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  • Writer's pictureS.Cable

SCB Powering into Singapore, Australia.

Updated: Nov 23, 2022

The Star Online – Monday, 9 February 2015 By JACK WONG

KUCHING: Sarawak Cable Bhd (SCB), which recently acquired Universal Cable (M) Bhd and Leader Cable Industry Bhd, has zoomed in on Singapore and Australia to push for the export of its newly launched 275-kilovolt (kV) underground high-voltage power cables.

Group managing director and chief executive officer Aaron Toh Chee Ching said Universal Cable, now an SCB wholly owned subsidiary, was the only company in Asean with the capability to produce the 275kV underground high-voltage cables. Universal Cable rolled out commercial production of the high margin 275kV underground cables after having successfully type tested the new product last August.

“Our key markets for the 275kV underground cables are Singapore and Australian cities, which need to replace a lot of their 132kV cables that have become obsolete as demand for power increases with the 275kV cables. So, there is a huge market for 275kV cables, and I see this as a niche market,” he told StarBiz.

In Malaysia, Universal Cable’s pilot project to install the 275kV cables is for Pengerang Power Sdn Bhd’s transmission line project, which it was awarded for RM257mil recently. According to Toh, the 275kV high-voltage underground cables are priced more than double that of the 132kV high-voltage underground cables. He said one of the key considerations for SCB to acquire Universal Cable was the latter’s manufacturing facilities for the 275kV underground cables that had involved big capital investments.

SCB has emerged as Malaysia’s largest integrated manufacturer of power cables and conductors, with a market share of more than 50% after completing the acquisition of Universal Cable and Leader Cable for RM210mil in December 2014. The acquired companies also manufacture 500kV cables and telecommunications cables. The SCB group now owns and operates seven manufacturing plants in Selangor, Kedah, Johor and Negri Sembilan and two plants in Sarawak.

Toh said SCB was also capitalising on the established international networks and customer base of Universal Cable and Leader Cable to expand the export of, particularly, overhead transmission line conductors and 132kV underground cables to Indonesia and the Philippines.

“The (power) infrastructure in Indonesia is lagging far behind, and Jakarta requires a lot of 132kV underground cables. We (SCB) may acquire an Indonesian cable manufacturer which we have identified to use as a base to expand our market and increase our presence there,” he said, adding that the proposed acquisition might materialise this year.

Toh said the Middle East was the other market for underground and overhead transmission cables which SCB would further strengthen. “With increased capacity (post-acquisition), we have sufficient production capacity to supply the Singapore, Australian, Indonesian, the Philippines and the Middle-Eastern markets.”

He said the group had targeted cable sales of RM1bil this year, with 80% of the production to cater for the domestic market and the other 20% for the export market. According to Toh, the group planned to relocate its Nilai manufacturing facilities to Sabah, where there is yet to be any power cable manufacturer, this year.

He said SCB had targeted another RM1bil contribution from projects, mainly on the construction of power transmission lines and sub-stations in Peninsular Malaysia and Sarawak, to its group revenue this year.

As at Dec 31, 2014, SCB had an order book of RM1.4bil (unbilled). The group’s major ongoing projects undertaken by its 100%-owned unit, Trenergy Infrastructure Sdn Bhd, include the RM619mil 500kV transmission line project in Sarawak and the RM257mil contract from Pengerang Power. Another RM493mil contract is for Sarawak Energy Bhd’s (SEB) 600MW Balingian coal-fired power plant project.

Toh said Trenergy Infrastructure was eyeing more jobs from Tenaga Nasional Bhd (TNB), which had an annual capital expenditure (capex) budget of some RM2bil, with a significant portion reportedly used to finance the replacement of overhead transmission lines. Last July, Trenergy Infrastructure was awarded an RM14.7mil contract by TNB for the 132kV KLIA-Salak transmission line project.

For the transmission line replacement projects, SCB has started to use the latest technology in thermal-resistant aluminium alloy conductors steel reinforced (TACSR) conductors, which are lighter, more efficient and potentially able to reduce energy loss of between 30% and 40% in transmission as compared to the conventional ACSR conductors.

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