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 2022 (“FY2022”).
Today, we announce with pride of having walked creditably through the opened doors of the Next Chapter of our new growth story as stated in my FY2021 message. This year, Uni-Asia has distinguished itself as a year of exceptional achievement, witnessed for the first time in 26 years. I am honoured to report that the Next Chapter has gained traction successfully with profits reaching record levels. A vigorous mixed of strong income generated from ship chartering, together with steady recurrent fee income from assets under management, has allowed us to proudly present shareholders with a more robust balance sheet. Asset quality has improved, and we enjoy stronger cash flow. With FY2022 net profits at a record US$27.9 million, the Board is pleased to propose a final dividend of S$0.03 per share and a special dividend of S$0.05 per share, totalling S$0.08 per share to be paid on 31 May 2023 should the dividends proposed be approved in the upcoming Annual General Meeting. Together with the S$0.065 per share interim dividend paid in September 2022, the total dividend for FY2022 would be a record S$0.145 per share.
The strong shipping market which started in FY2021 continued into FY2022, and our handysize bulk carrier business caught healthy tailwinds. In FY2022, our property business in Japan remained robust with healthy deal-flow. Although our Hong Kong property business was weak in FY2022 due to COVID-19, we are cautiously optimistic that this segment will thrive again soon as China opens its border. Our prudent balance sheet management and actions have allowed the group to report strong profitability. In turn, this has enabled us to reward our loyal investors with the highest dividend in the Group’s history.
Navigating And Building Steadily
We stepped into FY2023 overshadowed by the grey clouds of inflation, the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war, and a weaker shipping market. However, our resilience and determination would allow us to navigate through this economic turmoil by leaning on our core investments. We are committed to continue building on our strengths so that we can be at the right place at the right time, not by chance, but by teamwork.
Our journey thus far has been a journey of deliberate action by our dedicated management and senior leadership teams. As our team matures, introducing and cultivating a younger generation of management team is welcomed and encouraged. It is only through this acceptance of new ideas from a more diverse range of human talent, regardless of gender, race and age that the Group can refresh ourself. This is the model for the Group to remain sustainable and relevant for our shareholders to be invested in.
An initiative that we will also embark on, is to better communicate the good work of our team and of our businesses. We are keen to extend our reach to investor groups both young and old, near or far. Many investors today are self-directed in their investment journey and approach. To reach this segment of the market, we have to be willing to engage the investment community through new channels. Channels that include social media and tools in addition to traditional media channels. To demonstrate our commitment, we have recently engaged a new investor relations team to help us on this journey. We believe that by reaching out to a wider audience, we would not only improve on brand visibility and attract new investor groups, we will also garner valuable feedback for us to constantly improve on our delivery of shareholder value.
We are incredibly proud of our accomplishments over the past years and appreciate the hard work our people have put in to get us to where we are today. I would like to express my gratitude to all. The Group would never have been where it is without the dedication, commitment and hard work of the Board, the management, and employees. Special thanks are also extended to our clients, business partners, bankers, and our shareholders for your continuous support. Uni-Asia is privileged to be connected to all of you. Together we can navigate better! Together we can build a stronger Uni-Asia!