Unitrade adds modular houses to its portfolio

Unitrade's warehouse

PETALING JAYA: Unitrade Industries Bhd is expanding its rental services with the addition of modular houses to its existing rental of temporary structural support equipment such as scaffolding, steel plates and hollow sections.

Unitrade said the amended Workers’ Minimum Standards of Housing and Amenities Act 1990 (Act 446) along with Indonesia’s recent lifted ban on sending migrant workers provides a market opportunity for the group’s modular houses.

Before the amended Act 446 came into full effect on Sept 1, 2020, the regulations was only applicable to plantation and mining industries. However, it is now extended to involve all sectors, the company said in a filing with Bursa Malaysia yesterday.

“Since the enforcement of the amended Act 446, many companies have been struggling to meet the necessary guidelines in a cost-effective manner.

With our double-storey modular houses that comply with the act, we could potentially disrupt the market as they take up smaller floor space and thus cost less on a per headcount basis,” said Unitrade executive director, Simson Sim Xian Zhi.

Beyond cost and space efficiencies, Sim stated Unitrade’s modular houses are likely to be appealing to small and medium-sized contractors as their capital expenditures can be reduced.

“Currently, we have secured orders to rent out modular houses for about 2,000 workers. We are in discussion with several commercial customers to house another 4,000 workers.

“With Indonesia recently lifted its ban, we are expecting a higher influx of workers and stronger demand for our modular houses in the months ahead,” he said

This expansion is in line with Unitrade’s objectives, announced in its debut on the ACE Market of Bursa Malaysia, to increase their product range to meet the rising demand for building materials in the construction industry.

Unitrade raised RM100mil through its initial public offering of which RM50.5mil was earmarked as working capital, while RM39.8mil for repayment of bank borrowings.

The company has set aside RM5mil as capital expenditure for a new pipe fabrication centre.

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