SHARES in Pharmaniaga Bhd and Duopharma Biotech Bhd climbed this week on news that the two companies have signed separate deals with the Health Ministry to supply a total of 18.4 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine. Tightening SOPs THE Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers (FMM) told its members on Monday to take additional measures and tighten the standard operating procedures (SOPs) at their workplace and living quarters of employees to curb the spread of the Covid-19. This came as 99 out of 318 active Covid-19 clusters were traced from the manufacturing sector. FMM, however, warned that another round of full-scale lockdown, similar to the movement control order (MCO) imposed in March last year, would be devastating for the economy.Meanwhile, the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (Miti) said that the government may consider tighter SOPs to contain outbreaks, while at the same time allowing businesses to remain open. The ministry said targeted testing as well as regulating the costs of RTK-Antigen test kits to make Covid-19 testing more affordable and would be helpful for industries. But with new cases remaining high, there is growing risk that the government may extend the current MCO 2.0. In the stock market, the FBM KLCI fell below the 1,600 points level on worries that corporate earnings will take a hit from the on-going business disruptions. KPower and NEM solar project RENEWABLE energy firm KPower Bhd announced on Wednesday that was working together with Public Islamic Bank Bhd (PIBB) for the installation and financing of solar photovoltaic (PV) systems for the bank’s customers under the net energy metering (NEM) scheme. Under the latest NEM 3.0 scheme announced by the Sustainable Energy Development Authority on Dec 29, a total of 500MW quota was allocated for the period starting 2021 until 2023. “With the total solution, KPower and PIBB will be able to provide both the installation together with the financing to our customers which would eliminate the two main issues that has caused setbacks to the NEM scheme, ” said KPower group managing director Mustakim Mat Nun. He projected that the NEM business to be a key contributor to the group. KPower is eyeing to secure at least 50MW of NEM project or 10% of the quota under the NEM 3.0. This works out to between RM250mil and RM300mil worth of new projects over the next three years, according to Mustakim. Rising glove prices Hartalega Holdings Bhd posted a net profit of RM1bil in three months ended Dec 31, on rising glove prices amid acute shortage of the protective gear worldwide. The group’s pandemic production allocation, which makes up about 10% of its total capacity of 39 billion pieces, has been fully-booked until October despite the premium pricing. According to CGS-CIMB Research, Hartalega estimated that the current global shortage at around 120 billion pieces and it would take two years for the situation to ease. Hartalega highlighted that it was concerned about the aggressive expansion plans of its competitors, especially the new entrants into the glove sector. The company expects new glove makers to face various difficulties and delays in commissioning their new capacity due to the pandemic. Their lower economies of scale may also result in more expensive raw material cost, as well as environmental, social, and corporate governance-related spending. Vaccine supply deals SHARES in Pharmaniaga Bhd and Duopharma Biotech Bhd climbed this week on news that the two companies have signed separate deals with the Health Ministry to supply a total of 18.4 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine.Pharmaniaga said it would be supplying 12 million doses of the vaccine developed by China’s Sinovac Life Sciences Co Ltd, while Duopharma said it would supply 6.4 million doses of Sputnik V developed by Russia’s Gamaleya Research Institute. Pharmaniaga said it would begin manufacturing Sinovac Covid-19 vaccines in February and will deliver the bottled vaccines to identified hospitals and other healthcare facilities nationwide by April. Duopharma said its supply agreement was subject to approval from the Drug Control Authority through technical evaluation by the National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency. Aside from the agreement, Duopharma also hinted at the possibility having a local production of the Sputnik V vaccines. The company has an existing inert human vaccine “fill & finish” line at its plant in Klang and is preparing upgrades to accommodate the potential localisation of vaccine manufacturing in Malaysia. Countries such as India, South Korea, Brazil and Kazakhstan have already started localising production of the Sputnik V vaccines.
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