This pandemic resulted in a digitisation boom across the world, and with that in mind, many tech related companies (which includes semiconductor companies, which are currently benefiting from a supply squeeze and a new Chinese Semiconductor policy), have seen earnings and their valuation multiples reach new high.
With that in mind, I have been looking for a laggard, one with bright prospects, but is under researched and thus their share price has not increased. I believe I have found one.
UCREST – Business Overview
UCREST was started back in 1998, when its founder, Mr Eg Kah Yee, someone with deep roots in Silicon Valley, whose credentials include,
- Started at Phoenix Data Systems Inc
- Daisy Systems Corporation (a hotbed for IT Systems, Software and Semiconductor giants, the founders of Sun Microsystems and Synopsys used to work there) where he worked his way up to leading North Asia Region.
- Synopsys Inc, (when he joined it was just a start-up, he grew the Asian business and helped it IPO in 1992. Today, this company is worth USD41 billion)
Decided to go out and venture on his own. Currently the group consist of the following.
United Crest Group:
- UCREST Berhad – Wireless Technologies, Health Care
- United Crest Healthcare – Digital Mobile, Health
- Key ASIC – Semiconductor Chip Design
- United Crest Capital – Financial Services & investment
- Palatte Corporation – Property
When UCrest was first founded, its focus was on developing wireless technologies which was then a fast-growing industry.
Unfortunately, their journey into business ran in parallel with the rise of Huawei technologies as well as the old giants like CISCO, Nokia, Motorola etc, who had far bigger R&D budgets and marketing power. The company made some profits now and then, but it was never consistent.
Using the wireless technology they have created, in 2017, Ucrest Berhad pivoted into doing tele-medicine, allowing customers to receive medical care wherever they are, and for doctors to always keep track of their health statistics at all time (this is particularly important for patients with high risks of stroke and heart attack).
This resulted in a boom in share price then, reaching a peak of RM0.58.
The share price then trended downwards for the next 1-2 years, as Rome was not built in a day, and the management needed time to finalize the technology, and find the customers.
UCREST – Understanding UCREST Medical Business
Currently, the medical division consist of 3 main segments.
This is the backbone of the medical business, it is an AI & IoMT-enabled online medical aggregator, empowering imaging centers, pharmacies and path labs via their products (called KeyPATH, iMedicTM ePAP and KeyPATH) via AI & IoMT.
To date, iMedicTM is the only US FDA & HIPPA-Compliant telemedicine platform – that has incorporated full Electronic Medical Records (Bio markers, CT, X-ray, MRI, etc), Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) devices, and Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies with AI chips in image recognition for radiology and pathology.
In layman and simple language, that allows doctors to monitor patients’ vital statistics, and for patients to contact any doctor globally for advice, or even receive medical prescriptions.
It also serves as a database for patient information, so that they can be accessed instantly by both the patient and the medical practitioner.
- Sale of various medical devices
These devices, are manufactured by designs made by KeyAsic and, marketed, sold and installed by UCREST Berhad.
UCREST Berhad collects two kinds of fee from the above, Sales and Installation of the medical devices/software, and a SAAS like pay-per-use for the iMedicTM Platform.
UCREST – The Inflection Point of the Medical Division.
After the announcement in 2017, they finalized their minimum viable product in 2018 and found their first major customer, in the Russian Public Healthcare system, by teaming up with YSAR+ Joint Stock Company, to integrate its I-Medic Online Hospital, to YSAR+ medical software systems, which was then rolled out into 42 hospitals in Russia in 2018.
This resulted in their largest ever profit in 2018 and 2019.
In 2020, they made a loss, however, this is because the earnings come from 2 portions.
The first is the installation, which suffered a slowdown due to travelling restrictions during the pandemic, which have been remedied.
The second, is because the pay-per-use fees (which are recognized in Other Income for now), needed some time to come online.
However, since the start of financial year 2021, these pay-per-use fees have started to materialize.
However, since the start of financial year 2021, these pay-per-use fees have started to materialize.
And these extremely high margin items now give UCREST and average Net Profit Margin of 44%.
Catalyst – Contract with 820 Hospitals in China
Since locking down that first contract in 2018, UCREST Berhad have found an additional 104 hospitals globally as clients.
Notable hospitals include,
The Mayo Clinic itself represents 70 hospitals, and 4,500 physicians in the USA, and from 2016-2020, they have ranked Number 1 as per U.S News & World Report.
South East Asia
Given such an illustrious track record,
On 21 December 2020, they signed a contract with International Alliance of Intelligent Health (IAIH) to jointly develop and promote the use of Artificial Intelligence and Internet of Medical Things technologies on the iMedic™ platform for diagnosis and therapeutic of diseases.
IAIH, which UCREST is part of the founding members, is led by Shanghai Zhong Shan Hospital and spearheaded by Professor Dr. Bai, and the contract was signed with him.
Who is Professor Dr. Bai Chunxie? Can trust or not?
He is the world renowned respiratory and thoracic expert in China. A China COVID-19 hero whose contribution is recognized by Xi Jinping, the president of China.
Professor Dr. Bai Chunxie is the world renowned respiratory and thoracic expert in China. A China COVID-19 hero whose contribution is recognized by Xi Jinping, the president of China.
I think his word, and signature on the contract means something good for UCREST.
And given the size of the China contract, lets not forget the contract with BMC Medical in the US, which will be used to tackle the USD 8 billion sleep apnea market, which currently affects 50-70 million patients.
Catalyst – Telemedicine in China is a very fast growing industry
The market for telehealth in China is set to overtake the US in 2023 and exceed 50 billion USD by 2025.
Before the COVID-19 outbreak, most Chinese consumers typically visited physical medical institutions for their healthcare needs.
In 2019, only 24% of Chinese respondents had used telemedicine, which is the use of technology to provide remote clinical services.
However, as an inevitable consequence of COVID-19, there has been a rapid acceleration of the wide-spread adoption of digital technology in both the delivery of healthcare services (remote patient monitoring and telemedicine) and the digitally assisted delivery in healthcare services (artificial intelligence, machine learning for diagnostics and treatment).
Acceptance of online platforms give the rise of telehealth another boost. According to a survey conducted by Bain & Company, Chinese patients are much more open and indeed expectant of higher uses of digital health services within the next five years.
While this applies to telemedicine, which recorded an exponential growth of more than 164 percent, there is also now a higher acceptance of digitalization of healthcare services across the board including: online long-term illness management, digital records and on-demand services.
Others: Competent People Leading the Company.
Other than Mr Eng, one thing I noted about this company that is very different from many others, is the qualifications (related to the industry) and quality of people in their Board of Directors.
Most companies, hire puppets and ex GLC, ex-Politicians,ex-Government servants, to makan gaji buta, not UCREST.
Their board of directors consist of people like,
Professor Low Teck Seng, who is the Chief Executive Officer of the National Research Foundation (NRF), Prime Minister’s Office, Singapore. They sets the national direction for research and development (R&D) by developing policies, plans and strategies for research, innovation and enterprise
Prior to joining NRF in July 2012,
His career consists of,
- Managing Director of the Agency for Science, Technology and Research.
- Setting up the Magnetics Technology Centre (MTC) in National University of Singapore (NUS) in 1992. The MTC is the predecessor of the Data Storage Institute (DSI), a leading research institute focusing on data storage technologies.
- Dean of Engineering at the NUS from 1998 to 2000.
- Tenured professor at the National University of Singapore. Fellow of the Singapore Academy of Engineers; Fellow of the IEEE and International Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineers, UK.
Dato’ Dr. Mohd Fikri Abdullah
A Cardiovascular & Thoracic surgeon in private practice at KPJ. His achievements include,
- Initiated and submitted a proposal to the Ministry of Health, Malaysia; a structured curriculum for cardiothoracic surgery training leading to a postgraduate degree in cardiothoracic surgery in August 2000.
- Pioneered a few new techniques in cardiothoracic surgery at National University Hospital Malaysia between August 2000 and December 2003 such as:
- Beating Heart Coronary Bypass Surgery (Off-Pump CABG),
- Endoscopic Vein Harvesting (EVH),
- Video Assisted Thoracoscopic (VATS) Lung Surgery, VATS Sympathectomy and VATS Thymectomy,
- Blood Cardioplegia for myocardial protection,
- Radial Artery conduit and Harmonic Scalpel harvesting technique,
- Outpatient Treatment of Pneumothorax Using Pneumostat (Heimlich Valve) Device.
- 2002, performed the world first successful SVC Bypass surgery using Bovine Pericardium.
- 2003, performed the world first successful Off-Pump Coronary Bypass in a High Risk Dextrocardia patient.
- 2009, a conjoint effort with National University Hospital of Malaysia (UKMMC) cardiac team, he introduced a new technique of endoscopic vein harvesting using a German made Vascular Micro Milling System (VMMS).
- 2011, pioneered the use of thermo reactive Nitinol sternal closure clips (Flexigrip) in Malaysia.
- 2012, pioneered the use of Everpoint (tungsten-rhenium alloy) suture by Johnson & Johnson for Coronary Bypass Surgery cases in Malaysia. The first 72 successful cases were presented during Cardiac Review Symposium at University of Singapore in November 2012.
These are people with real achievements who sit on the board of directors of UCREST who can give real and useful input for the tele medicine division.
Valuation Comparison with Peers
So how does UCREST stack up against its peer’s valuation wise?
As there are no other company offering the same locally, we must compare globally.
There are seven ASX and one NASDAQ listed digital health technology stocks, we have selected as UCREST closer peers.
Information is updated as of 22 Jan 2021.
For annual revenue and profit, we have annualized UCRESTs latest quarterly revenue and profits.
Annualized net profit of RM7.6 million has been normalised by excluding one-off gains such as reversal of impairment loss on trade receivables, forex items and etc, giving rise to RM7.6 million net profit.
Latest quarterly net profit at RM2.6 million minus les reversal of impairment on trade receivables RM0.7 million = RM1.9 million normalised profit.
There is no forex gain during the period.
RM1.9 million times 4 quarters = RM7.6 million net profit annually.
What about Malaysia?
As for Malaysia, we have seen share prices of some healthcare and technology stocks performing extremely well in the last few months.
They are not an apples-to-apples comparison; However, it gives picture of current valuations, earnings capability, profit margins among companies in technology (specifically on software) and medicine-related sector.
In Bursa Malaysia, the Semiconductor/Technology/Software companies are value at P/E Ratios of 70-100 times on average, while software companies are traded above P/E Ratio of 50 times on average.
At the same time, loss-making software companies in Bursa Malaysia have market capitalizations from RM100 million to RM400 million.
Most notably, Malaysian Genomics Resource Centre Berhad (“MGRC”), which is currently deeply lossmaking, and recording close to zero revenue have a market capitalization of RM130million.
UCREST also offers Genetic Testing, and have a fast-expanding telemedicine division, and currently sell for just RM99 million.
With UCrest prime to reap the benefits of,
- Contract for 820 hospitals in China
- Contact with BMC Medical to tackle USD 8 Billion Sleep Apnea Market
- Adoption by other hospitals
The result of years of blood, sweat and tears due to high R&D spending.
Based on current market conditions, if UCREST is valued similarly, the upside could easily be 2-3X more.
One Last Thing
Price got move yet?
Am i waterfish?
Looks like engine about to start.