Low-cost labour, rising consumerism draw Singapore businesses to Vietnam
Super Group, a household brand in Singapore best known for its 3-in-1 instant coffee, has an office with about 200 employees in Sembcorp’s Vietnam-Singapore industrial park (VSIP) in Binh Duong province. The company set up its first office and plant in Vietnam in 1998, when it identified the country as one of the first overseas markets to expand its distribution of instant food and beverage products. Another Singaporean company, CEI, a contract manufacturer of printed circuit boards, began production in Vietnam in 2006, and now exports its output to markets in the United States, Europe and Asia. It currently employs 155 staff at VSIP Binh Duong.
S&P sees Singapore bond market vulnerabilities after defaults
S&P Global Ratings said that several sectors in Singapore’s bond market are vulnerable to “rising financial strain” after a number of recent defaults. Indonesia-based mobile phone distributor and retailer PT Trikomsel Oke Tbk defaulted in November 2015, followed by Hong Kong-based industrial fishing company Pacific Andes Resources Development in January. Most recently, Swiber Holdings, a Singapore-based offshore oil and gas services group, roiled the local bond market when it defaulted on its local-currency notes last month, becoming the third entity to renege on payments since November. The oil services sector is the most vulnerable, while agriculture and commodities companies and some real estate companies may also face stresses ahead, the ratings firm said in a statement Friday (Sept 16).
Great Singapore Sale not so great any more
The future of the Great Singapore Sale (GSS), which for 23 years helped cement the city’s reputation as a shopping paradise, could be in question. This comes after three consecutive years of decline in retail sales during the GSS period, despite new attempts to lure tourists and locals alike with an extended sale, more payment options and contest prizes. GSS organiser Singapore Retailers Association (SRA) is planning to discuss the direction of the annual event with the Singapore Tourism Board (STB), said SRA president R. Dhinakaran. “We need to discuss if there is a point in continuing it, or whether there is a need to reformat it,” he told The Straits Times. His comments come after the latest official sale figures confirm that efforts this year to arrest the slide have failed. The GSS this year lasted 10 weeks from June to the middle of last month.
Singapore companies take wait-and-see approach on Brexit
With little idea of how Britain’s new relationship with the European Union will look, businesses in Singapore are taking a wait-and-see approach, even as they make preparations to amend legal agreements. For now, the main impact on Singapore companies with a presence in Britain has been limited to the sterling’s depreciation – and for some, this has been a silver lining. Local property developer Oxley Holdings, which is developing the Royal Wharf waterfront project in London, said that while the sterling’s fall will affect profits, it has also prompted increased inquiries from overseas buyers since Brexit. As of the end of last month, 88 per cent of about 3,400 units at the Royal Wharf had been sold, it said. It plans to double marketing efforts in the Middle East and Asia.
Singapore Real Estate
Modernise lifts to boost safety, urges BCA
The Building and Construction Authority (BCA) is urging lift owners to modernise their lifts for greater reliability and performance. To aid this voluntary move, the BCA has drawn up a list of recommended features. These safety-improving features include a battery-powered automatic rescue device that can bring a lift to the nearest landing and open the doors if there is a power failure. Said BCA chief executive officer John Keung: “The BCA will be issuing an advisory to lift owners and the industry, and we encourage all lift owners to consider lift modernisation to further improve the standard of existing lifts in Singapore.”
Cambridge Industrial Trust to refinance term loan facility
Cambridge Industrial Trust (CIT) said on Monday it will refinance the loan facility granted by National Australia Bank as part of its prudent capital management strategy. Its manager Cambridge Industrial Trust Management (CITM) said as a result, all of CIT’s properties will be fully unencumbered, representing total portfolio value in excess of S$1.4 billion.
Indian property firm sets its sights on diaspora in Asia
The Indian diaspora in Singapore and the region is being targeted for real estate investments in the motherland by the nation’s largest listed real estate developer. Mumbai-headquartered Godrej Properties (GPL), which notched up sales of about S$1.03 billion in its latest financial year ending in March, established an international representative office in Singapore on Wednesday at One Fullerton Road at Raffles Place. “We want to provide a service to non-resident Indians and help them in their choice of residential properties in India,” said Mr Mohit Malhotra, executive director of Godrej Properties.
Views, Reviews & Forum
A good time to refinance home loans?
After the Monetary Authority of Singapore moved to fine-tune the Total Debt Servicing Ratio (TDSR), reader Scott Driscoll wanted to know if now would be a good time to refinance home loans pegged to Sibor. Would it be wiser to keep his home loan pegged to Sibor or go for refinancing, he asked. Assistant Business Editor Yasmine Yahya found the answers to these and other questions. The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) made a few changes to the TDSR framework on Sept 1 so that it would be easier for home owners to refinance now and take advantage of the low interest rates being offered.
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