FOOD & BEVERAGE, MARKETS & INVESTING | Staff Reporter, Singapore

Daily Briefing: NTUC Foodfare refutes management allegation; HSR delay unlikely to hurt Singapore-Malaysia ties

And Temasek joins US$1.25b funding for African telco.

From Yahoo! News Singapore:

NTUC Foodfare responded to online allegations of its management of Old Airport Road Hawker Centre (OAHC) regarding issues including table cleaning charges, mandatory insurance coverage for hawkers, operating hours and signing of tenancy contracts.

“In the spirit of providing the best support to the hawkers in difficult times, NTUC Foodfare works hand in hand with the HA to ensure that the tender exercise is transparent and consultative, taking in their views so that the appointed contractor serves their operational needs and at an acceptable rate,” Foodfare said.

On the allegation of “unexpected mandatory insurance of $100 a year”, Foodfare said during the signing of the tenancy agreement, it explains to hawkers a checklist, which includes “the public liability insurance for the hawker’s own protection against third-party claims, not limited to fire, food poisoning and etc as required by NEA”. The hawkers are free to engage their own insurers and this is in line with the practice at other NEA managed hawker centres.

Read more here.

From Property Guru:

The delay of the Singapore-Kuala Lumpur High Speed Rail (HSR) until May 2020 is unlikely to cause a strain between the relationship of both countries, reported Bernama.

According to Malaysia’s Economic Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali, the postponement to a reasonable time was mutually agreed. It was not a one-sided move.

“I can understand the concern expressed by Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in the event both countries can’t achieve any resolution or any agreement on that particular project.”

“But, now, we have reached a decision in a cordial manner. We look forward to resuming the project in 2020 and that was agreed to by both parties,” he told reporters.

Read more here.

From Deal Street Asia:

Temasek joined Warburg Pincus, Singtel, and SoftBank Group International to invest $1.73b (US$1.25b) through a primary equity issuance in Airtel Africa which is hit with brutal competition.
Airtel Africa would use these proceeds to reduce Airtel Africa’s existing debt of 6.90b (US$5b) and for growth of its African operations, it said.

Bharti Airtel’s UK incorporated subsidiary Airtel Africa subsequently intends an initial public offering and plans to use the proceeds primarily for further reduction of debt.

Bharti Airtel’s Africa venture started in 2010 when it bought Zain’s Africa operations for $10.7 billion. Over the past few years, it has been trying to capture the African market through local deals. It has made three small acquisitions in the continent in Uganda, Congo Brazzaville and Kenya.

Read more here.

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