PNB sees higher 3Q income on improved market conditions

by ALIFAH ZAINUDDIN

PERMODALAN Nasional Bhd (PNB) recorded an 8.8% year-on-year increase in net income to RM10.1 billion for its third quarter (3Q) ended Aug 31, 2017, supported by better economic and market conditions.

The state fund manager said the positive growth of both local and global economies have allowed the majority of its strategic companies – inclusive of Malayan Banking (Maybank) Bhd, Sime Darby Bhd and UMW Holdings Bhd – to report an aggregate market value of RM29 billion, representing a weighted growth average of 19.4%.

Group chairman Tan Sri Abdul Wahid Omar (pic) said assets under management for the period under review grew by 4.2% to RM268.6 billion.

“We are pleased that we are still able to maintain PNB’s strong financial performance year-to-date amidst an environment of positive Malaysian economic growth despite a rather flat equity market during the 3Q,” Abdul Wahid told a media briefing in Putrajaya this morning.

He said apart from improved public equity performance, PNB is also expecting gains from private investment and property to be realised in the 4Q. The development indicated that PNB’s Strive-15 initiatives were progressing well and will bear fruit in the near future, Abdul Wahid added.

PNB’s optimism is further reflected in its gross domestic product (GDP) revision for 2017 to 5.3%, up from the original GDP forecast of 4.3%.

Abdul Wahid said the upward projection was driven by strong exports, with firmer domestic demand and a stronger local currency.

Despite a flat capital market during the 3Q, the FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI increased by 116 points or 7.1% year-to-date to 1,758 points, while the ringgit gained 6% to US$4.23 as at Sept 28, 2017.

“The first two quarters grew at an average of 5.7%, much faster than anticipated. We saw a positive jump in the construction sector, while services and manufacturing segments continued to improve. We expect this to drive the overall GDP this year,” he said.

Against the improved performance, PNB announced an income distribution of six sen per unit for Amanah Saham 1Malaysia involving a total payout of RM724.1 million.

The dividend for Amanah Saham Nasional Bhd’s fifth fixed price unit trust fund would benefit over 390,000 account holders who own 12 billion units.