KUALA LUMPUR: Boustead Holdings Bhd is optimistic of a return to profitability despite recording a full year loss of almost half a billion ringgit last year, dragged down by its plantation and heavy industry businesses.
Its executive director Datuk Seri Ghazali Mohd Ali notes that Boustead is an asset-rich company which has potential for growth, but the company must continue to reinvent itself.
“What got us here, would not get us there.
“There is a clear prospect for the group ahead,” he told reporters after the group’s AGM yesterday.
The annual shareholders’ meeting lasted for almost three hours, which saw three out of 11 resolutions not carried, including Datuk Wira Megat Abdul Rahman Megat Ahmad’s removal as the director of Boustead.
He has been on the board of Boustead for more than 12 years.
Ghazali said that the group had laid out plans that include disposing of non-core assets and reducing stakes in some of its listed companies.
The company also plans on improving cost and operational efficiency.
“We have plans in place to turn around the company.
“We will be welcoming our new managing director Datuk Seri Amrin Awaluddin on May 6 and we will be discussing on bringing Boustead group to the next phase of growth,” he said.
Boustead shares have been under pressure, falling to its all-time low of RM1.22 a share last week after the group slipped into the red last year.
For the financial year 2018, Boustead registered a loss of RM469.2mil.
This compared with a net profit of RM690.14mil in FY17.
Its revenue for the period was marginally lower at RM10.18bil from RM10.23bil a year earlier.
Ghazali pointed out that asset monetisation has been part of the group strategy to disposed of its non-core assets.
“We are in the midst of disposing of our Royale Chulan Bukit Bintang Hotel located along Jalan Bukit Bintang,” he said.
The proceeds from the sale would be used to pare down the group’s borrowings,” he said.
Ghazali revealed that Boustead is eyeing to dispose of another one or two assets including its land in Jalan Cochrane and Mutiara Damansara, as well as some properties.
Boustead owned substantial stakes in several listed companies on Bursa Malaysia, namely Boustead Plantations Bhd (57.4%), Boustead Heavy Industries Corp Bhd (65%), Affin Bank Bhd (20.7%) and Pharmaniaga Bhd (56%).
When asked if Boustead Holdings would dispose some of its stakes in these companies, Ghazali hinted that it would be part of the said plan which will be discussed with Amrin.
“Amrin has vast experience, especially in property development and finance.
“We have put the framework in place to bring the company forward,” the executive director said.
Since December last year, there have been changes in the management and board of Boustead.
It started with the departure of its long-standing deputy chairman and managing director Tan Sri Lodin Wok Kamaruddin.
Lodin had served as Boustead MD since 1991.