Connect with us

Top Stories

Connecting Cambodia to a Sustainable Future

Published

on

Connecting Cambodia to a Sustainable Future

Smart Axiata unveils Sustainability Report 2017

Phnom Penh, 19th October 2018: Smart Axiata presented its Sustainability Report 2017 today at Topaz, showcasing key highlights of its national socio-economic impact throughout that year to multi-stakeholders, including H.E. Tram Iv Tek, Minister of Posts and Telecommunications, various ministry representatives and development partners.

The company’s sustainability framework, in line with that of its shareholder Axiata Group, encompasses elements along four key pillars:

  • Beyond Short-Term Profits: creating long-term value through our investments as well as building inclusive products and services.
  • Nurturing People: developing world-class talent built on core values while providing a conducive workplace that encourages creativity and innovation.
  • Process Excellence: designing process improvements and governance to ensure greater operational effectiveness as well as efficiency.
  • Planet and Society: having initiatives aimed at mitigating environmental impact and its corporate social responsibility contributions to Cambodian society.

“At Smart, we recognize that we have an immense responsibility to ensure that our business grows together with our local stakeholders and communities. We continue to be transparent indisclosing our efforts while managing our long-term impact on the triple bottom line of the economy, environment and society – a testament to our long-term commitment towards sustainability while maintaining high performance,” said Thomas Hundt, Smart Axiata CEO.

In 2017 alone, Smart contributed 339 million USD to Cambodia’s national economy – this represents a significant 1.5% of the Cambodian GDP. The company also supported 52,554 jobs across its value chain.

Smart remitted 76 million USD in tax, levies and regulatory fees, whereby its tax payments alone represented 3% of total national tax income. Furthermore, Smart committed to carry out projects that drive ICT infrastructure and human resource development by utilizing its contributions of more than 6.5 million USD to the Universal Service Obligation Fund and the Capacity Building and R&D Fund.

Beyond Smart’s core business, the company continued its National Champion agenda through various CSR initiatives, notably under its Education Pillar and the new Tech Innovation Pillar. Besides doubling the SmartEdu Scholarship Program intake, the SmartStart Young Innovator Program was launched to realize digital business ideas as well as promote technopreneurship among university students.

“Smart has always taken our national responsibilities very seriously. Besides contributing to national development funds and government income, over 1% of Smart’s annual revenue is allocated for CSR programs that make significant impact at the communities in which we operate,” Thomas added.

Since its inception in 2008, the company has spent over 1.19 billion USD in capital and operating expenditure to drive the development of the Kingdom’s telecommunication and ICT sector.

Smart is also making strong inroads towards becoming Cambodia’s Digital Champion by 2020. In addition to being the first telco to launch 4.5G in 2017, Smart introduced more innovative services, locked-down new entertainment partnerships and increased its digitization initiatives. Smart also achieved a new milestone by launching the 5 million USD Smart Axiata Digital Innovation Fund, the Kingdom’s first digital venture capital fund, focused on investing in Cambodian-based digital startups.

“I am proud of our increased national contribution, business performance and societal impact. We will build on our mobile data leadership and exciting lifestyle entertainment portfolio while playing an active role in developing the Kingdom’s digital ecosystem. Our investment in, and commitment to Cambodia has continued this year and will remain strong in the future,” Thomas concluded.

Access http://smart.com.kh/sustainability-report-2017/ to download the Smart Axiata Sustainability Report 2017. For more information on Smart’s sustainability and corporate responsibility initiatives, follow Smart’s “Smart for Cambodia” Facebook page at www.facebook.com/smartforcambodia or visit www.smart.com.kh.

 

About Smart

Smart Axiata Co., Ltd., Cambodia’s leading mobile telecommunications operator, currently serves 8 million subscribers under the ‘Smart’ brand. Smart Axiata is part of Axiata Group Berhad, one of Asia’s largest telecommunications groups.

Smart is at the forefront of mobile technology advancement in Cambodia. Smart was the first network to introduce 4G LTE in 2014, 4G+ in 2016 and 4G+ with HD Voice (VoLTE) in early 2017. In mid-2017, Smart introduced cutting-edge 4.5G, manifesting its data leadership position in Cambodia. Smart also provides 2G, 2.5G, 3G and 3.75G mobile services as well as international roaming across more than 190 countries. Its extensive nationwide network coverage stretches to more than 98% of the Cambodian population.

The company is also rapidly transforming itself into a digital lifestyle brand, having introduced many innovative offerings and lifestyle entertainment value propositions. This includes various international partnerships, with brands as diverse as Universal Music, Apple, Facebook and iflix, as well as digital services including SmartLuy, Smart Insurance, SmartPay, Smart Music and SmartNas. Smart aspires to become Cambodia’s Digital Champion, while playing an active role in socio-economic growth.

The company’s workforce consists of more than 1000 local and foreign experts. Smart is committed to its customers, employees and the people of Cambodia, in delivering its promise of enriching their lives through world-class networks, exceptional digital experiences and through significant corporate social responsibility engagements.

Live. Life. Be Smart.

Top Stories

IMF lifts global growth forecast for 2021, still sees ‘exceptional uncertainty’

Published

on

IMF lifts global growth forecast for 2021, still sees 'exceptional uncertainty' 1

By Andrea Shalal

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The International Monetary Fund on Tuesday raised its forecast for global economic growth in 2021 and said the coronavirus-triggered downturn in 2020 would be nearly a full percentage point less severe than expected.

It said multiple vaccine approvals and the launch of vaccinations in some countries in December had boosted hopes of an eventual end to the pandemic that has now infected nearly 100 million people and claimed the lives of over 2.1 million globally.

But it warned that the world economy continued to face “exceptional uncertainty” and new waves of COVID-19 infections and variants posed risks, and global activity would remain well below pre-COVID projections made one year ago.

Close to 90 million people are likely to fall below the extreme poverty threshold during 2020-2021, with the pandemic wiping out progress made in reducing poverty over the past two decades. Large numbers of people remained unemployed and underemployed in many countries, including the United States.

In its latest World Economic Outlook, the IMF forecast a 2020 global contraction of 3.5%, an improvement of 0.9 percentage points from the 4.4% slump predicted in October, reflecting stronger-than-expected momentum in the second half of 2020.

It predicted global growth of 5.5% in 2021, an increase of 0.3 percentage points from the October forecast, citing expectations of a vaccine-powered uptick later in the year and added policy support in the United States, Japan and a few other large economies.

It said the U.S. economy – the largest in the world – was expected to grow by 5.1% in 2021, an upward revision of 2 percentage points attributed to carryover from strong momentum in the second half of 2020 and the benefit accruing from $900 billion in additional fiscal support approved in December.

The forecast would likely rise further if the U.S. Congress passes a $1.9 trillion relief package proposed by newly inaugurated President Joe Biden, economists say.

China’s economy is expected to expand by 8.1% in 2021 and 5.6% in 2022, compared with its October forecasts of 8.2% and 5.8%, respectively, while India’s economy is seen growing 11.5% in 2021, up 2.7 percentage points from the October forecast after a stronger-than-expected recovering in 2020.

The Fund said countries should continue to support their economies until activity normalized to limit persistent damage from the deep recession of the past year.

Low-income countries would need continued support through grants, low-interest loans and debt relief, and some countries may require debt restructuring, the IMF said.

(Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Shri Navaratnam)

Continue Reading

Top Stories

Leon Black step downs as Apollo CEO after review of Epstein ties

Published

on

Leon Black step downs as Apollo CEO after review of Epstein ties 2

By Mike Spector and Chibuike Oguh

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Leon Black said on Monday he would step down as chief executive at Apollo Global Management Inc, following an independent review of his ties to the late financier and convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.

While Black, whose net worth is pegged by Forbes at $8.2 billion, will remain Apollo’s chairman, his decision to step down illustrates how doing business with Epstein weighed on the reputation of one of Wall Street’s most prominent investment firms. Black co-founded Apollo 31 years ago.

Apollo said it plans to change its corporate governance structure, doing away with shares with special voting rights that currently give Black and other co-founders effective control of the firm.

The independent review, conducted by law firm Dechert LLP, found Black was not involved in any way with Epstein’s criminal activities. Black paid Epstein $158 million for advice on tax and estate planning and related services between 2012 and 2017, according to the review.

Black, 69, said that although the review confirmed he did not engage in any wrongdoing, he “deeply” regretted his involvement with Epstein.

“I hope that the results of the review, and related enhancements … will reaffirm to you that Apollo is dedicated to the highest levels of transparency and governance,” Black wrote in a note to Apollo fund investors. He will step down as CEO no later than July 31.

Apollo co-founder Marc Rowan, 58, will take over as CEO.

Rowan has often kept a low-key profile compared with Apollo’s other co-founder, Joshua Harris, 56, and spearheaded many initiatives that turned Apollo into a credit investment giant, including the permanent capital base the firm enjoys through its ties to reinsurer Athene Holding Ltd.

The revelations of Black’s ties to Epstein took a toll on Apollo, which Black turned into one of the world’s largest private equity groups. Apollo executives had warned in October that some investors had paused their commitments to the buyout firm’s funds as they awaited the review’s findings.

Apollo shares are down 1% since the New York Times reported on Oct. 12 that Black paid at least $50 million to Epstein for advice and services, when most of his clients had deserted him.

Over the same period, shares of peers Blackstone Group Inc, KKR & Co Inc and Carlyle Group Inc are up 19%, 10% and 23%, respectively.

“We think a large number of (Apollo fund investors) took a ‘pause’, and we believe the outcome (of the review) and changes today will cause most of them to return to allocating to future Apollo funds,” Credit Suisse analysts wrote in a research note.

Apollo shares jumped 4% to $47.65 in after-hours trading on Monday.

“We continue to follow these events closely and will evaluate how Apollo addresses its issues,” the California State Teachers’ Retirement System, one of the largest U.S. public pension funds and an Apollo investor, said in a statement.

Epstein was found dead at age 66 in August 2019 in a Manhattan jail, while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges for allegedly abusing dozens of underage girls in Manhattan and Florida from 2002 to 2005. New York City’s chief medical examiner ruled that the cause of death was suicide by hanging.

FALLING OUT

Black previously said he had paid millions of dollars to Epstein, but the exact size of his payments was revealed for the first time on Monday. Beyond the $158 million in payments, Black made two loans to Epstein totaling $30.5 million in early 2017.

Dechert said in its report that Black’s social ties with Epstein, who built his fortune by endearing himself to powerful figures in high society, went back to the mid-1990s.

Epstein won Black’s trust by resolving an estate tax issue for him in 2012 potentially worth at least $500 million, the report said. He ended up advising Black on various aspects of his personal financial affairs, from his family office and airplane to his yacht and artwork.

Black believed that Epstein provided advice over the years that conferred between $1 billion and $2 billion in value to him, according to the Dechert report. Black said in his note to investors that he had paid Epstein a fee equivalent to 5% of the value he generated on an after-tax basis, and not tied to hourly rates.

Black and Epstein’s relationship deteriorated after Epstein failed to repay $20 million of the loans and Black refused to pay tens of millions of dollars in fees that Epstein demanded, according to the Dechert report.

They severed ties in October 2018, according to the report. Black knew Epstein had been convicted in Florida a decade earlier for soliciting prostitution from a minor, the Dechert report said, but there was no evidence suggesting Black had knowledge of the other alleged crimes before they were publicly reported in late 2018, culminating in Epstein’s July 2019 arrest.

On Monday, Black pledged $200 million toward “initiatives that seek to achieve gender equality and protect and empower women,” as well as helping survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault and human trafficking.

Apollo said it would pursue a “one share, one vote” corporate governance structure that would do away with shares with special voting rights. It said the move could qualify it for listing on the S&P Global indices.

Apollo also said it would seek to give its board more authority to oversee its business, eroding the power of its executive committee led by Black.

The board will be expanded to include four new independent directors, including Avid Partners founder Pamela Joyner and physician and scientist Siddhartha Mukherjee, Apollo said. Apollo co-Presidents Scott Kleinman and James Zelter will join the board and take on increased responsibility running day-to-day operations.

Apollo had about $433 billion in assets under management as of the end of September.

(Reporting by Mike Spector and Chibuike Oguh; Additional reporting by Lawrence Delevigne and Jessica DiNapoli in New York; Editing by Sonya Hepinstall, Leslie Adler and Kim Coghill)

Continue Reading

Top Stories

EU sees no cliff-edge ending for COVID fiscal stimulus

Published

on

EU sees no cliff-edge ending for COVID fiscal stimulus 3

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – European governments will not need to abruptly end fiscal support for their economies after the pandemic, top officials said on Monday, noting that any withdrawal of stimulus would be carried out gradually and only once the economy has recovered.

Euro zone public debt rose sharply during 2020 and is likely to exceed 100% of GDP this year as governments borrow to help individuals and businesses survive lockdowns.

The higher debt raises concern about how to deal with it down the road and when to start cutting it again, since the EU last year suspended its rules limiting budget deficits and debt, known as the Stability and Growth Pact (SGP).

EU finance ministers are to discuss when to reintroduce any borrowing limits in the second quarter of this year.

“I believe it important that finance ministers debate and reach a common understanding on the appropriate fiscal stance by the summer. This can then serve as guidance for the preparation of their draft budgetary plans for 2022,” the chairman of the euro zone’s group of finance ministers, Paschal Donohoe, said on Monday.

“To avoid any misunderstanding, let me stress that this is not about an imminent withdrawal of fiscal stimulus,” he told the economic committee of the European Parliament.

“We all agree that our immediate priority is to shield our citizens, in particular younger cohorts and those most exposed to the crisis. There must be no cliff-edges,” he said.

Joao Leao, the finance minister of Portugal which holds the rotating presidency of the EU and therefore sets the agenda for EU finance ministers’ work until June, was equally cautious.

“We should not withdraw stimulus too early. We need to make sure the suspension clause for the SGP remains in force at least until we return to pre-crisis economic figures,” he told the committee. “We need to make sure jobs are maintained as well as the production capacity of companies.”

He said first cash from the EU’s 750 billion euro post-COVID economic recovery programme should reach the economy in the first half of the year.

“Real funding should be getting to the economy before the summer or in early part of the summer,” he said.

(Reporting by Jan Strupczewski; Editing by Giles Elgood)

Continue Reading
Editorial & Advertiser disclosureOur website provides you with information, news, press releases, Opinion and advertorials on various financial products and services. This is not to be considered as financial advice and should be considered only for information purposes. We cannot guarantee the accuracy or applicability of any information provided with respect to your individual or personal circumstances. Please seek Professional advice from a qualified professional before making any financial decisions. We link to various third party websites, affiliate sales networks, and may link to our advertising partners websites. Though we are tied up with various advertising and affiliate networks, this does not affect our analysis or opinion. When you view or click on certain links available on our articles, our partners may compensate us for displaying the content to you, or make a purchase or fill a form. This will not incur any additional charges to you. To make things simpler for you to identity or distinguish sponsored articles or links, you may consider all articles or links hosted on our site as a partner endorsed link.

Call For Entries

Global Banking and Finance Review Awards Nominations 2021
2021 Awards now open. Click Here to Nominate

Latest Articles

IMF lifts global growth forecast for 2021, still sees 'exceptional uncertainty' 4 IMF lifts global growth forecast for 2021, still sees 'exceptional uncertainty' 5
Top Stories4 seconds ago

IMF lifts global growth forecast for 2021, still sees ‘exceptional uncertainty’

By Andrea Shalal WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The International Monetary Fund on Tuesday raised its forecast for global economic growth in...

As COVID-19 fuels youth unemployment, Nigeria doles out jobs 6 As COVID-19 fuels youth unemployment, Nigeria doles out jobs 7
Business3 mins ago

As COVID-19 fuels youth unemployment, Nigeria doles out jobs

By Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani ABUJA (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – From hotels and schools to the navy and police force, Nigerian...

More carats and sparkle: How LVMH plans to change Tiffany 8 More carats and sparkle: How LVMH plans to change Tiffany 9
Business6 mins ago

More carats and sparkle: How LVMH plans to change Tiffany

By Francesca Piscioneri, Silvia Aloisi and Sarah White PARIS/MILAN (Reuters) – French luxury goods group LVMH plans to overhaul Tiffany...

Sunak says COVID support will be reviewed in March budget 10 Sunak says COVID support will be reviewed in March budget 11
Business11 mins ago

Sunak says COVID support will be reviewed in March budget

LONDON (Reuters) – British finance minister Rishi Sunak said he recognised the risks still being faced by companies because of...

Moonpig eyes valuation of more than 1 billion pounds from London IPO 12 Moonpig eyes valuation of more than 1 billion pounds from London IPO 13
Business14 mins ago

Moonpig eyes valuation of more than 1 billion pounds from London IPO

By Simon Jessop LONDON (Reuters) – Online greetings card retailer Moonpig Group plans to raise up to 422 million pounds...

UK retail sales gauge plunges to lowest since May - CBI 14 UK retail sales gauge plunges to lowest since May - CBI 15
Business16 mins ago

UK retail sales gauge plunges to lowest since May – CBI

LONDON (Reuters) – British retail sales have suffered their most widespread annual drop since May this month, according to a...

SoftBank telco unit rotates CEO, Son steps down as chairman 16 SoftBank telco unit rotates CEO, Son steps down as chairman 17
Banking19 mins ago

SoftBank telco unit rotates CEO, Son steps down as chairman

By Sam Nussey TOKYO (Reuters) – SoftBank Corp, Japan’s third-largest telco, said on Tuesday Chief Technology Officer Junichi Miyakawa would...

Novartis's regulatory delays add to pandemic sales hit 18 Novartis's regulatory delays add to pandemic sales hit 19
Business21 mins ago

Novartis’s regulatory delays add to pandemic sales hit

By John Miller ZURICH (Reuters) – Switzerland’s Novartis said delays of two blockbuster hopefuls – heart drug Leqvio that cost...

UK jobless rate highest since 2016 as second COVID-19 lockdown hits 20 UK jobless rate highest since 2016 as second COVID-19 lockdown hits 21
Business24 mins ago

UK jobless rate highest since 2016 as second COVID-19 lockdown hits

By David Milliken and William Schomberg LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s unemployment rate hit its highest in nearly five years in...

China, New Zealand ink trade deal as Beijing calls for reduced global barriers 22 China, New Zealand ink trade deal as Beijing calls for reduced global barriers 23
Trading26 mins ago

China, New Zealand ink trade deal as Beijing calls for reduced global barriers

By Praveen Menon and Gabriel Crossley WELLINGTON/BEIJING (Reuters) – China and New Zealand signed a deal on Tuesday upgrading a...

Newsletters with Secrets & Analysis. Subscribe Now