Emico plans to expand lift business in Vietnam


BY David Tan in HO CHI MINH CITY

Emico Holdings Bhd, a second board company better known for its trophies and medals products, plans to expand its lift manufacturing business in Vietnam. 

Its group executive chairman Lim Beng Huan told StarBiz that the group had plans to manufacture lifts under the brand name Fuji in Vietnam. 

“In preparation for the move, we have recently registered the Fuji brand name in Vietnam. Our initial feedback indicates that the market for lifts is growing rapidly due to the mushrooming of multi-storey buildings in Ho Chi Minh City,” he said. 

The Vietnamese government has imposed a ruling that all types of buildings, residential and commercial, to be built in the city must be at least six storeys in view of the shortage of land. 

He said the group's planned investment in Vietnam might take the form of a joint venture.  

“We have received several queries from local lift manufacturers who want to team up with us. We have had discussions with them, but yet to determine the type and form of investment,” he said. 

Lim said the group had also late last year formed a new management team for the lift division.  

“Our new managing director Koay Theng Cheang has over 20 years of experience in a similar business. Under the new management, our business strategy is to consolidate our lifts market in the country and look for opportunities to establish the group as a leading manufacturer in the Asean region. 

“Under Koay's leadership, our sales in the country for the first quarter of 2003 were RM8mil, compared to RM2mil in the previous year's corresponding quarter,” he said. 

According to Lim, Emico has been involved in the making of lifts since 1995, under brand names Fuji and Northern at its plant in the Bayan Lepas industrial estate. They are sold locally and exported to China and the Middle East.  

Lim said the group's trophies and medals offered similar potential as its lifts business in Vietnam. It had about three months ago established a US$2mil facility in Ho Chi Minh City to produce trophies and medals for sale in Vietnam. 

“The market for trophies and medals in Vietnam is enormous and growing each year. According to our research, it can absorb on average approximately US$10mil worth of trophies and medals yearly,” he said. 

Lim said most of the trophies and medals available in Vietnam today were imported and sold at an exorbitant price due to high duties. 

“An imported trophy, for example, sells for about US$10. Emico is in a very good position to tap this market, as it can produce the trophies and medals cost effectively in Vietnam, enabling us to price our products competitively,” he said. 

Lim said Emico was appointed the official supplier of medals and souvenir items for the 22nd SEA Games, scheduled to be held in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City in December. 

“Under the agreement the group received worldwide rights to sell SEA Games souvenirs. In Vietnam, we are targeting to sell the souvenirs, caps, T-shirts and key-chains at hotels, airports, supermarkets, and retailers. We have appointed some 400 distributors in Vietnam to promote the souvenirs. We are currently looking at appointing distributors in other countries in the region to market them,” he said.  

On the group's property development division, Lim said Emico planned to launch some 400 units of landed residential properties on a 209-acre site in the fourth quarter 2003 in Sungai Petani, Kedah. 

“The 400 units, with a gross sales revenue of about RM50mil, is part of a project, yet to be named, comprising 2,800 units of landed residential and commercial properties to be launched progressively over the next four to five years,” he said. 

Lim said the group's debt restructuring exercise, already approved by the Securities Commission, was scheduled for completion in the fourth quarter this year.  

“We are working on a rights issue, scheduled for implementation in the fourth quarter 2003. Subsequently, we will then apply for the group to be removed from the PN4 list,” he said. 

Listed in 1994, the group's core business is in the manufacture of plastic consumer products, lifts and elevators, and property development. It has three manufacturing facilities, employing some 600 at the Bayan Lepas industrial estate. 

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