Strengthening digital assets for stronger revenue

  • Corporate News
  • Tuesday, 23 Jun 2020

Virtual AGM: Fu (seen on TV screen) addressing shareholders through a live broadcast during the virtual AGM. With him are SMG’s independent non-executive director Chan Seng Fatt (second from left) who physically chaired the AGM and (from left) company secretary Kimberly Hoh, group chief financial officer Sam Au, independent non-executive directors Loh Chee Can and Wong You Fong as well as group chief technology officer Kang Yew Jin.

PETALING JAYA: Star Media Group Bhd (SMG) will be beefing up its digital assets to make them one of the main revenue generators as the company seeks to diversify its businesses further.

Group chairman Datuk Fu Ah Kiow said the company’s digitisation and transformation plan that has been undertaken since two years ago has been yielding positive results.

“We will further strengthen our digital assets especially in monetising them in terms of revenue and to reach out to more consumers.

“We believe all these should be able to bring in more revenue for us going forward, ” he said in an interview after SMG’s annual AGM yesterday.

Among the initiatives was the setting up of SMG Neo in 2018, an analytics division which serves to ensure that all decisions made are evidence-based and data-driven.

Fu also said that the media industry was not spared from the impact of the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, which has been affecting most businesses and sectors aside from the rubber glove, healthcare-related companies and logistics-related companies.

In order for SMG to cope with the challenges as Malaysia moves towards a post-Covid era, Fu said the company will be undertaking all necessary action to cut costs.

“We also have to revamp and reorganise some of our structures so that we will be more efficient and productive to handle the post-Covid era.There will be changes in the business approach that are inevitable and this will only make us stronger as we move forward, ” he said. The group’s cost-cutting measures over the years were seen to be fruitful as it weaved through challenging economic environments.

For the financial year ended Dec 31,2019, SMG posted a strong 63.87% jump year-on-year (y-o-y) in its profit before tax to RM14.64mil although revenue came in 19.54% lower y-o-y at RM315.93mil.

This was mainly due to lower operating costs.

On the group’s plans for merger and acquisition (M&A), Fu stressed that it will not be restricted to any areas although priority will be on those with synergy with SMG’s current businesses.

“But we are not ruling out sectors which have no synergy with the current businesses at the moment. We are looking at those which are already making some money and some expansion. Ideally, those that we can leverage on each other for further expansion, ” said Fu.

SMG has a strong balance sheet with cash reserves of more than RM300mil with no borrowings as of March 31,2020, which will serve as a solid base for the group to capitalise on any M&A opportunities.

Commenting on the vacant chief executive officer position after the resignation of Andreas Vogiatzakis effective May 16, Fu said headhunters have been appointed to search for the right candidate, who will go through a detailed process and interviews before he or she will be proposed to the board for approval.

SMG’s 48th AGM yesterday was chaired by the group’s independent non-executive director Chan Seng Fatt following one of the guidelines by the Securities Commission that no one above the age of 60 should be physically present at the AGM in light of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, which was why Fu could not be physically present at the venue although he dialled in for video conferencing.

Fu also took several questions.

The company’s constitution requires the meeting’s chairperson to be present at the venue, so the board appointed Chan to chair the meeting.

“This is the first time we’re having our AGM virtually and by and large, our arrangements have met all the requirements of the AGM.

“Our shareholders have asked constructive questions and they are very concerned about the performance and progress of the company, ” said Fu, adding that the AGM this year also saw the company’s key staff coming forward to answer the questions from the shareholders, which demonstrated the strength of the new team of leaders that will bring SMG to greater heights.

All seven ordinary resolutions were passed by the shareholders at the AGM, which among others saw Fu and independent non-executive director Wong You Fong being re-elected to the board. The shareholders also re-appointed Messrs BDO PLT as the auditors of the company for the financial year ending Dec 31,2020.

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