Drives and Controls Magazine

Focus lives on after Malaysian buyout

01 February, 2002

Focus lives on after Malaysian buyout

Focus Dynamics, the Welsh drives-maker that collapsed last summer, has been revived after being bought by a team led by the managing director of its former Malaysian subsidiary.

Focus went into liquidation in June last year after its chairman Trevor Wheatley failed to raise the £22m needed to secure its future. Kong Kwai Ching, previously MD of Focus Dynamics Malaysia, led a successful bid to buy the Focus group, its brands, and the technology for its Maxidrive MX3 family of mid-range AC drives.

Kong (above) plans to transfer the Focus operation to Malaysia over the coming two years. Manufacturing of the MX3 drives in ratings from 22kW-1MW has already started at a plant near Kuala Lumpur, and this will be followed by Focus` product design and r&d capabilities. Kong hopes to float the company on the Singapore Stock Exchange.

John Edwards, who was technical director of the previous company is a shareholder in the new business and is acting as technical advisor, piloting its r&d activities, and as Focus` UK representative. Trevor Wheatley is acting as a "corporate advisor". A business called Focus Dynamics Industrial Systems has been established in the UK with headquarters in South-West London and a UK support operation is being set up.

Kong is confident that the lower production costs in Asia will make his drives competitive. He reckons that he can make drives for at least 20% less than his European and American rivals. He is targeting sales worth around £2m in the current financial year, and ten times this figure within five years. By next year, he hopes to be building 800 drives a year - about 90% of them for export. Kong is setting up subsidiaries in Taiwan and China and intends to establish a presence in the US within two years.

A global marketing strategy is under way and Focus will be exhibiting at the Hanover Fair in April. Kong hopes to boost the number of distributors from six to 100 over the coming five years. Edwards says that Focus is developing enhanced versions of its existing products. As well as manufacturing the MX3 range, Focus badges other products including low-power inverters from AC Technology and DC drives from Sprint.