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George Kent confirms bid for Ampang LRT extension job

PUCHONG: George Kent (Malaysia) Bhd has confirmed that it is bidding for the Ampang Light Rail Transit (LRT) extension line project, which is among the various government jobs the engineering company is tendering for.

"Yes, we are currently bidding for the project, but we cannot offer any further information regarding the matter. This is part of the billions of ringgit worth of jobs we are tendering at the moment," said its chairman Tan Sri Tan Kay Hock after the group's AGM on Thursday, July 7.

The 17km LRT project, which is an extension of the current Ampang line, is part of the 10th Malaysia Plan to increase the use of public transportation to 50%.

According to Tan, most of the projects that the company is bidding for are infrastructure jobs under the Economic Transformation Programme (ETP).

Previous reports said that a joint venture (JV) between George Kent and France-based Thales Group with eight other JV companies had put in bids to Syarikat Prasarana Negara Bhd.

Prasarana is expected to announce the winners of the Ampang LRT extension bids in September. It is also believed that George Kent is bidding for the RM5 billion double-tracking project from Gemas to Johor Bahru.

"We are a specialised company producing water meters and other components. Even half a billion ringgit in our order book is quite a large sum for us considering our turnover is nearly RM200 million. We have enough work on our hands to keep us busy for another two and a half years," Tan said.

The company is now investing RM50 million to upgrade its manufacturing division and Tan expects this to boost its net profit in the coming years.

Currently, the manufacturing plant produces two million water meters and brass components for waterworks.

"We are running at full capacity and we cannot keep up with demand so with the manufacturing upgrade, we can expect to double production capacity within two years," he said, adding that production had increased 30% to 1.3 million units per year earlier this year.

"We want to continue to grow our water meter business in new markets such as Dubai, Columbia and South Africa. We export about 120,000 meters a year to Vietnam and are looking at Laos and Cambodia," Tan said.

For FY11 ended Jan 31, the company's overseas business accounted for 8% or RM12.9 million of the group's total revenue. The remaining RM152 million came from its domestic operations. The group had earlier said it plans to expand its overseas contribution to 40% in the next two to three years.

George Kent posted a net profit of RM24.8 million for FY11 on the back of RM165 million in revenue. The counter closed unchanged at RM1.15 on Thursday with 25,800 shares done.

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