Grassroots leader wants to sell unit at double the price after demolishing illegal hidden floor

Last week (27 Sep), it was reported in the media that the company, ZACD Investments, which earlier constructed an illegal hidden storey floor inside its penthouse unit at The Alexcier in Alexandra Road, has demolished the floor and put the unit up for sale.

ZACD Investments is now asking a cool $4.2 million for its 10,506 sq ft unit. It was reported that the penthouse unit now only has 16 years of lease left. Industry sources revealed that the asking price, at $400 psf, is about double what the company paid for in 2006 at $212 psf.

The company was caught by authorities for illegally constructing an extra hidden floor on top of its 8th floor penthouse unit earlier this year, thanks to a whistleblower.

Living spaces found on secret hidden floor

The hidden ninth floor was found to have various living spaces with workstations, beds, a kitchen and a meeting room. In fact, it’s so secretive that to get there, people will have to enter through an office pantry on the 8th floor, key in a password at the door, which was disguised as a display shelf, before going up a flight of stairs to reach the 9th floor.

ZACD Investments comes under the ZACD Group which was founded by Stanley Yeo Choon Guan. At the time when the illegal construction was exposed, Yeo told the media that it’s not a floor.

He said, “It’s not an additional floor. It’s a racking system (shelving storage system). We built it 4 to 5 years ago for storage purposes. It’s only about 3,000 to 4,000 sqf.” However, inspection by SCDF officers showed that, unlike a racking system, it is constructed like an enclosed floor with interior fittings.

People interviewed at the building said they saw foreign workers taking the cargo lift to the 8th floor late at night. Even security guards were suspecting that foreign workers were living there because they were told to let these people into the building late at night. But Yeo insisted that no one was living in the unit. When asked about the furniture and beds found on the hidden floor, he said they were previously used in his company showroom. As for the workstations, he said he had moved them there from the 8th floor after his company’s IT system was “hacked”.

Stanley Yeo is a grassroots leader at Tampines

Check on the National Day Award site shows that Yeo is the Vice-Chairman of Tampines North CCC (Tampines GRC), who was awarded the Public Service Medal in 2015:

According to the Tampines Town Council’s website, Mr Yeo was appointed a member of the town council for a term of two years with effect from 1 October 2017.

In an article published in LinkedIn in Nov last year, it listed him as the Chairman of Tampines North Citizens Consultative Committee, which meant he has been promoted by the People’s Association.

In the article, Mr Yeo described himself as a “disciplined risk taker”. He said, “To do well in business, you need to know when to take calculated risks and when not to dive in recklessly.”

 

The post Grassroots leader wants to sell unit at double the price after demolishing illegal hidden floor appeared first on The Online Citizen.

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Better Buy: iQiyi vs. Netflix

Man considering whether to sell or buy

We’re streaming more video than ever, and that’s a leisurely pursuit that is only going to get more popular through the next few years. iQiyi (NASDAQ: IQ) has the Chinese market on lock with 100.5 million largely paying subscribers on its rolls. Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX) is the global leader with 151.6 million premium streaming memberships worldwide. Both platforms are growing their audiences at a heady clip. iQiyi’s audience has ballooned 50% over the past year, with Netflix growing its rolls at a respectable 22% pace.

Despite being the leaders in a booming niche, iQiyi and Netflix aren’t the hot stocks they were last summer. Although both stocks peaked in June of last year, shares of iQiyi and Netflix have gone on to plummet 65% and 38%, respectively. Each company has unique concerns right now, but both are compellingly priced given their leadership roles in a market that’s only trending higher in usage. Let’s see which of the two out-of-favor stream queens deserves to be royalty in your portfolio.

Stream control

With Netflix weighing in at a market cap of roughly $115 billion and iQiyi at less than $13 billion, the latter may seem to offer investors more bang for their brokerage buck. If Netflix has just a little more than 50% of the paying subscribers iQiyi does but is selling at 10 times the price, is this a battle even worth debating? Yes. There is more to this bout than subscriber counts.

iQiyi premium accounts are paying a lot less than Netflix’s worldwide average. In fact, when you add up all of iQiyi’s revenue — since membership revenue accounts for half of its business, as it’s also available as an ad-supported platform for freeloaders and engages in content distribution — the $3.9 billion that it has recorded over the past four quarters is less than a quarter of the $17.6 billion in revenue that Netflix has racked up in the same period.

Netflix is also profitable, something that analysts don’t see happening at iQiyi until 2022 at the earliest. A lack of profitability and China’s tightly regulated ways are weighing on iQiyi’s stock these days. Revenue growth has also decelerated sharply at iQiyi.

Another factor keeping iQiyi as a broken IPO is that investors are mostly steering clear of Chinese growth stocks as the trade tariff war with the U.S. plays out. It can be argued that iQiyi’s model itself is relatively immune to the actual trade fisticuffs, but with China’s economy slowing as a result of the discord, folks are staying away from consumer discretionary stocks in the world’s most populous nation.

Netflix also has its challenges. The stock is being held back by a glut of big-name competition that will be launching in the coming months, with its two largest rivals coming to market in November at far more aggressive pricing than analysts were expecting. Netflix is starting to seem pricey as a service relative to the new platforms. It also doesn’t help that Netflix fell well short of its second-quarter subscriber growth guidance this summer. It reports again in a few weeks.

And the winner is…

I own Netflix, and I’ve been vocally supportive of iQiyi. I think both stocks will beat the market off of today’s depressed prices. However, given the near-term challenges for Netflix and the high ceiling for the faster-growing Chinese company, I’m going to go with iQiyi as the better buy here.

This article was originally published on Fool.com.
All figures quoted in US dollars unless otherwise stated.

Amazon CEO Shocks Bay Street Investors By Predicting Company “Will Go Bankrupt”

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos recently warned investors that “Amazon will be disrupted one day” and eventually “will go bankrupt.”

What might be even more alarming is that Bezos has been dumping roughly $1 billion worth of Amazon stock every year…

But Bezos isn’t just cashing out, he’s reinvesting his money into a company utilizing a fast-emerging technology that he believes will “improve every business.”

In fact, this tech opportunity could be bigger than bigger than Amazon, Tesla, and Berkshire Hathaway combined.

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Rick Munarriz owns shares of Netflix. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Netflix. The Motley Fool recommends iQiyi. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

This article was originally published on Fool.com.
All figures quoted in US dollars unless otherwise stated.

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TOC editor-in-chief files defence against PM Lee’s defamation suit

The Online Citizen‘s editor-in-chief Terry Xu has filed his defence against Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s defamation suit on Fri afternoon (27 Sep).

Following Mr Xu’s refusal to take down an article published on TOC titled “PM Lee’s wife, Ho Ching weirdly shares article on cutting ties with family members” and issue an apology for the post as set out in the letter of demand from the Prime Minister’s Office on 1 Sept, a writ of summons was served by PM Lee to Mr Xu on 5 Sep.

The writ of summons was sent with a statement of claim by Davinder Singh Chambers LLC on behalf of PM Lee, which alleged that the article contained statements that are false and baseless, and that it was intended disparage and impugn PM Lee as well as his office as the Prime Minister.

Mr Xu in his initial response to the demands by Mr Lee, maintained that “the contents of the article constitute fair comment”, as TOC was “merely republishing the words uttered by” PM Lee’s siblings Mr Lee Hsien Yang and Dr Lee Wei Ling.

“I am of the opinion that the contents of the Article are not defamatory,” he added, particularly “in light of the public statements emanated from members of your own family, who, presumably, would have been privy to the events that the article refers to, and the issues of public interest that arise”.

However, he apologised for any possible misinterpretation that may arise from the article, in relation to the timing and reason behind Mr Lee’s removal as an executor in the will of the late Mr and Mrs Lee Kuan Yew.

Commenting further on the ongoing legal dispute between himself and PM Lee, Mr Xu who is self-represented said: “The Prime Minister has expressed through his press secretary to the media that he is willing to testify in court along with his siblings if the trial proceeds.

“I, therefore, look forward to meeting the Prime Minister in court,” he added.

The pre-trial conference is due to take place on 15 Oct at 9.30am.

The post TOC editor-in-chief files defence against PM Lee’s defamation suit appeared first on The Online Citizen.

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US academic denied Hong Kong entry after Congress testimony

An American academic on Saturday said he was denied entry into Hong Kong days after he testified in a Congressional hearing alongside prominent democracy activists from the strife-torn semi-autonomous Chinese city.

Dan Garrett said he was turned away after landing on Thursday for “unspecified immigration reasons” — something he said was a first in twenty years of travelling to and living in Hong Kong.

The week before Garrett had appeared in Washington before the Congressional Executive Commission on China (CECC) alongside prominent Hong Kong activists, including outspoken Cantonese popstar Denise Ho and former student leader Joshua Wong.

The speakers, including Garrett, painted a picture of rapidly eroding freedoms in the international finance hub which has been battered by nearly four months of huge, sometimes violent pro-democracy protests.

The hearings — coupled with a proposed bill in Congress aimed at defending civil rights in Hong Kong — have sparked a furious response from Beijing which has accused Washington of being a “black hand” behind the protests.

Reached for comment on Saturday about why he might have been denied entry, Garrett, who has a PhD and has written a book on Hong Kong, said he was about to board a flight.

“But yes, I think it was related to the CECC testimony and some other things possibly,” he told AFP in a brief message without elaborating further.

Scott Flipse, a spokesman for the CECC, said Garrett’s passport had been “flagged, because he immediately attracted attention going through immigration.”

“He was told he could come back in the future but not right now,” he added.

Hong Kong’s government refuses to comment on individual immigration cases or give reasons for an entry denial.

Under a deal signed with Britain ahead of its 1997 handover, China agreed to let Hong Kong keep unique freedoms that are denied to its citizens on the mainland for 50 years.

But many in Hong Kong fear those liberties are being steadily eroded by Beijing, fuelling years of growing protests including this summer’s historic rallies.

The city maintains significant academic freedom compared to the mainland.

But Garrett grows a growing list of openly critical academics, researchers, politicians and activists who have been denied entry in recent years.

Last year Financial Times journalist Victor Mallet was denied a visa renewal without reason after he hosted a talk with the leader of a small and now banned independence party at the city’s press club.

He was denied entry on a subsequent visit weeks later.

The year before, British human rights activist Benedict Rogers was denied entry.

Prominent survivors of the Tiananmen crackdown as well as Beijing critics from Taiwan used to have little trouble travelling to Hong Kong.

But in recent years they have been denied entry with increased frequency.

– AFP

The post US academic denied Hong Kong entry after Congress testimony appeared first on The Online Citizen.

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Village Farms International (TSX:VFF) Is Growing Faster Than This Stock

potted green plant grows up in arrow shape

Last quarter was all about sales and cost of production for the leading cannabis companies on the Toronto Stock Exchange. Although these performance measures won’t go anywhere in the next year, the move toward profitability will take centre stage in the coming months.

Now that marijuana consumption is officially legal, shareholders want to see returns generated from their investments.

The TSX released a list of the highest-growth stocks on the exchange. Village Farms International (TSX:VFF)(NASDAQ:VFF) took third place. Village Farms’s share price grew by 868% in the past three years to $12.12 as of writing.

To put this in perspective, coming in at number two, Shopify’s share price exploded — surprising investors worldwide — by 883% in the past few years. Next year may not bode as well for Shopify, which announced an additional stock offering recently and has since been plummeting in value.

Canopy Growth named the number one TSX performer for 2019

Next year, Village Farms stands an excellent chance to grow faster than not only Shopify but also Canopy Growth (TSX:WEED)(NYSE:CGC). Canopy Growth took the lead out of all the stocks on the TSX with a whopping 1,823% growth in share price over the past three years.

Unfortunately, much of that stock price appreciation represents speculative investing, and the bubble is now popping with Canopy stock down over 50% for the year. The corporation is also struggling to keep up with the more fiscally responsible growth at Aurora Cannabis.

Aurora is beating Canopy on net revenue, sales, and production costs — and the stock sells for about $25 less per share than Canopy.

Village Farms is in a much different position than Canopy Growth; over the past 52 weeks, the share price on Village Farms has appreciated by 73.29%. Despite Canopy Growth’s decline, it still trades for over 2.5 times the cost of Village Farms — foreshadowing more loss in value to come in the future.

At a much lower price, Village Farms can easily sustain its position as one of the most active cannabis stocks on the exchange. Canopy Growth, however, suffers from low demand due to its high price relative to peers. Hence, Village Farms has a higher three-month average volume than Canopy Growth.

Foolish takeaway

While Village Farms still can’t match the sales performance of Aurora, the company is well positioned to continue growing as more international markets open to marijuana retailers. Last year, Pure Sunfarms, a 50% owned Village Farms asset, sold close to 8,000 kilograms of marijuana at an average price of approximately $4 per gram.

Next quarter’s earnings will be even more crucial for Village Farms. In September, Health Canada extended Pure Sunfarms’s licence, allowing the subsidiary to sell dried cannabis to wholesalers and retailers. The licence extension should have big impacts in Village Farms’s earnings report next quarter.

Village Farms currently can produce 18,750 kilograms of marijuana each quarter — 957 kilograms more than the amount Aurora sold last quarter. Even more exciting, Village Farms will double its capacity to produce marijuana from 75,000 kilograms to 150 kilograms annually by mid-2020.

Canadian investors should watch Village Farms, because it just may catch up to Aurora Cannabis in its sales and revenue figures in the next three months.

One tiny small-cap stock to bet on ahead of Cannabis 2.0 on October 17th…

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Because when edibles are legalized in Canada on October 17th, experts project a new $2.7 BILLION market will be born.

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Fool contributor Debra Ray has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Tom Gardner owns shares of Shopify. The Motley Fool owns shares of Shopify, Shopify, and Village Farms International, Inc. Village Farms is a recommendation of Hidden Gems Canada. Shopify is a recommendation of Stock Advisor Canada.

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