Malaysian Innovation: How EAH is aiming for blue chip status

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Forbes Media LLC Vice Chairman Christopher Forbes (left) with EAH CEO Mohammad Sobri bin Saad in 2012 when EAH was recognised as one of Forbes Asia’s 200 Best Under A Billion List of companies within the Asia-Pacific region.

Forbes Media LLC Vice Chairman Christopher Forbes (left) with EAH CEO Mohammad Sobri bin Saad in 2012 when EAH was recognised as one of Forbes Asia’s 200 Best Under A Billion List of companies within the Asia-Pacific region.

Information and Communications Technology (ICT) is one of Malaysia’s thriving sectors and set to remain as such in coming years. According to market intelligence provider, IDC, ICT spending is expected to cross the US$10 billion (RM35 billion) mark in 2014. “The coming year will serve as a platform for a possible inflection point for growth but it will not be without both challenges and opportunities,” IDC notes in its 2014 Top 10 ICT Predictions report.

Due to the competitive nature of the space, a number of companies have come and gone – and there are the relative few who have not only survived the preliminaries but are growing from strength to strength.

This is surely the case with EA Holdings Bhd (EAH) helmed by Chief Executive Officer Mohammad Sobri bin Saad (pic).

EAH has been breaking new grounds since its inception in 2006 and today, it is a formidable player within the Malaysia ICT industry. The company is renowned for its proven track record and project delivery, which is usually ahead of schedule, as quite a number of its government agencies and financial services clients can attest to.

Since its introduction to Bursa Malaysia in 2010, EAH has grown by leaps and bounds. Its three wholly-owned subsidiaries are:

• EASS Sdn Bhd: The gem in the EAH stable, which provides ICT services and solutions such as automated invoices processing systems together with systems and infrastructure integration. A number of its clientele are from the government and government-linked companies (GLCs). Its first customer is Malaysia’s renowned oil & gas company and, since then, the financial services sector has also been coming to EASS for ICT infrastructure projects.

• EA MSC Sdn Bhd: This division offers RFID (radio frequency identification devices) and access control platforms, in addition to building management systems for corporate and retail enterprises, and is growing rapidly from year to year.

• CSS MSC Berhad: CSS MSC Sdn Bhd provides business intelligence (BI), data warehousing and banking solutions and services to its financial services clients – an area that is expected to see phenomenal growth this year and moving forward as enterprises begin focusing on Big Data and analytics.

EAH has also diversified its enterprise portfolio with the acquisition of an 86% equity interest in DDSB (M) Sdn Bhd in 2012. DDSB provides SAP enterprise solutions and geographic information system.

“Once we completed our study of the business, we were proven right in our belief that DDSB was a good fit with a savvy management team behind it,” says Sobri recounting the acquisition. DDSB is today one of the industry’s most respected and renowned SAP providers.

“We are still actively seeking out for potential companies as a part of our long term strategy. In fact, we are looking at a few companies this year to add impetus to our profits,” he shares. (See accompanying story.)

With each EAH subsidiary specialising in their respective areas, EAH is today an end-to-end enterprise solutions akin to an airplane that’s flying faster – and higher – with its engines firing on all cylinders.

Superior technologies, skilled professionals and plain hard work

EAH’s amazing success story has its roots in superior technologies, skilled professionals and plain hard work. As a result, EAH’s reputation as a premier service provider is continuously being enhanced and lucrative contracts keep coming in.

“Customers continuously come back to EAH due to our strong track record and ability to deliver mission-critical projects, often ahead of schedule,” he shares.

“During the early days, we were only executing jobs that were between RM1mn to RM5mn in value. Now, we are handling projects that are to the tune of RM70mn.”

With regards to reaching its 2013 internal revenue target of RM90mn for the year, Sobri is quietly confident that the company will be able to achieve that milestone. In fact, in the first three quarters of 2013, EAH managed to secure RM68mn in revenue, greatly helped by a major mainframe upgrade project with one of the largest government agencies in Malaysia.

Other notable clients include GLCs and enterprises involved in utilities, transportation, finance and plantation. EAH today has a pipeline of RM90mn, while current jobs-in-hand stand at RM103.6mn.

Despite the steady stream of projects and new clientele, the company is not resting on its laurels with Sobri believing that there is still room for growth and improvement.

As EAH aims to gain blue chip ICT status in the very near future, it has become the company’s vision to be listed on the Bursa Malaysia Main Board. Sobri adds that being on the Main Board will increase the company’s visibility and accountability: “At our end, we are working hard to ensure we continue growing and maximising returns for shareholders.”

“The EAH Group’s business model offers solid scope for growth through existing and new businesses and we foresee our earnings to be very strong moving forward,” Sobri further says. “In short, EAH offers investors a defensive yet high earnings growth exposure, which is particularly attractive under prevailing market environment.”

For two consecutive years in 2011 and 2012, EAH made it to Forbes Asia’s 200 Best Under A Billion List of companies within the Asia-Pacific region.

 

Note: This article first appeared in Business Today and is being reproduced with the publisher’s kind permission.

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