Chairman's Statement

Dear Shareholder,

BEING ONE OF THE OLDEST AND ESTABLISHED CONGLOMERATES IN MALAYSIA, BOUSTEAD IS NOT AN UNFAMILIAR NAME IN THE CORPORATE WORLD.

Indeed, since its establishment, the Group has played a significant role in various aspects of the nation’s development. It is therefore truly an honour to assume the role of Chairman of the Group, a position I have taken up since 3 January 2022. And it is with pleasure that I share some of the Group’s accomplishments in the financial year ended 31 December 2021.

It is an open secret that we have been through some rough patches over the last few years, even prior to the pandemic. Nevertheless, based on strong fundamentals as well as carefully thought-out strategies that have been executed diligently, the Group’s performance has seen a marked improvement. It is with great pride to note that in 2021, we achieved a significant turnaround, recording a profit after tax of RM479 million following a loss after tax of RM501 million in 2020. Along with these outstanding results, our net assets per share increased to RM1.62 while shareholders’ equity expanded to RM3.3 billion.

Many positive factors have come together to shape these results, yet I wish to highlight one underlying element which strikes me as being particularly admirable, namely the revival of semangat (or spirit) throughout the Group. Bousteadors’ dedication to the organisation and its vision – of serving all its stakeholders, and especially Malaysian Armed Forces servicemen and pensioners – has become tangibly stronger. Nurtured properly, it will see the organisation grow from strength to strength as it reinvents itself to become more robust and relevant in today’s tech-driven and digitalised world.

The culture change we are experiencing started with the rollout of ‘EDG 20’, our transformation programme. But it has been accelerated through Reinventing Boustead, a three-year strategy to shape the Group up to year 2023. In essence, Reinventing Boustead is about inspiring our people to instigate change, to elicit enhanced performance in our core businesses while diversifying into high-growth, high-value sectors such as digital, technology and green energy, and supporting all of this with integrity, creativity and innovation.

Leading the charge is a core leadership team that is dynamic and driven. Under their guidance, Boustead has outlined more than 50 strategic initiatives that are to be achieved by 2023. Less than a year since these have been rolled out, a number have been completed while others are making good progress. The speed with which the Group is transforming is nothing less than spectacular; for an organisation of its size, Boustead is displaying an unusual level of nimbleness and agility. Multiple Memorandums and Documents of Understanding have been signed during the year under review with digital start-ups and leading players within the green ecosystem – all of which are helping the organisation build our second growth engine.

Integral to this transformation is the development of our talent. Accordingly, a new Talent Management Framework has been implemented which is focused on nurturing an energised, digitally-driven workforce. Our talent, together with our partnerships, are contributing to Boustead’s reinvention from a traditional brick and mortar conglomerate into a powerhouse that is supporting technopreneurs and ecopreneurs as we focus on sustainable value creation for everyone.

It gives me pleasure to share that, along with Reinventing Boustead, the Group has launched a Boustead Hijau (BIJAU) initiative that seeks to embed environmental, social and governance (ESG) principles into all strategies and decisionmaking going forward. The Group has always believed in creating ESG value but this has to date been seen as an adjunct, albeit an important one, to our principal business and operations.

Today, our commitment to environmental sustainability is reflected not only in efforts to reduce the carbon emissions of our operations, but in the businesses that we are choosing to pursue. Among the new partnerships mentioned above are at least two that will guide Boustead into the renewable energy industry. Climate change is one of the most pressing and urgent global issues; and the Board is extremely encouraged by Boustead’s entry into green energy as we will be able to contribute not only to the nation’s but the world’s collective efforts to transition to a low-carbon economy. We are also embracing digital technology not just for its ability to enhance our internal systems and processes, but because of its potential to narrow existing socio-economic gaps through applications and solutions that are accessible by everyone, including the underserved. Through businesses driven by blockchain and tokenisation, for example, we hope to create platforms that enable more inclusive wealth creation and not to forget, distribution.

In terms of governance, we are elevating integrity as our true north, or guiding principle, that will rewrite our corporate narrative as we rebuild the trust of our stakeholders in our ability to deliver. Last year, we established a Group Anti-Bribery and Corruption Policy and a Group Integrity & Governance Department (GIG) to assess our climate of integrity and take all necessary steps to create awareness across the Group of our zero tolerance for bribery and/or corruption. GIG was also tasked with guiding Boustead Holdings Berhad towards becoming ISO 37001:2016 Anti-Bribery Management Systems (ABMS) certified.

In 2021, we made significant progress towards this end. Following internal ABMS audits, heads of department (HODs) were alerted as to any non-conformance or opportunities for improvement pertaining to operations under their management. These HODs have since taken the appropriate steps to redress gaps identified and we underwent an audit by Standard and Industrial Research Institute of Malaysia (SIRIM) in the first quarter of 2022. Our target is to attain the ABMS certification by the end of the second quarter of 2022.

Our corporate governance framework is structured by best practices promulgated by regulators such as Securities Commission Malaysia. Following the release of the revised Malaysian on Corporate Governance (MCCG) 2021 in April 2021, we have been realigning our practices for compliance with the MCCG Code. It pleases me to share that we already adhered to some of the new recommendations, for example, the Chairman not being a member of key Board Committees and the Board’s involvement in determining as well as overseeing key sustainability matters. However, there are still gaps in certain areas such as meeting the requirement for 30% women representation on the Board. Currently, women directors constitute 27% of our Board and we are working towards increasing this figure.

Additionally, we have introduced new policies to further strengthen our governance framework, ensuring proper structures are in place to guide the Group as we execute our Reinventing Boustead strategy. To guide all future investments and reduce related risks, for example, the Board has approved a new Group Investment Policy. Meanwhile, to ensure greater coordination of initiatives being undertaken across the Group, we have identified Reserved Matters for Boustead. Such matters – including Board composition, risk management, business plans and sustainability – will require Boustead’s alignment before they can be implemented by our subsidiaries.

On the conduct of General Meetings, the last two Annual General Meetings (AGMs) were successfully conducted virtually. Going forward, Boustead will continue to implement remote shareholders’ participation and online remote voting at the 60th AGM by leveraging technology.

Plantation Division has a total landbank of approximately 98,200 hectares (Ha) with a total of 73,500 Ha under cultivation.
Plantation Division has a total landbank of approximately 98,200 hectares (Ha) with a total of 73,500 Ha under cultivation.

Acknowledgement

Despite operating in very challenging circumstances, Boustead has made steady and significant progress over the last couple of years. This has been the result of the contributions of various stakeholders whom I would like to acknowledge.

On behalf of the Board of Directors, I would like to express our gratitude to our former Chairman, Dato’ Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin, for his year-long stewardship during Boustead’s turnaround journey. We also thank Datuk Zainun Aishah Ahmad who served the Board for four-and-a-half years before stepping down. Meanwhile we would like to extend a warm welcome to our new Board members, Dato’ Ahmad Nazim Abd Rahman and his alternate, Muhammad Fitri Othman, Dato’ Seri Rosman Mohamed, Pauline Teh @ Pauline Teh Abdullah and Datuk Maulizan Bujang. Each of them brings many years of experience; together, they will greatly enhance the Board’s collective knowledge and perspective.

We would also like to note our appreciation of the continued support of all our shareholders, especially our major shareholder, Lembaga Tabung Angkatan Tentera (LTAT), as well as our financiers, business partners, suppliers and consultants. A special note of recognition to all the regulatory authorities for providing a stable and conducive operating environment for the Group and our operating companies.

On a more personal note, I would like to express my gratitude to fellow members of the Board of Boustead for their vote of confidence in electing me to their ranks. Thank you also for the wise counsel that you continue to offer the Group in navigating the current climate of uncertainty. Additionally, I would like to acknowledge my full support of our Management, and thank them for their able as well as visionary leadership. Finally, a heartfelt note of gratitude goes to all our Bousteadors across the Group for your relentless commitment and dedication to Boustead and the values that we stand for.

With the continued cooperation and collaboration of everyone, we will definitely be Reinventing for A Sustainable Future.

Datuk Seri Mohd Redzuan signature

Datuk Seri Mohd Redzuan Md Yusof
Chairman

Get In Touch

Got a question? Feel free to contact us, we are eager to answer your enquiries.