Acromec gears up to list on Catalist board

(From left) Acromec director Desmond Chew, Mr Lim, managing director, and Mr Goi, director. The engineering services provider specialises in designing and building facilities that require controlled environments, such as clean rooms and laboratories,
(From left) Acromec director Desmond Chew, Mr Lim, managing director, and Mr Goi, director. The engineering services provider specialises in designing and building facilities that require controlled environments, such as clean rooms and laboratories, as well as medical and sterile facilities. The listing status, says Mr Goi, will be key in drawing local engineers and easing the shortage of these employees. ST PHOTO: JAMIE KOH

Home-grown engineering services provider Acromec lodged a preliminary offer document two weeks ago as it prepares for a listing on the Singapore Exchange's Catalist board.

The firm, set up in 1996, specialises in designing and building facilities that require controlled environments, such as cleanrooms and laboratories as well as medical and sterile facilities.

It services mainly the healthcare, biomedical, research and academia, and electronics sectors, counting Singapore General Hospital, A*Star, National University of Singapore, Procter & Gamble and Johnson Matthey among its key customers.

Acromec raked in a net profit of $3.4 million last year, 22.1 per cent higher than the $2.8 million in 2014, as revenue surged 53.1 per cent to $35.4 million thanks to several key projects.

They include the design, supply and installation of laboratory furniture at the Innovis and Kinesis buildings in Fusionopolis, which contributed $7.3 million to the company's top line, and the fitting-out of new operating theatres and supporting areas at the National Heart Centre, which added $6.5 million.

Managing director Lim Say Chin told The Straits Times that a significant portion of the proceeds will go towards beefing up the company's working capital so it can undertake more projects, especially those of a larger scale.

"The healthcare sector here will continue to provide us with very good growth potential," said Mr Lim, noting that the Government has plans to make significant investments in expanding all aspects of the healthcare system.

By 2020, for instance, four new hospitals will be built in Jurong, Yishun, Sengkang and Outram, in addition to four new polyclinics.

Mr Lim noted there is growing demand in the biomedical and research and academia segments as well, amid the Government's push for research and development efforts, which helps to attract investments from the private sector.

"The future is bright for us, and I think we're in the right sectors. Growth is not going to be an issue," he said, adding that Acromec's track record will give the firm an edge over its rivals.

At the same time, the listing will be a booster for the firm's image as a whole, said director Lingo Goi.

"When you're listed, people tend to weigh you against your competitors a bit better," he noted. "It serves to give our customers some assurance - that financially, we're of a certain standing, and with regard to internal controls, we've got certain processes going on."

The listing status, added Mr Goi, will also be key in drawing local engineers and easing the shortage of these employees. The firm has a staff strength of about 120 people, of which around 40 are engineers.

Mr Lim added that Acromec also plans to grow its business beyond Singapore. It is already eyeing markets like Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam and Myanmar, and hopes to make its first overseas foray by next year. He cited strong growth prospects in these markets, where healthcare and cleanroom infrastructure are still lacking.

"Our biggest competitors right now are the giants from Japan and Europe, who have been here for many years," noted Mr Lim.

"We're not as big as them, but we see that one day, eventually, we will be competing with them overseas."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 04, 2016, with the headline 'Acromec gears up to list on Catalist board'. Print Edition | Subscribe