We would not have been able to achieve such excellent results if not for our talent pool
I am pleased to inform that your Group has performed exceptionally well during this financial year. We have achieved this against the backdrop of unprecedented trying conditions that impacted businesses and corporations internationally, regionally and locally. Reflecting this accomplishment, we delivered a profit before tax of RM740 million.
On this note, I am glad to present to you our Annual Report for the financial year ended 31 December 2016.
The global economic climate was turbulent in 2016, with subdued investment and sluggish trade weighing down both emerging and developed nations. The slowdown in China's economy as well as unanticipated political developments contributed to volatile market conditions.
The Malaysian economy recorded steady progress in 2016 with gross domestic product expanding to 4.2%. This was underpinned by modest growth in domestic demand as well as private consumption and investment. On the flip side, this was moderated by a decline in public expenditure.
Major economic sectors, namely services, manufacturing, mining and construction, expanded during the year. The agricultural sector also saw an improvement, contracting at a slower pace as the effects of El Nino diminished.
Your Group recorded a sterling profit after tax of RM589 million for the year. Key contributors were our Property and Plantation Divisions, with almost all Divisions turning in solid performances amidst the tough environment.
Earnings per share was 20 sen while net assets per share stood at RM2.81. Shareholders' funds at the close of the year was RM5.7 billion.
We remain steadfast in our commitment to enhance value for our shareholders. In line with this, the Group announced a fourth interim dividend of 3.5 sen per share. This will bring total dividends to 17.5 sen per share, representing a dividend yield of 6.6% based on the closing price for the financial year. The fourth interim dividend of 3.5 sen will be paid on 28 March 2017 to shareholders on the register as at 16 March 2017.
We would not have been able to achieve such excellent results if not for our talent pool. Over these many decades, by attracting, developing and retaining a skilled and competent workforce, we have ensured that we are able to compete in an increasingly competitive economic landscape.
In order to nurture a strong talent pool, we are focused on implementing talent development programmes and providing opportunities for our employees to hone their capabilities and leadership skills. We foster a performance-driven organisational culture, with highly engaged employees to realise our goals and aspirations.
As a leading Malaysian conglomerate involved in key sectors of the economy, we are dedicated to advancing our Government's goal of transformation. Sustainability is integral to us, contributing not only to our own development, but also to the development of our nation. With our strong commitment to making a positive impact on the communities we have a presence in, sustainability has always been part and parcel of our business. This allows us to cultivate a holistic ecosystem that is conducive to long-term growth.
To further demonstrate our commitment, in 2016 we solidified our efforts by establishing a more aligned structure for sustainability to take precedence within our Group. We have formed a Sustainability Committee, consisting of a Board Committee and a Management Steering Committee. In tandem with the Sustainability Vision and mandate that we have established, we effectively structured the Group's sustainability framework to drive our objectives and policies.
In the year ahead, the global economy is expected to mirror its performance in 2016. Slower growth in the major economies will very likely be the order of the day. This will be tempered by ongoing volatility of commodity prices, economic policy uncertainties and geopolitical movements.
In Malaysia, the economy is expected to expand by 4.5% in 2017, with domestic demand being an impetus for growth. Private consumption supported by wage and employment growth accompanied by Government measures to boost household income is expected to contribute to this. We are confident that the Government's efforts to prioritise the welfare of Malaysians and build a better future for the nation, encapsulated in the 2017 National Budget, will have a positive impact on the Group.
This encouraging outlook augurs well for us. Moving forward, we are optimistic that we will be able to remain resilient as we strive to strengthen our foundation, driven by our six core Divisions.
I would like to convey my deepest appreciation to our Board members for their invaluable expertise and guidance in leading the Group forward. To our management team and employees, thank you for your hard work and dedicated efforts in ensuring our success.
Our sincere gratitude to our major shareholder, Lembaga Tabung Angkatan Tentera, for their continued trust in us. And to our shareholders, financiers, business associates, consultants and the regulatory authorities, thank you for your unwavering support and confidence in the Boustead Group.
GEN. TAN SRI DATO' MOHD GHAZALI HJ. CHE MAT (R)
1 March 2017
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