A few hours before he was scheduled to fly back from Karachi to his hometown of Lahore, Mian Faisal Iftikhar, CEO of Panther Tyres Limited, sat down with The Correspondent to explain the runaway success of the company’s Initial Public Offering (IPO).
Tired, but wearing a wide smile after a “very successful trip” to the metropolis, Faisal Iftikhar told us he was in Karachi to mark the listing of Panther Tyres Limited at the Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX). Unlike many other IPOs in the past year, this public offering not only met its targets but led to significant oversubscription in the stock, stimulating our curiosity to know further about the company, its plans, and what it is doing right to generate such enthusiasm from investors.
Panther Tyres Limited was founded in 1983 by Mian Iftikhar Ahmed, father of Mian Faisal Iftikhar, and became the first group in Pakistan to introduce local manufacturing of tyres for two and three-wheelers. Over time it has developed to become one of the leading manufacturers and suppliers of tyres, tubes, lubricants and spare parts in Pakistan. It continues to focus on heavy-duty tyres for buses, trucks and similarly oversized vehicles, offering a quality alternative to expensive imports.
Under Faisal Iftikhar, the company has sought to modernise itself; improving customer support, seeking export partners, and offering its shares in an IPO.
Recently the company produced Pakistan’s first locally made OTR (Off the Road) tyre, usually used by earth moving vehicles, weighing from 250 kg to 450 kg per tyre, and is currently is in the phase of establishing a market for its unique product.
From January 27 to 28, Panther Tyres Limited successfully raised Rs 2,632 million through a two-day book-building process, which saw broad-based participation from institutional and high net worth investors.
The book-building was oversubscribed by 4.4 times with the price closing at Rs 65.80 per share; an increase of 40pc from the floor price of Rs47.0 per share. The total demand received was Rs 8,215 million against total issue size of Rs1,880 million; oversubscribed by Rs 6,335 million.
The retail portion also attracted a tremendous response from the public with the issue being oversubscribed by 1.92 times or 9.196 million shares.
The IPO consisted of 40 million ordinary shares whereby the bidders were allowed to place bids for 100% of the issue size through the book-building method. However, the successful bidders were provisionally allotted 75% of the issue size or 30 million shares while the remaining 25%, 10 million shares, were offered to retail investors. The issue was offered at the book-building stage through a floor price of Rs 47 per share with a face value of Rs 10 per share and a premium of Rs 37 per share with a price band of 40% above the floor price.
Situated near Karachi’s iconic Metropole Hotel, Panther Tyres’ regional office is a small affair, run by a limited staff in a clean, organised manner. The CEO’s office is similarly modest, without the flashy trappings of success that are the norm in Pakistan’s business community. It is here that we sit down over a cup of tea to discuss the future of the company as the sunlight quickly faded outside the window.
How will the capital raised through the public offering help the company improve further?
Four times oversubscription of the public offering will support Panther Tyres to complete its expansion earlier than expected and will allow us to establish a market for its heavy off-road tyres that will help the company to take first movers advantage in local and regional markets.
There is no other company in the region that makes such heavy off-road tyres. The capital raised by the very successful IPO will help us archive targets ahead of the estimated time.
The estimated time for the expansions was two years, now we expect it to take one year only
What are the areas of potential growth for the company that will need the capital expenditures?
The potential of growth is promising, and it will take a lifetime to cover it. We are in process of continuous improvement. With the current expansions on the technical side, the company has gained the ability to manufacture tyres of any size according to the market needs that enables us to cover more areas and cater to more clients.
There is always some risk factors related to expansions, how do you see the capital expenditure will be justified going forward?
We are taking very calculated risks as we don’t want to enter into an area that we cannot digest. I don’t want to break investors’ trust in any case.
The very encouraging response by the public in IPO gave us confidence but also added responsibility that came from us working for investors trust and success
According to research analysts, like any other business, there are some risks factors for the company. Panther Tyres has no specific agreements with suppliers of raw materials and distribution partners. However, the company has been supplying to prominent auto manufacturers like Suzuki, Honda and Yamaha for over 26 years. The Government of Pakistan has imposed duties ranging from 13% to 35% on the import of tyres and tubes of various categories to protect the local tyre and tube industry. Additionally, the industry has to pay a duty of 20% and 16% on the import of raw materials like carbon black and tube valves. Any change in the duty structure can have an impact on the performance of the local tyre industry.
Since the majority of the company’s raw materials are imported from other countries, any interruption in the supply of raw materials would affect the production process and profitability of the company
However, the risk factor is mitigated by the size of the market that is governed largely by the population and the potential economic activity going forward.
What are OTRs and what is there market acceptance in Pakistan?
Our company gained technical ability to manufacture these specially designed tyres to cater needs of our mining sectors as they use huge dumpers to bring out raw material from their sites.
Currently, these OTRs are imported and due to their huge size and weight, their shipments are extremely expensive. If we can provide the same quality with no extra burden of shipment costs it can be a secure market to tap in.
We provided OTRs for free to get feedback from the customers to improve our product, and we received very encouraging responses in return. Companies are ready to book these tyres in advance as there is a clear difference in the price for similar quality.
Like any other developing country, Pakistan’s local market is promising but what about opportunities in export markets?
Panther has already made its presence in export markets that include Egypt, Vietnam, Afghanistan and some African markets. It is also entering into Europe through Turkey
Every other month we were adding a new country to our export list. The only thing that is slowing us down is the COVID-19 travel limitations for our export team. For example, we are in talks with our potential clients in Brazil and we just sent them our product samples, previously we would visit and show them our products in person and understand the local market’s needs.
I hope we will be shipping our product there soon.
The technical advancement also supports us in export markets. Earlier we used to take our brochures abroad with limited products we can offer them. But now we ask them what are their requirements, and now we can make any product they want. That is a huge difference as every market is different. And that will enable the company to materialize its full potential in the post-COVID economic activities.