Transcription of Finance News Network Interview with 8I Holdings Limited (ASX:8IH) Executive Director, Clive Tan
Natalie MacDonald: 8I Holdings Limited (ASX:8IH) is a Singapore based group, which conducts an investment and financial education business. Founded in 2008, the company listed on the ASX at the end of 2014.
I’m Natalie MacDonald and joining me at the CEO Sessions in Brisbane is the company’s Executive Director, Clive Tan. Clive welcome back to FNN.
Clive Tan: Thank you, thank you for inviting me.
Natalie MacDonald: Can you start with an introduction to 8I Holdings, and also how the investment and education businesses complement each other.
Clive Tan: 8I Holdings was started by Ken and myself in 2008 at the depth of the financial crisis. During that time we noticed that a lot of people out there, they were panicking when the markets were coming down. But actually the right way to look at it is to really go into the market, and pick up those bargain companies. And that’s what we did and because of that, we started 8I.
Also at the same time, we were investing whatever amount of funds we could generate, into the market. Actually these two complement each other, because on one hand we’re teaching the process, on the other we’re applying the investment process in the markets. And as you get more and more better understanding and distinction, we applied that back into our financial education business.
Natalie MacDonald: Let’s look firstly then at the investment side of the business, now you’ve recently launched a private equity division. Why open a private equity division and what opportunities has it invested in so far?
Clive Tan: Since our listing, we have always bought into private companies. Actually that investing is not just in public companies, it’s also in private companies and properties as well. And we have actually invested in Digimatic Pty. Limited, Hemus Pacific Pty. Limited and I think Velocity Property. And these are the few companies that we are looking to grow them, and hopefully in the future, we will list them.
Natalie MacDonald: What percentage of investments then do you expect private equity to account for over time?
Clive Tan: That’s a bit hard to put a figure to it, but currently it’s at about 15 per cent. I expect that it will grow over time, but at this stage private equity by its nature, is a bit unpredictable. If the opportunity is right, if the negotiations go well, I think we can increase that percentage there.
Natalie MacDonald: How have your listed equity and property investments been performing?
Clive Tan: I think they have been doing pretty well. The progress for example, one of our companies we invested in, Digimatic, they’re in the process of actually applying for a listing in Australia. And also I think for property companies under Velocity in Brisbane, the projects are doing well. It’s just that there are slight delays, but otherwise everything’s on track.
Natalie MacDonald: Let’s turn to the education and training side of your business. Can you update us on your expansion into China?
Clive Tan: We have already kick started our expansion in China. We have got an office there, we have our partners in place and I think in just the last two weeks, we actually had our program conducted in Chinese in Kuala Lumpur. Had our first run, to just run through whatever we need to say in the program in Mandarin. And I think we did pretty well. So I am expecting by the first quarter of 2016, we should be able to kick start our operations in China.
Natalie MacDonald: So how many attendees are you targeting this financial year?
Clive Tan: We have the last year; the last financial year we have 850. We definitely are going to have more than that.
Natalie MacDonald: Let’s take a look then at your financials, 8I Holdings recently released its first half results for 2016. What were some of the highlights?
Clive Tan: I think the main highlight must be in terms of the profits, which went up three times more than our previous financial year. So that’s $15 million against $5 million last year. So I think in terms of what we were doing, we should be having a record-breaking year. And for next year, I think our financial year FY16; it will definitely be a record-breaking year.
Natalie MacDonald: Last question then Clive. Where would you like to see 8I Holdings this time next year?
Clive Tan: One year from now, we expect that the company itself in all aspects, both in terms of its financial education, the investment in public equities as well as in private companies, as far as our property development projects, all will scale up accordingly. And not only that, they will have much more synergies between them, because we are already working on the inter so-called subsidiaries collaboration.
Natalie MacDonald: Clive Tan, many thanks for the update on 8I Holdings.
Clive Tan: Thank you.