Mattan stamps its mark in RE infrastructure biz
Najihah S 
Tan is eyeing regional markets next year

Turnkey engineering firm Mattan Engineering Sdn Bhd is fast becoming a key player in renewable energy (RE) infrastructure.

The company was recently appointed turnkey engineering, procurement, construction and commissioning (EPCC) contractor for a 50MW solar farm project in Rembau, Negeri Sembilan.

Its founder and executive chairman Levin Tan says Mattan’s relationship with Solar Management (Seremban) Sdn Bhd was a key factor in securing its largest project to date, worth some RM285 mil.

“Our relationship with Solar Management dates back to 2013. We’re very happy and proud to be appointed the turnkey EPCC contractor by Solar Management.

“This contract win is a ringing endorsement of our expertise and capability in the RE infrastructure space in Malaysia. To date, Mattan has a combined 69MW of RE projects completed and this new 50MW solar farm is one of largest in the country,” he says.

Solar Management has secured a RM247mil financing for the project from Malaysia Building Society Bhd.


Large-scale project

The 80.93ha project is due for completion in November next year. It has a 21-year solar power purchase agreement with Tenaga Nasional Bhd.

Solar Management is one of seven bidders chosen by the Energy Commission for the large-scale solar farm project.

Mattan will be working with China Machinery Engineering Corp (CMEC) to supply material and equipment to the project.

Tan says its good relationship with CMEC enables Mattan to receive technology transfer from the China-based company which has 40 years of engineering experience.

CMEC has been involved with projects in East Malaysia and the Rembau job is its first in the peninsula.

“We started talking about this collaboration with CMEC eight months ago as soon as Tenaga Nasional announced the project. As we’re still new in this industry, we thought this would be timely as we are able to receive assistance (from CMEC) on the technical aspect,” Tan explains.

On its expansion plans, he says the company aims to venture into regional markets next year. “We are in talks with a few players and, with CMEC on board, it will most likely materialise.”


Good revenue growth

Mattan has 50 employees and works on four to five projects a year. Its revenue rose 201.3% to RM47.6 mil in 2016 from RM15.8 mil a year earlier. It posted RM2.85 mil revenue in 2014.

Tan says margins are 6-9% for large projects and 15-16% for small ones.

“One of the projects that we’ve got commissioned this year was for a 2MW biogas project in Endau, Pahang,” he adds.

Tan points out that a growing number of companies are moving towards green economy, especially solar energy.

He says having good partnerships with companies within the industry is key to securing projects.

Accountant’s foray into engineering

Interestingly, Mattan Engineering Sdn Bhd is the brainchild of former accountant Levin Tan.

“I started my career as a chartered accountant and had been talking and learning from engineers as well as exchanging ideas on how to save costs in engineering.

“Success is a journey and the only way to grow is to continue working. You have to get your hands dirty and learn from scratch. Being involved with a project every step of the way is how you learn. I still remember during the (company’s) early days in 2013, I carried solar panels at the site and drove the forklift. This helps me to manage the company,” he says.

The five-year-old company provides solutions for engineering, procurement, construction and commissioning (EPCC) as well as designs and manages multi-disciplinary renewable energy projects.

Its expertise includes early site assessment, feasibility study, design and quota application, financial arrangement to the project management of the construction, data collection and operation maintenance for solar, biogas, biomass and mini hydro projects.

Tan, who still considers Mattan an infant in the industry, believes a strong brand is needed in any business. “For us, the challenge is gaining the trust of industry players,” he says.

This article first appeared in Focus Malaysia Issue 262.