Kimly to focus on core biz of running coffeeshops


AFTER aborting the acquisition of a drinks manufacturer, Kimly Ltd will be focusing on its core business of operating coffeeshops by serving up more outlets as well as diversifying its product offerings.

It would improve its operational efficiency as well, incorporating technology to streamline the processes at its central kitchen and outlets.

In a press briefing held on Tuesday, the operator listed last year on the Catalist unveiled its business plans that would see the expansion of its bread and butter of operating food outlets. The number of coffeeshops and food courts it operates is expected to rise from 67 to 70 by next financial year ending September 2019.

Kimly's chief financial officer Karen Wong Kok Yoong said that the company has on average been able to add three to five outlets a year to its stable.

Its financials have shown that the main growth in revenue has been fed by additional outlets and food stalls.

The company believes the new evaluation system adopted by the Housing and Development Board (HDB) this year for coffeeshop bidding would help its expansion plan. According to Kimly, HDB is currently building over 30 sites with completion in next five years.

Roy Tan, head of special projects and human resource (HR) at Kimly, pointed out that the company's past performance, operating efficiencies and wide range of food offerings stand it in good stead for HDB's latest assessment scheme, which also considers food affordability, productivity and operating processes.

Besides managing food outlets, Kimly's other key business is retailing that includes selling drinks and food like dim sum, mixed vegetable rice and seafood zi char at its own outlets.

Food retailing now includes Japanese restaurant Tonkichi and Japanese-French confectioner Rive Gauche, with three and 10 outlets respectively - both acquired in July - to diversify its offerings and customer base.

And Kimly is strengthening its online orders and food delivery service as well, after seeing a three-fold increase in sales through this platform between 2017 and 2018.

Business development manager Ronnie Yeo said: "Online business has great potential. Combination of brick-and-mortar (and online sales) is the way to go, even for coffeeshops."

As for the product offerings at its food outlets, Kimly is going to launching by March 2019 its own brand of iced tea and coffee in a move to leverage the growing preference of its customers for healthier drinks with less sugar.

This follows the company's rescission in November or just four months after its purchase of beverage maker Asian Story Corporation in July.

The acquisition, though aborted, is now under probe by the authorities, and Kimly's executive chairman Lim Hee Liat and executive director Chia Cher Khiang had been arrested and later released on bail.

Mr Lim and Mr Chia, who had attended the media briefing for Kimly's initial public offering in March 2017, were conspicuously absent from yesterday's media session.

HR head Mr Tan told The Business Times that Kimly's succession plan will kick in should the two directors be unable to run the company. Ms Wong's swift appointment as finance director was one of the measures to manage Kimly's key man risk.

Kimly's counter traded at its lowest on Dec 6 - two days after the arrest of its two directors - at 22.5 Singapore cents, or less than half of the record high of 51 Singapore cents on March 22 last year.

And it has been on a share buyback spree, with the latest on Dec 12, bringing the purchase since the mandate was given in January to a total of 2.6 million shares, or 0.22 per cent of its issued shares excluding treasury shares.

Kimly closed flat at 24 Singapore cents on Tuesday.