Malee takes personal care to diversify

Malee takes personal care to diversify

Plan to offset drop in juice revenues

Roongchat Boonyarat, the company's chief operating officer, says the move to personal care products is to increase revenue.
Roongchat Boonyarat, the company's chief operating officer, says the move to personal care products is to increase revenue.

SET-listed Malee Group Plc, one of the country's top juice makers, is diversifying its business to personal care and other sectors as part of its strategy to increase revenue growth 30% to 7.69 billion baht.

Roongchat Boonyarat, the company's chief operating officer, said Malee is scheduled to introduce personal care by the second half this year as the juice market fell substantially last year.

The company is also committed to continuing overseas expansion as part of its ambitious strategy to become a health-driven global food and drink firm by 2021.

Malee sealed its first acquisition deal with a Vietnamese drink producer in January, spending 330 million baht to acquire a 65% stake in Long Quan Safe Food Joint Stock Company (LQSF).

Malee will start distributing LQSF products into the Thai market by the second quarter this year.

At the same time, it will launch new ready-to-drink natural products manufactured by Mega Malee Co, the joint venture firm that Malee Group formed in 2016 with Mega Lifesciences, a producer of pharmaceutical and health items.

Moreover, Malee Applied Sciences (MAS), a subsidiary that was set up last year, is ready to launch new products to the European market this year, said Ms Roongchat.

Vintico, a coconut water vinegar, is expected to be the first product to be launched in Europe this year.

Other food products including food ingredients, functional food, nutraceuticals, cosmetic ingredients and green materials are also in the pipeline for launch this year.

"We will continue establishing our partnerships internationally to utilise the strengths of partners in each country. We want to build a strong regional network to fortify our competitiveness and accelerate our sustainable growth in each region," she said.

During 2015-2016, Malee Group invested a combined 1 billion baht in plants, machinery, office innovation, quality system improvements and a variety of goods and packaging to strengthen its business foundation.

"All investment projects will help drive Malee's huge growth this year and in the future. The company's 40th anniversary is this year and it is the beginning of the new decade and the first year of the second phase of the long-term strategy," said Ms Roongchat.

The company expects to see returns in the third quarter of this year from investments made over the past three years, she said.

Some 60% of Malee's revenue stems from the domestic market, with the rest coming from export to over 30 countries, including Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam, the Philippines and the US.

Sales include drinks under the Malee brand, as well as labels under original equipment manufacturer (OEM) contracts.

Malee Group started investing abroad by forming a joint venture with Monde Nissin Corporation in the Philippines in 2015 to set up Monde Malee Beverage Corporation.

In 2017 the company joined hands with PT Kino Indonesia, a producer of drinks and personal care products, to set up PT Kino Malee, with operations expected to begin this year.

"This year is the best time to strengthen our leadership position in Vietnam through a complete product offering, from premium to mass consumers, as well as aggressive expansion of our international business, both through OEM and our brands," Ms Roongchat said.

Sales of Malee and subsidiaries in 2017 totalled 5.91 billion baht, a decrease of 10% from 2016, which was largely attributed to falling domestic branded sales and exports contracting manufacturing sales.

Net profit posted a drop of 46% last year to 287 million baht in 2017.

MALEE shares closed yesterday on the Stock Exchange of Thailand at 23.10 baht, down 70 satang, in trade worth 263 million baht.

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