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Voir mulls diversifying into construction, logistics

KUALA LUMPUR (May 30): Voir Holdings Bhd is looking to diversify beyond its existing fashion retail territory to include construction and logistics businesses.

Voir chairman Datuk Zarul Ahmad Mohd Zulkifli, who also controls Consortium Zenith BUCG Sdn Bhd, a private construction company, said the board of Voir is now considering how to synergise the two business groups to enhance shareholder value.

“I have my construction business, as well as logistics. So, we are looking at the possibility of Voir venturing into the two areas subject to approval by the relevant authorities,” he told reporters after Voir’s annual general meeting yesterday.

“The [proposal] paper is being prepared by management and the board will have to sit down and deliberate seriously as this is a very important milestone for us.

“This will determine the direction Voir is going in the future and how it will impact shareholders,” Zarul said, adding that he hopes to make synergies happen this year.

On the construction of the RM6.3 billion Penang mega project to build three expressways and an undersea tunnel linking Penang island to the mainland, Zarul said it is still subject to the approval of the Department of Environment, but he expects it to take off in July.

Consortium Zenith was awarded the project by the Penang state government after an open tender which attracted some 60 rival bids but Consortium Zenith’s bid offered the best technical and financial bid at the lowest price of RM6.3 billion in 2012. The project will be built in exchange for 110 acres (44.5ha) of reclaimed land from the Penang government.

In December 2016, Voir, via its wholly-owned subsidiary Million Twilight Sdn Bhd, accepted a small sub-contract job worth RM24.62 million from Wira Syukur (M) Sdn Bhd to complete 1,000 units of apartments in Kota Baru, Kelantan. The project was for a period of 12 months commencing from Oct 1, 2016 to Sept 30, 2017.

Meanwhile, Zarul said Voir is looking at scaling down its fashion retail business given the unpredictable business environment. It closed down seven retail outlets last year and opened three new ones so far this year.

“There are [still] areas in the fashion retail business that are profitable and have the potential to grow. So, we will maintain those businesses that are viable,” he said, adding that the group will be opening a new outlet at the Genting Premier Outlet next month.

Zarul said the group is still working on its rationalisation plan, which he hopes to conclude by this year. The group has already discontinued its food and beverage and beauty and wellness segments’ businesses at the end of 2016.

Voir swung to a net loss of RM385,000 in the first quarter ended March 31, 2017 (1QFY17) compared to a net profit of RM101,000 a year ago, due to loss suffered from its discontinued beauty and wellness segment and also a marginal loss incurred from its core apparels retail business. Its quarterly revenue, however, rose 6.8% to RM48.28 million from RM45.19 million in 1QFY16.

This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on May 30, 2017.

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