Will a company by any other name be just as profitable?

PETALING JAYA: The frequency of corporate name changes has picked up since the start of 2022, with four companies already making the switch so far this month, double the number in January last year.

The new names of the four companies are – PTT Synergy Group Bhd, Jentayu Sustainables Bhd, PGF Capital Bhd and Scientex Packaging (Ayer Keroh) Bhd (see table).

In 2021, Bursa Malaysia saw a slew of corporate rebranding with more than 27 name changes, the highest ever for public listed entities.

The changes reflect the heightened bout of volatility and headwinds over the previous two years resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic as businesses scramble to adapt to the conditions with a new core business, diversification and takeover activities.

On the subject of name changes, Rakuten Trade Sdn Bhd vice-president of equity research Thong Pak Leng opined that it is hard to ascertain whether takeovers, mergers and acquisition are factors for such corporate rebranding in 2022 but he did not discount such possibility.

“There may be some legacy names changes but this is quite normal,” he told SunBiz.

Given that the dust has yet to settle on the pandemic-borne uncertainty, there might be more rebranding exercises on the Malaysian corporate landscape as companies embark on diversifications, as well as mergers and acquisition to capture opportunities of the day.

Early this month, AirAsia Group Bhd filed an application to change its name to Capital A Bhd to reflect the change in its business portfolio which now includes food delivery, ride hailing and financial services. The change has been approved by the Companies Commission of Malaysia and needs to get shareholders’ approval before it can take effect.

Being in the sector hit hardest by the pandemic, the group has embraced its transformation into a digital travel and lifestyle group as it unveiled its super app which offers ride hailing, food delivery and parcel delivery last year.

Some of the name changes on the local bourse reflect takeover actions and increased shareholding of substantial shareholders in some of the listed entities.

Daibochi Bhd’s name change to Scientex Packaging (Ayer Keroh) Bhd on Jan 7, 2022 was one such move. This is a result of Scientex’s voluntary takeover offer with the aim of taking the packaging company private but it failed to secure the threshold required to do so.

In November last year, stretch film producer Scientex Bhd completed its unconditional voluntary takeover offer of Daibochi but failed to accumulate the 90% stake needed for it to privatise the latter, despite having extended the offer by two weeks.

Meanwhile, Grand-Flo Bhd has been trading under the new name of NCT Alliance Bhd since July 12 2021. NCT Alliance has been classified as a property stock since Jan 10, 2022 as it intends to focus exclusively on property development in a shift away from its previous core business as an information technology services provider.

Its executive chairman and group managing director Datuk Seri Yap Ngan Choy, stated that the new corporate identity is in line with its aspiration to position NCT Alliance as a leading property developer with specialisation in the rehabilitation of abandoned projects.

Last month saw Macpie Bhd and M3 Technologies (Asia) Bhd morphed into XOX Networks Bhd and XOX Technology Bhd, respectively, to reflect the increased stake held by XOX Bhd in the two companies.

For others, the name changes reflect the changing business realities brought on by the pandemic.

August 2021 saw Johore Tin Bhd turning into Able Global Bhd as its core business shifts from tin-can packaging to the food and beverage business as it derives an estimated 75% of its earnings from F&B segment through manufacturing and trading of dairy products.