THE KLSE's Mesdaq market will see the listing of what is probably the first biotechnology-based company when Inproser Bhd makes its initial public offering (IPO) to raise RM 70mil before the year is out.
About RM30mil from the proceeds would be used for its expansion programme; RM20mil for further research and development (R&D) activities: and the remaining RM20mil as working capital.
“The listing gives us the boost to speed up our process....the market is unlimited (for biotechnology products),'' Inproser Group of Companies president and CEO Henri ten Have told reporters after a media presentation in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.
It has been said that biotechnology will be the engine of growth in the new millennium as governments worldwide gear up to develop their national biotechnology capabilities.
In Malaysia, biotechnology received a further boost in 2001 with the announcement of a Bio Valley initiative which will consist of a concentration of biotechnology research institutions, universities and companies within the Multimedia Super Corridor.
Inproser Group started in 1990 when it got involved in several projects for the manufacture and supply of car components.
In 1996, the group ventured into R&D for the creation of biotechnology products. There has since been a breakthrough and last year Inproser Bhd formed a joint venture with Felda to produce chicken feed, or Orgafeed, using palm kernel expellers. Orgafeed is a pre-mix formula that optimises growth and health in animal feed, resulting in better tasting and healthier chicken, fish and eggs.
The RM30mil plant, located in Pasir Gudang produces 40,000 tonnes of Orgafeed per year. There are plans are to increase production to 240,000 tonnes next year.
From now to end-2004, Henri expects the group to invest RM87mil in its expansion plans (including the RM30mil to be spent by Inproser Bhd). Thus far the group has invested RM17mil, of which RM10mil was dedicated to R&D.
The company's expansion plans would include adding two plants, one each in Lumut and the other in Kuantan for Orgafeed production. Negotiations are in progress to set up two more plants for production of animal feed for export purposes to Taiwan and Japan in Bintulu and Tawau.
ten Have said over the last weekend, the group had also sealed a deal to help set up two plants in Medan in Indonesia to produce animal feed using palm kernel expellers for the Indonesian market.
Meanwhile, ten Have said Inproser Bhd was 45%-owned by the Improser group, with its chairman Datuk Ariff Awang holding 25% interest; an investor from Holland 18%, and the remaining stake held by some Malaysian individuals. ten Have wholly owns Inproser Group.
Inproser Bhd will issue about 60 million new shares for its IPO, which will increase its share base to 85 million RM1 shares. Submissions to the relevant authorities are expected to be made soon.
Inproser Bhd reported net profit of RM4mil on the back of RM14mil turnover for the year ended Dec 31, 2002. For the current year, the company expects net profit to rise to between RM25mil and RM30mil on the back of RM115mil turnover.
At group level, there are plans to set up a processing plant in Bio Valley for high-end sugars, separation and purification of Omega-3 into EVA and DHA components, and Vitamin E ingredients that are anti-cancerous.
“(With our products), we can replace artificial sweeteners for diabetic patients,'' ten Have said, adding that the construction of the plant could cost RM70mil.
The plant would take about a year to complete. In the meantime, Inproser would be working closely with France-based Novesep SA to undertake R&D on several products so that when production begins it would have several products for commercial production.
Also by the end of this month, Inproser group plans to launch its products, chickens and eggs under the Mama's Choice and Ovomas brand names respectively.
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