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Monday, January 7, 2008

Signature seeks more tie-ups - It aims to capitalise on the active property sector

Kitchen cabinet and wardrobe manufacturer Signature International Bhd (SIB) is seeking more tie-ups with property developers to capitalise on the active property sector.

According to co-founder and managing director K.C. Tan, the kinship between SIB's product line and the property development industry allowed the group to fast track its business globally.

“Our products are very much related to the property sector. Over time, as our brand began to expand, we had more tie-ups with property developers,” Tan told StarBiz.

Our products are very much related to the property sector« K.C. TAN

SIB, en route for a listing on Bursa Malaysia second board on Jan 18, has tied up with developers such as Sunrise Bhd (Mont'Kiara), Asia Quest Holdings Sdn Bhd (Kiaramas), Malaysia Land Properties Sdn Bhd (Mayland) and has also been involved with a number of Government-based projects in Putrajaya.

For the financial year ended June 30, 2007 (FY07), the group secured and delivered close to 30 projects (tied up with developers) overseas worth RM6mil.

SIB currently has 30 to 50 ongoing projects, locally and overseas, valued at about RM50mil.

Tan said the company planned to raise RM22.1mil from its initial public offering (IPO) to boost its business operations and brand equity, primarily in the foreign market.

“We are excited about our future growth in the overseas market,” Tan said, adding that SIB was targeting Dubai, New Zealand and China markets in the next two years.

The group now has a presence in 14 countries.

With a healthy presence overseas, it is not surprising that SIB currently counts foreign retailers as its main competitors.

“Our products are generally benchmarked against European products. Our products are also more cost and price effective compared with theirs, so we have an advantage.

“That advantage has allowed us to fast track into 14 countries very quickly. The acceptance, together with the right price and the right products, has given us a competitive edge against most retailers,” Tan said.

Another advantage, he said, was that the group provided one-stop services to its customers. “We send our people overseas to undertake installation services. This is something the Europeans cannot compete with,” he said.

According to Tan, the group's products are manufactured locally before being exported. Dealers would also be appointed overseas to coordinate the installation where necessary.

He said SIB aimed to increase revenue from exports to RM11.35mil or 12% for the year ending June 30, 2008 (FY08) compared with RM6.65mil or 8% in FY07.

“We are also targeting to increase our revenue from exports to 30% annually within the next three to five years,” he said, adding that he was confident the IPO would help SIB achieve its target.

Co-founded by Tan and partner Michael Chooi, SIB began as Cabinet Industries Sdn Bhd in 1994.

Maintaining a low-price strategy for the low-end kitchen cabinet industry proved successful for the company until it started targeting the high-end branded kitchen systems industry in 2000.

According to a recent research report by Vital Factor Consulting Sdn Bhd, SIB is currently the largest company among 80 in terms of revenue and size in the country's branded kitchen sector.

It is also the market leader in terms of number of retail outlets. SIB has 22 showrooms in Malaysia and seven overseas.

It plans to open one showroom in the country and five abroad in its current financial year.

SIB will become the first counter from the kitchen and wardrobe systems sector to be listed.

By The Star (by Eugene Mahalingam)

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