Two Singapore-listed firms halt Malaysia operations to comply with lockdown

CNMC Goldmine Holdings said it has stopped all mining activities in Kelantan to comply with Malaysia's movement-control order from March 18 to March 31. PHOTO: CNMC GOLDMINE

SINGAPORE (THE BUSINESS TIMES) - Two Singapore-listed firms announced on Wednesday morning (March 18)a halt to their Malaysia operations to comply with the country's two-week lockdown of all businesses except shops selling food and daily necessities, to stem the rising number of coronavirus cases.

CNMC Goldmine Holdings, listed on the Catalist board, said it has stopped all mining activities in Kelantan to comply with Malaysia's movement-control order from March 18 to March 31, it said on Wednesday.

The company is assessing the impact of the halt on its business and will continue to monitor the state of health of its workers in Kelantan, it added.

CNMC, which mines and processes gold, had produced about 1,470 ounces of gold doré bars from March 1 to March 17.

Its Kelantan operations had been previously disrupted by the novel coronavirus. More than half of the company's underground mining crew for its flagship Sokor gold field were delayed in returning from Hubei after going back for Chinese New Year celebrations.

The Chinese government had initiated a lockdown for Hubei on Jan 23 to combat the spread of the virus.

CNMC's operations are principally located in Malaysia, according to its 2019 fourth-quarter earnings report.

Meanwhile, Malaysia-based developer Aspen (Group) Holdings has closed its headquarters, offices and sales galleries in Malaysia, and halted construction works for ongoing projects due to the government order, it said on Tuesday.

With regard to its business operations, its workers will continue to work from home where possible, the Catalist-listed firm added.

It will resume its business operations and construction works fully once the lockdown ends, subject to any further directive from Malaysia's government.

The temporary halt is not expected to have a material financial impact on the earnings per share and net asset value per share of the group for the financial year ending Dec 31, 2020.

However, the Covid-19 pandemic and its effects on the global and domestic economy are expected to impair the group's earnings capacity and ability to secure new sales for ongoing and new projects in the next 12 months, Aspen said.

Other Singapore-listed firms that employ Malaysians and have plants in Malaysia are also expected to be impacted by the lockdown.

CNMC shares closed down $0.01 or 6.3 per cent to $0.15, while Aspen closed down 0.1 cent or 1.4 per cent to 7.2 cents on Tuesday.

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