KEB hopes to return to the black by 2006

  • Business
  • Monday, 03 Jan 2005

KUMPULAN Emas Bhd (KEB) hopes to return to profitability by 2006 by venturing into new core businesses and expanding its palm oil operations in India and Solomon Islands, chief executive officer Kee Lian Yong said.  

He said the group was aggressively exploring and developing new businesses that would bring good value to shareholders, and one such business was the manufacture of wood-plastic composite, i.e. natural fibre composite (NFC). 

“We have invested RM9mil in the new business under our subsidiary, Tackwise Innovations Sdn Bhd,” he told reporters after KEB’s AGM in Petaling Jaya on Friday last week. 

He said the NFC could be used to replace plastic in various applications and was much cheaper compared with plastic, which has seen increasing prices due to escalating petroleum prices. 

He said construction of a plant was in progress in Semenyih and commercial production would begin in the next four months. The company had been granted a pioneer status for the product, he added. 

Besides the domestic market, Kee said the group expected to market NFC products to the US, Europe, South Korea, China and Australia. 

For the financial year ended July 31, 2004, the group's revenue declined from RM286mil to RM48mil, mainly due to the exclusion of contribution from Salcon Engineering Bhd, which ceased to be its subsidiary from July 21, 2003. 

Salcon was listed on Bursa Malaysia main board on Sept 3, 2003. As part of the listing proposal, KEB's interest in Salcon was reduced to 36% from 51%. 

Kee said that after the listing of Salcon, the group's engineering arm, KEB was now focusing on strengthening and developing its existing business, mainly in property and plantation. 

The group reported a loss after tax of RM168mil, of which about RM150mil relates to an exceptional loss arising from impairment of the group's property asset, South City Plaza. – Bernama  

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