Forging path for growth

  • Metro News
  • Monday, 30 Sep 2019

Palm oil phytonutrients producer ExcelVite is going for an initial public offering to raise funds for more clinical studies as well as company expansion. — Photos: RONNIE CHIN/The Star

LEADING palm oil phytonutrients or plant-based nutrients producer ExcelVite Sdn Bhd is charging ahead towards an initial public offering by end of the year or early next year, to enable it to raise funds for more clinical studies as well as company expansion.

Plans are also under way for the company to penetrate the pharmaceutical market in the next five years. It is predicted to be more lucrative than the dietary supplements market that ExcelVite (EV) is in.

Its chief executive officer WH Leong said it was important for ExcelVite to be in tandem in both expansion and market growth.

“For the pharmaceutical market, so far we are only supplying big quantity of tocotrienol (palm-based vitamin E) to private research companies to be made into derivatives that cure certain diseases; and all these are still in trial stage.

“EV is still focused on the dietary supplements market and has not gone commercial in the pharmaceutical market, which will be a whole new ball game for us in terms of patent, pricing and many other aspects such as prescription and ingredients.

“For us to generate sufficient research data, we need to conduct a lot of human clinical studies which can take years to do, and will give us significant returns in the pharmaceutical market if we are successful, ” he said.

ExcelVite has developed a patented and advanced extraction technology in extracting, purifying and concentrating the palm oil phytonutrients.

Crediting Hovid Bhd which EV has invested together and conducted many human clinical studies for supplements and pharmaceutical applications, Leong said it was important to keep delivering science and new research results in the market.

Leong: “We are able to better weather the fluctuation of palm oil prices, as we have five different products.”Leong: “We are able to better weather the fluctuation of palm oil prices, as we have five different products.”

“We cannot create a market if we do not have products to sell. We need to constantly deliver science and new research to convince customers to buy our tocotrienol.

“That is why the IPO is important for us to raise sufficient funds, apart from company expansion, to do more clinical studies, ” he told StarMetro in an interview.

Having the hindsight that it was no easy feat to penetrate the pharmaceutical market, Leong said continuous research and scientific development were important for EV’s sustainability.

“We think the pharmaceutical market will be much more lucrative compared to dietary supplement market five years down the road.

“If you have a positive indication in the pharmaceutical market, you can apply for patent and be protected.

“Once there is protection, we can command the price that we want. That is where the exponential growth for EV will be, the next phase of our growth, ” he said, adding that the market penetration was expected to take about three to five years.

The previous year, in the eighth edition of The Star Outstanding Business Awards (SOBA) 2017, ExcelVite emerged as Gold winner in two award categories — Best Innovation and Best Global Market.

Organised by Star Media Group together with independent and governmental agencies, SOBA recognises Malaysian small and medium businesses (SMEs) and their immense contribution to the national economy.

The awards seek to honour deserving SMEs that have withstood a challenging year and emerged as champions in their industries.

ExcelVite took part in the Best Innovation Award category in view of its unique extraction technology that ensures the crude palm oil is fully utilised in the production of its flagship products — EVNol/EVNol SupraBio (tocotrienol) and EVTene (mixed carotene), as well as renewable energy and oleo-chemical products.

With strong clinical studies and brand recognition of EVNol/ EVNol SupraBio and EVTene in markets overseas, ExcelVite also won Gold in the Best Global Market Award category.

Taking pride in its unique extraction method, Leong said EV was the first in the world that successfully provided value-add to crude palm oil.

“Our in-house technology is unique in the sense that we start with a single ingredient, which is the crude palm oil and turn it into five streams of products.

ExcelVite’s lab is equipped for research and scientific development.ExcelVite’s lab is equipped for research and scientific development.

“First, it is the palm oil-based vitamin E (tocotrienol), secondly, the mixed carotene oil and thirdly, the phytosterols complex. These three types of phytonutrients are usually applied in the dietary supplements industry.

“As for the two other non-food products, they are methyl ester (refined and distilled palm fatty acid) and crude glycerine, which are generally used in the biodiesel and oleo-chemical industry, ” he said, adding that EV’s ability in value-addition had set the company apart from its competitors in the palm oil industry.

Leong said there were 16 other producers in Malaysia but they only produced two products — biodiesel and glycerine from palm oil.

“Most of them are unable to produce the three other phytonutrient products and that is how we differentiate ourselves from them.

“This has also allowed us to be robust financially and we are able to better weather the fluctuation of palm oil prices, as we have five different products compared to running a traditional biodiesel plant that only offers two products.

“We are way better and ahead in terms of value addition, ” he said.

Today, EV is the largest producer of tocotrienol and mixed carotene complex in the world. It supplies phytonutrients to dietary supplement, functional food and cosmetics manufacturers worldwide.

It may be a small company in comparison to some cash-rich plantation giants, but EV controls 75% of the global market for tocotrienol, including that of the United States, Europe, Japan, South Korea and Australia.

“Although we also have competitors in producing phytonutrients, we are still No.1 and we have been in the market for eight years.

“Our competitors produce tocotrienol from palm fatty acid distillate (PFAD), a processing residue from the refining of edible palm oil, while we produce ours from crude palm oil.

“With a different extraction method, we have five different finished products while they only make one product, tocotrienol.

“We may not be as big as our competitors but we are good at what we do in terms of research and marketing.

“That is how we carved a niche in the market and insulate ourselves from competition by being always a step ahead, ” said Leong, adding that other stakeholders in the industry should also play their part in creating awareness and promoting the consumption of palm oil, tocotrienol and biodiesel.

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