Dr. Lim Ban Keong D.V.M. (UPM)
Group Managing Director of Rhone Ma Holdings Berhad
We want people to not only see how we’ve transformed the company, but how this transformation can benefit them and the society as a whole in terms of their health and animal welfare including their lovely pets.
We often read about the success of thought leaders in property development, retail and the automotive industries. It is not common to hear about the growth and success of businesses in animal health products that have made an impact in their country of origin.
One such company in Malaysia is Rhone Ma Holdings Berhad, an end-to-end animal health solution provider in Malaysia and is headed by its Group managing director, Dr Lim Ban Keong, a former veterinarian in the livestock industry.
Under his leadership, the business has transformed from a local trading company into a Bursa Malaysia Main Board listed company in December 2016. Rhone Ma was established after a management buyout of the animal health division of Rhodia Malaysia in year 2000.
Lim, who holds a Doctor in Veterinary Medicine from from Universiti Putra Malaysia, is also a registered veterinary surgeon with the Malaysian Veterinary Council since 1997 and also a member of the Veterinary Association Malaysia since 1998.
Studying veterinary science may not give most students much insight into the world of business operations, But the Penang local already had a head start in his career as a technical sales executive at Pahang Pharmacy Sdn. Bhd. in 1997. One year later, he joined Rhodia Malaysia as a Techno-Commercial Executive in the animal health division where he was in charge of the product portfolio covering veterinary pharmaceutical and biological products. He joined Rhone Ma Malaysia in 2000 which acquired the animal health division of Rhodia Malaysia.
Lim was subsequently promoted to General Manager in 2010 and assumed the role of Managing Director in 2013. The journey has been anything but easy, but Lim, 46, is grateful for the experience and guidance given by all his mentors along the way, especially Dr Raymond Choo, his predecessor in Rhone Ma. “I also feel blessed to have role models supportive partners like Mr Foong Kam Weng and Dr Karen Yip, who are also founding members of Rhone Ma. In fact, they consented and supported my appointment as the general manager.”
I wanted to take the opportunity to realise my transformation dream for dream of transforming the company.
“When I reflect on what I have been through, I felt like a newborn when I accepted the challenges because everything was new to me. But I wanted to take the opportunity to realise my transformation dream for dream of transforming the company,” said Lim who also credits Vistage Malaysia for their exemplary CEO coaching programmes.
Not surprisingly, one of Lim’s biggest milestones was when the company became public as it only took three months to happen since the date of application for IPO.
“As a public listed company, it is our responsibility to meet investors’ expectations. Though we have more complex obstacles to overcome, this is all part of business growth and corporate transformation,” explains Lim.
“Our IPO proceeds will is used to fund our development plan for the construction of a new GMP-Compliant Plant in Nilai and a warehouse with three storey offices in Klang.” says Lim. The Group has commenced the construction of the GMP-compliant plant with completion estimated to be in the end of 2019. The new warehouse in Kapar was completed towards the end of 2018 and is currently awaiting for the Certificate of Completion and Compliance (CCC) by the local authorities. Once fully operational, the warehouse is expected to increase storage space to cater to increasing storage needs for both animal health products and food ingredients.
“We also aim to expand our product range and introduce new pharmaceuticals and feed additives through our in-house R&D capabilities and finally, to expand regionally to broaden our international customer base.”
In addition to being the exclusive distributor of Boehringer Ingelheim’s companion animal product range in Malaysia, Lim also notched another achievement when he successfully signed on two big names in the animal health and nutrition industry to distribute their products in Malaysia, namely Ceva Sante Animale S.A. (Ceva) and Zoetis Malaysia Sdn. Bhd. (Zoetis). Ceva, on 1 January 2018, appointed Rhone Ma as the Exclusive Distributor of its swine-related products, while in April 2018, the company signed another Distributorship agreement with Zoetis Malaysia Sdn. Bhd, a subsidiary of Zoetis Inc., for its poultry related products.
Lim further pursued his dreams of transforming Rhone Ma, where in early 2018, the Company incorporated a new wholly-owned subsidiary, APSN Healthcare & Diagnostics Sdn. Bhd. (APSNH) in their effort to foray into the human healthcare segment. Under this new business segment, APSNH aims to provide test and diagnostics services for human healthcare, conduct R&D in biotechnology and distribution of human healthcare and related products. Although it is still in its infancy stage, Lim believes that the segment will grow due to its vast potential.
It’s not just the business that Lim wants to grow, but also enrich public perception on the animal health industry. “We want people to not only see how we’ve transformed the company, but how this transformation can benefit them and the society as a whole in terms of their health and animal welfare including their lovely pets.”