Chairman's Message

LIKE THE LEGENDARY FIRE PHOENIX, WE HAVE EMERGED FROM THE BAPTISM OF FIRE AND POWERED BY THE UNITY OF PURPOSE TO SUSTAIN THE SUCCESS OF THE GROUP.

Forging Forward Together

Dear Shareholders:

2016 had been a very challenging year for every business sector. The slow recovery and prevailing uncertainties in the world’s major economies coupled with weak commodity and oil prices, volatility in financial markets, rising cost and the slowing property market is a key drag to impact our group performance. Since our trailblazing business turnaround from 2013, the Group has stayed resilient despite the sedate pace in the building and construction industry in Singapore.

Like the legendary fire phoenix, we have emerged from the baptism of fire and powered by the unity of purpose to sustain the success of the Group.  

Anchored on our solid fundamentals for our core building and engineering business, we are braced to forge forward together by fostering organic growth through our five-pronged growth strategy.   

 

Year In Review

From a focused mechanical and engineering player, we have successfully metamorphosed into an integrated building and construction solutions provider by tapping on core expertise and proven track records of the spectrum of engineering value chain.

During the financial year ended 31 December 2016, we have experienced headwinds and our revenue of S$ 80.9 million marked a decrease of 10.3% as compared to S$90.2 million in 2015. Likewise, gross profit and net profit also declined to S$15.3 million and S$1.8 million respectively.

The Group seeks to uphold its leadership position in its core business – Mechanical and Electrical Engineering (M&E) service.  In FY2016, our order book from the M&E segment remains strong as we secured 78 million new contracts.

In particular, the Mechanical and Electrical division has contributed to 66% of the overall revenue, followed by Building & Construction division at 16% and Manufacturing division at 18%.

Mechanical and Electrical division has remained our top revenue earner as we maintained our competitive edge and are constantly able to undertake new projects with greater complexity. We have obtained a centralized ACMV industrial project, of which the chilled water (“CHW”) supply temperatures are 2.5 degree celsius and 8 degree celsius respectively serving different areas of the building. Such design of low and high temperature chilled water system is not a common breed in Singapore which marked a new milestone achievement for the segment. Another landmark project is the Paya Lebar Quarters which we have successfully secured the ACMV & Electrical works for the latest mix development project by renowned lendlease developer.

Building and Construction division re-strategised to enhance its Design and Build capabilities. As a result, we have managed to break into the segment of new private landed residential projects, such as the re-construction of Good Class Bungalows @ Sentosa Island and Dyson Road.

Manufacturing division has made over half a million of investment in laser technology to increase productivity and expanded production lines in our new Loyang premise. As a result, the group was able to enter the stainless steel business which caters for the hospital and cleanroom segment. Going forward, the company is also looking to expand into the alteration and addition works in hospitals and laboratories as well as the grilles segment.

To stay ahead of competition, customer satisfaction has been the cornerstone of our continued success. Libra remains dedicated in delivering and exceeding clients’ expectation because we are proud of our high customer retention rate. We listen closely to their needs and partner them in achieving greater efficiency and cost optimisation.

With the strong management team and the continuous investment in technology, we are confident that Libra Group has now arrived at the optimal strength to forge forward together as a full-fledged building and construction player in Singapore and beyond.

 

Financial Position

Despite the challenging environment, the Group’s financial position continues to be healthy. Net assets stood at S$24.3 million as at 31 December 2016, as compared to S$23.4 million as at 31 December 2015. Net asset value per share stood at 20.71 Singapore cents, up from 19.88 Singapore cents as at 31 December 2015.

The Group’s cash and cash equivalents stood at S$3.4 million as at 31 December 2016. Our earning per share stood at 1.54 Singapore cents, as compared to 5.32 Singapore cents for the financial year ended 31 December 2015.

Market capitalisation was approximately S$19.5 million based on the closing share price of 0.166 Singapore cents as at 31 December 2016.

 

Embracing Corporate Social Responsibility

Libra Group is mindful of our corporate responsibility as a responsible corporate citizen and we constantly seek to contribute and share the fruits of our labour with the community.

This year, we have launched our first corporate social responsibility programme through the support of Lee Ah Mooi Old Age Home.  The Libra team brought not only festive greetings to the elderly, but also the supply of medical items, food and red packets for their residents and staff.

 

Business Outlook for 2017

On 17 February 2017, the Ministry of Trade and Industry announced that the Singapore economy grew by 2.9 per cent on a year-on-year basis in the fourth quarter of 2016, faster than the 1.2 per cent growth in the previous quarter. On a quarter-on-quarter seasonally-adjusted annualised basis, the economy expanded by 12.3 per cent, a reversal from the 0.4 per cent contraction in the preceding quarter. For the whole of 2016, the economy grew by 2.0 per cent (1).

However, the construction sector contracted by 2.8 per cent on a year-on-year basis in the fourth quarter, extending the 2.2 per cent decline in the previous quarter. The contraction was largely due to the decline in private sector construction activities. On a quarter-on-quarter seasonally-adjusted annualised basis, the sector expanded by 0.8 per cent, a reversal from the 12.6 per cent contraction in the preceding quarter (1).

The business environment remains challenging amid economic uncertainties in the next 12 months. The Group remains cautions amid the prevailing economic uncertainties and will be selective in pursuing projects and investment opportunities with a focus on cost control in managing the completion of existing projects, and at the same time tapping on its new business networks and strong credentials to secure new projects.

 

Note of Appreciation

On behalf of the Board, I would like to express my deepest appreciation to all stakeholders who have been instrumental in the Group’s success over the past years – customers, business associates, management team, staff and shareholders. Having the right team has been the key to the success of our business.

Geared up for sustainable growth, the Group is ready for new opportunities and challenges which the future holds. We will grow from strength to strength in building our market leadership in the construction industry to meet the urbanisation needs of Singapore and beyond. We will continue to adapt and drive new initiatives that will allow the Company to grow sustainably.

 

MR CHU SAU BEN
Executive Chairman & Chief Executive Officer
Libra Group Limited

 
 

 

 

 

Source: (1) MIT’s press release dated 17 Feb 2017 titled “MTI Maintains 2017 GDP Growth forecast at “1.0 to 3.0 per cent”.