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Stocks to watch: NOL, Noble, Sembcorp Industries, Breadtalk
NEPTUNE Orient Lines (NOL) announced after the close of market on Tuesday that it has entered into a sale-and-purchase agreement to divest its logistics business, APL Logistics, to Japan's Kintetsu World Express for US$1.2 billion. Net proceeds from the sale will be used to strengthen NOL's financial position as well as repay borrowings. NOL also said that divesting its logistics arm would allow it to focus on improving its liner shipping business.
Commodity trading firm Noble Group has hit back at Iceberg Research's allegations, saying that its financial results are reported in line with International Financial Reporting Standards. It also stressed that its 2013 financial statements had been audited by Ernst & Young, which issued unqualified opinions. This comes after Noble's market value fell some S$1.05 billion over Monday and Tuesday. On Sunday, newcomer Iceberg had published a report which singled out Noble's treatment of certain companies as associates, saying this "grossly overstated" the value of these companies. The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) said it was reviewing Iceberg's report that claimed Noble used aggressive accounting to mislead investors. "MAS will take appropriate action if there are breaches of the SFA," it said in an email to Reuters, referring to the Securities and Futures Act.
Rig builder Sembcorp Industries on Tuesday reported a 7.5 per cent rise in net profit to S$240.62 million, boosted by higher contributions from its utilities businesses overseas. This was despite turnover falling 10.4 per cent to S$2.66 billion on the back of lower revenue recognition for rig-building projects. For the full year, profit was down 2.4 per cent to S$801.1 million while revenue edged up one per cent to S$10.89 billion. A final dividend of 11 Singapore cents per share was proposed for the quarter.
F&B group Breadtalk posted a 30.8 per cent drop in profit to just under S$3.85 million for the fourth quarter ended Dec 31, 2014, on the back of weaker demand across all markets. Stiff competition and high costs in Singapore also put downward pressure on profit margin. Revenue for the quarter, however, climbed 5.3 per cent to nearly S$155 million.