Malaysia: Sozo To Tap Into Malaysia’s Strategic Halal Food Platform

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 1 (Bernama) — Sozo Global Ltd, an export driven one-stop gourmet food specialist from Shandong, China, aims to use Malaysia’s strategic position to become a global exporter in the halal food segment.

The company is scheduled to be tentatively listed on the Main Market of Bursa Malaysia Securities Bhd on Dec 17.

Chief Executive Officer and co-founder, Shen Hengbao said, Sozo’s aspiration’s in Malaysia go beyond raising capital.

“Malaysia plays a major role in Sozo’s next phase of growth.

“We are excited over our plans to invest in a Halal food processing facility in Malaysia. It will give us the opportunity to capture a slice of the estimated US$2.1 trillion halal food industry globally.

“We plan to use our facility here to export halal food products to namely the Asean region, the Middle East, and the United States,” he said at a press conference after the prospectus launch in conjunction with the company’s proposed listing.

Also present were AmInvestment Bank Bhd managing director T.C.Kok and Director for Capital Markets, Corporate Finance, Sip Way Keong, as well as Sozo’s chief Financial Officer, Pang Wei Pin.

Shen pointed out that the company would tap into Malaysia’s advantage of lower tariff, for exports to the United States, compared with China.

He said the company had identified two potential locations for the halal plant in Malaysia, namely, the Port Klang Free Trade Zone and Iskandar Malaysia, in Johor.

So far, he said, no decision has been made as the company is still scouting around for a location.

He also disclosed that Khazanah Nasional Bhd via Agro Treasures, will hold a 10.43 per cent stake in Sozo.

Agro Treasures is a special purpose vehicle initiated by Khazanah and Vida Inc Sdn Bhd for investments in the agricultural and food sector.

Shen said with Agro Treasures as its strategic investor, the company’s expansion in Malaysia would be successful.

Touching on the listing, he said Sozo has targeted to raise RM44.3 million, from the listing exercise. Sozo’s initial public offering (IPO) involves an issuance of 55.4 million new shares at 80 sen per share.

Of the total, 24 million shares are available for application by the Malaysian public and 30.9 million to be placed out to selected investors.

Concurrent with the IPO, another 19.1 million shares will be on offer for sale.

AmInvestment Bank is the advisor, managing underwriter, underwriter and sole placement agent.

The proceeds raised will be utilised for the setting up of a poultry farming and breeding facility and a third production plant and corporate headquarters building in China.

It will also be used for the construction of the halal food processing facility in Malaysia, working capital and estimated listing expenses.

Since its inception in 2005, the company’s achievements have been commendable.

The company has grown to be one of the leading foodstuff enterprises and largest manufacturer of cooked duck meat products for export in Shandong Province.

Sozo’s revenue rose from RMB126.3 million (RM59.96 million) in the financial year ended Dec 2006 to RMB608.8 million (RM289.01 million) in its financial year Dec 2009.

Sozo’s product range comprises ready-to-serve (RTS) food, frozen vegetables, canned food such as fruits and seafood, and others such as vacuum fried food and asparagus tea.

Meanwhile, Kok said Sozo’s debut on the Main Market would add to the AmInvestment Bank Group’s growing stable of listed companies in the market.

To date, the bank has listed a total of 236 IPOs, making it a clear market leader for this exercise on Bursa Malaysia Securities.