COVID-19 Likely a Geopolitical Game Changer in Asia: Aon 2020 Risk Maps

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HONG KONG, CHINA – Media OutReach – August 6, 2020 – Aon plc (NYSE: AON), a leading global
professional services firm providing a broad range of risk, retirement and health
solutions, has published its 2020
Risk Maps report
, which finds that the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic
will likely transform the geopolitical landscape. Extraordinary public health
measures and a precipitous drop in global trade will continue to exert
significant pressure on economies and governments and will reshape
long-standing geopolitical norms.  

 

Aon developed the 2020 Risk
Maps in partnership with The
Risk Advisory Group
and Continuum
Economics
, which examine political risk, terrorism and political violence
globally. Aon’s Risk Maps are designed to help firms better
understand and navigate evolving exposures created by these uniquely
challenging risks.

 

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In today’s complex geopolitical
and economic environment, the maps enable clients to identify and track the
different sources and degrees of risk, assisting businesses in planning and
protecting assets, contracts and loans that could be adversely affected. This
year’s report includes a special analysis of the impact of the COVID-19
pandemic on these themes and the risks they present.

 

The socioeconomic implications
of the COVID-19 pandemic are likely to be profound. Countries that rely heavily
on tourism or retail, or where there is a higher human toll from the pandemic,
will face greater potential for civil unrest and government-focused protest — a
risk that was already elevated prior to the pandemic. Aon’s report finds three
in five developed economies face the potential of strikes, riots and
civil unrest in 2020 — and it seems the COVID-19 pandemic will
deepen those concerns.

 

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Rapidly Evolving Risks in Asia

 

In Hong Kong, political unrest
has caused widespread physical damage to property and business. Most big
companies typically have comprehensive coverage that includes cover for strikes,
riots, and other civil commotion (SRCC). But many of these policies have
specific language that excludes loss or damage due to political unrest, which
is commonly referred to as the terrorism exclusion clause. With the new Hong Kong security law potentially broadening
the activities that  could be considered
as acts of terrorism, the scope of the terrorism exclusion clause may now
extend considerably. The SRCC, therefore, has the potential to become the
number one peril faced by businesses in Hong Kong, causing more of a risk than
the more standard threats such as fire, flood or typhoon.

 

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Julian Taylor, head of Crisis
Management, Asia, Aon said, “To address these rapidly evolving risks, we are
seeing businesses turn to the terrorism and political violence insurance market
for tailored solutions. These standalone policies can cover not only the property
damage elements of the risk but also business interruption, and not only financial
loss arising from direct physical loss or damage but also as a result of
contingent risks, such as denial of access or loss of attraction. Boards, CFOs
and risk managers need to work closely with brokers and insurers to move
forward with confidence and certainty in this volatile market.”

 

Steve
Taylor, head of Credit Solutions, Asia, Aon said, “Political volatility is increasing, driven by a number of themes,
including the socioeconomic and political reactions to the COVID-19 pandemic.
We expect political risk insurance to play an increasingly important role for
investors, lenders and corporations, underpinning strategy and financing as
well as mitigating currency risk, expropriation, political violence and
sovereign non-payment risk.”

 

Additional key findings from the report include:

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Civil Unrest, Terrorism and Political Violence

  • Economic stagnation and frustration over a range of
    political, social and environmental trends are the primary drivers of
    heightened unrest in traditionally stable economies.
  • Environmentalism is becoming an increasingly
    prominent cause of civil unrest.
  • Extreme right-wing attacks are increasing and
    multinational businesses, particularly within the technology, banking and media
    sectors, are targets.

 

Political Risks

  • Governments are increasingly resorting to measures
    that regulate market transactions. Emerging market governments have responded
    to rising populism by erecting barriers to trade and investment.
  • Emerging market investors face significant
    headwinds linked to government expropriation, which is undermining contract
    certainty and eroding investor confidence.
  • Political interference in emerging markets is now
    taking increasingly indirect forms, such as tax pressure, export restrictions,
    more stringent regulatory requirements, contract reviews and a general increase
    in government involvement in specific sectors of the economy.

 

Economic Risks

  • The speed of individual emerging market (EM)
    recoveries following the COVID-19 pandemic will likely depend on a state’s
    ability to control the health crisis itself, the economic conditions before the
    COVID-19 pandemic and how much fiscal and monetary policy stimulus is
    administered.
  • Significant monetary and fiscal policies are needed
    to limit the pandemic’s fallout on EM economies, though they will not fully
    offset it. Aggressive policy easing will unlikely be enough to avert a fall in
    global growth by 1.3% in 2020.
  • Global trade, labour and capital flows are severely
    challenged, as economic nationalism has become a widespread response to
    COVID-19.

 

More information about Aon’s 2020 Risk Maps is available here.

About Aon

Aon plc (NYSE:
AON) is a leading global professional services firm providing a broad range of
risk, retirement and health solutions. Our 50,000 colleagues in 120 countries
empower results for clients by using proprietary data and analytics to deliver
insights that reduce volatility and improve performance.

Follow
Aon on Twitter and LinkedIn. Stay up to date by
visiting the Aon
Newsroom
 and hear from our expert advisors
in The One Brief. Sign
up for News Alerts here

About The Risk Advisory Group

The Aon
Terrorism and Political Violence map represents detailed empirical- and
intelligence-based 
assessments on
terrorism threats and political violence risks.The map has been produced in
conjunction with The Risk Advisory Group since 2007. The Risk Advisory Group is
a leading, independent global risk management consultancy that helps businesses
grow whilst protecting their people, their assets and their brands. By providing
facts, intelligence and analysis, The Risk Advisory Group helps its clients
negotiate complex and uncertain environments to choose the right opportunities,
in the right markets, with the right partners. For more information, please
visit www.riskadvisory.com. 

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About Continuum Economics

Continuum
Economics (formerly Roubini Global Economics) is the international
market-leading service for independent economic research powered by 4Cast and
Roubini Global Economics. With its growing user base of 10,000 clients and a
reputation for incisive analysis on every aspect of the market, it provides
research that spans short-term market signals and long-term strategic themes.
This approach uncovers opportunities and risks before they come to the
attention of markets, helping our clients make more informed decisions.

 

Continuum
Economics works with clients in a series of different ways, from macro strategy
subscription products to bespoke work, multi-client conference calls, direct
access to analysts and the licensing of its systematic country risk analysis
tool. For further information on Continuum Economics, please visit

continuumeconomics.com.

COVID-19 Likely a Geopolitical Game Changer in Asia: Aon 2020 Risk Maps

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Latest News

Vivocom’s Group Game Changer – Multi-Billion Sand Project Secured

  • Initial contract worth RM3.79 billion for three years
  • Aspires to be a major industry player 'with exponential growth prospects'


KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA - Media OutReach - 26 February 2021 - In a filing to Bursa Malaysia this evening, Vivocom Intl Holdings Berhad ('Vivocom') announced that V Development Group via one of its subsidiaries has secured a 'massive win' worth approximately USD934.7 million or the equivalent of RM3.79 billion.

Rain International Sdn Bhd ('Rain International') is a 97% owned subsidiary under the V Development Group which was recently merged into the Vivocom Group. The Company's proposed acquisition of V Development Group had been recently approved by the relevant authorities.

Rain International is principally involved in the mineral trading and exportation business, supplying sand to its client mainly in Hong Kong and China for reclamation and construction works. The Company had recently signed a contract for the supply of marine sand for a minimum period of three years.

The contract is for the supply of sand to Zhen Hua Engineering Company Ltd-China Communications Construction Company Ltd-CCCC Dredging (Group) Company Ltd. (ZHEC-CCCC-CDC), a Joint Venture contractor appointed to undertake the main reclamation works for the Hong Kong International Airport Three Runway System Project.

Director Mr William Chan Ching-Kee said: "As the appointed agent for the ZHECC-CCCC-CDC Joint Venture, we are looking forward to the exportation of sand from Malaysia to our client in Hong Kong to commence without any further delay."

Dato Seri Chia is optimistic that the contract would be extended for another two to three years and could potentially generate revenue of up to RM6 billion.

"The sand business is a major boost because it gives us tremendous visibility. The potential revenue is huge, recurring and highly scalable," its jubilant CEO, Dato Seri Chia Kok Teong exclaimed.

"The potential for explosive growth in the sand business is real and tangible, and bodes well for the Group in the next few years."

"We are starting with 3 years but the contract can easily be increased to 5 years and beyond, with higher tonnage shipped every 6 months. The exportation of sand will increase sharply over time," he added.

Besides the reclamation works for the Hong Kong International Airport, the rapid pace of construction and reclamation works in China and Singapore also requires heavy demand for sand, which is a considerable boon to Malaysia.

"The market for sand export is extremely humongous and will fuel the Group's rapid growth for the next several years. The RM3.79 billion Win is the first of many more to come."

"I have in fact urged my team to secure up to RM10 billion worth of sand contracts by the end of 2021. This is part of our overall transformation strategy to become a multi billions conglomerate," declared Dato Seri Chia.

"It is our core strategy to strengthen and diversify the Group's revenues generation capabilities and capacities and not be too narrowly focussed."

"Presently, we are already in negotiations for another RM2 to RM3 billion sand contract. Once finalised, we will make the relevant announcement as per Bursa Malaysia's requirements," Dato Seri Chia elaborated.

The sand would be procured from an approved permit holder to export sand overseas, and sourced from concession areas in Sandakan and Sungai Beluran in Sabah and throughout Malaysia.

"Even with this massive sand contract already secured, we will not be complacent. I have earlier promised to transform Vivocom into a behemoth Conglomerate and I will work non-stop to deliver on the promise," Dato Seri assured.

Since Dato Seri Chia's entry into Vivocom in January 2020 when its price was at 15 cents, the share has climbed sharply and last closed at RM1.06 on Thursday, 25th February 2021.

"I am very optimistic that Vivocom shares will continue to grow strongly and be worth a lot more than presently over time. I'm proud to say that we are no longer a penny stock," he reflected.

"My team is totally committed to building Vivocom into a reputable and profitable public company, one with solid fundamentals, sustainable profits and healthy cashflows."

"As a priority, we will work towards getting the Group elevated to the Main Board of Bursa Malaysia and be a dividends-paying company soonest possible," quipped Dato Seri.

To show his commitment, Dato Seri Chia has undertaken a voluntary self--imposed moratorium (or SIM) in that he will not dispose his personal stakes in Vivocom for the next 3 years. This will ensure the company's long-term price stability and sustainability.

"We want a stable and strong share price so that the Company can use its shares with its high liquidity as a currency for M&A activities to fund and fast-track expansion and growth," he explained.

"A strong share with high liquidity is a most valuable and prized asset. We will use it to buy Companies with game-changing and disruptive strategies. To look for the Next Big Thing."

"The enormous followings in the Company are what is driving in tremendous liquidity and momentum giving our share price added impetus," Dato Seri proudly asserts.

"We aspire to emulate Berkshire Hathaway strategy started over 40 years ago by Mr Warren Buffet. Mr Masayoshi Son built SoftBank Group of Japan along the same philosophy and Alphabet in US adopted similar strategies."

"These three companies are presently amongst the most valuable and admired companies in the world. I have the same dream for Vivocom. I am determined to leave behind an enduring legacy for all our valued shareholders," concluded Dato Seri Chia.

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