LITTLE-known ACE Market firm Parlo Bhd has somehow flown onto the the radar of some investors, with its share price skyrocketing to a high of 55 sen, a rise of six times over the last eight weeks.
Yesterday, however, its share price fell before recovering to close at 40 sen apiece.
Still, with its share price much higher than what it was trading at just a month ago, Parlo is a surprise.
It’s even more astounding considering that the company’s main business is related to the travel industry, which has been badly hit by the Covid-19 pandemic fallout.
The company had attracted an unusual market activity (UMA) query from the stock exchange.
It replied that it was in discussion with various parties to explore potential business developments which “may enhance” the group’s earnings amid the current challenging environment.
But light has finally been shed on what Parlo has been up to.
The company is banking on becoming a solution provider to the 10 million-strong diaspora of Myanmar workers in various parts of the world.
The services that Parlo will be providing range from travel and logistics arrangements to electronic identification (e-ID) and e-wallets to ease money transfer of the millions of Myanmar workers globally.
Yesterday morning, Parlo signed an agreement with Myanmar-based Diamond Palace Group of Companies Ltd and Agensi Pekerjaan Seaview Hectare Sdn Bhd to provide employment agency-related services to supply workers from Myanmar to employers around the world.
Parlo executive director and chief executive officer Dani Yap Tsok Lim says that the partnership would see the group providing travel, logistic, dormitory and medical examination arrangements for foreign workers.
He says there has been a backlog in the supply of workers as many countries around the world have closed their borders.
“We are targeting to arrange the departure of at least 80,000 Myanmar workers in the next 12 months, ” Yap told reporters after the signing ceremony yesterday.
“This collaboration will provide the company with new revenue sources as we face a stalemate in the tourism industry due to the pandemic, ” he adds.
He says the demand for foreign workers has been surging and there is a demand for close to 300,000 workers for the Tokyo Olympics preparations.
Yap points out that Diamond Palace has exclusive right with a 30-year concession with the Myanmar’s government to supply workers from the country.
“We are talking about potential charter flights and a big scale foreign worker arrangement.
“Of course, this will depend on how long the borders stay closed, ” he says.
In addition, Yap says Parlo was also looking to provide e-wallet, digital identity and micro financing solutions for the 10 million or so Myanmar workers working overseas.
He says Parlo would be working with a local provider for the e-ID solutions to facilitate online transactions such as money remittance, travel arrangements, insurance, mobile reload and even shopping.
On Tuesday, Parlo announced KipleLive CEO Ti Lian Seng as its independent director.
KippleLive is a unit of GreenPacket Bhd, which is currently working to provide e-wallet services to MMAG Holdings Bhd for foreign workers in Malaysia.
However, Yap says the e-ID and e-wallet services will be the second phase of its agreement with Diamond Palace.
“We foresee a bright future with this programme if we are able to secure the mandate and roll-out the e-ID solutions which will incorporate other digital services such as general payment gateway and e-visa.
“This will not only open up many income opportunities for us but also converge the migrant worker services into one system, ” he says.
All this will be a massive change for Parlo, which has been making losses for years.
The group’s main business is in the tourism sector especially for corporate and leisure travel arrangements.
For the first half of this year, Parlo’s losses widened to RM4.04mil.
This compared with RM346,000 a year earlier on the back of a 80% plunge in revenue to RM14.92mil from RM77.95mil previously.
Yap says the group could be raising fresh funds to finance its new venture.
An eWallet is an online application that lets users deposit and manage money for online transactions.
Meeting payment needs for cross-border workers has been a slice of pie that many technology providers have been targeting as many foreign workers and their employers seek to digitise wage payments to reduce costs and the risks in handling cash.
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