Solution Engineering huge earnings jump

PUCHONG: Solution Engineering Holdings Bhd expects to register a huge jump in earnings to over RM6 million for the financial year ending Dec 31, 2015 based on an internal revenue projection of RM42 million.

According to its managing director Lim Yong Hew, the profit growth will be driven by increased sales, as it is confident it will bag RM30 million worth of contracts in the second half of the year.

"This would bring our total order book to RM50 million by then," he told SunBiz in a recent interview.

For the financial year ended December 31, 2014, Solution Engineering saw a five fold surge in net profit to RM3.66 million compared with RM740,000 a year before.

Solution Engineering is involved in engineering equipment, lubricants, automation and biotechnology segments.

Last year, the engineering equipment division, which provides technical training equipment to the education industry, contributed 80% to the group's top line.

Lim said the group is looking to form strategic partnerships with government agencies in a bid to grab more opportunities within the engineering equipment business.

Solution Engineering also has plans to increase contribution from overseas markets which currently make up 15% to 20% of the group's revenue.

Lim hopes to increase it to at least 50% in the next few years.

The company has a presence in Southeast Asia, Bangladesh, Pakistan, the Middle East and Africa, covering 35 countries. The Middle East and Africa are deemed as the most promising overseas markets.

Over the longer term, Lim said the group has plans to venture into North and South America.

"We've to cover the whole world, but we've to identify the right partners and agents," he noted.

Going forward, Lim said the group is committed to improving its research and development (R&D) capability to come out with new products as well as increasing production capacity and facility.

Last year the group registered a lower net profit margin of 10%, due to the employees' share option scheme (ESOS) cost.

"Quite a number of our projects have a gross margin of 40% to 50%, but after deducting the operating expenditure, tax and finance charges, then it comes out to be around 15% before incurring the ESOS cost," Lim said.

The group is also looking at potential acquisitions, but nothing has materialised as yet.

"We've been approached by foreign companies, but that was out of our affordability range. It's still at preliminary stage, but we've initiated the discussion," he said.

Lim is hoping that the group could embark on one or two acquisitions, in its quest to move to the main board.

"We hope to have one in electrical and electronic, one in mechatronic, so this would complement our existing product range. But we (won't pressure ourselves), the acquisitions must be synergistic to the current business," he added.

Lim said the company's new 35,000 sq ft workshop will be operational by 2016 as construction work on it will begin soon. Partial funding for the workshop has been secured, with land and construction cost to range between RM10 million and RM15 million.

"We'll relocate our operation here (Puchong) to the new workshop upon completion," he noted.

With the new plant, Lim said the group's production capacity will more than double with full utilisation rate.

On challenges, he pointed out that Malaysian products are not widely accepted due to some perception issues, hence it may take some time to change the market mindset. "We position ourselves as a mid-range player, not too high end," he added.