Interviews, Media Release

Interview: Niro Ceramic Group eyes IPO listing in 2023

First appeared on 9th June 2022 on The Vibes

By Danial Dzulkifly

SHAH ALAM – Niro Ceramic Group remains confidently on track to get listed on Bursa Malaysia by 2023, despite economic headwinds and unique challenges brought by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Managing director Ian Kok said the company’s established track record, resilient supply chain, diversified sales channel and quality products have pushed it out of the pandemic relatively unscathed.

These have helped the company to remain profitable and consistent in satisfying the financial criteria required for a public listing.

“Of course, in terms of results, 2020 and 2021 will not show the best years or exemplify an encouraging trend, but I think it is very important to be profitable, and I think that is the minimum criteria for listing.

“So yes, barring further surprises when we finish 2022, we want to try to put our submission by the first quarter of next year,” he said during a recent interview.

Kok explained that the company had focused on its working capital and cash flow during the lockdown period and was able to retain its workforce without any retrenchment.

“I am also relieved for myself and my colleagues that we didn’t lay anyone off and those who have gone through that period with us are pretty much still here,’’ he said.

Niro Ceramic Group, a prominent player in the ceramic and porcelain tiles market, had planned to get listed by 2022 but had to postpone it to next year due to the pandemic.

The group has established its footprint in over 130 countries with offices in Vietnam, Indonesia, China, Philippines, India, Spain and Malaysia.

In terms of growth, Kok explained that the company has formulated a three-year plan including aggressive expansion into its retail segment, Creative Lab, meant to directly serve homeowners.

“Going public is what we want to achieve. That is the first step to what we want to do.

In terms of growth, Niro Ceramic Group managing director Ian Kok explains that the company has formulated a three-year plan including aggressive expansion into its retail segment, Creative Lab, meant to directly serve homeowners. – Niro Granite pic, June 9, 2022

“Obviously with the public listing, we really hope that the timing will be good for us and the market will be much more buoyant when it happens, and we will use the public listing to step up on some areas of the business.

“For example, we have our retail stores, and we want to use the public listing for a more aggressive regional expansion of Creative Labs stores.

“We can then also look into our supply chain and invest in our manufacturing capacity. So there are various things we can do, but the first milestone is the IPO,” he said.

Kok explained that the company is facing rising demands from overseas, especially in Indonesia and the United States, which have rebounded well from the pandemic.

For the domestic market, Kok expressed hope that the push into the retail segment will help the company lift itself from being too dependent on major construction projects.

Kok explained that the rising pressure within the project segment was exacerbated by the pandemic, but it has been building up over the past eight years due to the oversupply of properties in the country.

“There is no denying that there is pressure in the project market for lower costs and that itself will introduce much more competition from other companies.

“Our emphasis on retail is timely, because you serve a much broader market and the level of affordability for homeowners varies. Generally, the buying volume is smaller, so the pressure of having the lowest cost is not the same in the project market,” he said. – The Vibes, June 9, 2022

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