Food manufacturing group OTS Holdings launches IPO for Catalist listing

(From left) Managing director Ong Bee Chip, executive director Ong Chew Yong, sales director of Golden Bridge and Ellaziq Singapore Ong Bee Song.
(From left) Managing director Ong Bee Chip, executive director Ong Chew Yong, sales director of Golden Bridge and Ellaziq Singapore Ong Bee Song.PHOTO: OTS HOLDINGS

SINGAPORE (THE BUSINESS TIMES) - Food manufacturing group and brand builder OTS Holdings, known for its Golden Bridge canned luncheon meat, on Tuesday (June 8) launched its initial public offering (IPO) for a Catalist listing on the Singapore Exchange (SGX).

It is offering around 41 million shares at $0.23 each for placement. The shares comprise around 40 million placement shares and a million shares under the Singapore public offer.

Of the placement shares, 2.2 million will be reserved for subscription or purchase by the group's management, employees, business associates and others who have contributed to the success of the firm, said the offer document.

Based on the invitation price and the post-invitation share capital of 214 million shares, OTS' market capitalisation upon the listing will be approximately $49.2 million.

The public offer opens at 6pm on Tuesday and will close at noon on June 15. Trading is expected to commence on June 17.

SAC Capital is the sponsor, issue manager, underwriter and placement agent.

The IPO and issuance of shares will deliver some $7.9 million in net proceeds, of which about $6.6 million will be due to OTS.

Funds will go towards expanding the group's regional footprint, investment in manufacturing capabilities, research and development and general working purposes.

The history of OTS runs deep and the path towards its listing on SGX has been years in the making.

The group was founded by the late Ong Tuan Seng in 1993, and was known as Golden Bridge Foods Manufacturing, specialising in shelf-stable and ready-to-eat meat products such as waxed sausages, meat floss and luncheon meat.

Over the years, the group launched brands such as Kelly's, which focuses on Western-style meat, and also halal food subsidiary Ellaziq Singapore, to capture a wider range of consumers.

Golden Bridge Foods Manufacturing had expanded beyond the Golden Bridge brand of meat products, so the management thought it was appropriate to establish a company to house the various brand names, managing director Ong Bee Chip told The Business Times in an interview.

Through a restructuring exercise in 2014, OTS was established and served as a stepping stone towards listing, said Mr Ong.

The company is now helmed by a second-generation management team comprising Mr Ong and his sister Ong Chew Yong, who is executive director.

His brother Ong Bee Song is sales director of Golden Bridge and Ellaziq Singapore.

OTS' portfolio of brands include Golden Bridge, Kelly's, Golden Lion and Orchid. It has targeted the growing halal food market through retail brand El-Dina and food-service brand Kizmiq through its subsidiary Ellaziq Singapore.

OTS generates sales from supermarkets, convenience stores, provision shops, wholesalers as well as from food-service providers such as hotels, restaurants, hawker centres, food courts and caterers.

It also has a presence on e-commerce platforms such as Qoo10, Shopee and Lazada.

OTS Holdings' Golden Bridge brand carries products such as Taiwanese-style sausages, meat floss and a variety of luncheon meats. 

OTS group financial controller Toh Kiam Hwee said that regional expansion is among the group's near-term plans.

"We are currently very established in west Malaysia, so our focus will now be on east Malaysia to cover areas like Sabah and Sarawak," he added.

The group is also eyeing an expansion into the Philippines, where there is a growth in modern food retail markets such as supermarkets and convenience stores in both urban and rural areas, with consumers demanding more convenience and flexibility.

In the first half of 2020, the group established and commenced operations in Indonesia through its associated company, Delta Bridge Foods, which manufactures non-halal Chinese sausages for distribution in Indonesia.

OTS is looking to expand the product range offered by Delta Bridge Foods to include canned meat products by early 2022.

A new brand targeting consumers seeking healthier food alternatives is also on the way.

The group's research and development team is developing a shelf-stable plant-based luncheon meat product that can be stored for up to three years, given the growing awareness surrounding the sustainability of animal-based protein consumption, said Ms Ong.

Furthermore, the Covid-19 pandemic has brought food security into focus and spurred greater interest in plant-based products.

OTS is expecting to launch its plant-based luncheon meat products as soon as early 2022.

Mr Toh said that the group is planning to make its production and manufacturing process "as automated as possible".

"We have allocated a portion of our proceeds to spend on manufacturing equipment, so that we can cut down our reliance on manual work," he said, adding that it was necessary for the group to reduce its reliance on foreign workers.

The group currently has an enterprise resource planning system that enables the integration of various business functions - from research and development, order taking, product development and sourcing to food processing, packaging and delivery - for more efficient tracking and monitoring of its manufacturing process.

Aside from raising funds to support the company's growth, the listing will also help the group to attract new talent, Mr Toh said.

"We need capable people, a good team to bring the company to the next level," he added.

For H1 FY2021, OTS reported a profit of $2.9 million, up from $795,411 for the same period the previous year.

Revenue for H1 FY2021 rose to $21.1 million from $14.6 million the previous year due to the increase in revenue from all business segments.

Upon successful listing, OTS will be the second listing on the Catalist board this year.

Private nursing home operator Econ Healthcare had relisted on the Catalist board in April, ending its first day trading 3.6 per cent higher than its IPO price of $0.28.