THE next few years look set to be very busy for water treatment products manufacturer Primeclass Aquionics Sdn Bhd.
Its managing director Garry Adams foresees the coming five to six years as growth years for the company, which relocated from Australia to Malaysia three years ago.
Based on our current contracts in hand and also our production level, we expect turnover for the year to exceed the RM16mil mark. For 2004, based on our pending contracts and expected growth in production, we are targeting a turnover of RM28mil, Adams told StarBiz.
Adams said the company's current market concentration was in the South-East Asian region, Far East Asia and the Middle East.
We are looking at countries like Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, South Korea, Taiwan and even Africa, he said.
According to Adams, the growth factor in these regions is substantial and the volume of work achieved is more than sufficient at this point in time.
We need to ensure that we can manage this growth before moving on to markets like Europe and North and South America, he said, adding that the company planned to go into Europe next year and North and South America by 2006.
Adams added: Our core business will still be here but we hope to set up satellite factories in other regions where the knocked down forms of the system can be assembled because transporting the products will be increasingly difficult and expensive as the business expands.
Primeclass Aquionics is focused on designing aquatic products and systems, which include supplying equipment for aquaculture projects, marine aquariums as well as leisure and industrial water treatment projects. Established as Aquionics in Perth in 1973, the company relocated to Malaysia in 2000.
Adams said the company achieved exceptional market penetration since last year and was currently supplying its systems and equipment to major contractors in the country including hospitals, hotels, condominiums and swimming pools.
We now have about 60% market share of the low and medium-sized water treatment projects in Malaysia, he said, adding that 55% of its revenue was from exports and the balance domestic.
According to Adams, the company is now working on a RM2mil project to design, supply and install life support system for the Langkawi Underwater World extension and a project in Thailand worth RM6.5mil to design, supply and install the life support system for a two-storey aquarium.
Another project which is being confirmed is to design, supply and install the life support system for a dolphinarium in the Klang Valley, he said.
Adams said that based on the company's current growth, it would need to expand its current facilities in Bukit Beruntung by the end of the year due to space constraint from the high level of production required to maintain its market share.
We currently have two projects, the life support system for the dolphinarium in the Klang Valley and the aquarium in Thailand, at the design stage. We are also running production for the life support system on another two projects, which is the Langkawi Underwater World and Chang Feng Aquarium marine mammal pool in Shanghai. If we were to get another project, for instance the government-sponsored Istanbul aquarium to be completed by mid-2004, we would need to expand even earlier, he said.
Adams added that Primeclass Aquionics would invest about RM5mil in its expansion programme over the next two years.
The company produces an average of 1,200 varying-sized filters per month but the number is expected to increase to 1,500 units per month after its plant expansion.
With the expansion, Adams said the company would be able to increase the production of its household water filters, currently being curbed due to commitment to its commercial customers.
This will grow our domestic market as 80% of the household water filters is sold in Malaysia, he said.
Adams said the company also had plans to introduce more products. We want to expand our product range in water sanitation to include lower output ozone generators to cater to domestic and smaller commercial applications.
The company is also involved in a joint-venture mining operation with some Australian engineers for a natural product from the zeolite mineral called Aquizorb, an absorbent material which can be used in organic fertilisers, plantations, drainage and landscaping.
This is a new business and a slight diversification within the confines of the products the company is handling, Adams said, adding that for a start, the company planned to produce 5,000 tonnes this year and double the amount in 2004.
Going forward, Adams sees the company thriving in the aquatic industry.
We are a specialist in clean water/water purification involved mainly in marine environment and have created a niche market for ourselves, he said, adding that due to the specialist nature of the company's products and services, it could get a reasonable market share worldwide.
On the impact of the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) outbreak, Adams said it would have long-term ramifications if not resolved soon.
He said that with the dramatic effect SARS had on tourism, it might even affect the company's market as the aquarium business might shrink.
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