by LYDIA NATHAN / pic credit: ybventuresberhad.com
YB VENTURES Bhd is well-positioned to expand its business via mergers and acquisitions (M&A) activities in the technology sector this year, backed by its strong balance sheet.
Formerly known as Yi-Lai Bhd, the ceramic tile manufacturer aims to diversify into the technology industry as a way to generate sustainable and recurring income for the group.
ED Au Yee Boon said the company is open for acquisition value in the range of RM10 million to more than RM150 million, depending largely on the opportunities offered.
Au said the group has allocated funds for M&A opportunities in the technology sector, which he described as less cyclical by nature.
“We are looking at the business opportunities that are available now, as we have seen some attractive valuation following the Covid-19 pandemic. The low interest-rate environment and our strong balance sheet put us in a good position on the negotiation table. We have a strong management team and our collaboration with TechBase Solution Sdn Bhd also helps us integrate other business units into our company,” he told The Malaysian Reserve.
Au said the group has been aggressively reviewing its opportunities and is currently in talks with several parties, with some discussions being in the later stage of negotiations.
“The company’s M&A activities are actually a continuation of the strategic restructuring plan that was undertaken last year. The plan has started to yield results as seen in our latest fourth-quarter (4Q) result, providing us with positive cashflow and giving us the leverage to pursue value accretive acquisitions,” he said in a statement released previously.
The group has cash and bank balances of RM55 million, with RM13.9 million in other investments, and zero borrowings in its balance sheet as of December 2020.
For its 4Q ended Dec 31, 2020 (4Q20), YB Ventures saw a turnaround in its earnings and recorded a full-year net profit of RM10.2 million, the first time in four years. Earlier this year, YB Ventures proposed two-for-three bonus share issuance and changed its name.
The company’s proposed bonus issue is expected to be completed by 2Q21, while Au said the company is confident in maintaining earnings momentum after efforts in cost optimisation and a stronger sales growth in 4Q20.
Meanwhile, Au said the company has seen strong interest from Real Estate and Housing Developers’ Association (Rehda) for its flagship product, Talos Living Tiles, which is the first negative ion tiles launched in Malaysia.
He said the company has set a target of RM30 million in sales for the tiles over the next three years and is confident it will extend its initial target after receiving positive feedback.
He said the company has invested millions in the production of the tiles and saw the interest of Rehda as a positive sign, which means the company is heading in the right direction in terms of its product research and launches.
“The launch of Talos Living Tiles is a step-up for the company as it moves towards the premium segment. Utilising YB Venture’s proprietary groundbreaking nano glazing technology, the coated tiles produce and release negative ions into the air, improving indoor air quality and has a healing effect on the body,” he said.
According to Au, the Covid-19 pandemic brought about a renewed awareness of the importance of indoor air quality and how a good tile selection will make a difference, which subsequently led to the design and production of the Talos Living Tiles.
“To put it in simple terms, negative ions are nature’s ‘vitamins in the air’. From our research, negative ions are mostly concentrated in areas such as the countryside, waterfalls and parks, while industrial and offices have little to no negative ion concentration,” Au said.