2022 was a year of recovery and healing for most countries as they tried to rebuild and strengthen their general economy. The pandemic had also triggered the “Great Resignation”, an ongoing economic trend in which employees voluntarily resigned from their jobs en masse, resulting in a shortage of manpower for certain industries. This then hastened the implementation of automation by businesses and “Chat GPT” became a buzzword.
In Malaysia, the economy saw a stark improvement post-pandemic where Malaysia’s economy recorded an encouraging performance with the GDP for 2022 recording 8.7 per cent. As Hong Kong delayed the relaxation of its entry requirements until the third quarter of 2022, its economy suffered with its real GDP contracted by 3.5% in 2022.
The Group whose turnover is tied closely to the retail sector and consumer spending saw an improvement in its turnover. This improvement was significant, especially for its travel and travel-related services segment as international travel resumed.
For the financial year ended 31 March 2023, the Group’s turnover grew by 8.4% to US$132,655,000 as opposed to US$122,387,000 recorded in the previous year. The growth was mainly due to the improvement in the turnover of its travel segment.
With the improvement in the economy of the countries where it operates, save for Hong Kong, the Group achieved a profit before income tax of US$1,707,000 compared to last year’s profit before income tax of US$1,999,000.
Loss per share was US0.01 cents for the year ended 31 March 2023.
As at 31 March 2023, the Group’s net assets stood at US9.09 cents and the Group’s net gearing ratio was zero.
The Group had managed to navigate the challenges faced during the COVID-19 pandemic. The experience further improved the efficiency of the Group as it had to manage rising operational costs against sluggish advertising spend.
Looking ahead, we need to implement first-party data strategies, explore new advertising formats and collaborate with advertisers and platforms to find new ways of delivering targeted ads that comply with privacy regulations.
As countries transition to endemic status, on-ground activities have started to resume. In the financial year under review, Sin Chew Daily hosted the prestigious “Sin Chew Business Excellence Awards,” which is widely acknowledged as one of the most esteemed business awards events in the country.
Sin Chew Daily and Life Magazines jointly organised various events, such as the “Malaysia Health and Wellness Expo” and the “Malaysia Health and Wellness Brand Awards 2022”.
Meanwhile, Guang Ming Daily celebrated its 35th anniversary with events aimed at thanking its stakeholders and fostering closer relationships with them. Nanyang Siang Pau resumed its prestigious business award event namely the “Golden Eagle Award 2022, whilst Ming Pao Daily hosted the “Mingpao.com Living Smart Awards 2022” and “Ming Pao Awards for Excellence in Finance 2023”.
In September 2022, Sin Chew Daily successfully revived the prestigious “Huazong Literature Award” ceremony. This highly anticipated event celebrates outstanding Chinese literary works, bringing together esteemed authors, literary enthusiasts, and community leaders. With its resumption, the ceremony rekindled the appreciation for Chinese literature, honoring the talent and creativity of writers. Our commitment to reviving this event underscores our dedication to supporting the literary arts and preserving cultural heritage.
As international travel resumed, we were delighted to see a remarkable improvement in the revenue of our travel segment. Our inbound tours, especially in North America, experienced a significant surge. However, we did face some difficulties due to the increased costs of air tickets caused by reduced flight options.
Nevertheless, we remain optimistic about the future of our tour business. We firmly believe that by providing exceptional and unforgettable experiences, we can set ourselves apart from competitors and continue to grow, even in tough economic conditions. Our commitment to delivering outstanding service will be the key to thriving in the industry.
As the global economy starts to improve after the pandemic, the world is faced with other challenges such as rising supply chain and energy costs mainly due to geopolitical tensions. With the opening of borders by China and the relaxation of entry requirements by Hong Kong, there is anticipation that the Hong Kong economy will improve and tourism will resume gradually albeit slowly.
Nevertheless, the Group is of the view that its businesses will remain challenging as operation costs will remain high due to inflation. Because of such rising costs, the Group will continue to implement appropriate cost control measures and seek ways to further improve the efficiency of its operations.
CORPORATE GOVERNANCE & SUSTAINABILITY
With the establishment of the Sustainability Committee at the management level last financial year, the Group reviewed their current practices in monitoring the Group’s material sustainability matters. Following such review, the Group implemented improvements in its sustainability practices. The Board will continue to drive good governance practices in the Group. Details of the Group’s corporate governance initiatives, risk management, internal control policies and sustainability efforts are set out in the relevant sections of this Annual Report.
The Board has declared an interim dividend in lieu of final dividend of US0.15 cents per ordinary share payable on 7 July 2023 for the financial year 2022/2023. This represents a dividend yield of 4.3% based on the Company’s closing share price on 31 March 2023.
CHANGE IN BOARDROOM
On behalf of the Board, I would like to express our sincere appreciation to Dato’ Sri Dr Tiong Ik King for his efforts and contributions to the Company during his tenure of office as a non-executive Director and Chairman of the Board.
I wish to thank our shareholders, readers, followers, advertisers, business partners, and other stakeholders for their support to the Group through the years. I would also like to thank our management and staff for their dedication and continuous contribution to our Group.
29 May 2023