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Gamuda JV wins RM3bil Aussie project

The Gamuda Bhd and John Holland Pty Ltd joint venture has been awarded a A$1.03bil (RM3.03bil) design and construct job for the M1 Motorway extension to Raymond Terrace: Black Hill to Tomago Works, by Transport for New South Wales (NSW), Australia.

Based on the 60:40 (John Holland/Gamuda) respective revenue sharing deal, Gamuda’s revenue portion would be A$411mil (RM1.21bil).

In a Bursa Malaysia filing, Gamuda said the job involved 10km of greenfield dual carriageway motorway between the M1 Motorway at Beresfield and Tomago.

It will also involve major interchanges at Black Hill, Tarro and Tomago, and the construction of nine bridges including a 2.6-km viaduct across the Hunter River and flood plain.

Gamuda added that planning and detailed design would start immediately, with site investigations and utilities work in mid-2023.

“The project is expected to contribute positively to the revenue and earnings of Gamuda for the financial year ending July 31, 2023 (FY23),” said the group.

John Holland is one of Australia’s leading building, infrastructure, rail and transport companies.

John Holland’s parent company, CCCI, is a wholly owned subsidiary of China Communications Construction Company Ltd (CCCC), one of the world’s largest infrastructure and engineering companies.

Meanwhile, Seymour Whyte Constructions will build the 5km northern section that bypasses Heatherbrae (for the new M1 Pacific Motorway extension to Raymond Terrace).

A statement by Transport for NSW said the project is being delivered using two collaborative design and construct contracts to ensure innovation, efficiency and value for money in bringing this extension to life.

The Australian and NSW governments are jointly funding the A$2.1bil (RM6.27bil) M1 Pacific Motorway Extension to Raymond Terrace project on an 80:20 basis.

The extension is expected to be open to traffic in mid-2028.

Meanwhile, in a recent report, TA Research said following the disposal of the toll business, Gamuda is now left with two engines of growth – the construction and property divisions.

“With a record high outstanding order book and strong property unbilled sales, we expect the group to continue posting decent earnings performance in the upcoming quarters,” said the research unit.

As of end-October 2022, Gamuda’s outstanding construction order book improved from RM14bil a quarter ago to another record high of RM14.8bil.

“The strong outstanding order book can provide earning visibility up to FY27.

“The overseas projects accounted for 78.4% of the outstanding order book,” said TA Research.

Meanwhile, Gamuda’s management maintains its ambitious new job win target of a total of RM25bil over the next two years.

On the domestic front, despite the recent change in the new government, the group is confident that both the Mass Rapid Transit 3 or MRT3 and Penang South Islands projects will proceed eventually.

For the overseas market, Australia is expected to be a major source of order book over the next decade.

Also, the group intends to increase its exposure to green infrastructure investment.

“A RM2bil budget has already been allocated for investment in this space over the next five years.

“In addition, the group has started to look for renewable energy opportunities in oversea markets,” said the research unit.

As for Gamuda’s property division, it recorded a 43% year-on-year drop in sales to RM480mil in the first quarter of FY23.

This was because the top-selling projects such as OLA and Celadon City were almost fully sold.

“The management remains confident that the property division can hit the sales target of RM4.5bil for FY23.

“This is thanks to newer projects,” said TA Research.

Unbilled property sales eased slightly from RM6.2bil a quarter ago to RM5.8bil.

Source: The Star

Gamuda JV wins RM3bil Aussie project


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Caely Holdings Bhd is going to form a joint venture (JV) company to carry the business of apparel manufacturing, undergarments and lingerie in Jakarta, Indonesia.  

In its filing with Bursa Malaysia, it said wholly-owned unit Classita (M) Sdn Bhd entered into a shareholders’ agreement with Jakarta-based PT Bintang Mas Jogja (BMJ) to set up a company (newco) on Nov 18. 

This would provide the troubled lingerie maker with an opportunity for growth expansion, as well as to access new markets and distribution networks, it added. 

Classita and BMJ will hold 60% and 40% stake respectively in the company, which will have an initial issued and paid-up capital of RM1.74 million (IDR6 bil). 

The directors of Classita are Ng Keok Chai, Leong Seng Wui, Hor Weng Kuan and Kenny Khow Chuan Wah. BMK’s directors are Andrew Teguh and Robert Teguh.   

Caely added that the execution of the shareholders’ agreement is expected to contribute positively to the group’s earnings in future.  

The Edge reported last month that the expansion into Indonesia will help reduce the group’s operating costs due to lower wages and abundant skilled worker supply there, as well as help Caely grow its customer base.  

Caely, which is embroiled in allegations of corruption and misuse of funds, reported a net loss of RM352,000 for the three-month period from April 1 to June 30, on a revenue of RM15.75 million.  

Caely shares were last traded at 28 sen, for a market capitalisation of RM96.62 million. 

Source: The Edge Markets

Caely to form 60:40 JV company in Indonesia


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Future Forest International (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd has inked a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Salus Bioceutical (Thailand) Co. Ltd. to facilitate the latest green technology to produce halal hemp products.

In a statement, Future Forest said the MoU was signed by its chief executive officer (CEO) Safina Yaakob and Salus director and CEO Tanadee Pantumkomon at the Asia International Hemp Expo 2022 here on Nov 30, 2022.

Also present were the Trade Commissioner of Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (MATRADE) Bangkok, Mohamed Hafiz Md Shariff and Salus’s chairman and advisor Supakorn Sa-nguanchartsornkra.

Safina, who is a certified halal auditor by the Department of Islamic Development Malaysia, said Salus is eyeing to tap into the vast halal market and it has a high-capacity cannabis and hemp manufacturing and extraction laboratory.

“Salus is new in the halal industry and they appointed me as their advisor to produce halal hemp products.

“I am assisting them to produce halal and green products including halal hemp fibres,” she told Bernama.

Hemp fibres have been used to manufacture, among others, clothes, bags, shoes, ropes and cords, building materials and insulation purposes.

Safina said the mutual sharing of best practices and expertise in hemp and cannabis technology among the main entities is envisioned in their joint venture company that will be set up in Thailand to promote and market its Malay tea series with hemp/cannabis formulation (Canna Tea Series).

“The MoU will go beyond science and expertise as it will provide them with the impetus to inaugurate market needs by joining forces to explore the halal industry,” she said.

Meanwhile, Tanadee said the partnership would strengthen Salus’s ability to enter the halal market.

“We find that halal certification is one of the most important certificates that we must achieve and we hope the cooperation will guide us to comply with halal certification not only for our products but for cultivation, production and harvesting.

“We must ensure our products, ingredients and manufacturing processes are at the highest quality and following halal standards,” he said.

Future Forest is a sustainable forest and plantation management specialist, with a focus on medicinal plants, herbs and crops with purpose, R&D and project management solutions, which combines a wide range of high-level scientific services with economics in order to offer tailor-made solutions for clients and cooperation partners worldwide.

Salus is one of the first licensed CBD manufacturers from Thailand, after being granted a Hemp Extraction Licence to operate and extract hemp flower.

It is one of the largest cannabis and hemp manufacturing plants in Thailand. The company focuses on operations with cultivation, extraction, manufacturing, analytical testing and marketing of cannabis and hemp products.

Source: Bernama

Future Forest inks MoU with Salus to venture into halal hemp production


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Petronas Chemicals Group Bhd’s (PetChem) wholly owned subsidiary BRB International has opened its new lube oil additives manufacturing facility at Echt, Netherlands.

In a statement on Thursday (Nov 10), PetChem said the facility is equipped with higher safety and quality standards and will serve as a lube oils additives and chemicals (LAC) hub for the global market.

PetChem managing director and chief executive officer Mohd Yusri Mohamed Yusof said BRB’s expansion is in line with PetChem’s strategy of diversifying into derivatives, specialty chemicals and solutions to meet the growing and changing customer demands in the region.

“As part of our growth plan for BRB, the opening of this facility marks a significant milestone towards strengthening BRB’s position as an innovative solutions provider,” said Mohd Yusri.
 
BRB’s chief executive officer Ralph Pinckaers added that the LAC unit has been continuously developing solutions for its customers in the automotive, industrial and original equipment manufacturers field for over 40 years.

“With this new facility, the LAC business will have more room for growth and potential development of new offerings. We are positive that this step will enhance BRB’s competitive edge in end markets,” said Pinckaers.

The Echt facility incorporates sustainable practices in BRB’s production of its drive line oil additives, Petrolad®, which uses lower energy consumption and reduces its overall carbon footprint in the making of its products.

This practice will contribute towards PetChem’s sustainability vision to achieve Net Zero Carbon Emissions by 2050.

PetChem closed up nine sen or 1.05% to RM8.64, giving it a market capitalisation of RM69.12 billion.

Source: The Edge Markets

PetChem subsidiary BRB International opens new facility in Netherlands


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When a Malaysian consortium comprising S P Setia Bhd, Sime Darby Property Bhd and the Employees Provident Fund decided to develop a 42-acre tract at Battersea Power Station in London, the UK, a decade ago, I had a chance to visit the site during a working trip.

Except for the abandoned power station, which used to generate a fifth of London’s electricity at its peak, it was an empty piece of land.

Fast forward to today, the Battersea Power Station has become an iconic destination for tourists visiting London, as well as a good place for the locals to hang out.

That said, its development has not been smooth in the past 10 years. Not too long after the investment was made, the issue of Brexit emerged alongside news of project delays and cost overruns.

Interestingly, the ground-breaking ceremony in July 2013 was attended by the then London mayor Boris Johnson and former Malaysian prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, both of whom have taken a step back from the political scene.

On my recent visit to the site, I could fully see Malaysia’s can-do spirit. At the opening ceremony, much appreciation was shown to the Malaysian consortium for making the bold move to revive the abandoned site.

As Battersea Power Station Development Company (BPSDC) chairman Datuk Jagan Sabapathy says: “Reopening this prestigious building, which means so much to Londoners and the world, demonstrates what can be achieved by the Malaysian people, working collaboratively with partners from across the world to deliver inspirational projects. This achievement is something for our whole country to be proud of, and I hope many will come to visit.”

Looming over the River Thames, the nearly £9 billion (RM48 billion) investment is bearing fruit, with future developments set to bring more excitement to the site.

Public opening celebrations

On the first day of its public opening on Oct 14, Londoners were seen flocking to the Battersea Power Station to experience the changes to the site. Among the events at the opening celebrations were a multimillion-volt duelling spectacle known as Lords of Lightning as well as performances by the Setia Harmony Drummers and Battersea Power Station Community Choir.

A local I spoke to during the event says, “This is an amazing moment for us residents in London. I never thought the site would be revived. We’re glad to have Malaysia’s participation in this development.”

With the opening of the site, the number of places to shop, dine and experience has increased to more than 60, with brands such as Hugo Boss, Lacoste, Ralph Lauren and Uniqlo present.

Some of the new eateries are Where The Pancakes Are, Poke House and Paris Baguette. These complement the bars and restaurants at Circus West Village such as the Wright Brothers, Battersea Brewery and Fiume.

Homesick Malaysians may want to try dining at Roti King, which serves authentic Malaysian dishes created and curated by head chef and owner Sugen Gopa.

Among the attractions at the historic building are Lift 109, a glass elevator that can transport visitors 109m up to the top of the building’s northwest chimney for an unrivalled 360-degree panoramic view of London’s stunning skyline.

Another draw is the Uber Boat by Thames Clippers, on which you can travel between the Battersea Power Station Pier and Central London in just 20 minutes.

Comprising Phase 2 of the Battersea Power Station development, the Power Station houses 254 apartments and over 100 shops, restaurants and cafés. Notably, Apple and SharkNinja have committed to 500,000 and 25,000 sq ft of office space respectively.

Meanwhile, Phase 3 offers a public pedestrianised gateway to the entire development, with links to the Battersea Power Station underground tube station and a new high street known as Electric Boulevard.

There are two residential development zones on either side of the high street. In April, the first residents were welcomed at Prospect Place. In the same phase will be another high-rise named Koa, with 204 apartments.

According to Battersea Power Station’s master plan, Phases 4 to 7 will not be launched until 2024, with completion in 2028. Thus, the whole development is expected to take another 10 years to complete, Jagan said at a media briefing in London recently.

“Some 60% of the land has been developed, we have another 40% to go,” he added.

BPSDC CEO Simon Murphy says that upon full completion, Battersea Power Station will have a balanced mix of space for commercial and residential developments.

New dining experience

On the retail space, BPSDC head of leasing Sam Cotton says the development project seeks to bring new dining experiences to the people here.

“We want the place to be accessible and a place for people to enjoy. A lot of these brands and businesses have no existing presence in this part of London. So, it’s something new with a little bit of speciality here. 

“For example, Where the Pancakes Are is a small independent restaurant. We’re really supporting small businesses as well as the big ones. The most exciting space going forward will be the Arcade Food Hall, which will be opened early next year. The 22,000 sq ft space will be run by JKS Restaurants with eight individual kitchens,” he explains.

Meanwhile, the historic building’s two control rooms have been fully restored, with Control Room A set to become a unique events space while Control Room B has been transformed into an all-day bar operated by Inception Group.

“It’s not just about shops and restaurants, it’s also about creating a reason to visit for a lot of people,” says Cotton.

The Battersea Power Station project covers 42 acres and includes 3.5 million sq ft of mixed-use commercial space and 4,239 new homes. The Northern line extension has given this neighbourhood its Zone 1 underground station, making it a 15-minute train ride from the West End and the city.

Enhanced living in London with Koa

Located at Electric Boulevard, Koa — a new collection of 204 apartments — is the highlight of the Battersea Power Station development in London, the UK.

Koa will comprise studio (75 units), one-bedroom (75 units) and two-bedroom apartments (54 units). The studio units are priced from £560,000 (RM3 million) to £960,000, with built-ups of 389 to 555 sq ft.

Priced from £855,000 to £1.73 million, the one-bedroom units will have built-ups of 538 to 858 sq ft. As for the two-bedroom units, they will have built-ups of 779 to 1,172 sq ft and are priced from £1.265 million to £2.15 million.

The average price for the project is £1,600 to £1,700 psf.

Koa was launched in the UK on Oct 21, while the launch in Kuala Lumpur took place on Oct 22.

There are two designed interior palettes for Koa: “Dawn” takes inspiration from Foster + Partners’ bright, linear architecture with white kitchens and light stone tiling, while “Dusk” features dark kitchen cabinetry and stone tiling in the bathrooms. Foster + Partners is an award-winning international architectural design and engineering firm that has earned a reputation for its exceptional designs.

Residents will have access to the Battersea Roof Gardens with a 360-degree view of its surroundings while enjoying unparalleled amenities. There will be a private sky lounge spanning 8,350 sq ft on the 14th and 15th floors. Other amenities will include a private screening room, a 2,500 sq ft gymnasium and a 24-hour concierge.

Part of Phase 3 of the Battersea Power Station development, Electric Boulevard offers a pedestrian high street that connects the new Battersea Power Station underground to the foot of the iconic power station.

Brands such as Zara and Zara Home have already opened their doors in conjunction with the public opening of the iconic site on Oct 14. London fitness brand Third Space is expected to open a 28,000 sq ft club here next year.

The Battersea Power Station underground station provides a high-speed connection to the rest of London, with the city and the West End a mere 15-minute train ride away.

“We call this a 15-minute neighbourhood. You can eat, shop, play, work and live here. The driver is the community spirit and the safety of the neighbourhood,” says Battersea Power Station Development Company head of residential Meriam Lock-Necrews.

She observes that after the outbreak of Covid-19, lifestyle has become an important consideration when making a decision to buy a house.

“At Battersea Power Station, you are not just buying an apartment, you are actually buying a lifestyle. We have 19 acres of green space sitting on our doorstep, as well as Battersea Park — one of the largest parks in London — next door,” she says, adding that the units are oversized in order to allow the creation of work-from-home spaces.

Given Battersea Power Station’s strategic location, Lock-Necrews says there has been a 50% increase in capital value since the launch of its Phase 1 residential project in 2017. This is a better performance compared with Central London’s 7.2% growth during the same period, according to JLL Research and HM Land Registry.

“It’s a testament to our product. We have repeat buyers all the time,” Lock-Necrews continues.

Rental-wise, Battersea Power Station has a gross yield of 4.6%, compared with 3.25% in Central London.

She points out that over £700 million of sales have been achieved in the past 18 months, with 85% of those comprising local buyers.

For Koa, Lock-Necrews says the initial response has been encouraging. “We have received a lot of interest already. It’s quite surprising [to see that] considering the current economic condition. However, we have a lot of repeat buyers. People who already live here are even looking to invest ­[in another unit].”

Koa is under construction and is expected to be completed in a year’s time. Show units will be available in the next couple of weeks.

Battersea Power Station is being redeveloped by a Malaysian consortium of S P Setia Bhd, Sime Darby Property Bhd and the Employees Provident Fund. The development won four awards at the Evening Standard New Homes Awards 2022, including the coveted Grand Prix Award. It was also named Outstanding Overseas Project at The Edge Malaysia Property Excellence Awards 2019.

Source: The Edge Markets

Battersea Power Station: A success story


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Pecca Group Bhd plans to acquire a 80% stake in an Indonesian car leather upholstery maker firm, in its bid to enlarge its foreign presence in the automotive industry by entering into the Indonesian market.

The group said its wholly-owned subsidiary Pecca Leather Sdn Bhd (PLSB) on Monday (Oct 31) signed a memorandum of understanding with five parties — PT Multi Berjaya Asindo, CSC Automotive Sdn Bhd, Tan Kim Cheang, Neo Hwee Leong and Herny Pramana — for the acqusition of the stake in PT Gemilang Maju Kencana (GMK).

In a filing with Bursa Malaysia, Pecca said PT Multi Berjaya Asindo is involved in the trading of packing, carton box and injection tooling, while CSC is engaged with the production of car interior accessories and trading car accessories.

Neo is the general manager of GMK, while Herny is head of the finance department of the company.

PT Multi Berjaya Asindo is currently the largest shareholder of GMK with a 61% stake, followed by CSC Automotive (22%) and Tan (16%).

Post-acquisition, PLSB will emerge as the largest shareholder of GMK, with an 80% stake. The stake will cost PLSB 6.4 billion rupiah (RM1.94 million).

Neo will also emerge as a substantial shareholder with a 10% shareholding in GMK, with the remaining 10% owned by Herny, who currently owns a 1% stake in GMK. The 10% shareholdings in GMK will cost them 800 million rupiah each.

Pecca said PLSB, Neo and Herny would also inject funds totalling three billion rupiah into GMK for additional working capital, in accordance with the proportion of their shareholding.  

GMK is a company associated with Indonesia’s MPI group of companies.

After the proposed acquisition, Pecca said PLSB will seek to secure business and marketing support from MPI’s founder, Lim See Poh, and will also capitalise on the competency and experience of Neo and Herny.

“The well-established market presence of GMK will help Pecca accelerate its presence in this competitive industry,” Pecca added.  

Pecca’s share price settled 2.5 sen or 2.91% higher at 88.5 sen on Monday, giving the group a market capitalisation of RM666 million.

Source: The Edge Markets

Pecca proposes to acquire Indonesian car leather upholstery maker


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Caely Holdings Bhd (CHB) has set plans to expand its manufacturing business segment via a proposed joint venture with an Indonesian counterpart for a new production facility with a total investment value of US$800,000.

Executive director Leong Seng Wui said the company is looking to execute the expansion by the first quarter (Q1) of next year, adding that the investments are to be in cash and machinery available in its Teluk Intan plant in Perak.

“We are in the midst of discussions on the percentage that Caely would take up. Moreover, we feel it is good timing to expand even though we have manufacturing facilities in Malaysia as we rely more on foreign workers,” he said during a press conference here today.

CHB also named seven new members to its board of directors (BoD) to revive its businesses and bring in additional revenue in the near future.

The seven new members are executive chairman Ng Keok Chai, executive directors Leong and Kenny Khow Chuan Wah, independent non-executive directors Datuk Kang Chez Chiang, Krishnan Dorairaju, Chong Seng Ming and Datuk Pahlawan Mior Faridalathrash Wahid.

“The ultimate aim of the new board is to work hard to revive the businesses and to reward all our employees and stakeholders for their long-standing support. We, the new management, will bring the company back on the right track,” he said.

With the appointment of the new members of the BoD, the company aims to stride forward with new business plans.

Besides that, CHB is also looking to re-strategise their direction by identifying and engaging market experts in the property development segment to revive the business.

“With additional land banks in Tapah and Klang Valley, we will be hiring experts in the property development sector to identify potential projects that will contribute positively to the company.

“This will also include future acquisitions to boost Caely’s overall business,” Leong added.

Executive chairman Ng Keok Chai said the new board would fully support and cooperate with the police on the investigation and do its best to recover as much as possible to benefit the company and its shareholders.

“In addition, the newly appointed forensic auditor Virdos Lima Consultancy (M) Sdn Bhd, will be able to continue with their investigation with the support from the new board, including providing the necessary documentation relevant to their investigation to the extent possible,” he said.

Since February 2022, CHB has been embroiled in a legal case of misappropriation of funds which involves the company’s founder and former executive director Datin Fong Nyok Yoon, her husband Datuk Alan Chuah Chin Lai and former BoD.

The couple is alleged to have misappropriated RM30.55 million from Caely (M) Sdn Bhd (CMSB) through 10 questionable related-party transactions.

On 26 August, a change in the boardroom took place when the entire former board members, excluding Fong, were removed, and  Leong, Kang, Ng and Krishnan were appointed as the new BoD.

An additional three members, Khow, Chong and Mior, were appointed to the board on 27 September.

On 5 October, the new BoD lodged a police report requesting a police investigation into the alleged misappropriation of funds amounting to RM30.55 million involving CMSB during the tenure of the previous board members.

In the latest development regarding the civil suit against 12 of its former directors, CHB filed a claim on the possible systematic misappropriation of funds of not less than RM30.55 million in CMSB by Fong and Chuah and other former directors, as they had deliberately concealed and made no disclosure to the public, fraudulent concealment and conspiracy to injure, among others.

“The new board is hopeful of recovering the misappropriated funds which were supposed to be utilised for the business development and growth of the company in the best interests of the stakeholders as soon as possible,” added Ng.

Source: NST

Caely Holdings to expand manufacturing business to Indonesia via joint venture


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ETRONAS Chemicals Group Bhd has completed its acquisition of specialty chemicals group Perstorp Holding AB (Perstorp).

“We are delighted to have completed this acquisition. The acquisition is part of our stepping-out strategy, creating a new platform for our growth in the specialty chemicals industry.

“It also goes beyond earnings potential; Perstorp is a strategic fit with similar values and talented workforce who are experts in the industry. We are excited to welcome the Perstorp team to the PCG family,” PCG managing director/ chief executive officer Ir. Mohd Yusri Mohamed Yusof said in a statement.

In May 2022, PCG signed a securities purchase agreement with Financière Forêt S.à.r.l, a company under PAI Partners, a European private equity firm, to acquire the entire equity interest in Perstorp for a base purchase of €1.538 billion (RM7.018bil) cash.

With the completion of the acquisition, Perstorp is now PCG’s wholly-owned subsidiary.

Moving forward post-acquisition, PCG intends to continue preserving and growing the value of Perstorp, as the next few years will be a crucial chapter for both companies.

Among the major development plans include the expansion of Perstorp’s global presence by strengthening its position in the Asia Pacific markets through PCG’s industrial know-how and tapping into its substantial customer base.

Additionally, PCG will also strive to ensure the timely completion of Perstorp’s growth projects in a safe and cost-effective manner.

Perstorp has several projects lined up in the near future, including the launch of Project Air which aims to reduce carbon emissions through the production of sustainable methanol.

Recently, The European Union Innovation Fund selected Project Air, as one of 17 large-scale green tech projects, which together will be granted more than €1.8 billion.

Source: The Star

PetChem completes acquisition of Swedish specialty chemicals group Perstorp


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Investments by Malaysian companies in India amounted to US$7 billion (US$1=RM4.63) as bilateral relations continued to flourish in different sectors, Malaysia’s charge d’affaires in New Delhi Amizal Fadzli Rajali said.

Malaysian companies in India operate in areas such as automotive, fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG), infrastructure, healthcare, oil and gas and renewable energy.

“To date, Malaysia’s FDI (foreign direct investment) inflows into India amount to US$7 billion,” he said at the Malaysian National Day reception here on Friday.

On the other hand, he said 150 Indian companies have invested US$3 billion in Malaysia in sectors such as biotechnology, chemicals, financial services, manufacturing, pharmaceuticals and the textile industry.

He said Indian companies are encouraged to expand their operations in Malaysia by taking advantage of the country’s hub position in the Southeast Asian region.

Meanwhile, Indian Minister of State for External Affairs Rajkumar Ranjan Singh, who was the chief guest on the occasion, hailed the growing bilateral relationship and called Malaysia one of India’s major partners in the region.

Singh said the two countries enjoy a “thriving friendship” and their cooperation is growing in various fields.

Those attending the Malaysian National Day reception included ASEAN envoys, diplomats from various missions, Indian government officials, business people and members of the Malaysian and local communities.

Source: Bernama

Malaysian companies invest US$7 billion in India as bilateral relations continue to flourish: charge d’affaires


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Scientex Bhd is partnering with Japan’s leading producer of liquid and paste packaging systems, Taisei Lamick Co Ltd, to expand its market share in the region.

Scientex’s wholly owned subsidiary Scientex Packaging Film Sdn Bhd signed a share sale agreement (SSA) with Taisei Lamick to acquire 8,100 ordinary shares representing 80.2 per cent equity interest in Taisei Lamick Malaysia Sdn Bhd (TLM) for RM63.8 million cash.

Upon completion of the SSA, Scientex will hold 80.2 per cent equity in TLM, while Taisei Lamick will hold the remaining 19.8 per cent equity.

Scientex chief executive officer Lim Peng Jin said this partnership is a meaningful step for the company on multiple fronts.

“This collaboration, leveraging on the

strong reputation and collective strengths of Scientex and Taisei Lamick.

“The partnership is poised to bring industry-defining cost-competitive quality products to regional clientele and hence potentially expand our flexible packaging market share,” he said in a statement today.

Lim said the deal would enable Scientex to gain an immediate foothold into the fast-growing film business used in liquid and paste packaging, thus enhancing Scientex’s offering of diversified and customised flexible packaging products, especially in the food and beverage (F&B) sector.

“It will also allow us to expand our capability into producing customised healthcare and hygiene-related packaging and widen the range of value-added packaging solutions in the FMCG sector,” Lim said.

Tokyo Stock Exchange-listed Taisei Lamick is involved in the manufacturing and sale of plastic films, retort pouches, and pouches with zippers for automatic filling with liquids and pastes.

The company also manufactures and sells DANGAN auto fillers for liquids, pastes, peripheral devices, and technical services.

Its subsidiary TLM is primarily involved in the manufacturing and selling of printed and laminated flexible light packaging materials for F&B and fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) products.

The share acquisition is to be funded by internally-generated funds and bank borrowings and is not subject to the approval of Scientex shareholders and government authorities in Malaysia.

The acquisition is expected to be completed in the second half of this year and is anticipated to contribute positively to the earnings and net assets of Scientex for the financial year ending 31 July 2023.

Source: NST

Scientex partners Japan-based Taisei Lamick to expand into liquid, paste packaging


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Farm Fresh Bhd intends to kickstart its regional expansion with its planned entry into Indonesia, the Philippines, and Hong Kong.

“In the shorter term, our immediate focus is on the Singapore market, as the completion of the Taiping processing plant will free up some capacity at our Larkin processing plant, enabling us to focus on our exports to Singapore which have already grown strongly over the last three years,” the dairy company said in a filing with Bursa Malaysia.

Farm Fresh group managing director and group chief executive officer Loi Tuan Ee said its Taiping farm and processing plant are expected to be completed by this year which will cater to the demand from the northern states of Malaysia for its chilled products.

“This, in combination with our increases in capacity at Muadzam Shah Facility, among others, will increase the group’s annual production capacity by 30 million litres in 2022.

“The additional capacity in Muadzam Shah Facility, in particular, will alleviate some of the capacity constraints that we have currently for portion packs within the ambient category,” he said in a statement.

“Moving forward, we are excited to launch our growing up milk this September, which we hope to make great strides among young children who are in need of a good and honest dairy product in their early years,” he said.

In the first quarter ended June 30, Farm Fresh’s net profit fell 20.7% to RM15.2mil, or 0.82 sen earnings per share from RM19.2mil, or 1.17 sem a year ago.

Farm Fresh recorded revenue of RM144mil, up 6.9% increase from RM134.8mil reported in the same quarter last year.

The growth was mainly from the higher revenue from ready-to-drink milk products, in line with the encouraging sales momentum amidst the recovery of economic activities, accompanied by the launching of new products.

Source: The Star

Farm Fresh eyes regional expansion


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D’Nonce Technology Bhd (DTB) has proposed to acquire the entire stake in Komark (Thailand) Company Ltd for RM9.1 million from Komarkcorp Bhd’s wholly-owned subsidiary, General Labels & Labelling (M) Sdn Bhd, and diversify its business into the manufacturing and selling of self-adhesive labels.

“The company envisages that the contribution arising from the proposed acquisition will be more than 25 per cent of the net assets and/ or net profits of the group in the future,” it said in a filing to Bursa Malaysia today.

DTB Group is principally involved in end-to-end packaging and design solutions; precision polymer engineering services; cleanroom and contract manufacturing services; and supply chain management and sales and distribution of products.

Meanwhile, DTB has also proposed a renounceable rights issue of up to 434.69 million shares on the basis of one rights share for every one existing share held on an entitlement date to be determined later.

“We have also proposed to terminate the company’s existing employees’ share option scheme,” it added.

Source: Bernama

D’Nonce to diversify into self-adhesive labels manufacturing after Komark acquisition


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Greatech Technology Bhd has entered into a memorandum of understanding (MOU), in relation to the proposed acquisition of a 60% equity interest in Irish automation specialist Kaon Automation Ltd.

In a statement on Thursday (Aug 11), the group said Kaon Automation is principally engaged in the provision of automation solutions for leading manufacturing companies globally in the medical device, automotive, electronics, and consumer goods sectors. 

It said the Irish medical technology sector is recognised as being among the top five global hubs, and is reputable for world-class expertise with excellent research centres and initiatives.

“With the combined solid expertise from Kaon Automation and Greatech, this will leverage the strengths of the two companies both in the business aspect as well as in the internal cohesiveness environment. 

“I trust that greater synergy for longer business sustainability will be derived from this strong partnership,” said Greatech executive director Datuk Tan Eng Kee. 

Kee added that the hallmark of the Irish people and their warm culture will influence and drive an incremental value chain to the organisation holistically.

“With this pursuit, technology and cultural integration will shape and transform our market outreach, while exposing our talent to globalisation, leading our team to aim far and soar high.

““I trust that with this notable engagement, Greatech is accelerating itself into a new defining moment, promising a more exciting adventure to come,” he said. 

At Thursday’s noon break, shares in Greatech settled 14 sen or 3.7% higher at RM3.92, giving it a market capitalisation of RM4.91 billion.

Source: The Edge Markets

Greatech enters MOU to acquire 60% stake in Irish automation specialist Kaon


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The drone solutions provider has completed a total of 16 foreign M&As over the last 3½ year

MALAYSIAN drone solutions provider Aerodyne Group said they have completed 16 foreign mergers and acquisition (M&A) activities, and are currently closing another one in Brazil.

Aerodyne founder and CEO Kamarul A Muhamed said those were the total M&As were completed over the last three and half years, with 12 offices worldwide.

However, he did not disclose any values on those completed M&As.

“But it’s still barely enough, for example, in Latin America, we have an office in Santiago, Chile, but suddenly, there’s an opportunity in Brazil or Argentina, it will be very costly in terms of logistics.

“So, we might as well have other drone companies to deliver that solution by subscribing to our domain knowledge and our software system,” Kamarul said during the virtual MIDF Conversations event yesterday.

Aerodyne is a DT3 (drone tech, data technology and digital transformation) drone-based enterprise solutions provider which was ranked first in the world by Drone Industry Insights of Germany last year.

The group has over 900 drone professionals to operate on an unprecedented level in the unmanned aircraft systems services sector, has managed more than 560,000 infrastructure assets with 458,058 flight operations and surveyed over 380,000km of power infrastructure across 35 countries.

Kamarul noted that Aerodyne’s investment in Dubai and Australia have grown over five times in the first year of its investment which is in the middle of the pandemic.

“Why so? It is because we provided better technology for them. That’s the synergy, they give us market access, and we provide them with the technology,” he said.

He also highlighted that the pandemic turned out to be an opportunity for Aerodyne to venture into the agriculture division.

“At the start of the pandemic, I found myself with more than 50 people with nothing to do. So, we started agriculture and it turned out to be a very exciting decision.

“In just one and a half years, the agriculture division has now grown to 350 people,” he said.

According to him, the agriculture division has improved its customer productivity with a 30% yield increase per customer.

Meanwhile, when asked regarding the group’s intention for an IPO, he said Aerodynes plans to be listed in the next two years, while looking for the best market to list its business in.

It is also eyeing to expand its business by providing DT3 solutions to India’s agricultural market next month.

“There is a major push for this technology by the government over there, we have done the market study and some people have already started (providing) it.

“So, I am going to India in the first week of August to start the operations,” he added.

Kamarul said Aerodyne has a stable presence in Malaysia and the use of advanced digital technology and other DT3 solutions in agriculture can enable Malaysia to reduce its dependence on cheap labour.

To date, he said the company has an orderbook of about RM400 million in agricultural produce.

Source: The Malaysian Reserve

Aerodyne continues to expand abroad


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Malaysia’s direct investment abroad rises in 2021


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Inari Amertron Bhd is forming a joint venture (JV) with China Fortune-Tech Capital Co Ltd (CFTC) to carry out outsourced semiconductor assembly and test (OSAT) services in China.

In a filing with Bursa Malaysia, Inari said its wholly-owned subsidiary Amertron International Ltd has entered into a JV contract with CFTC (Yiwu) Equity Investment Fund Partnership (Limited Partnership) and CFTC Equity Investment Management (Beijing) Co Ltd.

CFTC (Yiwu) is a private equity fund administered by CFTC, while CFTC Equity is wholly owned by CFTC.

Inari said Amertron International will take up 54.4648% interest in the JV company, called Yiwu Semiconductor International Corporation, while CFTC (Yiwu) will own the remaining 45.5352% stake.

Amertron International will have to contribute RM283.33 million cash into the JV company while CFTC (Yiwu) will inject RM131.78 million of new cash investment, said Inari.

The group said it will fund the RM283 million with proceeds raised from its private placement completed in July last year, which raised RM1.03 billion.

The contract on Tuesday (June 28) came after Inari and CFTC entered into a memorandum of understanding on Oct 18 last year with the intention to set up this JV.

Inari said on Tuesday that the JV will enable it to improve its existing captive business strategy and expand its existing operations in the China market.

“This would enable Inari Group to diversify its product and customer base as well as adding revenue and earning streams with a potential IPO in China at later stages,” it said.

Inari said the JV also represents an opportunity to partner with a strong local technology fund which will help in opening up the China OSAT market for the group.

Inari closed one sen or 0.4% lower at RM2.66, giving it a market capitalisation of RM9.86 billion.

Source: The Edge Markets

Inari investing RM283 mil in JV with CFTC to carry out OSAT services in China


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Pharmaniaga Bhd is looking to expand its market presence to the United Kingdom (UK), Turkey as well as the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) in the next two to three years, while also strengthening its presence in Indonesia.

Group managing director, Datuk Zulkarnain Md Eusope said Pharmaniaga is in active discussions with these countries.

“We are looking at easing the process (of entering the UK market) through products that have already been registered (in the country) and are not being sold properly in the UK market,“ he told reporters after announcing the group’s financial performance for the first quarter ended March 31, 2022, here today.

Zulkarnain added that there is a huge untapped potential in Indonesia that should be explored.

“We are in the midst of revamping the current business model of our public-listed logistics and distribution arm, PT Millenium Pharmacon International Tbk in Jakarta, and expanding the products portfolio of our manufacturing arm, PT Errita Pharma in Bandung,“ he said.

With the strategic business and aggressive marketing plans in place, Pharmaniaga aims to further enhance the profitability of its Indonesian division in the coming quarters, said Zulkarnain.

Meanwhile, on the rising active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) prices, he said the group currently has a buffer stock of three to six months.

“Some pharmaceutical products are affected by API shortages, but we are not relying on only one supplier for the API.

“We have at least three suppliers for now,“ he said, adding that the group will continue to monitor the fluctuations in the API prices.

He also revealed that Pharmaniaga is currently finalising the logistics and distribution contract extension agreement with the Ministry of Health, to be completed by year-end.

Source: Bernama

Pharmaniaga to expand presence overseas


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Malaysia which has long ties with African countries has been urged to focus on Africa for more trade, investment, tourism and educational ties as the world’s second-largest continent offers numerous opportunities and vast potential for natural resources to be explored for mutual benefits.

In making the call, Somalia’s ambassador to Malaysia and Dean of African Heads of Missions in Malaysia, Abukar Abdi Osman said the rapidly changing global geopolitics following the military conflict in Ukraine, had forced many European countries to look to Africa for natural resources as well as oil and gas. 

He cited China as a country which dared to explore and invest hugely in Africa despite constraints such as language and cultural differences with the African continent, but today not only has China reaped the benefits of focusing on Africa at the right time but also many African countries have benefitted in terms of infrastructure development like new roads and highways, railway lines, healthcare facilities, ports, sports facilities and agricultural development.

“So, this is the right time… please wake up to the potential presented by Africa and build a strong will to explore Africa’s economic opportunities. In the past Malaysia has been left behind as it failed or was late to grab the opportunities in Africa, but there are plenty of opportunities still available (for Malaysia and other countries) and that’s why European countries are refocusing on Africa now,” he said.

Abukar Abdi, a former Somali federal minister was speaking to Bernama in an interview in conjunction with Africa Day on May 25. Africa Day is the annual commemoration of the foundation of the Organisation of African Unity on May 25, 1963, later transformed into the African Union (AU) on July 9, 2002.

The Celebration for 2022 is under the theme: Strengthening resilience in nutrition and food security in the African Continent. Africa is the world’s second-most populous continent.

Abukar Abdi stressed that at one point of time, Malaysian companies and businessmen were a bit active in entering Africa, but in the past many years, not much progress has been made in terms of doing business with Africa, a continent which today being seen as able to provide food security to the world due to its huge arable and fertile land for agriculture.

Several Arab countries are investing heavily in Africa, purchasing land for food production and cultivating wheat and other crops to ensure the food security of their nations.

Another pertinent point raised by Abukar Abdi is the many similarities that Africa shares with Malaysia, – climate, food and lifestyle, colonial history, people friendliness, rich in culture and being countries which are in the Commonwealth grouping, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM). All these will make things more easier for Malaysians and Malaysian companies to explore the huge potential and making the right decision to do business in Africa.

He said Africa was endowed with huge arable and fertile land for agriculture, water resources, rich in biodiversity, hydropower potential, metals and mineral reserves, such as gold, silver, zinc, titanium, chromium, platinum, diamond, copper, tin, iron ore, cobalt, coal, bauxite, tantalum, coltan, uranium, tungsten, besides untapped oil and gas deposits. 

According to United Nations, Africa is home to some 30 per cent of the world’s mineral reserves, eight per cent of the world’s natural gas and 12 per cent of the world’s oil reserves.  The continent has 40 per cent of the world’s gold and up to 90 per cent of its chromium and platinum. The largest reserves of cobalt, diamonds, platinum and uranium in the world are in Africa. It holds 65 per cent of the world’s arable land and 10 per cent of the planet’s internal renewable fresh water source.

The ambassador further said that, Africa has cheap labour force, a highly educated and skilled young workforce and a growing middle class who have the means to purchase new products offered in the market such as cars and other vehicles, electronic and electrical gadgets and new real estate properties.

Abukar Abdi pointed out that while Africa has all these resources and potential, Malaysia has financial resources, technology and the know-how as well as huge experiences in industrial development which if matched properly with Africa’s needs and resources, could result in a win-win situation for both sides.

Citing few fine examples, he said Malaysian companies, in the plantation sector could invest in the rubber and palm oil sector, cultivation and production of food crops like corn, cotton growing, garment and textile industries, rice cultivation, food processing, floriculture, livestock industry, agro based industry, fisheries, renewable energy and others.

He cited how Somalia which has the longest coastline in Africa has recently signed fisheries agreements with 30 Chinese companies. On the same note, Abukar Abdi pointed out that in Somalia, only less than one million hectare of fertile land has been cultivated out of the 15 million hectare of fertile land available in the country.

One important area where African countries are still lacking since the independence era – is to provide value addition in the agribusiness sector which could help to lift the living standards of millions of Africans and in this context Malaysian companies could invest in value added industries.

In infrastructure development, can develop affordable housing, build highways and roads, develop ports and airports and manufacturing plants.

“Malaysian national car companies can explore the opportunity to set up plants there, he pointed out.

In recent years, multinational vehicle manufacturers have successfully set up production plants in Africa.

Africa with some 1.3 billion people today has a growing consumer market. It is estimated that Africa has some 170 million people of middle-class category. 

Abukar Abdi said with a growing middle class more and more Africans are travelling, the Malaysian aviation industry should grab this opportunity by exploring the possibility of starting direct flights to African cities from Kuala Lumpur.

He also pointed out that despite negative reports about Africa in the Western media from time to time, the reality is far from that. Today many African countries are more politically stable with governments being democratically elected.

” I would like to advise the Malaysian business community… to visit Africa and explore what it offers, not just tourism attraction but also trade and investment opportunities,” he said.

“We welcome the Malaysian public and private companies with open arms,” he said adding that most African countries offer simple and easy system to attract foreign investors.

Abukar Abdi explained that most Malaysian products and goods to Africa like palm oil are exported through third countries due to lack of direct business or trade ties. This is not favourable in term of cost and this situation could be tackled, if Malaysian companies take a deep interest in Africa and increase their trade with the continent.

He said Malaysian businessmen also can benefit from the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Agreement – the largest free trade area in the world considering the number of countries participating. AfCFTA connects 1.3 billion people across African countries with a combined Gross Domestic Product (GDP) valued at US$3.4 trillion.

“Africa-Malaysia relations have yielded tremendous results. Over the years, particularly during the pre-covid era, both sides witnessed the exchanges of high level visits, a boost in trade and economic cooperation, cooperation in education etc.

“There have been minor issues which have been tackled administratively. However, despite minor setbacks, as I indicated earlier cooperation between Africa and Malaysia has been favourable and we are hoping that the coming years will yield much greater cooperation in various sectors,” he said.

Source: Bernama

High time for Malaysia to invest, increase trade ties with Africa – Ambassador


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Kein Hing International Bhd on Thursday announced it has awarded an RM5 million construction contract to a third party main contractor in Vietnam for the proposed construction of a single-storey factory.

Kein Hing’s wholly-owned subsidiary Kein Hing Thai Nguyen (Vietnam) Co Ltd (KHTV), has awarded the job to the contractor for the proposed construction of the factory on a piece of industrial land located at Diem Thuy Industrial Park, Phuc Binh District, in Vietnam.

In a bourse filing, Kein Hing said the proposed construction of the factory with a total built-up of approximately 53,000 square feet will cater for the future expansion plans of the group in Vietnam, particularly the business of metal stamping, precision
machining, assembly of components and fabrication of tools and dies.Advertisement

Kein Hing noted further that the group’s production and warehouse space are expected to increase by approximately 9% against its current total capacity with the proposed construction.

“The growth in customers’ demand for parts and metal components in Vietnam has created a great opportunity for the group to expand its manufacturing business in Vietnam.

“The proposed construction is strategically situated within the Diem Thuy Industrial Park, Thai Nguyen where business activities have been expanding rapidly in recent years.

“Therefore, the intended use of the factory upon completion of the proposed construction would principally be engaged in the business of metal stamping, precision machining, assembly of components and fabrication of tools and dies mostly for the multinational corporation customers in Vietnam,” it said.

Kein Hing added the construction of the proposed construction is expected to commence in May 2022, and barring any unforeseen circumstances it is expected to be completed by December 2022.

KHTV intends to finance the construction costs of the proposed construction through bank borrowings.

Kein Hing’s shares finished three sen or 2.91% lower at RM1, bringing it a market capitalization of RM108.9 million.

Source: The Edge Markets

Kein Hing to construct RM5m factory in Vietnam as part of future expansion plans


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Supermax Corporation Bhd via its US-based subsidiary Maxter Healthcare Inc will build an Advance Manufacturing Facility in Brazoria County, Texas, United States.

Supermax said the new facility will be the company’s 18th manufacturing plant worldwide and its first in the United States.

According to the company, the new 215-acre manufacturing facility will showcase cutting edge capabilities through expanded use of artificial intelligence and robotic engineering and will comprise a total of eight buildings.

“Phase one will begin construction in the second quarter of 2022 with glove production expected to start in the second quarter of 2023,” it said in a Bursa Malaysia filing today.

The company had earlier announced an investment of US$350 million (RM1.4 billion) in the first of four construction phases.

The Supermax facility in Texas will cater to at least 10 to 15 per cent of annual medical nitrile glove demand in the US over the next two to four years in the first phase alone. The second phase will follow closely, meeting 20-25 per cent of demand and consumption in the US over the next four to six years.

Supermax founder and executive chairman Datuk Seri Stanley Thai said manufacturing within the US has always been a desire of the company.

Supermax group has engaged ARCO/Murray, the top builder for warehouse and distribution space (according to Engineering News-Record) for this project.

Supermax exports to 165 countries and has distribution centres and operations in the United States, Canada, UK, Ireland, Brazil, Japan, Hong Kong and Singapore.

Source: Bernama

Supermax to build advanced manufacturing facility in Texas, US


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Thong Guan Industries Bhd is exploring an opportunity to set up a joint venture (JV) in the mid-western region of the United States that is intended for the US market.

The board of Thong Guan agreed on a possible expansion into the world’s biggest market for stretch films, said CIMB-CGS in a report. However, the Russia-Ukraine war might cause systemic risks to Thong Guan’s sales demand, input costs and margins, said the report.

As the world’s biggest economy, the US is also the biggest user of stretch films. The report said Thong Guan believes the US uses around 1.2 million tonnes of stretch films per annum. In comparison, the group’s annual production of stretch film last year was 78,000 tonnes.

The group is still doubling its expansion capacity in order to reach its forecast of RM2bil in turnover by financial year 2026. In its financial year 2021, revenue amounted to RM1.2bil.

Thong Guan plans to install another production line for stretch films before the end of the first quarter of its 2022 financial year, while the construction of its new courier bag production unit was completed at the end of last year.

“While details on Thong Guan’s US plant are still in the works, we note that this possible endeavour should not strain its balance sheet.

Its cash pile of RM292.9mil at the end of 2021 dwarfed its total borrowings of RM181.2mil.

The report said the interest that Thong Guan pays is almost 70 times less than its earnings before interest and tax of RM127.1mil.

“That gives a lot of headroom to gear up if it sees fit,” said the research report.

The broker is keeping its “add” call but lowered its target price for the stock to RM4.54 from RM5.70 as Thong Guan is believed to have the ability to raise selling prices of its goods to deal with inflationary pressure.

Source: The Star

Thong Guan poised to expand into US market


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Main market-listed Caely Holdings Bhd hopes to set up a joint-venture (JV) in Indonesia this year to increase its production capacity to cater to the growing global demand for lingerie.

Chief executive officer Gok Ching Hee said the company is currently in the midst of finalising the terms and conditions of the agreement with a potential JV partner, that would then invest in a plant in the republic.

“Our JV partner will invest in the plant, which will likely be ready in May or June this year. We target to sign the JV agreement by the end of March,” he told Bernama.

Gok said Caely’s current main export destinations for its original equipment manufacturer undergarment products are Germany, the United States and Canada, however, it has recently been getting more enquiries from companies in Turkey, France and Australia.

He pointed out that the enquiries from these companies were already double Caely’s existing production capacity, which led to the company’s decision to expand further, with the plant in Indonesia aiming to increase capacity threefold, compared with its factory in Teluk Intan, Perak.

“We believe that this recent large amount of orders we are getting is due to companies shifting away from sourcing their products in China and that we are benefitting from the trade war in the international arena.

“Judging by the increasing momentum of orders we are getting, we are confident that we will use up the capacity of the Indonesian plant,” he said.

Caely, which was established in 1986 to produce women’s intimate apparels, had allocated RM5 million for working capital in October last year to diversify its products including the production of fabric face mask.

Gok said the company would also utilise part of this investment to produce active wear, nightwear and kids wear, soon.

“We have signed a licensing agreement with Disney and this has opened a lot of opportunities for us because we can produce Disney brand apparels,” he said.

He added that the company had planned to eventually move its lingerie manufacturing to Indonesia while its Malaysian plant would focus on producing face masks and other apparels.

Source: Bernama

Lingerie maker Caely to set up JV in Indonesia to ramp up production


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Gading Kencana Sdn Bhd, one of the largest solar farm operator in Malaysia, is collaborating with Saudi Arabia’s March Global LLC to develop US$1 billion (RM4.2 billion) solar farms in the Middle East, Africa and Asean regions.

The memorandum of understanding (MoU) was inked during the Expo 2020 Dubai.

In a statement yesterday, Gading Kencana managing director Datuk Ir Muhamad Guntor Mansor Tobeng said the partnerships covered activities, transactions, relationships, contracts and works related to developing solar farms with a primary focus on the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region.

“The Mena region was chosen because it has great potential in renewable energy exploration in line with current global developments that want to reduce dependence on conventional energy sources.

“Besides that, this MoU is also a recognition to companies from Malaysia that prove that Malaysia has expertise in the field of renewable energy, especially solar, which is able to play a role globally through such cooperation,” he said.

He said the first collaboration between Gading Kencana and March Global is to develop a solar farm in Khulais, Saudi Arabia with a capacity of 100 megawatts followed by the exploration of investment potential in Ghana and several countries in North Africa.

For the Asean region, he said Gading Kencana and March Global aimed to develop solar farms in Vietnam.

Muhamad Guntor said the MoU enabled Malaysian companies such as Gading Kencana to step onto the international stage by taking advantage of developments in the global renewable energy sector with new generating capacity reaching almost 280 gigawatts by 2020, about 45% higher than 2019.

He said according to the International Energy Agency (IEA), the performance marked the highest year-over-year increase since 1999.

“Global electricity consumption capacity from renewable energy sources is projected to increase by more than 60% between 2020 and 2026, reaching more than 4,800 gigawatts.

“Very high capacity additions will be the ‘new normal’ in 2022,’’ he added. 

Source: Bernama

Gading Kencana inks US$1b solar farms partnership with Saudi’s March Global


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ABLE Global Bhd is seeing a surge in enquiries for its products from the Americas, particularly from the Caribbean islands and the surrounding areas such as Haiti, Jamaica, Venezuela and even Port Louis in Mauritius, which is off the eastern coast of Africa.

These countries are not the typical customer base for the majority of Malaysian companies, but they are part of Able Global’s customer portfolio, which is set to grow further with its recently commissioned production plant in Mexico.

If the name “Able Global” sounds unfamiliar, it is probably because investors would have known it as Johore Tin Bhd previously. The group recently underwent a name change to better reflect the change in its main business — from tin can packaging to food and beverage (F&B).

The name change was also to show the continuing investment it is putting into expanding the F&B segment, says CEO Edward Goh in an email reply to The Edge.

The group’s investment in Mexico, under Able Dairies Mexico, is a result of a joint venture between Able Global’s wholly-owned subsidiary Able Dairies Sdn Bhd and three Mexican shareholders. Able Dairies holds 43.13% equity interest in the venture.

“We are targeting 30% to 40% of our production capacity to be sold in Mexico while the remainder can be sold to the US, South America, Central America and the Caribbean. If the freight rate is advantageous, we may even ship to South Africa,” says Goh.

It targets to break even with a 30% utilisation rate by the first year of operations.

At present, the group is selling its products from Malaysia to smaller chain stores in the US, while in Mexico and Venezuela, Able Global’s products are retailed in Walmart through its partner Calkins, Burke and Zannie de México (CBZ).

“We could not sell in larger quantities [to the US] due to the freight rate being more than US$10,000 (RM42,167) (per container) now. Shipping from Mexico is nearer, we can send to the border via train and that will reduce the cost significantly.

“Right now, we have a lot of enquiries coming from the Caribbean islands and the surrounding area such as Haiti, Jamaica, Port Louis, Venezuela, as well as the US, but we are not selling to them on a big scale [yet].

“We have existing customers in the Caribbean islands and [our products] will be exported from Mexico in the future. We are also trying to develop new markets in Haiti, Jamaica, Peru, Venezuela and other countries around this region,” adds Goh.

This is where the commissioning of the production plant in Mexico comes into play for the group’s ambition to stamp its mark on the Americas, despite several setbacks in getting it up and running due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

With the plant operating since July, Able Global will expand into markets in the Americas and Caribbean.

Goh says the group is in the midst of finalising the audit and paperwork with the Mexican authorities and that Able Global’s marketing team has been working hard at contacting customers to take orders for the export market.

Able Global has already obtained the Safe Quality Food (SQF) certification for Able Dairies Mexico in order for the group to list its items in Walmart and other big supermarket chains in the US.

“This [SQF] opens a new revenue stream for our group, and we believe this will also strengthen our foothold in the North American market,” says Goh.

The next step is for the said supermarkets, such as Walmart, to conduct an audit on the factory. Goh says Walmart is scheduling an audit with Able Dairies Mexico.

Able Global is also awaiting the issuance of the health certificate from the Ministry of Health in Mexico following the completion of its audit, in order for Able Dairies Mexico to export products from its facilities. The health certificate is a prerequisite by importing countries before a product can be sold on their shores.

Another important piece of the puzzle for Able Global’s aspirations in the Americas is its partners. The group has the advantage of having CBZ — a wholesale distributor of brands as well as food producer — as its partner.

CBZ is an authorised supplier to Walmart and other American chains, says Goh, so this means Able Global has a ready channel to the big supermarkets as soon as the necessary certifications are obtained.

Aside from successfully commissioning its production plant in Mexico, Able Global is also working on expanding its product portfolio currently, to move beyond sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk and milk powders.

Soon, the group will be adding UHT milk to its portfolio. The equipment is currently being installed and is set for commissioning in a few months. The group is also looking at the popular plant-based milk alternatives.

“One of the products that we are looking to add is plant-based milk alternatives. They are gaining tremendous interest globally and sales are forecast to grow at a 9.4% compound rate annually from 2020 to 2030.

“Six of the top 10 global markets are situated in Asia-Pacific. Notably, the plant-based beverage category has one of the fastest growth in the post-pandemic era due to changes in customer perception. We see it as a perfect fit for our product portfolio and are looking into this,” notes Goh.

The outlook for Able Global’s F&B segment seems bright, with demand being consistently strong despite the volatility in raw material prices, shares Goh.

Selling prices are adjusted monthly to better reflect costs, he adds.

Notably, Able Global’s dairy business makes up about 75% of group revenue, with the remainder coming from its tin can manufacturing business, which was once the group’s bread and butter. Able Global saw its revenue fall 13% to RM502.26 million in the financial year ended Dec 31, 2020 (FY2020) from RM579.79 million in FY2019, while net profit was down 17% year on year (y-o-y) to RM39.49 million from RM47.48 million.

The huge increase in steel prices, opines Goh, will only decrease demand for tin cans slightly in the near term. The group has managed to pass on the raw material cost for its tin cans to customers, similar to its competitors, given how rapidly steel prices have increased.

“In the past, when the price went up 2% to 3%, we would just absorb it. But this time around, it has increased by 50% to 55% from a year ago. There is no company that can absorb this kind of increase,” he says.

In the long term, it is likely that customers will look for alternative packaging materials if steel prices remain elevated, adds Goh.

While it has pivoted its main business, Goh says the group’s tin manufacturing segment will remain and there are no plans to hive off this operation.

“However, our F&B segment will be one of the important core businesses. We have invested a lot in it, and we also have a lot of technical and supporting teams in our F&B segment,” he says.

Interestingly, the group is also planning to diversify into industrial property development given its belief that demand for warehousing and manufacturing is on the upswing in selected sectors. It sees continued demand for industrial land and properties moving into 2022 and beyond.

For 3QFY2021, Able Global’s net profit dropped 44.2% to RM8.77 million from a year ago, while revenue shrank 16.2% y-o-y to RM117.83 million.

The results were dragged down by lower manufacturing output from its F&B segment owing to the Full Movement Control Order, which restricted the workforce to 60%. The company also had to be closed for almost three weeks in July owing to the Enhanced Movement Control Order.

Able Global’s share price has shed 19.71% year to date to close at RM1.58 last Thursday, valuing the group at RM482.9 million.

Source: The Edge Markets

Able Global looking to stamp its mark on the Americas


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Rubber glove maker Supermax Corporation Bhd plans to invest US$350 million (US$1= RM4.21) in the first phase of its manufacturing facility in the United States (US).

In a statement to Bursa Malaysia today, the company said the 87-hectare manufacturing facility in Brazoria County, Texas, would be undertaken by its US-based subsidiary, Maxter Healthcare Inc.

It said the four-phase manufacturing facility is expected to produce 400 million gloves per month in each phase, with phase one construction to begin in the first quarter (Q1) of 2022 and starts production by Q4 2022.

“When all the four phases are completed, the total installed production capacity would be a whopping 1.6 billion gloves per month, or 19.2 billion gloves per annum,” it said.

According to Supermax, phase one facility would consist of the group’s North America manufacturing headquarters, a research and development centre, trading centre and a full-fledged employee facility centre.

“This project will be Supermax’s 18th manufacturing facility worldwide and the first in the US,” it said.

The company said its board of directors had previously approved a capital expenditure of US$550 million for this investment.

Founder and executive chairman Datuk Seri Stanley Thai said the manufacturing plant would be equipped with world-class capabilities, such as automatic, robotic engineering manufacturing with Artificial Intelligence and Industry Revolution 4.0.

“Our manufacturing facilities will also emphasise on renewable energy and waste water management,” he said.

Supermax Healthcare Inc chief executive officer CK Tan said the manufacturing facility, when operational, would strengthen the US personal protective equipment (PPE) supply chain by building capacities.

“We will be capable of catering to at least 10 per cent to 15 per cent of the total annual medical glove imports into the US over the next two to four years.

“As our capacity increases, we will be able to meet 20 per cent to 25 per cent of the demand and consumption in the US over the next four to six years,” he said.

Supermax Healthcare Inc is also a subsidiary of Supermax based in the US.

Source: Bernama

Supermax to invest US$350m in phase 1 of US manufacturing plant


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