ACMF introduces Asean Green Bond Standards
Permodalan Nasional Bhd (PNB) will be adopting the Asean Green Bond Standards (AGBS), which was launched yesterday in conjunction with the Asean Capital Markets Forum (ACMF), to finance the construction of the Warisan Merdeka Tower. On Warisan Merdeka Tower project, PNB’s wholly owned subsidiary PNB Merdeka Ventures Sdn Bhd will be the first issuer in the region to adopt the AGBS. The Warisan Merdeka development, comprising three phases will include the iconic Merdeka PNB118 Tower and a retail mall, is expected to cost RM7 billion. Green financing and investment schemes is gaining strong traction and catalyse momentum in the capital markets. Asean launched the AGBS to develop a green bond asset class, helping to finance large infrastructure financing and ensure this extends in sustainable initiative. (NST Online)

Malaysia’s 2017 trade could reach RM1.6 trillion
Second International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Ong Ka Chuan is optimistic that Malaysia’s total trade could increase to between RM1.5 trillion and RM1.6 trillion this year, from RM1.48 trillion last year. RM1.3 trillion was already achieved as at September, and he was optimistic that the amount would easily supercede last year’s figure. This was largely contributed by the electric and electronic industry which made up 36.4% of exports and 30.2% of imports. Meanwhile, the first half of this year recorded RM65.4 billion approved investment in the services, manufacturing and primary sectors. (The Sun Daily)

Eco World partners Willmott Dixon to expand UK presence
Eco World International Bhd (EWI) is partnering renowned UK construction firm Willmott Dixon to jointly develop 12 sites in Greater London and the South East England. EWI announced it had inked a heads of agreement (HoA) to acquire a 70% equity interest in 11 project sites there. The sites would be able to house 6,700 residential units with a potential GDV of at least £2.5 billion (RM13.86 billion). There is also a framework agreement in place for the development of a further 1,500 units on the 12th site). EWI has an ongoing residential development in Prime Central London under another joint venture with another developer. Under the deal, EWI will also potentially acquire a 70% stake in Be Living Ltd, Willmott Dixon’s residential development business. (The Edge Markets)

Eco World is partnering with UK construction firm Willmott Dixon (Photo from NST)

Nearly RM220mil in govt funds used to recover abandoned projects
A total of 253 abandoned private housing projects, comprising 64,290 units, were reported in Peninsular Malaysia between January 2009 and Oct 11 this year. According to the Ministry of Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government, these projects are those recognised under the Housing Development (Control and Licensing) Act. 32 out of 190 completed projects were recovered using government funds, with total costs amounting to about RM219.79 million. (The Edge Markets)

OCR Land puts JV assets up for sale
The owners of OCR Land Holdings Sdn Bhd are selling five of its assets, comprising an office building, residential parcels and industrial land, located within the Klang Valley and Johor as part of measures to streamline its business. The assets could fetch up to RM200 million. None of the assets earmarked for sale is linked to OCR Land’s listed entity O&C Resources Bhd. OCR Land plans to focus on the listed entity, which has jobs in hand that will keep it busy for the next five years. (The Edge Markets)

Image from Google Play

RHB Group launches 2 new apps, including one for home loans
RHB Bank Bhd is targeting to grow is home financing portfolio by up to 10% on the back of its newly launched RHB MyHome App. The first of its kind in Malaysia, the RHB MyHome App will provide convenience of mortgage applications and documents submissions via smart devices for customers. With this app, customers will be able to apply faster and RHB will be able to deliberate the approval and disburse the funds faster. The app is not only for first home buyers, but also for secondary homes and those seeking to buy existing properties. RHB has also launched the RHB Banking-at-Your-Doorstep services, which enables new customers who have opened an RHB Smart Account/RHB Smart Account-i online to complete the process without having to visit the bank’s branches. (NST Online)

IGB REIT’s 3Q NPI up 5.5% on higher rental
Higher rental income lifted IGB REIT’s net property income (NPI) by 5.5% to RM94.3 million in 3QFY17, from a year ago, while distributable income rose 20.5% per unit. Its quarterly revenue came in 2.9% higher at RM129.6 million. IGB REIT said notwithstanding weakening purchasing power, lower forecast of retail sales growth and intense retail competition, it would continue to strengthen its performance by improving consumers’ experience in Mid Valley Megamall and The Gardens Mall. (The Edge Markets)

Cuepacs wants govt to review public service fixed allowance
The Congress of Unions of Employees in the Public and Civil Services (Cuepacs) has called on the government to consider reviewing Public Service Fixed Allowance to ease the burden of civil servants facing high cost of living. Its president Datuk Azih Muda urged the government to review the regional housing allowance for civil servants in Sabah and Sarawak that had not been revised for over 10 years. It was also suggested that the Public Sector Housing Financing Board (LPPSA) loan interest rate be reduced from 4% to 1% to enable more civil servants to own homes. (Malay Mail Online)

Penang Hill railway service closed for a month
The Penang Hill funicular (rail) service will be closed for a month for recovery and restoration work due to the extreme weather conditions since last Saturday. Penang Hill has been affected by the aftermath of the recent extreme weather conditions with 68 incidences of landslides, rock fall, fallen trees and branches along the railway track, jeep track and also on the summit area. Recovery and restoration works would focus on three main areas such as the funicular track, summit and the jeep track from the Botanic Gardens. (Malay Mail Online)

The Penang Hill funicular service will be closed for a month for repairs. (Photo from MMO)