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Jasper deepens net losses in FY19 due to delay in China infrastructure projects

JASPER Investments on Saturday reported deepened net losses of US$664,000 for its 12 months ended March 31, 2019, from a US$25,000 net loss a year ago.

Revenue was practically completely erased, from US$257,000 in the previous year.

“The reduction in revenue was a result of the completion of management services agreements, while awaiting for the commencement of project management work in North Asia,” it said.

The company provides transportation services to the infrastructure players in the reclamation, construction and earthwork sectors.

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In giving an outlook, the company noted that oil prices have broken new multi-month highs, but the next level up may largely depend on what happens in the Sino-US trade negotiations.

"There have been conflicting reports currently; oil prices fell back on news that China was resisting US demands and digging in its heels, which the market interpreted as a bad sign for the outcome of a trade deal.

"Coupled with Brexit uncertainty weighing on Europe and UK, and new weaknesses out of Japan, slowing international macroeconomic conditions and weaker global trade growth trends continue...

"Some business leaders say it’s harder than ever to rake in profits, obviously these would cascade down to higher operational charges faced by our logistics vendors, factored into our future projects."

But it added that on the brighter side, in February this year, China’s central government authorities issued the Outline Development Plan for the Guangdong, Hong Kong, Macau and Greater Bay Areas, commencing a new phase of economic and social integration for the Pearl River Delta region.

"(In) the next 12 months, it is reasonably anticipated, curtailing any business delays, that the company will be ... a component of doing project management in this area."

Indeed, on Friday evening, it announced that it had received a formal notification to start work as project manager for logistics and transportation in connection with certain reclamation and engineering works for projects in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau bay area.

The company will be working with Barten Construction & Trading, the designated operator which will be responsible for undertaking the related logistics and transportation works.

The company has entered into a memorandum of understanding with Barten, and will sign further contracts to clarify the terms of the collaboration. 

Previously, the commencement of the various infrastructure projects were delayed mostly as a result of the time needed to meet certain legal and regulatory requirements. 

Additionally, on Saturday, it also named Chan Wai Kwong, Michael, presently the lead independent director, as the independent chairman of the board and the company with effect from May 17.

Heng Aik Yong, presently an independent director, was also appointed and redesignated as an executive director and acting CEO with effect from June 1.

With the re-designation of Mr Heng as an executive director, the composition of the board would no longer comply with the Code of Corporate Governance 2018. "The board will, in due course, appoint the requisite additional non-executive and/or independent director to ensure compliance with the code," it said.

Jasper Investments has been put on the watch list due to the minimum trading price entry criterion from December 2018.

In its recent mandated quarterly update on what it has done to meet the exit criteria of the watch list, the board said that "it has yet to come to a conclusion on the most appropriate and best course of corporate action to take".

It needs to meet the requirements within 36 months from Dec 5, 2018 to qualify for its exit from the watch list.