ARB Bhd chief executive officer Datuk Larry Liew says the company has been in business of manufacturing and processing of saw timber and veneer but as the world push for sustainability, it is now time to focus on other business endeavours. NST picture by ROHANIS SHUKRI.

KUALA LUMPUR: Fresh of its identity change on April 22 this year, ARB Bhd says its record-breaking profit in the first quarter is just a start of its new growth story.

ARB, previously known as Aturmaju Resources Bhd, announced last Tuesday a record net profit of RM5.1 million in its first quarter ended 31 March 2019.

The company also posted its biggest quarterly revenue since 2015 as its topline hit RM12.4 million in the quarter, a staggering increase of 15,630 per cent.

The first quarter revenue came close to what the group achieved for the year ended December 31 2018, which was RM15.257 million.

In an interview with the New Straits Times, just a couple of days before ARB’s record results announcementt, chief executive officer Datuk Larry Liew Kok Leong explained that this was just the beginning of its growth.

“For the last decade or so, ARB has been in business of manufacturing and processing of saw timber and veneer but as the world push for sustainability, we believe that it was time for us to focus on other business endeavours,” said Liew, who came onboard last August.

“We are currently in the process of disposing our stake in that business segment and we are hopeful that we will be able to do so within the year. When that is done, not only will it strengthen us financially, but it will enable to propel our new technology-related business segment further,” he added.

Liew had prior to this said that he has a three-year plan until 2020 to bring the firm back to glory.

The objectives include sales growth target between 20 per cent and 25 per cent every year, developing and maintaining research and development efforts for future initiatives, upgrading of current facilities and adjoining lease space to improve efficiencies, retention of highly skilled workforce and management as well as a commitment to the environment through waste reduction, energy conservation, and recycling.

“As of the end of last year, information technology segment contributes 52 per cent to the group, while manufacturing and services contributes 46 and two per cent, respectively. As we slowly shed the manufacturing division, we will further enlarge the other two segments.

“As you know, we have secured four enterprise resource planning (ERP) projects with the total project value of RM3.52 million. We had also in third quarter last year secured another three projects for the total project of RM6.9 million. We are of course bidding for more projects in this area,” Liew explained.

Just last month, ARB entered into an estimated RM78 million intelligence modern lifestyle project in Kuala Selangor with Perkasa Selalu Sdn Bhd. It is to date, its largest contract for the ERP segment.

ARB expects huge potential within the Internet of Things (IoT) especially within the radio-frequency identification (RFID) segment for use in asset and stock tracking at places like hospital, factories and retail.”

Asked about ARB’s venture into the solar energy segment through either an acquisition or collaboration with regards to a solar project worth over RM100 million, Liew said he expected the deal to be closed within this quarter.

“We are currently conducting the due diligence however we hope to finalise and announce the deal within this quarter. This deal will be very favourable to our earnings as the concession is worth over 30 years,” he said.

ARB went through a capital reduction exercise that saw its share capital being trimmed from RM61.1 million to RM6.72 million. This had helped unlocked RM54.4 million in value which was utilised to set off previously accumulated losses.