Oil and gas to feature prominently in Prestariang's growth strategy

KUALA LUMPUR: Prestariang Bhd’s growth strategy will feature the oil and gas (O&G) sector prominently, with the company starting to recognise revenue streams from the talent management and education arm for its financial year ended Dec 31, 2014 (FY14).

The company aims to grow the talent management and education arm via areas such as software compliance, up-skilling and reskilling and vocational training.

These new growth strategies also coincide with the appointments of new chief operating officer Othman Mustapha Ong and the head of TalentXchange, Eric Shieh. Prestariang offers talent management services via TalentXchange.

To kick off the vocational training for the O&G sector, Prestariang will be training 240 students from the Yayasan Peneraju Pendidikan Bumiputera for riggers, scaffolders and pipefitters in a contract worth RM2.3mil commencing Nov 24.

This new revenue stream will take place concurrently with the acquisition of an 80% stake in Time Out Skills Academy Sdn Bhd for RM640,000. This acquisition is in line with Prestariang’s intention to enter the O&G sector for professional skills training.

Analysts said that if all went well, Prestariang should secure more training jobs for the O&G sector over the next few months. Currently, O&G contributes only 4% to its revenue. The bulk of the company’s revenue still comes from its bread-and-butter information and communications technology (ICT) training and certification segment and the software licensing distribution segment.

Within the O&G sector, chief executive officer Abu Hasan Ismail sees immense opportunities, especially within the vocational training segment.

“We would only enter into a new segment if we can be in a leadership position. We are not interested in being followers. There is a shortage of skilled workers in the O&G sector, particularly for diploma holders and below. Previously, we had concentrated on students with diplomas and degrees. Now, our target is diploma holders and below, which have much bigger numbers,” he said at a press conference to announce its third-quarter results.

“While the O&G segment is now small, we are looking for it to replicate what we have done in the ICT sector,” added Abu Hasan.

Over the last seven years, Prestariang has trained and certified 40,000 students for the ICT sector.

For its third quarter ended Sept 30, 2013, Prestariang recorded a 20.7% climb in net profit to RM12.33mil compared to RM10.21mil a year ago, attributed to its robust training and certification business.

Under the ICT training and certification for “IC Citizen”, it trained 22,000 students in the third quarter, and 65,142 students for the cumulative period. It is targeting to train some 23,000 students in the fourth quarter. “IC Citizen” is a first-of-its-kind Internet etiquette certification which was launched by its US partner Certiport.

Revenue for the quarter was 5% higher at RM35.53mil. Earnings for the cumulative nine-month period came in at RM31.35mil, 16.5% higher than RM26.89mil a year ago. Revenue in the same period rose 3.6% to RM88.97mil from RM85.87mil.

It declared a third single-tier interim dividend of 3.5 sen, bringing total dividends paid for the nine-month period to nine sen.

During the period, Prestariang was appointed as software multinational AutoDesk’s education partner and awarded a RM20mil contract to supply AutoDesk Software to the Education Ministry over three years.

For the third quarter, Prestariang’s University Malaysia of Computer Science & Engineering (Unimy) recorded losses of RM2mil, and thus has cumulative losses of RM4.9mil. Nonetheless, Prestariang chairman Datuk Ramli Abbas said Unimy would break even by end-FY14.

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