EVERSENDAI Corp Bhd, an integrated structural steel turnkey and power plant contractor, is targeting the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) countries as its next market, with Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan as its base.
"We won a RM87 million contract for the development of structural steel works for a 40-storey office tower in Azerbaijan in March this year. And we expect that to be the first of our Azerbaijan-based projects," its founder and group managing director Tan Sri A.K. Nathan told Business Times.
He said Eversendai has received a number of proposed Azerbaijan projects but nothing is confirmed yet.
The Main Market-listed company will also be expanding into Azerbaijan's neighbouring country, Kazakhstan, which offers investment opportunities.
"Kazakhstan is one of the oil-rich countries within the CIS region and they're coming up quite strongly and fast with ambitious infrastructure plans which will be beneficial to Eversendai," Nathan said.
When asked about the interest in the CIS region, he said diversification in the company's portfolio is crucial towards its business growth.
"Diversification sustains and helps our business expansion, and this is something that clients and potential investors should be aware of," he said.
Nathan said although Eversendai is a globally recognised and trusted brand in the Middle East, where job invitation comes in abundance, this is not the case in Malaysia.
"I have hardly done any marketing jobs in the Middle East for the last nine years ... Eversendai is so well-known there that jobs come searching for us. The same cannot not be said for Malaysia, even though our biggest investors are government-owned entities like the Employees Provident Fund and Lembaga Tabung Haji.
"There are definitely more jobs for Eversendai in Malaysia and some are in discussions and already underway, but we would also like to have more government projects," he said.
"I am a patriotic Malaysian, that's why I listed my company here on the Bursa Malaysia even though 90 per cent of our work is done overseas. At present, I am working towards expanding the local business and we are looking at increasing our business substantially in 2014 which includes building offshore platforms, bringing innovation into our already innovative business module and moving into inter-related core business opportunities."
Research houses have given the thumbs up for Eversendai stock based on the company's strong standing in the Middle East and its expansion into inter-related business, where it has buffered risks by having the technical know-how and the right partnership in securing jobs.
"When it comes to challenges, the volatile global economic situation is the only challenge I can foresee. However, as long as we are prudent in our management and being focused, I don't see that as a big issue. The meaning of Eversendai is "generations" and I intend for this company to be my legacy," Nathan said.