Prasarana: LRT3 construction won’t cost over RM9 billion
Prasarana Malaysia Bhd has assured that the construction cost for the light rail transit line three (LRT 3) project will not exceed RM9 billion, amid concerns that a weakening ringgit will push up the costs of imported material. The company’s president and CEO said that although the design of the project “will be a bit more challenging” in view of current developments, it is looking to capitalise the usage of locally available equipment to minimise direct imports. The estimated RM9 billion construction cost does not include land acquisition cost. It was announced last Friday that Malaysian Resources Corp Bhd (MRCB) and George Kent (M) Bhd would be the project delivery partner (PDP) for the LRT 3 project. (The Sun Daily)

M’sian, Aussie firms urged to start JV projects
Deputy Minister for International Trade and Industry, Datuk Lee Chee Leong has urged Malaysian and Australian companies to start joint-venture (JV) projects which can improve economic and social benefits to both countries. Lee said that it was great to see companies from the two countries partnering to develop quality projects, during the groundbreaking ceremony of the A$77mil Greenhill apartment project, which sees Malaysian developer Fajarbaru partnering with Australian developer Beulah International to build affordable homes with luxurious design. The project is 15 minutes from Melbourne’s central business district (CBD), and will house Australia’s first private dog park. (The Star Online)

Government to set up “Youth City” with job opportunities and affordable housing
The government plans to set up a “Youth City” in Tanjung Malim, Ipoh targeted to Generation Y. The city would offer job opportunities, recreational facilities and affordable housing projects for Gen Y youngsters, defined as those born in the 1980s and 1990s. Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib said that it was important to harness their potential and create a platform for them to ensure a better Malaysia, by understanding their energy, dynamism and qualities and creating a path for them to be productive. He added that conventional approach cannot be used as it will not be accepted by Generation Y. (The Star Online)

Al-Salam REIT will use IPO proceeds to buy 5 properties
Johor Corp’s (Jcorp) Al-Salam Islamic Real Estate Investment Trusts (REIT), which is expected to be listed on the Main Market of Bursa Malaysia on Sept 29, will use most of its initial public offering (IPO) proceeds to purchase five properties. Out of the sale of 252.36 million units (at RM1 per unit), the bulk of RM242.86 million to pay for the purchase of the properties, while the remaining RM9.5 million will be for listing expenses. The group expects a 6.41% yield for 2016, saying that the REIT will not be affected by current market scenario as its resilience is backed by strategic location and strong industry assets. (The Sun Daily)

Possible higher final dividend by PPB
PPB Group Bhd, which earlier declared an interim single tier dividend of 8 sen per share for FY15, may increase its final dividend if it sees higher profit contribution from its associate Wilmar International Ltd. In past years, the group declared dividends of 23 sen per share (FY14), 25 sen per share (FY13) and 20 sen per share (FY12). For 1HFY15, the group reported 28% increase in net profit from a year ago, while revenue rose 7% in the same period last year. Wilmar contributed 63% to its overall profit. Despite the property slowdown, the group has two new projects in the pipeline, namely mixed developments in Taman Megah, Petaling Jaya and New World Park in Penang. (The Sun Daily)

Companies hurt by GST, soft consumer spending
The Goods and Services Tax (GST) and the weakening ringgit are eroding consumers’ budgets in the form of higher prices, and hurting companies’ earnings in the process. Job retrenchments and companies shutting down production plants is making consumers more wary of spending. The Malaysian Consumer Sentiments Index has been declining since 2009, but touched a six-year low of 71.7 points in the second quarter (2Q15), which saw companies across various sectors posting dismal earnings, especially jewellers. Retail Group Malaysia’s latest data also recorded the biggest quarterly fall since 1998, dropping 11.9% in 2Q15 due to GST and the weaker ringgit. (The Malaysian Insider)