Saturday, August 01, 2015

F&N versus MEHL...and also versus "F & N Bail Bond"?

F&N versus MEHL...and also versus "F & N Bail Bond"? Heh. Just kidding. So far it's really about F&N versus MEHL. And I am so looking forward to reading how the case will be decided when both party meet in court. See, the jointly appointed independent valuer has determined the fair value of the disputed Myanmar Breweries, but value it in kyat, instead of in US$ or at least, it should be made clear the value of kyat referring to which year. Sigh. What a lousy valuer, one may point out. Heh.

A long-drawn battle over Myanmar Breweries (MBL) is coming to a head, with both stakeholders preparing to face off in court.

Myanma Economic Holdings (MEHL) asked the Singapore High Court on Wednesday to force the sale of a 55 per cent stake in the brewer held by Fraser and Neave (F&N) to be completed by Aug 20.

MEHL has also filed an application for an interim injunction requiring F&N, its joint venture partner in the firm, to sell its stake for 500 billion kyat (S$540 million).

F&N is refusing to budge from its earlier position that any sale of the stake should be completed at the estimated fair value of US$560 million (S$770 million).

It insisted that the sum was determined by the jointly appointed independent valuer.

"It is our position that by choosing to refuse to complete the sale at US$560 million, MEHL has... breached its obligations," F&N said yesterday in a filing to the Singapore Exchange (SGX).

The exchange rate to be used for the deal has been a sore point between the joint venture partners.

While F&N says the 2013 US dollar/Myanmar kyat exchange rate must be used, MEHL has demanded that the deal be completed based on the official exchange rate as stated by Bloomberg on the day before the sale is closed.

MEHL's desired exchange rate would yield about US$401 million, well under what F&N is demanding.

The two firms have been at loggerheads since 2013, when F&N was taken over by parties linked to Thai tycoon Charoen Sirivadhanabha.

MEHL, which holds a 45 per cent stake in MBL, said the takeover breached the joint venture agreement, which, in turn, entitled it to buy its partner's stake.

It initiated legal proceedings and won but that triggered the dispute over the exchange rate.

An arbitral tribunal was appointed to settle the dispute over the estimated fair value of the F&N stake, which was nominated at 500 billion kyat by an independent valuer last month.

"MEHL stands ready and willing to conclude the sale and purchase of F&N's stake in MBL at 500 billion kyat within the 30-day period ordered by the arbitral tribunal," MEHL director Nay Wynn had said.

But F&N said MEH's refusal to complete the deal at US$560 million is a breach of its legal obligations. "The company has notified MEHL that it ... shall remain a shareholder of MBL," F&N said in its SGX filing yesterday.

Myanmar Brewery, which makes Myanmar Beer, Myanmar Double Strong and Andaman Gold, is the country's runaway leader, with an 83 per cent share of the beer market by volume.

Losing the MBL stake would deprive F&N of a significant growth driver and its only alcohol product as it sold its stake in Tiger Beer maker Asia Pacific Breweries in 2012 to Heineken.
From Straits Times, "F&N, Myanmar firm bound for court again over brewery stake".

Myanmar Brewery is the country’s leading beer-maker, producing popular domestic brew Myanmar Beer as well as Tiger Beer under contract.

The K500 billion valuation – US$403 million using yesterday’s exchange rate of K1240 per dollar – is for the 55 percent stake of the brewery currently held by Fraser and Neave Limited, a Singapore-based company. It comes as part of a long-running dispute with the minority owner, military-linked Myanma Economic Holdings Limited (MEHL).

MEHL won a ruling from a Singapore arbitration tribunal in October 2014, claiming its right of first refusal on the shares of Myanmar Brewery had been ignored by the sale of control of Fraser and Neave to ThaiBev in 2012. It said the sale constituted a change in ownership and therefore violated joint venture terms giving each partner first right of refusal to purchase each others’ shares before they were offered to a third party.

While the 2014 arbitration ruling decided in MEHL’s favour, it also set aside a previous valuation for the brewery and ordered the sale take place at a value determined by an independent valuer.

The valuer has determined the 55pc stake in the brewery is worth K500 billion, though the two companies disagree on what this means in dollar terms, according to statements issued by both companies yesterday. Fraser and Neave has said it would rather use an exchange rate from two years ago – when the kyat was much stronger against the dollar – while MEHL declined to specify a date for an exchange rate, though said it disagreed with Fraser and Neave’s stance.

The kyat has depreciated about 39pc against the dollar since April 2013, meaning MEHL would stand to benefit if a more recent valutation was used as it would have to pay a lower price for the majority stake in the brewery. For instance, K500 billion was worth US$560 million on Fraser and Neave’s date of April 30, 2013, while yesterday it was worth $403 million.

Fraser and Neave’s position is that any sale of the Myanmar Brewery stake should take place in US dollars based on the 2013 exchange rate. “There have been indications of a difference of opinion with MEHL on the currency and applicable exchange rate to be used for completion of the sale of the Myanmar Brewery Limited stake” it said.

MEHL said in a statement it disagrees with Fraser and Neave’s position that the sale should take place in US dollars at the 2013 exchange rate. Company officials declined to discuss the situation further when contacted yesterday.

Still, director U Nay Wynn said in the statement that the conclusion of the valuation takes the company one step closer to a final closure of an “unexpectedly long drawn process to protect our rights under the joint venture agreement with Fraser and Neave”.

“MEHL stands ready and willing to conclude the sale and purchase of Fraser and Neave’s stake in Myanmar Brewery at K500 billion within the 30-day period ordered by the arbitral tribunal.”

Myanmar Brewery has also recently faced a tightening market, as Dutch brewer Heineken and Danish brewer Carlsberg have opened this year in conjunction with local partners. Officials from both foreign brewers have acknowledged, however, that Myanmar Brewery has a significant head start.

Carlsberg said it spent $75 million on its brewery, and Heineken said it spent $60 million.
From Myanmar Times, "Myanmar Brewery stake worth K500 billion".

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Rhinocéros Cosmique at Orchard Road

Sunday, July 26, 2015

of IRCC @ Heartlands (Nee Soon GRC)

IRCC doesn't stand for Internet Relay Chat Chat (as if). It's an acronym for an "inter-racial and religious confidence circle". Wikipedia has the following to say on the primary purpose of IRCC which is to provide a regular platform for leaders of various racial and religious communities to interact and get to know one another better, in order to build confidence, friendship and trust among them. Check out the official website of IRCC here to find out more.

The poster of IRCC @ Heartlands (Nee Soon GRC)

So I came by chance this event this afternoon. Seriously, it's interesting (I like how educational the event was as it showcased information about the religions), however I reckon the event can do more in terms of publication. Just see a random shot below, there were quite a number of empty seats.

Unity in diversity is an ideal alright that we ought to strive to achieve and the same can be said for the various beliefs and religions.

And whether it does make sense to you, it rings very much the truth to me about what Khalil Gibran, a Lebanese-American artist, poet, and writer of the New York Pen League, once said:
I love you when you bow in your mosque, kneel in your temple, pray in your church. For you and I are sons of one religion, and it is the spirit.

Friday, July 24, 2015

of ComfortDelGro taxi driver man: "But there are no customers who want to ride with me. I don't know why. Could be that I am almost blind...that I can't respect a male passenger just because of his androgynous looks?!"

Overgeneralization is not fair. Really. Just ask ComfortDelGro. Because of its one insensitive taxi driver, the company has to apologize to a male passenger, Hanz Medina because the driver mocked him for his androgynous looks. Even if Hanz Medina chose to be magnanimous in accepting the apology, the damage has already been done.

In Straits Times, "ComfortDelGro apologises on behalf of taxi driver who mocked man for his looks", Hanz Medina was quoted to remark on the apology from ComfortDelGro:

"It's a very good example of excellent customer service and how fellow human beings should treat each other."

Indeed, nevertheless the image of the company has inevitably been tarnished. Try to google for 'comfortdelgro' and you'd come across the related articles to remind you of this shameful act of the taxi driver.

Reimagining Hermaphroditus & Salmacis

Taxi operator ComfortDelGro has apologised to a male passenger on behalf of one of its drivers who mocked him for his androgynous looks.

Local entertainment website reported that the incident occurred when actor and stuntman Hanz Medina hailed a taxi near Owen Street in the afternoon of July 17.

The driver did not allow Mr Medina to board the vehicle and instead made a "limp-hands" gesture towards him that implied effeminacy before driving off.

Afterwards, the cabby made a U-turn and drove past Mr Medina and repeated the same derogatory hand gesture.

Mr Medina, who is in his 20s, said he was disturbed by the discriminatory act and lodged a formal complaint with ComfortDelGro.

He wrote: "I am a man who happens to look androgynous and have my long wet hair out [but] I am not a transgender nor a transvestite."

The young man added: "No one should go through this [because of] how someone looks… This is a mental disease and outright bullying."

In its apology, the taxi operator said that it took action against the cabby and issued him an official warning for refusing to pick up a passenger while his taxi was available for hire.

ComfortDelGro also said it will monitor the driver's actions and terminate his contract if he is found to have committed other similar transgressions.
From Asiaone, "ComfortDelGro apologises for cabby's derogatory gestures towards passenger".

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Doggy 240 ... what a style! (artwork by Julien Marinetti)

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

of Remove labels this Ramadan

Check out this interesting clip, "Remove labels this Ramadan | شوف الناس بقلبك في رمضان". It was published by Coca Cola Middle East on 04/07/15 and has since gathered 11,620,736 views. Impressive!

The caption reads:

It takes just seven seconds to build a prejudice based on someone's appearance. This Ramadan, Coke invited six strangers to an Iftar in the dark. See what they discovered and how it changed the way they see the world.

Iftar, by the way, is the evening meal when Muslims end their daily Ramadan fast at sunset.