Sunday, August 31, 2008

BJC aims to raise share free float, expand abroad


BJC aims to raise share free float, expand abroad


The SET-listed trading conglomerate Berli Jucker Plc (BJC) is considering raising its market free-float and also investing in Vietnam and Malaysia to expand in foreign markets.

The projects may be partially financed by operating cash flow and some bank loans, president Aswin Techajaroenvikul said yesterday.

''However, we are also studying a capital-increase programme to fund the projects and boost liquidity of our stock trading,'' he added.

The company has four core businesses: packaging, consumer and logistics, technical and industry, and information technology.Mr Aswin said the company had a 15% free-float of total shares listed on the Stock Exchange of Thailand. Its paid-up capital is 1.58 billion baht with a share par value of one baht. As of May 2008, TCC Holding, controlled by liquor billionaire Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi, held a 75.04% stake in BJC.

Although the company's market capitalisation ranks fifth in the SET's commerce sector, its price-to-earnings ratio is only 5.8 times, compared to the double-digit rates of its industry peers.

''This might be because of our low market liquidity,'' Mr Aswin said. ''Thus, we are studying possibility of increasing capital together with investment expansion. All issues will be finalised within the third quarter.''

BJC spent 180 million baht to buy Jacy Foods Sdn Bhd in Malaysia in June. It will use the Malaysian company as its production base for Halal snacks to export to the Middle East and other Muslim countries.

For its investment in Vietnam, there are two or three projects including new machinery for glass manufacturing and the building of a factory to make consumer products.

Mr Aswin said BJC's export revenue was now less than 5% of total revenues but it would rise more in the near future.

The company posted 10.96 billion baht in revenue in the first half of this year, up from 9.265 billion in the same period last year. Net profit was 673 million baht, compared to 531 million a year earlier. Its gross margin was 25.2%, up from 24.9% the year before.

He said the company was trying to maintain its gross margin although it was being challenged by external factors such as high oil prices and falling domestic consumption.

The company has set its 2008 revenue target of at least 20 billion baht, up more than 10% from last year.

BJC shares closed yesterday on the SET at 5.25 baht, up five satang, in trade worth 1.18 million baht.

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