May 21, 2012
by Zinnia B. Dela Peña
MANILA, Philippines – JS Unitrade Merchandise Inc., the firm behind Pro-Kids and EQ diapers and Charmee panty liners and sanitary pads, is scaling up its presence in Asia with plans to enter Cambodia and Taiwan in line with its goal to hit P10 billion in sales in the next four years.
JS Unitrade founder and president Samuel L. Po said the company just penetrated Malaysia and is looking at other areas in the region to support a new phase of growth.
“Currently, China is not competitive anymore in terms of labor. Labor cost in China coastal area is higher than the Philippines now. The only advantage in China is they have a lot of raw materials,” Po said.
Po didn’t say how much he would invest in the second plant but noted that the amount would be bigger than what the company spent for the Chinese factory.
China, however, will remain as it long-term market given its strong growth potential. China’s society is aging and is driving growth in categories such as adult disposable diapers.
The company, which currently holds a 65 percent share of the local adult diapers market and 26-27 percent of the baby diapers market, expects revenues to grow around 18 to 20 percent this year on steady demand for its products.
Po said all these initiatives are geared towards the eventual listing of the company on the stock exchange.
“We are waiting for the right time. After we penetrate the region. And maybe to have more value first,” he said.
Presently, JS Unlimited is selling more than 60 million pads of baby diapers a month and around four million pads for adults as well as 45 to 50 million sanitary pads.
Established in the 1980s, the company also carries wipes and paper tissue products under Secure pull-up, Nursy Kitchen Mate multi-purpose kitchen towel, Purejoy and Hy-5 the brands.
JS Unitrade has three distribution centers, strategically located in Metro Manila, Metro Cebu and Cagayan de Oro City, which can efficiently serve and cover the whole country.
“Soon we will have a contract signed in Cambodia. And then there are some talks for the Taiwan market,” Po said.
Po said the company wants to capitalize on the rapidly growing demand for sanitary napkins and disposable diapers in emerging markets in Asia on the back of rising incomes in the region.
The company’s plant is currently based in China, which is operating at full capacity. Plans are underway for the construction of a new facility in the Philippines, details of which, however, have yet to be finalized.