Management Discussion & Analysis
THE YEAR IN 
REVIEW



The Group’s core businesses are investment holding, property development, contracting and renewable energy.
     Over the last decade, the Group had remained focused to position itself into the global arena by participating into ventures in prime global cities with our maiden overseas London investment in 2009. The Group has today built its presence in six global cities which are London, Tokyo, Madrid, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Singapore. Global cities have proven to be resilient with the ability to absorb and recover from economic, environmental, social and institutional shocks. We believe our diversified geographical footprint will bring long term benefits to our shareholders with its distinct social, environmental and economic fundamentals.

Nonetheless, we are not spared from the adverse effects of COVID-19 pandemic albeit the Group’s timing is blessed with very limited unsold stocks on hand. In this respect, the Group will continue to cautiously press on with existing planned asset enhancements and value-add activities as we prepare for the recovery ahead. On the local front, our combined 36MW renewable energy power plants which are fully operational now have also provided an added recurring income base.



FINANCIAL REVIEW 


The Group’s revenue grew by 22.4% to RM180 million from RM147 million in the preceding year. Contracting works and Malaysia Properties were the main contributors to the Group’s revenue by achieving revenue of RM66.4 million and RM73.5 million respectively whilst Renewable Energy segment generated RM39.6 million. The improved revenue was mainly due to the first full year of operation of our 20MW Sungai Liang Mini-Hydro Power Plant and the sale of 2 pieces of contiguous land in Sepang, Selangor. 
Profit/(loss) after taxation 
2020
RM'000
2019
RM'000

Overseas Properties 
(10,311)
12,776
Contracting & Renewable Energy 
7,995
29,813
Malaysia Properties & Head Office 
6,784
4,538
Total
4,468
47,127
 

 
The Group achieved profit after tax (“PAT”) of RM4.5 million for the financial year ended 31 March 2020 with contributions from Malaysia Properties, Contracting and Renewable Energy. The lower PAT compared to financial year 2019 was due to a one-off deferred tax asset recognised in financial year 2019 on Investment Tax Allowance granted for our 20MW Sungai Liang Mini-Hydro Power Plant of RM25.7 million and the reduced sales as our two completed projects in London are already at its tail end.

In this connection, our Overseas Properties, Burlington Gate, Holland Park Villas and The Westminster Nanpeidai have contributed positively to the Group from the sale of completed properties. However, this was offset by our investment ventures which are still in their value adding transformation stage with on-going planning efforts and asset enhancement initiatives. This resulted in a loss of RM10.3 million during the said gestation period.

Contracting and Renewable Energy Division’s profit declined to RM8.0 million primarily due to the deferred tax asset of RM25.7 million recognised in the previous year. Excluding this one-off event, the current year’s profit from the division increased by 87% compared to the previous year. This is due to the first full year’s operating revenue from the new Sungai Liang mini-hydro power plant of RM21.6 million.

The Malaysia Properties and Head Office segment PAT increased to RM6.8 million mainly due to disposal of Sepang Land for RM21.9 million and higher sales from Sibu Jaya. This is offset by lesser sales from Kayangan Heights as there are only 7 unsold completed units left.

The Group has a total asset value of RM1,985 million as at 31 March 2020. Gearing remained at about 26% as we continue to manage our finances prudently. Our cash and unutilised banking facilities of RM547 million coupled with rigorous project management with our joint venture partners allow us to leverage on each other’s expertise and financial strength in ensuring better delivery.
 

REVIEW OF OPERATING ACTIVITIES

London Properties

In the financial year, the completed projects of Holland Park Villas and Burlington Gate have achieved sales of £68.9 million (approximately RM363.6 million) and £4.0 million (approximately RM20.8 million) respectively. We are now focusing on selling the last few remaining units with an estimated value of £35.6 million (approximately RM188.7 million) and will continue with the preparatory works for the next two development projects, Bankside Yards and Kilmuir House.

Bankside Yards is the Group’s largest development in central London. As at 31 March 2020, the basement works at Bankside Yards West (previous Ludgate House site) is 75% completed whilst demolition works for Bankside Yards East (previous Sampson House site) has been completed.

We have in February 2020 secured Southwark Council’s approval-in-principle for a mixed-use development with total saleable area of approximately 1 million square feet, an increase of approximately 10% from the consented planning approval. This enhanced approval-in-principle features additional private homes, affordable homes, office and commercial space. This will transform our 5.5-acre site fronting River Thames into a significant destination and a gateway for the borough of Southwark. The site where the Blackfriars Station is, has a commanding view of St. Paul’s Cathedral across River Thames and is surrounded by renowned attractions such as the Tate Modern Art Gallery, Millennium Bridge and the Shakespeare’s Globe. This improvement is expected to contribute to the development with an estimated gross development value in excess of £1.0 billion (approximately RM5.4 billion). The enhanced approval-in-principle is now being refined to further improve the masterplan and product configuration.

Moving on to Kilmuir House, it has continued to contribute to the Group with occupancy in excess of 95% for the past year. The rental management will continue to provide an income stream as we await for the approval of its redevelopment planning permission submitted in February 2020 for a proposed luxury residential scheme.
 

Madrid Properties

The Group’s 50% joint venture in the Spanish capital with Grosvenor Europe consists of four development projects in various stages of construction and one investment property currently under planning review. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the lockdown in Spain has caused construction activities to be suspended in March 2020 for a month.

Nevertheless, in financial year 2021, the Group will be concentrating its efforts in the development and completion of its projects. Following this, the Group is also currently assessing the development potential of its said investment property in Central Madrid.
 
Asia Properties

Japan

Our 38.5% joint venture with Grosvenor Asia Pacific and Nan Fung in Tokyo recorded sales of ¥1.66 billion (approximately RM65 million) for The Westminster Nanpeidai project in the financial year. To date, the joint venture has successfully sold 51 units leaving only one last unit available for sale.

As for the other en-bloc asset comprising 63 strata titled units in a mixed-use building known as Court Annex Roppongi, occupancy is good and in excess of 90% as at 31 March 2020. The joint venture intends to exit the project by directly disposing the strata rights or alternatively, to participate in an asset swap scheme with Nomura Real Estate Development which is redeveloping a prime mixed-use scheme in the vicinity.
 


2-storey retail podium in Kennedy Town, Hong Kong 
  Hong Kong

Our two-storey retail podium in Kennedy Town which is equally owned with Grosvenor Asia Pacific is undergoing a façade enhancement and is expected to complete by the end of 2020. Concurrently, the tenant repositioning exercise has yielded improved rental rates by approximately 84% thus far. The façade enhancement and new tenant mix are expected to draw higher footfall.


Shanghai

In November 2019, we have successfully completed 2 acquisitions in Shanghai.

Our maiden investment in Shanghai was completed with the acquisition of five floors of strata office property in Llland Tower (“Llland”) via a joint venture investment with Chelsfield Asia. This property is located along West Nanjing Road, one of the central business districts of Shanghai. To date, we have secured an anchor tenant involved in co-working space with operations across Asia and Australia for 43% of the gross lettable area.

Following Llland’s acquisition, we acquired a 20% effective interest stake in four blocks of office buildings in Daning International Commercial Plaza or Lifehub@Daning with Chelsfield Asia, KHI Overseas Limited and JRN Holdings Limited. Lifehub@Daning is part of a large-scale, retail-anchored mixed-use project in the Daning neighbourhood within north Jing’an District, Shanghai. Similarly, we have also secured a reputable co-working tenant for 15% of the gross lettable area and will continue to reposition the asset, build occupancy and improve rental yields.

Singapore

During the financial year, the Group has completed the acquisition of two blocks of office towers in the decentralized suburban office district in Tampines, Singapore. The property continues to maintain strong occupancy in excess of 85% with one of the office block wholly occupied by Hitachi. In financial year 2021, the Group will undertake an asset enhancement and re-branding strategy to improve the property performance via efficient space planning incorporating a more environmental friendly concept.
 
Malaysia Properties

The township development in Sibu Jaya continues to grow with the launch of 95 units of 2-storey residential terrace house known as Coral Avenue Phase 7 & 8, clocking a healthy take up rate of 74% as at 31 March 2020. Following this strong encouragement, we have also launched Amber Avenue Phase 2 & 3 with an estimated gross development value of RM36.3 million for 109 units of 2-storey residential terrace house.

The construction of the Sibu Jaya-Lanang road by the Sarawak State Government will further add value to this township as it provides a shorter alternative route to Management Discussion and Analysis Sibu Town. Construction work commenced in 2019 and is expected to complete by 2022. During the year, the non-profit organisation – Yayasan Azman Hashim has also contributed a community sports complex worth RM13.9 million to the township and is scheduled for completion in 2021.
 
Renewable Energy and Contracting

This financial year marks the first full year effects of our 20MW Mini-Hydro Power Plant in Sungai Liang with significant increase in energy generation by 49% from 86.9 GWh to 129.4 GWh. This increased the revenue for the Renewable Energy division by RM11.5 million to RM39.6 million accounting for 22% of the Group’s total revenue. The division’s profit before tax increased to RM7.8 million in financial year 2020 as compared to RM2.0 million in the previous year.

Meanwhile, the Group’s Contracting Division has also contributed higher revenue in this financial year, with an increase of 11% to RM66.4 million resulting from new projects secured including Pavilion Mall Bukit Jalil and Cyberjaya Hospital. The remaining unbilled book order for the Contracting Division stands at RM92.4 million as at 31 March 2020.
 

Puan Shalina Azman, our Group Chairman site visit to Sungai Liang Power Plant
 

INITIATIVES AGAINST COVID-19 PANDEMIC 

The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted daily routines and the lives of individuals and businesses. Our priority is to protect and safeguard our employees by ensuring that we maintain the highest standards of health, safety and hygiene by having the necessary precautions in the work place. These measures include distribution of face masks, hand sanitizers, practise social distancing and staggered office working hours. We are also monitoring the evolving COVID-19 situation vigilantly and remain guided by the direction and recommendations of the relevant government and local health authorities.

Further, as a responsible corporate citizen, we have also assisted deserving tenants with either rental discounts, deferment or restructuring to ease their financial burden during this difficult period.
  

PROSPECTS 

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has projected the global economy for 2020 to fall to negative 3%, a downgrade of 5.9% from 2.9% in 2019 in the April 2020 World Economic Outlook. The uncertainty and volatile market conditions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, trade disputes, volatility of commodity prices and political uncertainties have impacted all businesses temporarily. The demand for properties in terms of new sales and tenancies were similarly subdued during the lockdown period globally. Going forward, we expect international investment activities to concentrate on key global cities due to its resilience and performance as evidenced in the previous financial crisis.

In financial year 2021, the Group will focus its efforts to sell its Madrid projects, the remaining units in Holland Park Villas, Burlington Gate and The Westminster Nanpeidai. We will also continue to nurture our current projects such as Bankside Yards and Kilmuir House by refining consented planning, whilst projects in Shanghai, Hong Kong and Singapore are undergoing asset enhancement initiatives in preparation for the next wave of economic recovery.

On a more positive note, our investments in Shanghai, being one of the first few global cities that has re-opened for business after a COVID-19 lockdown, has since late April 2020 shown encouraging progress towards moving back to normalcy.

Lastly, we will continuously monitor our investments in all the major cities and will actively engage with our joint venture partners to address these challenging times ahead as we strive towards optimising the returns of our capital.
  

Modesto Lafuente 26, Madrid
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