Frankly Speaking: Asia Poly’s strange investments

This article first appeared in The Edge Malaysia Weekly, on May 24, 2021 - May 30, 2021.
Frankly Speaking: Asia Poly’s strange investments
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Apart from glove manufacturers, companies that produce acrylic sheets saw a revival in their fortunes during the pandemic. One that returned to profitability is Asia Poly Holdings Bhd.

After two years of being in the red, Asia Poly registered a profit of RM16 million on a turnover of RM80 million for the financial year ended December 2020.

Acrylic sheet products are generally used for a variety of commercial purposes and outdoor structures such as billboards, but the pandemic led to an increase in the use of acrylic sheets in indoor spaces such as restaurants, offices and even hospitals to reduce the transmission of the Covid-19 virus.

On the back of an improved outlook for its business prospects, Asia Poly embarked on a fund-raising scheme to beef up its balance sheet.

From a cash position of only RM25.2 million as at December 2019, it sat on cash and fixed deposits of RM73 million as at the end of last year. The funds are to be used for expansion and repayment of debts.

It also divested its food and beverage business to Dolphin International in return for cash and shares. Asia Poly has a 15.6% stake in Dolphin International, which is anchored on the Uncle Don chain of restaurants.

Lately, however, Asia Poly has been taking up stakes in other listed companies that are not related to its core business. It has a 4.8% stake in Ta Win Holdings Bhd and 6.87% shareholding in Karyon Industries Bhd.

Ta Win is a loss-making entity and is attempting to get into the pharmaceutical business. What is the synergistic benefit that Asia Poly sees in Ta Win?

As for Karyon, it is a profitable company and its business is generally in the production of polyvinyl chloride compounds and industrial chemical products. Is Asia Poly looking to increase its holdings in Karyon?

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