PPB expects fair results this year amid US-China trade war

Company’s chairman expects the market to be volatile, but is confident of the group’s performance this year

By SHAZNI ONG / Pic By TMR File

PPB Group Bhd expects its group financial performance for the year to be quite satisfactory, despite growing trade tension between the US and China.

PPB Group chairman Tan Sri Oh Siew Nam (picture) expects the market to be volatile, but is confident of the group’s performance this year.

“This year, (we expect) to be more volatile with the ongoing trade war. Nobody knows what is going to happen. But I’m sure we will still be doing quite satisfactory,” he said at a press conference after the company’s 48th AGM in Kuala Lumpur recently.

The company reported a net profit of RM939 million in its financial year ended Dec 31, 2014 (FY14), RM1.08 million (FY15), RM1.11 million (FY16), RM1.22 million (FY17) and RM1.1 million (FY18).

Its revenues, meanwhile, were recorded at RM3.7 million (FY14), RM4.05 million (FY15), RM4.19 million (FY16), RM4.28 million (FY17) and RM4.53 million (FY18).

The group’s business segments comprise grains and agribusiness, consumer products, film exhibition and distribution, environmental engineering and utilities, and property.

Meanwhile, MD Lim Soon Huat said the group’s focus would be to continue growing its core businesses.

“In terms of capital expenditure (capex) that we have set aside for the next three to four years amounting to more than RM800 million, the large part of it is actually going to the flour milling expansion and cinema businesses.”

“We are also looking at businesses that complement our core businesses. That is for the greater synergy,” he told reporters after the AGM.

Last March, Lim announced that the group has planned for an RM831 million capital and other commitments to be spent on the group’s expansion over the next four years.

Almost half of this would be spent on its grains and agribusiness segment, amounting RM401 million, for its investments in China flour mills and the expansion of a 500 metric tonne per day flour mill in Vietnam, which is expected to be completed in 2020.

This is followed by RM373 million for its film exhibition and distribution segment where it will see nine new cinemas in Malaysia; a new cinema in Cambodia; and upgrading of its existing cinemas.

The remaining will be used for the construction of new production facility and purchase of assets for its consumer products segment (RM16 million), purchase of equipment and office renovation for its environmental, engineering and utilities segment (RM5 million), upgrading of its existing malls (RM3 million) under its property segment, and the balance of RM33 million would be on purchase of plant and machinery.

The company also anticipates positive results from its film exhibition and distribution segment, mainly on the back of strong major box office films performance.

Golden Screen Cinemas Sdn Bhd (GSC) CEO Koh Mei Lee who was also present at the press conference said the firm has a strong first quarter compared to last year.

“Looking at all the Marvel movies and the strength of Avengers that is still playing now, we should be able to do well this year,” Koh said.

GSC contributed 26% and 11% to PPB Group’s total profit and revenue respectively in FY18.