International News 26/03

March 26, 2024 No. 48

Bill Gates' portfolio is mostly invested in companies related to artificial intelligence.

Bill Gates manages his wealth through the Gates Foundation Trust, which has a significant portion of its portfolio invested in two stocks related to artificial intelligence (AI). The largest investment, accounting for approximately 34% of the trust's portfolio, is in Microsoft stock. Gates has contributed to the company's success, particularly in AI initiatives, as its founder. The second stock, Schrodinger, represents less than 0.6% of the portfolio but focuses on developing medicines with the help of machine learning. Both of these stocks have received positive attention from Wall Street analysts. Microsoft is recommended as a fundamentally strong company with the potential for future share price growth of 7%. Schrodinger is also attractive, with a price target that is 45% higher than its current value. However, investor judgement remains crucial as Microsoft has a high earnings multiple, while Schrodinger is still establishing itself.

Why has Malaysia lowered imported rice prices?

The Malaysian government, via the National Action Council on Cost of Living (Naccol), has announced a reduction in the retail price of imported white rice by RM 2 to RM 3 per 10kg pack starting from Wednesday. The current price of imported white rice ranges from RM 38 to RM 45 per pack, and it is expected to drop to RM 35 after the adjustment. The decision was made to help Malaysians alleviate the cost of living burden, especially during the upcoming Ramadan and Hari Raya. In addition, the government has decided that the current rice stock of 140,000 metric tonnes purchased by millers should be processed immediately and made available in the local market to improve rice distribution. The government will also increase enforcement efforts nationwide and expand the distribution of imported white rice through the Federal Agricultural Marketing Authority (Fama) and Farmers Organisation Authority (FAO).

Unilever has approached private equity firms to sell its ice cream business.

Unilever Plc, a leading consumer goods company, is in discussions with private equity firms to divest its ice cream business, which includes well-known brands such as Wall's, Magnum, and Ben & Jerry's. This decision comes after Unilever's announcement to discontinue its ice cream business. Investment banks Morgan Stanley and JPMorgan are reaching out to potential investors to generate interest in the business, which is estimated to be valued between €10 billion and €15 billion, according to sources. Barclays suggests that the value of the ice cream unit could reach €17 billion. CEO Hein Schumacher previously announced plans to separate the ice cream business and cut 7,500 jobs as part of a company restructuring. Although Schumacher indicated that the ice cream business may be listed by the end of 2025, no final decision has been made on the separation method. Unilever is also considering other alternatives that would maximize shareholder benefits. The ice cream division currently contributes around 16% of Unilever's total revenue.