KUMPULAN Emas Bhd's (KEB) intention to list its 51% subsidiary Salcon Engineering Bhd on the KLSE main board this year will finally come true following the recent speedy approval obtained from the Securities Commission (SC).
KEB group managing director Dr Patrick Teoh said: We had started grooming Salcon for a KLSE listing since 1997 but at that time it only qualified for the second board. However, due to the Asian financial crisis and the country's economic slowdown, we had to put on hold the listing plan till the right time and opportunity strikes.
And this opportunity came last year following the plight of Practice Note 4 (PN4) companies. We then quickly put our listing plan into action.
Salcon will take over the listing status of financially depressed Seng Hup Corp Bhd via a reverse takeover exercise. It bought over the listing status for RM28mil in an open tender by Pengurusan Danaharta Nasional Bhd.
We are grateful to the SC for the approval process which took less than three months as we submitted the plan on Oct 10 last year. One of the justifications for our rescue of the PN4 was the speedy approval for a KLSE listing slated in the 2nd quarter of this year, Teoh told StarBiz in Petaling Jaya.
He also pointed out that this was KEB's first real attempt to list Salcon unlike recent reports, which stated that the company had failed in several attempts to list Salcon since 1997.
It is true we had voiced our intention (to list Salcon in 1997) but have never submitted anything to the SC, he said.
According to Teoh, Salcon has grown from strength to strength to carve a strong niche as one of the Asean region's leading water engineering specialists with offices in Vietnam, China and Indonesia.
We are the water engineering complete solution provider from design to drawing, providing control room, chemical and biological testing and after-sales service and maintenance, he said.
To date, Salcon has a healthy order book worth RM500mil mainly for works in Malaysia and in the region.
We expect our engineering works will last over the next two years while our maintenance works for a further 10 years, he said. We are now positioning Salcon to be in the forefront of future projects in Asia.
Salcon was set to actively bid for more water-related jobs locally as well as regionally like in China, Indo-China and the Middle East, he said.
We are targeting these areas due to the anticipated tremendous growth potential for expansion in the near future, said Teoh.
At present, 80% of Salcon's jobs are in Malaysia while the remaining 20% is well spread regionally in Vietnam, India and Thailand.
Since 28 years of its establishment, Salcon has completed over 450 water-related projects and 60 palm oil mills in Malaysia and Asean.
On the local front, Teoh said: We aspire to be one of the big players in the water industry.
Citing the Sungai Selangor Water Supply Scheme, which is one of the largest water treatment projects in South East Asia, Teoh said Salcon's involvement was mainly in the design and construction of the water treatment process.
In phase one, Salcon was awarded a contract to complete the chemical and sludge disposal plants.
Subsequent to the success of phase 1, we were again entrusted with the design and construction of the filtration plant in phase 2 in addition to chemical and sludge disposal plants, he said.
According to Teoh, the company is proud to participate in one of the biggest projects in Malaysia to meet the increased demand for potable water in the country.
Other projects include the Kuala Jelai water supply phase 2 stage 1 project in Negri Sembilan, Bertam water treatment plant in Malacca and the largest sludge dewatering plant in Malaysia for the Public Utilities Board of Singapore.
Besides west Malaysia, Salcon has also built many treatment plants in east Malaysia.
Teoh said a few of the notable treatment plants were the Bintulu, Semporna, Sepagata and Sandakan water supply.
According to Teoh, Salcon strengthened by its successes in Malaysia has also moved aggressively across to the Asean region.
In Vietnam for example, he said, the company was awarded the first privatisation project for the Binh An water supply scheme to supply treated water to Ho Chi Minh City.
The project was undertaken by a Malaysian consortium, Emas Utilities Corp Sdn Bhd, of which Salcon has a significant stake, he said.
The construction of the water treatment plant was completed in July 1999 and commenced commercial production in August 1999.
Teoh said Salcon also did not miss out the opportunity to further ex- pand and build its portfolio of successfully completed projects when China opened its market to foreign investors.
We secured a contract in Chong Qing urban water supply to design, supervise and commission the 312 MLD capacity water treatment filtration plant, he said, adding that Salcon would continue to bid for more water projects in China.
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