In BESHOM, we are focusing on long term sustainability and delivering stable profits and dividends amid an increasingly competitive and challenging business environment
Before becoming the Chairman of Beshom Holdings Berhad (“BESHOM” or “Company”), I have been appointed to the Board as an Independent Non-Executive Director for more than 3 years, and have been designated as the Senior Independent Non-Executive Director since 1 July 2020. I would like to thank the members of the Board of Directors (“Board”) for their trust in me as the Chairman of the Company. It is indeed a great honour for me to undertake this important role as the Chairman which was previously held by our commendable late founder and former Group Chairman, Mr. Tan Kai Hee. Allow me to commemorate the late Mr. Tan Kai Hee for his relentless hard work and contributions which led the Group to become one of the largest retail chain stores and MLM companies in Malaysia.
On behalf of the Board, I am pleased to present to you the Annual Report of the the Company and its subsidiaries (“BESHOM Group” or “Group”) for the financial year ended 30 April 2022 (“FY2022”).
Twelve months ago, we thought the financial year 2021 had been one of the most difficult financial years in the Group’s operating history. While realising the challenges faced by our businesses at that time, little did we recognise that the pandemic would continue to disrupt the business activities for financial year 2022 and beyond.
It is gratifying that in these challenging business environment, the Group continues to chart commendable profit and delivers dividend payments to our shareholders. I believe this was partly due to the businesses that we operate but mostly due to the initiatives of the Management in response to the low consumer confidence and the reduction in purchasing power. Despite the roll out of the National Recovery Plan (“NRP”) by the Goverment of Malaysia as an exit strategy from the coronavirus disease (“COVID-19”) pandemic, the exit was not as straight forward as most people would have expected. A return to normalcy for the global and Malaysian economy remained a challenge throughout the financial year. Apart from the pandemic, the economy recovery was also pulled back by the one of the worst floods in the recent history in Malaysia, this has impacted the livelihoods of many. Adding on to the already difficult business environment, there were also disruptions in the global supply chain after parts of China went into lockdown that affected timely supply of products and rising shipping cost.
The Group recorded a total revenue of RM209.6 million as compared to RM271.4 million for the financial year ended 30 April 2022 (“FY2022”), which represented a decline of 22.8%. The revenue of the Group continued to be driven by 3 major business segments, i.e. Multi-Level-Marketing (“MLM”), Retail and Wholesale. Apart from the Retail segment which has charted improvement in both revenue and profit before tax (“PBT”), the MLM and Wholesale segments saw a drop in revenue and PBT primarily impacted by the re-imposition of movement control orders (“MCO”) in the first half of FY2022. While the Retail segment recorded better revenue and PBT relative to the financial year ended 30 April 2021 (“FY2021”), it was unable to off-set the decline in the financial performance in both the MLM and Wholesale segments, given that the Retail segment has not been a major revenue and PBT contributor to the Group. Consequently, the PBT of the Group dropped by RM12.0 million from RM52.3 million for FY2021 to RM40.3 million for FY2022, which represented a decline of 22.9%. This is in-line with the revenue trend recorded for FY2022. While BESHOM’s performance over a particular year is important, and it is usually the main focus of market commentators and investment analysts, short-term performance is invariably affected by the prolonged pandemic is case in point. Long-term corporate success often requires foregoing immediate profits in return for sustainability and eventual growth. In BESHOM, we are focusing on long-term sustainability and delivering stable profits and dividends amid an increasingly competitive and challenging business environment.
The key financial metrics of the Group for the FY2022 are set out below:
Further discussion and analysis on the performance of the Group’s business segments are contained in the Management Discussion and Analysis report by our Managing Director.
The equity attributable to owners of the Group as at 30 April 2022 stood at RM317.1 million (FY2021: RM312.7 million). The slight drop in equity attributable to owners of the Group is mainly in consequence of the dividend payments made for the FY2021 and FY2022 during the financial year under review. A total of RM24.0 million in cash in the form of dividend had been distributed to our shareholders during FY2022, and following the distribution of one (1) treasury share for every twenty six (26) ordinary shares held in HAI-O as share dividend, the net assets (“NA”) of the Group was RM1.06 per share as at 30 April 2022 as compared to RM1.08 per share as at FY2021.
As at the close of FY2022, the Group had a net cash balance of RM117.3 million (FY2021: RM113.5 million) with zero borrowing. Taking into account of the global rising interest rates trend and challenging business environment, the Management has continued to adopt a more conservative approach in managing the Group’s capital structure. The nature of our businesses which are transacted mostly in cash has also contributed to the Group’s healthy net cash position.
During the pandemic and its transition to normalcy, many companies have faced some difficult choices including to streamline human resources amid redundancy. With our strong cash position, we were in a fortunate position of having the capacity to retain the staff force with no retrenchment. We saw this as an investment in our people, and to maintain our skills base whilst instilling loyalty amongst our employees.
BESHOM has long-standing credentials in rewarding shareholders with dividend payment annually. We firmly believe that a key component of total shareholders’ return is the dividend received by shareholders. Since the Company’s listing on the Second Board of Kuala Lumpur Stock Exchange in December 1996, without any interruption, the Group has delivered shareholders’ return in the form of dividend.
The Group has in place a dividend policy in distributing dividend with a payout ratio of not less than 50% of the Group’s profit after taxation. The Board will take note of current earnings and cash position as well as projected future cash flow requirements before deciding on the declaration of dividend for a particular financial year. The Board and Management have always been trying to outperformed the payout ratio of 50%. Similar to the last financial year, the Company has declared / proposed 2 dividend payments in respect of FY2022. The first single tier interim dividend of 3 sen per share was paid on 25 January 2022, while the proposed final single tier dividend of 5 sen per share for FY2022, is subject to the shareholders’ approval at the forthcoming annual general meeting. This will bring the total dividends to 8 sen per share for the FY2022 (FY2021: 9 sen per share), which represents a payout ratio in the form of cash of more than 80%.
Overall, the Malaysian economy saw a moderate recovery, with a growth in Gross Domestic Products by 3.1% in 2021 (2020: -5.6%). Headline inflation averaged higher at 2.5% (2020: -1.2%). The higher cost due to rising global oil prices and supply chain disruptions led to some upward price pressures for certain categories of consumer goods and services. (Source: Bank Negara Malaysia Annual Report 2021).
With the NRP which rolled out in May 2022, Malaysia is transitioning towards endemicity. Nonetheless, learning the lesson from the last financial year that it takes time for the nation and consumer confidence to stage a rebound, we are continuously in a state of preparedness for the likelihood of near-term disruptions to operating conditions brought about by COVID-19 developments and supply chain disruption from geopolitical tension.
According to Bank Negara Malaysia Annual Report 2021, going forward, the economic and financial landscape will continue to evolve. The pandemic will likely result in structural shifts in economic and financial linkages, such as from the economic scarring on the labour market and potential changes in inflation dynamics – both of which have yet to be fully understood given that adjustments are still in motion. Furthermore, key elements of change also include the accelerated pace of digital technology, threats to environmental sustainability, and the move towards a larger role of market-based financing. (Source: Bank Negara Malaysia Annual Report 2020).
In response to the uncertain times ahead, the Group has established 3 focus areas for sustainability and growth. First being the continuous progression in the development of digital infrastructure across all our major business segments. Digitalisation will change the way we work and the way how our customers interact with us. Although we are not in the forefront of digitalisation, we remain committed to learn and improve in our digital initiatives. Second, being products enhancement and development. Operating in a high inflationary environment, having the right product at the right time and at the right costing will allow us to remain relevant to the market place. Thirdly, cost optimisation, a persistent measure that is essentially to ensure every ringgit that shareholders entrusted in us is being utilised appropriately.
I believe with the Group’s strong balance sheet and portfolio of cash-generative businesses, we are well-positioned to withstand a range of economic conditions and deliver satisfactory shareholders’ returns over the long term. Meanwhile, we will continue to be vigilant, assess the constantly changing environment and respond appropriately.
The Company had embarked on an internal reorganisation in FY2021, which involved separating the investment holding and business operating functions of the listing vehicle of the Hai-O Group. The corporate exercise has resulted in BESHOM assuming the listing status of Hai-O Enterprise Berhad (“HAI-O”) with no change to the business activities of the HAI-O Group. The objectives of the internal reorganisation is to provide a clear demarcation of business of all the Group’s business segments from investment holding function of the listing vehicle, thereby allowing the management to have greater flexibilities for strategy planning and risk management initiatives for each business segment.
I am pleased to witness the completion of the internal reorganisation, which has taken place on 29 November 2021 following the transfer of listing from HAI-O to BESHOM. Consequently, HAI-O is now a wholly-owned subsidiary of BESHOM.
During FY2022, the Group continued to support and commit on sustainability to deliver meaningful impact for customers, employees, suppliers and other stakeholders. While refining sustainability policies in the conduct of our businesses to ensure how sustainability is maintained, the Group's sustainability agenda for the year also included proposals in coping with the global environmental crisis. Notable mention is the Proposed Solar Energy project that involves installation of solar photovoltaic panels at the Group’s main premises in Klang, Selangor. The Solar Energy project is expected to benefit the Group in terms of reduction in electricity bills, decrease ambient temperature as well as lowering our carbon footprint. The project is expected to be ready for commissioning by 1st half of 2023.
The Group’s sustainability progress on material matters is further detailed in the Sustainability Statement 2022. The Group’s inaugural Sustainability Statement was first published in August 2018 and has since been updated on an annual basis.
I would like to acknowledge our capable team of Management who has done an outstanding job for the stakeholders of the Group including customers, MLM distributors / members, suppliers and above all for our shareholders in sustaining profitability for the Group. It has been a difficult year for everyone but I continue to be impressed with their resilience and hard work and their commitment to the great legacy of our late founder Mr. Tan Kai Hee had left.
I would also like to express my appreciation and gratitude on behalf of the Board, to bankers, business partners, governmental authorities, and our shareholders for your continued support and confidence in our Group.
Ng Chek Yong