515.06mil on the back of an 8.6% jump in revenue to RM5.41bil. EPS increased to 6.31 sen from 4.95 sen.
 
The group maintained a strong balance sheet, with net gearing at 0.10 times and cash balance of RM2.15bil as at Sept 30.
 
Parkway Pantai, the group’s largest operating subsidiary, reported a 10% growth in revenue to RM1.08bil and an 11% increase in operating profit to RM269.3mil for the third quarter, primarily due to the continued ramp up of Mount Elizabeth Novena Hospital in Singapore. This was despite the raising of nurses’ salaries, start-up losses recorded for the newly opened Pantai Hospital Manjung and pre-operating expenses for Gleneagles Hong Kong Hospital.
 
As for its Turkish healthcare provider, Acibadem Holdings, revenue increased 1% to RM616.6mil while operating profit fell 2% to RM89.2mil. Top-line growth was driven by strong performance at its existing hospitals, the continued ramp up of Acibadem Ankara Hospital and Acibadem Bodrum Hospital, as well as revenue contribution from the newly-opened Acibadem Atakent Hospital.
 
IHH expects higher staff costs and other inflationary pressures to affect the group for the rest of the year, but will take mitigating action through price adjustments while improving operating leverage.
 
“The group’s diverse geographical footprint also makes it susceptible to currency volatility. As such, IHH continues to monitor and minimise currency risks proactively.
 
Barring unforeseen circumstances, the group is confident about achieving earnings growth for the year ahead,” it said. 

IHH Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer Dr Tan See Leng said the better performance reflected the robustness of the strategy to expand in high growth markets, while optimising existing operations and bringing new hospitals onstream quickly. "We remain in a strong financial position to drive our phased pipeline of projects going forward," he said.

On prospects, Chairman Tan Sri Dr Abu Bakar Suleiman said the group remained positive on the attractive growth prospects of the industry, and its ability in creating value for shareholders.
/
/theSTAR/Bernam 26-11-2014

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Indonesians: Top healthcare tourists to Malaysia



Indonesians topped the list of healthcare tourists to Malaysia last year, making up 56.76% of the foreigners seeking treatment at private hospitals here.

Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam said 437,157 Indonesians came to Malaysia last year, among the total of 770,134 healthcare tourists.

The second largest group of healthcare travellers were from India (27,146), followed by Japan (22,294) and China (21,010).
 
Other foreign patients included those from Libya (18,912), United Kingdom (17,033), Australia (13,383), the United States (12,349), Bangladesh (11,911) and the Philippines (10,560).

There are, up to September 2014, 95 foreign medical specialists serving in Malaysia of which 18 are women. The Specialists include 14 opthalmologists, 11 O&Gs, 14 General Surgeons and others  specialising in orthopaedics, internal medicine and paediatrics.

 /theSTAR 13-11-2014


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ASEAN Economic Community (AEC): Malaysia takes over the Chair on 1st January 2015



Malaysia, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak will assume the ASEAN chair on Jan 1, 2015 The chair of the Asean Business Advisory Council (Asean BAC) will also be handed to Malaysia, to Tan Sri Dr Munir Majid, the current chairman of the Malaysian chapter of the Asean BAC, on Jan 1, 2015

Being the chair next year, Malaysia is tasked with sheperding the regional grouping to a significant milestone in its 47-year history, the formation of the Asean Economic Community (AEC), which comes into being on Dec 31, 2015.
 
Malaysia has chosen the theme “A people-centric Asean” for next year but not much is known as yet about what programme or plans will flow from this theme. What is known is that Malaysians have the lowest levels of awareness of Asean matters among the regional grouping’s citizens, according to findings carried out by the Asean Foundation.
 
The findings belie Malaysia’s trade links with her neighbours. Trade with Asean has risen by leaps and bounds, with members accounting for 28.1% of exports last year while they accounted for 26.7% of Malaysia’s imports.
 
Economic integration is the best way forward to deeper regional ties with the AEC being one of three pillars forming the Asean Community. In fact, given that the region already has deepening trade and investment ties, the AEC will pave the way for integration under the Asean Political Security Community and the Asean Socio-Cultural Community pillars.
 
The AEC envisions a single market and production base, a highly competitive economic region, a region of equitable economic development, and a regional economy fully integrated into the global economy.
 
“Its not going to be perfect, which is likely to be the case, and while there has been genuine progress in economic integration, there’ll be shortfalls and at the same time there’ll be new initiatives to drive the AEC forward,” Munir says, referring to the Dec 31, 2015 deadline.
 
Even where agreements have been signed, there will still be obstacles as signatories have to amend legislation and that takes a long time. Munir says the reality is that the enabling legislation in the domestic jurisdiction is not always followed through. Indeed, observers say that Asean needs to be restructured to be more nimble in carrying out its duties to integrate the region.
 
While barriers for trade in goods are almost all gone, there are still non-tariff barriers to contend with. Also, not all sectors and industries are opened to foreign investment. Malaysia’s automotive industry comes to mind.
 
Furthermore, progress on the economic integration blueprint, which uses a scorecard system to chart compliance, does not give the full picture of realities on the ground. Critics argue that this is an imperfect system. One critic notes that the scorecard does not assess how well or effectively obligations are being implemented, it just assesses whether these regulations are in place.
 
Munir says while the scorecard has its uses, the Asean private sector prefers to know more about immediate concerns such as how to operate in different jurisdictions.
 
“For example, I’m interested in the banking/financial services industry and its operating environment,” Munir, who is also Bank Muamalat Malaysia Bhd chairman, says. He prefers to see Asean integrate project by project and sort out the issues as they come up. “If you go on the basis of having everything in place first (the enabling legislation), nothing will get done. Build around these projects, solve the problems arising from these projects, then percentages of compliance doesn’t matter anymore,” Munir says.
 
He adds that when benefits of working across borders are seen for a project, there will be more momentum for integration.
 
/theSTAR 08-11-2014
 
 
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WHO warns of severe dengue outbreak



While the Ebola threat has captured headlines, the World Health Organization (WHO) warns that dengue - while far less lethal - has become one of the fastest-growing global health threats, contracted by 50-100 million people each year.

"The increase in dengue incidence and severity of the outbreaks is a global phenomenon, with a 30-fold increase over the past five decades," said Ahmed Jamsheed Mohamed, a doctor in the WHO's South-East Asia office, adding that eradication is "not seen as feasible in the near future".
 
The disease is transmitted by the Aedes aegypti mosquito and causes debilitating flu-like symptoms, headaches, rashes and severe muscle and joint pains that earned its original name "breakbone fever". 
In serious cases, internal bleeding, organ damage and death can occur. 

While Ebola has killed nearly 5,000 people this year, mainly in west Africa, with an estimated 13,000 infections, dengue kills up to 20,000 annually, and 40% of the world's population live in dengue-risk areas.

Endemic to warm, humid zones, dengue's range may also be spreading as infected travellers transport the virus and - scientists believe - as global warming expands the Aedes aegypti's range.

Japan this year experienced its first domestic outbreak in seven decades, while in the United States dengue remains rare but growing.
 
"Climate change may also affect transmission, as dengue mosquitoes reproduce more quickly and bite more frequently at higher temperatures," Ahmed said.
 
There is no vaccine or specific treatment.
 
Dengue spreads via the bite of an Aedes aegypti that previously bit an infected person, making it difficult to control in densely populated tropical cities where standing water is common.

Kuala Lumpur and its environs have been the epicentre of a Malaysian outbreak that has filled some hospitals to capacity and become the top public health concern, with residents trading advice on home remedies - crab soup, coconut milk and papaya leaf juice are currently in vogue. 

Malaysian cases have topped 85,000 through the end of October, tripling compared to the same period last year. Deaths also have tripled to around 150.

Hapless officials have faced mounting pressure as the numbers climb despite campaigns to eliminate standing-water mosquito breeding sites, and copious fumigation.

Elsewhere, Indonesia saw 121,000 cases in 2013, up 30%, with 871 dead. The virus is spreading from urban to rural areas.  "This is a new trend we have seen in the past five years," health ministry official Soewarta Kosen said, adding rural health systems were unprepared. 

Dengue also is up in southern China, according to media reports there, and has reappeared in Hong Kong after a few years' absence. 

Brazil leads Latin American infections with seven million since 2000. Some 800 have died in the past five years. 

Brazil, Vietnam, Indonesia and Australia have released genetically engineered mosquitoes whose offspring are sterile in hopes of controlling the Aedes aegypti, but the method's efficacy remains unconfirmed. 

Dengue has four strains, and infection with a particular one leaves patients immune to that variety in future. But it also is believed to make some more susceptible to the other three, including a fast-growing strain with more severe symptoms and higher death rate that is gaining ground in Malaysia.

Most dengue patients are hospitalised on IV drips and monitored as blood platelet counts drop, which can lead to dangerous internal bleeding. The majority recover within two weeks, but symptoms can persist.
 
Development of effective drugs has been elusive, but after 20 years of research French drugmaker Sanofi says it is nearing completion of a vaccine it hopes to make commercially available late next year.
 
A National University of Singapore team, meanwhile, is among those working on a possible drug to treat dengue. The researchers say they have managed to isolate dengue antibodies, and hope to start clinical trials in 2016.

/theSTAR 09-11-2014


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Poor Manager, Poor Performance



I was appalled and taken aback when experienced senior Managers are reluctant to take up new challenges. I just could not understand.

The Manager concerned is either complacent or too comfortable in his present state that he is happily languishing in his existing position, waiting to be shipped out.

Management should view this sad state of affair with great concern with corrective action taken.

Direct reports would either be of the same state of mind and performance as the Manager, or be frustrated or waiting for another job opportunity to move on ... Whatever it is, the Company would suffer with low performance as a result. This personality are the retardant and hindrance to Company growth to having a high performance culture!

An immediate solution would be to counsel and motivate the Manager to take corrective action and having the right attitude towards performance, otherwise disciplinary measures would be taken with the ultimate end-point of dismissal.

If there is a need, Job Scope must also be reviewed. If there is an absence of same, it must be drawn up for the Manager. It should be explained to him in order for him to understand and put into practice his role and expectation as a Manager and as a leader. If he lacks knowledge or skill he should be trained, retrained or be given a lesser role if he is not able to cope with the job.

KPIs on performance and leadership must be identified and be in place. Penalty and reward will be embedded with the KPIs.

Company must be serious in the performance of its staff particularly the leadership.

 /05-11-2014

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Dengue: DPM chairs National-level Committee Meeting On Dengue



The Deputy Prime Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin chaired the Meeting of the National-Level Committee on Dengue in efforts to implement more effective measures to tackle the increase in dengue fever cases in the country.

The Deputy Prime Minister was accompanied by Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S.Subramaniam at the meeting held in Parliament House, here, which among others involved various parties including the state governments, local authorities and other agencies.

On July 1, 2014, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak announced the formation of a special task force to tackle the public concern on the rising cases of dengue fever throughout the country lately.

The task force, led by the Deputy Prime Minister, also comprised ministers from the Health Ministry, Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government Ministry and the Works Ministry.

The rise in the number of dengue cases was due to various factors such as dirty environment, the changing stereotyped dengue virus, human movement factor, changing weather as well as urbanisation.

Thus, the formation of the Task Force would assist the Health Ministry in tackling various issues on dengue which were outside their jurisdiction such as garbage management, building site management involving contractors or developers, building structures that had turned into Aedes breeding ground and unmaintained drainage system.

/Bernama 04-11-2014  

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Sanofi Pasteur: Announces Dengue Vaccine available by 2H, 2015



The world’s first dengue vaccine is in production, and could be available as early as the second half of 2015, says French drug maker Sanofi Pasteur.

It said in a statement that a second late-stage clinical study showed 95.5% protection against severe dengue and a reduction of hospitalisation risk by 80.3%.

Sanofi Pasteur, the vaccines division of multinational pharmaceutical company Sanofi, announced the detailed results of the final landmark Phase III clinical efficacy study in Latin America in The New England Journal of Medicine.

The company said the overall efficacy against any symptomatic dengue disease was 60.8% in children and adolescents nine to 16 years old who received three doses of the vaccine.

The study was conducted on over 31,000 participants across 10 endemic countries in Latin America and Asia, including Malaysia.

Dengue is endemic in over 100 countries, making it a threat to nearly half of the world’s population. One person is hospitalised for dengue every single minute.

Sanofi has spent the last 20 years developing the vaccine that is several years ahead of potential competitors.
/Bernama 04-11-2014

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Budget airline, NOT really Budget !



I had my first experience flying a budget airline recently. This was for a short trip, a week, to Australia.

I had heard of the discomfort in travelling due to the rigid immobilised seat and the short leg room, for long distance, which proved to be true. Sure enough, I had difficulty in stretching my legs and inclining my chair to a comfortable slant.

However, as I was mentally prepared to expect the "worse" I was not totally disappointed!

I learnt a few lessons from this airline in maximising its space within the small confine of the plane and its ability to make good profit.

The price for the ticket was deemed low but NOT so if the other "incidental" costs were added into the price of the ticket.

The seats "opened" for booking were not well located as they were either far behind into the tail section of the plane or very near to the toilets. To have a "nearer to the front of the plane seats" and slightly away from the toilets, we need to pay for "extra charge".

The budget plane, to my surprise, as I had confessed I had never paid any detail attention to the business model of the budget airline, had a "business class with state-of-the art business class seats" - of course at higher ticket price!

Then, it had a "silent compartment" for another price.

For a seat behind the "silent compartment" with longer leg room or near the emergency door, or other "hot seats", one has to pay an extra "loading rate" as well.

Then there is no free meals. For long distance travel, unless one is on a hunger strike, one has to purchase food from the airline, which is not cheap.

Hmmm... this is not the end, other than the minimal  check-in baggage allowed, one has to buy extra luggage weight!

All adds up ... not cheap ticket ... and then the long distance to walk to the sky bridge to board the plane ... would I travel with a budget airline again for long haul? I have to think again ...

However, if a traveller has no high expectation, and is easily satisfied, the airline ticket, to get you from point A to B, is indeed very economical!

/01-11-2014

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