Executive Chairman's Message
Dear Valued Shareholders,
On behalf of the Board and management, it is my pleasure to present to you the Annual Report of Uni-Asia Group Limited and its subsidiaries (the “Group” or “Uni-Asia”) for the financial year ended 31 December 2021 (“FY2021”).
In my FY2020 joint message with the CEO, Mr. Fukuyado, as published in our Annual Report for FY2020, we set out our commitment and strategies to overcome the losses that we suffered in FY2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as our determination to achieve a “V-shape” recovery in FY2021 as driven by our Group’s resilience. As a result of the Group’s perseverance and business partners’ support, aided by an exceptional shipping market, the Group recorded a profit of US$18.0 million in FY2021, the highest profit level since the Group’s establishment. With the good performance of FY2021, the Board is pleased to announce a final dividend of S$0.03 per share and a special dividend of S$0.02 per share, totalling S$0.05 per share to be paid on 31 May 2022 should the dividends proposed be approved in the upcoming Annual General Meeting. Together with the interim dividend of S$0.02 per share paid in 2021, the Group would be paying a total dividend of S$0.07 per share for FY2021.
The Group was founded in March 1997 as “Uni-Asia Finance Corporation” by four former Japanese bankers, including myself, with different financial expertise. The main business foci when the Group was founded were structured finance arrangement and distressed asset investments. As the Group expanded, ship investments (primarily handysize bulk carriers), and property investments in Japan and Hong Kong were added to the Group’s business portfolio, and the current business model as an asset manager soon evolved. In 2007, ten years after founding, the Group reached a milestone in listing on the SGX. Since then, the Group has raised over US$100 million in capital through equity financing and built up the current investment portfolio of ships and properties.
2022 marks the Group’s 25th anniversary. Not all were smooth sailing in these 25 years. The Group faced many challenges including the Asian Financial Crisis in 1997, Lehman Brothers crisis in 2008, and the current COVID-19 pandemic that we are still going through. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, our hotel operating business that we so painstakingly built up had to be disposed of in 2020. Notwithstanding these challenges, the Group has been able to work together and bounce back quickly with each setback. I am pleased to note that the Group is able to continue paying dividend for 10 consecutive fiscal years since 2012.
The Next Chapter
As we open the door to the Next Chapter of the Group with the beginning of the Group’s 25th year, we take comfort that we are in a much better financial position to take on new business opportunities ahead. Our balance sheet is now stronger than before following our deleveraging strategy, and we have a very strong cashflow as a result of the strong shipping market. As a producer of alternative investment opportunities, it is our ongoing mission to constantly create new investment products and develop new investors sources, so as to increase our assets under management as well as strengthen our investment portfolio to achieve sustainable long-term growth.
In addition, the Board is committed to sustainability as one of our missions so that Uni-Asia, as a responsible corporate citizen, can play an active role towards the sustainability of our environment and society. In line with the new requirements of SGX to provide climate-related disclosures based on recommendations of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (“TCFD”), the Group will take actions to improve sustainable business practices, and aims to provide stakeholders clear insights into the Group’s efforts in our Sustainability Report so that our Next Chapter in the many 25 years to come shall be profitable for shareholders, the environment, and the society
I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Board, the management and employees for the hard work, perseverance and commitment, as well as our clients, business partners, bankers and our shareholders for the continuous support. Thank you for being part of Uni-Asia’s growth story and I look forward to us writing Uni-Asia’s Next Chapter together!