Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Amanah Saham Malaysia (ASM) declared dividen for 2008 in 2009

By The Star

Amanah Saham Malaysia (ASM) has announced an income distribution of 6.25 sen per unit for the financial year ending March 31, the lowest since the fund’s inception in 2000.

Last year, ASM paid 7.8 sen per unit in income distribution. The income distribution involved a total payout of RM407.58mil, said fund manager Permodalan Nasional Bhd (PNB) chairman Tun Ahmad Sarji Abdul Hamid.

“The payment will benefit a total of 402,513 unitholders who subscribe to 7.21 billion ASM units,” he told a press conference yesterday.

PNB president and group chief executive Tan Sri Hamad Kama Piah Che Othman said that the fund had the capacity to declare an income distribution of 7.92 sen per unit, but the group decided to reserve the income for the next financial year.

“We feel that 6.25 sen per unit is already in line with the market at this condition,” he said.

He attributed the diminished performance to the global economic downturn and the fund’s 25% increase in the number of units in circulation that had resulted in dividend dilution.

Declining to disclose PNB’s investment strategy going forward, Hamad said PNB’s objective remained creating long-term and sustainable returns for shareholders.

“We are a long-term player; we are looking for opportunity to buy more shares (with good fundamentals and are reasonably priced) that are good for the long term,” he said, adding that PNB was looking to issue more new products this year. He said ASM currently had RM2.1bil in cash.

ASM is a fixed-priced equity-income fund aimed at providing unitholders with a long-term investment opportunity by generating regular and competitive returns through a diversified portfolio of investments.

Up to last Friday, ASM had recorded gross income of RM440.73mil.

Dividend income from investments contributed RM219.33mil (49.76%), profit from the sale of shares generated RM137.84mil (31.28%) and the remaining RM83.56mil (18.96%) came from investments in short-term instruments.

The income distribution was based on the average monthly minimum balance held throughout ASM’s financial year.