Viz Branz seeks relisting on S'pore bourse

Mr Chng, who is chief executive and executive director, took Viz Branz private in 2013.
Mr Chng, who is chief executive and executive director, took Viz Branz private in 2013.

JHome-grown coffee and cereal beverage maker Viz Branz Holdings is making a return to the local bourse after a four-year absence.

It has lodged a preliminary prospectus with the Monetary Authority of Singapore as it seeks a relisting on the Singapore Exchange (SGX).

The company, set up in 1988, is known for its instant beverage products under the "Gold Roast" and "Cafe 21" brands. Its key markets include certain provinces in China, Myanmar and Cambodia.

In its prospectus statement yesterday, Viz Branz said the initial public offering (IPO) will include international and public placements.

It added that Malaysian fund-management firm Affin Hwang Asset Management will subscribe to 38.4 million shares at the offering price.

Viz Branz's relisting is valued at at least $700 million, according to a Bloomberg report last month citing unnamed sources.

This is more than double the $289 million valuation when the company was delisted from the SGX in 2013, after its controlling shareholder Ben Chng - also the current chief executive and executive director - took the firm private.

Since then, Viz Branz has focused on optimising its distribution network in China. It transferred its distribution arrangements in China to Guangdong VB Food in July 2014 and, in the first quarter of 2015, streamlined its production by ceasing to manufacture in Vietnam.

Viz Branz plans to use at least $100 million of the IPO's net proceeds to repay part of its outstanding debt under a Maybank term-loan facility, while $18 million will go towards the firm's proposed investment in a Myanmar joint venture, Myanmar Newco.

Viz Branz expects to own at least 80 per cent of the joint venture, while its partner Myanmar GR will hold the remaining 20 per cent.

Part of the proceeds will be used for working capital and general corporate purposes, including the purchase of manufacturing and production equipment and machinery.

The firm also intends to deepen its market penetration in China.

Viz Branz logged a net profit of $11.3 million for the three months ended last Dec 31, up from the $8.4 million in the same period a year earlier. Revenue was $45.3 million, down from $48.5 million before. Earnings per share was 1.9 cents, against 1.4 cents previously.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 15, 2017, with the headline 'Viz Branz seeks relisting on S'pore bourse'. Print Edition | Subscribe