Bangladesh woes weigh down on Iris Corp

Iris Corporation Bhd, which had been recently contracted to issue machine readable passports (MRP) in Bangladesh, has posted a pretax loss of RM17.04 million for the year ended March 31, 2015 – down from a pretax profit of RM35.09 million last year.

Alongside the heavy decline in profit, its revenue fell to RM564.49 million from RM573.24 million previously.

passport BdAccording to its Bursa filings, the weak performance was due to the pre-operating costs in relation to its Bangladesh MRP outsourcing project – which faced challenges earlier this year – higher charges related to impairment of goodwill in its agro division and the loss from disposal of Amata waste-to-energy incineration plant.

For the fourth quarter, the company posted a pretax loss of RM24.77 million from a pretax profit of RM6.29 million in the corresponding quarter of the preceding year, on the back of lower revenue of RM137.97 million from RM158.42 million.

It was reported earlier this year that the Bangladesh government might seek new agencies to issue MRPs for nearly three million of its expatriates – claiming poor performance of Iris Corp.

Expatriates Welfare and Overseas Employment Minister Mosharraf Hossain reporetedly said the expatriates were anxiously waiting for news about getting the MRP as they could lose their jobs abroad and be sent home – due to the International Civil Aviation Authority (ICAO)’s deadline to end the use of old hand-written passports is on Nov 24 this year.

To comply with this ICAO deadline, Iris Corp had reportedly said in March that it would improve its performance with daily enrolment of 9,000 expatriates in Saudi Arabia, and 5,000 in the UAE and Malaysia, and get the job done by September.

However in April. despite the announcement, reports indicated that Iris Corp’s enrolment pace remains sluggish, said officials in the Bangladesh missions.

Iris Corp remains upbeat and said in its Bursa filing: “For the 2016 financial year, the prospects for the core business remain bright, with revenue expected to be derived mainly from the trusted identification projects, namely Malaysia e-passport inlays, Nigeria e-passport inlays, Tanzania e-ID cards project, Senegal e-passport project, Guinea e-passport project and Bangladesh MRP passport outsourcing project.”

– The Rakyat Post


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