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I am pleased to present the annual report for the financial year ended 31 March 2022 (“FY2022”). Despite the challenging conditions of a second year of the COVID-19 pandemic, Chasen’s profit before tax outpaced revenue growth in a year when we recorded our highest-ever topline.
Chasen has adapted rapidly and successfully to the constraints of health and safety procedures, supply chain disruptions and border restrictions, emerging stronger than before. Indeed, the financial performance has been propelled by fresh projects secured by all our three main business segments. That said, the Group is not resting on its laurels as fresh geopolitical and global economic uncertainties lurk on the horizon. Undeniably, we expect fresh challenges ahead.
FY2022 revenue increased 26% to S$165.2 million – an all-time high – from S$130.7 million in the financial year ended 31 March 2021 (“FY2021”), lifted by higher revenue contributions in the Group’s three business segments.
The Specialist Relocation segment continues to lead as the Group’s main revenue and gross profit generator, even as we foresaw a slowdown in the TFT LCD sector in the People’s Republic of China (“PRC”). The segment secured new orders even as projects delayed previously by the pandemic resumed, while we continue to diversify to the semiconductor and automotive sectors. Overall, revenue for this segment increased 7.0% to S$65.0 million from S$60.8 million a year ago, while gross profit grew 21.0% to S$16.4 million in FY2022 compared to S$13.6 million in FY2021, also outpacing the revenue growth rate.
The Group’s Technical & Engineering (“T&E”) segment continues to grow its order book for rooftop solar panel installation projects in Singapore. The relaxation of travel and movement restrictions allowed Chasen to accelerate project execution. Hitherto, Chasen has secured projects to install solar panels for 180 public housing blocks and 11 commercial buildings. Amid rising energy costs and the Singapore Government’s commitment to increasing the adoption of renewable energy, we expect this division to be kept busy going forward. Revenue contribution from the T&E segment amounted to S$35.0 million, a 35% increase from a year ago. Gross profit remained relatively stable at S$3.7 million from S$3.6 million a year ago.
Meanwhile, Third Party Logistics (“3PL”) segment delivered to expectations, with revenue and gross profit growing 48% or S$65.1 million and 27% or S$9.0 million respectively compared to S$43.9 million and S$7.1 million correspondingly, in FY2021. The CAPEX and investment into this segment, coupled with excellent execution, contributed to the commendable growth.
The 3PL segment continues to capitalize upon on-going disruptions to air and sea freight to capture market share and increase our warehousing and cross-border land transportation capacities to meet the rising demand. Even as the pandemic-related health restrictions ease, supply chain disruptions continue to persist, offering continued opportunities for our 3PL division. More than ever the ‘Cheaper than Air, Faster than Sea’ slogan continues to drive the business.
The Group recorded a profit before tax of S$6.5 million for FY2022, with the 40% year-on-year growth rate outpacing revenue growth of 26%. Net profit after tax for FY2022 increased 24% to S$4.3 million from S$3.4 million in FY2021.
Cash and cash equivalents increased to S$16.0 million as at 31 March 2022 from S$13.9 million as at 31 March 2021. Our improved balance sheet will provide adaptability and resilience amid the difficult operating environment. The Group’s property, plant and equipment also saw an increase of S$10.2 million, following
revaluation gains in accordance with Singapore Financial Reporting Standards, as well as capital expenditure incurred and recognition of right-of-use assets during the year.
Chasen has pivoted decisively from the initial challenges of the pandemic, which were first felt in the financial year ended 31 March 2020 (“FY2020”). We will build upon the lessons learned and the new processes implemented to face the fresh headwinds. The world is transitioning out from a low interest rate and stimulative monetary policy environment. Amid global political and economic uncertainty, operating and financing costs are set to rise as Central Banks around the globe commenced interest rate hikes to tame high inflation. This has been brought about by a confluence of factors related to supply and demand shock, massive monetary stimulus, high energy and commodity cost due to geopolitical conflicts.
Despite the easing of travel restrictions, the Group is seeing a shortage of manpower, which will add to operating costs. The PRC’s “dynamic zero” Covid policy has
also further compounded earlier disruptions due to border restrictions, leading to delays in our Specialist Relocation project timelines and 3PL cross-border operations as well as manufacturing operations in the PRC for T&E. This is set to continue until the PRC re-aligns with the rest of the world.
However, the Group is well-positioned to continue growing, and remains committed to sharpening our competitive edge to become more agile, resilient and opportunistic. Having overcome the pandemic-infused challenges, our resilience has provided our workforce with the inspiration to simplify and execute the many complex and challenging tasks we have encountered. Rising up in the new normal, we foresee the outlook for each segment as follows:
Growth in the PRC’s TFT LCD sector continues to slow down; in response, Chasen’s Specialist Relocation business is expanding our service offerings into the semiconductor and automotive manufacturing sectors. Buoyed by increasing long-term demand in chip manufacturing and electrification of the automotive sector, manufacturers will continue to transition and upgrade their equipment and facilities, providing new opportunities for our PRC business unit.
We are also targeting the transition to OLED technology in the display panel sector in the PRC, and intend to leverage our first-mover advantage in this sector to seize market share. Outside of the PRC, the Group is on the lookout for opportunities arising from developed nations looking to safeguard their supply chain and develop resilience through self-sufficiency by on-shoring chip manufacturing capability and capacity.
We will also continue to build on our existing regional market presence and secure new investment and projects in the semiconductor and equipment manufacturer markets in Malaysia and Singapore as well as the fast-growing electronic industry in Vietnam, which is benefiting from a global shift in the supply chain.
These efforts will allow the Group to further strengthen our Specialist Relocation business, which has seen project delays due to movement restrictions amid the PRC’s “dynamic zero” policy.
Demand for our warehousing and land transportation services will remain robust, driven by sectors such as the semiconductor industry, as well as component manufacturing. The Group has expanded its trucking fleet to meet demand while upgrading our trucks with the latest technologies to increase operational efficiency and enhance customer service.
The Group has turned to rail transport to overcome the long delays at the PRC-Vietnam border due to the pandemic. Capable of clearing border restrictions in a shorter amount of time, we are seeing encouraging results, and have started integrating freight train transportation within our services to increase revenue and provide a reliable complementary service to trucking. Trucking for the last mile delivery is still required to reach the customers’ doorstep or continue the remainder journey all the way to Malaysia and Singapore or destinations in the PRC. Such a road-rail service would half the number of days taken to complete the journey due to the chokepoints at the land border.
In June 2022, we launched our first trans-continental crossborder trucking service from Penang to Europe. The journey took the cargoes via the Southeast Asia hinterland into the PRC and through Central Asia and entering eastern Europe via Serbia before arriving at their respective destinations in Hungary and Germany. This door-to-door service took approximately 40 days.
The components and parts manufacturing business will continue to anchor this segment, even as its Suzhou plant navigates the PRC’s “dynamic zero” COVID policy that has disrupted business activities. We are acquiring new production capabilities and capacities to capture opportunities in emerging core technologies such as 5G, Internet of Things, and Electric Vehicles; these sectors will see greater adoption in the years to come, leading to sustained and increasing demands for electronic components, module assembly and parts.
We have also identified the automotive sector, medical equipment (“MedTech”) and power plants as new sources of revenue, in addition to our existing telecommunication parts and assembly. As the Group secures new projects in these sectors to diversify and provide gross profit support, we are also looking to optimise manufacturing efficiency and improve our bottomline.
As border restrictions progressively ease across the region, Singapore’s construction sector is seeing sustained recovery. However, manpower challenges and increasing costs will need to be overcome to sustain growth.
With a foothold in GreenTech and a strong track record in solar panel installations in the Government’s HDB blocks and commercial building projects, we will seek
out business opportunities with new players and investment underpinned by the Government’s decarbonisation push towards a low carbon future and net zero emissions target by 2050.
In conclusion, Chasen is well-positioned to navigate the challenges ahead. All three business segments have secured steady project pipelines to keep us busy in the coming months and quarters. Our healthy balance sheet will not only allow us to navigate the increasingly challenging operating environment but seize growth opportunities. Despite the challenges ahead, we will continue to work closely with our suppliers and business associates to continually add value to our customers and stakeholders.
I would like to express my appreciation to our customers and business partners for their steadfast support throughout the year. I would also like to thank the Board of Directors, who through their guidance and counsel, Chasen was able to emerge from the pandemic stronger.
I am also thankful to the management staff and our employees for their loyalty and commitment to working laboriously during this challenging period. Most importantly, thank you, our shareholders, for your faith in our vision. Despite the challenges ahead, we will continue to grow our order book and business to deliver long-term value.
LOW WENG FATT
Managing Director & Chief Executive Officer