[ 07-05-2008 ]
TABUNG HAJI EYES A SLICE OF HALAL FOOD MARKET
 
LEMBAGA Tabung Haji (TH) will soon be marketing a range

of bakery and confectionery products produced by Silver Bird

Group Bhd under a strategic alliance agreement.

The

products will be under a new brand, which will be revealed in two

to three months. TH is currently the single largest shareholder

of Silver Bird with some 29% stake.

Besides the bread

maker, the pilgrimage fund also owns 9.9% stake in QSR Brands

Bhd.

TH group managing director and chief executive

officer Datuk Ismee Ismail said there was much potential to be

tapped, given that 70% of Muslims in the country were bread

consumers and Silver Bird had a 30% share of the local bread and

confectionery market.

Last year, the market was estimated

at some RM1.2bil and is expected to keep growing.




From left: Datuk Ismee Ismail, Silver Bird independent non-

executive director Datuk Seri Talaat Husain and Datuk Jackson Tan

Han Kook with the new packaging of High 5 bread

Ismee

assured that the fund was serious in its latest venture.



Once we’re in, we’ll be a big player. We’re looking at the whole

value chain of the food industry, starting with the retail

market,” he said after a signing ceremony yesterday. TH was also

considering buying another food-related company, Ismee

added.

A TH statement released yesterday said it intended

to spend about RM300mil initially over the next five years in the

halal food business.

Meanwhile, Silver Bird will leverage

on TH’s five million account holders as well as the fund’s brand

to expand further its Muslim base.

“We’ve been exporting

to Asean and the Middle East countries. TH will give us combined

strength to export to more Muslim countries,” said group managing

director Datuk Jackson Tan Han Kook.

Silver Bird, like its

peers, is facing fierce pressure from rising costs, especially

flour prices. The company has been incurring losses in the past

two fiscal years but believes it can turn around in the current

period.

Last month, Silver Bird raised the price of its

wholemeal bread under the High 5 brand to RM3 per loaf from

RM2.70 previously. In November last year, the price of the High 5

standard white bread loaf was increased to RM2.10 from

RM1.90.

Gardenia Bakeries (KL) Sdn Bhd, the other leading

bread maker, has also increased its prices of bread and

confectionery products. Gardenia is partly owned by national rice

distributor Padiberas Nasional Bhd.

Two other major

shareholders of Silver Bird are Tan Sri Vincent Tan, with over

22%, and Australian venture capital firm CVC Ltd, some

12%.

Publication: The Star
Date: 07/05/2008
URL:

http://biz.thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?

file=/2008/5/7/business/21170538&sec=business