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Chairman and President's Statement

(*extracted from Annual Report 2019)


Dear Shareholders

In the face of challenges and pressure on our business operations, the Company focused on strengthening cooperation with our key customers and improving service levels. For the year ended 31 December 2019, the Group recorded profit of $7.7 million on turnover of $171.5 million. Gross turnover for FY 2019 increased by $7.8 million to $171.5 million while gross margin fell as a result of competitive market conditions and higher operating costs. Overall, the Group recorded net profit attributable to equity holders of $7.4 million for FY 2019 compared to $13.0 million in FY 2018. The Group's net asset value per share at 31 December 2019 was 24.0 cents, compared to 23.7 cents at 31 December 2018.

A Year In Review

In 2019, trade policy uncertainty, geopolitical tensions and political developments such as the U.S.-China trade tensions and Brexit have negatively impacted global economic and trade growth. In the face of a decline in the logistics market and tougher competition, the logistics industry is seeing lower profitability.

Notwithstanding unfavourable market conditions, our wholly-owned subsidiary, Cogent Holdings Pte. Ltd., was able to tap on its comprehensive logistics capabilities and warehousing facilities to provide one-stop logistics solutions for our customers.

For dry bulk shipping, apart from efforts to improve operational efficiency and ensuring cost control, the Company has been focused on strengthening relationships with and retaining key charterers. For ship repair and marine engineering, the Company was able to expand its business networks beyond Singapore, providing ship repair and other services in numerous countries, increasing the number of customers it can serve due to network effect. For the property management segment, the Company continues to manage The Grandstand and rents out office units in Suntec City to a key tenant.

Our interests continue to be aligned with all our stakeholders. As such, the Company is committed to good corporate governance practices, effective and prompt information dissemination via the SGX platform and Company's website as well as strict compliance with regulatory requirements.

Expansion in Malaysia to create a consolidated logistics platform

Advancing on the Company's strategy to expand its logistics network in South and Southeast Asia, the Company has announced several new developments in Malaysia which will further strengthen and develop the Company's operations in Malaysia and to provide our customers with one-stop integrated logistics services.

In February 2020, the Company has completed the acquisition of 80% shares of Guper Integrated Logistics Sdn Bhd ('GIL'), Gems Logistics Sdn Bhd ('Gems'), Dolphin Shipping Agency Sdn Bhd ('DSA') and East West Freight Services Sdn Bhd ('EWF') for a sum of RM88 million. All four companies are incorporated in Malaysia. GIL, Gems and DSA are subsidiaries of Complete Logistic Services Berhad, a company listed on Bursa Malaysia.

GIL provides total logistic services with haulage, forwarding and other associated services, Gems is principally involved in the provision of warehousing services, DSA acts as a shipping agent for provision of freight services and EWF is engaged in the principal business of providing freight, warehousing and forwarding agency services.

GIL, Gems, DSA and EWF have good track records, strong customer base as well as experienced management teams, which are not only complementary to the Company's current business operations but are also potentially synergistic between themselves and with the other components of the Company's logistic businesses in Malaysia. This acquisition is in-line with the Company's overall growth and development strategy, and beneficial to the expansion of the logistics businesses in Malaysia.

The Company's subsidiary, SH Cogent Logistics Sdn Bhd has also announced the acquisition of assets comprising of open yard, machinery equipment and office block from Golden Logistics & Storage Sdn. Bhd. for a sum of RM8.35 million.

The Company also intends to construct a warehouse of approximately 300,000 square feet at Port Klang, Malaysia for the Group's operations and to fulfil the current market demand for quality and new warehousing facilities in Port Klang.

After the acquisition of Cogent Holdings Pte. Ltd. (formerly known as Cogent Holdings Limited) by the Company, the Company increased marketing efforts for Cogent Malaysia to improve business and operational efficiency. As a result of these efforts, Cogent Malaysia has achieved a better mix in its customer portfolio.

Upon completion of the above transactions, the Company will be able to create a consolidated platform to provide our customers with a one-stop integrated services, which will be expanded to include container haulage, freight forwarding, container depot and warehousing.

Future Outlook

Singapore is also expected to continue to be a key global logistics hub. Sea cargo throughput continued to increase in 2019. Total cargo tonnage handled by the Port of Singapore reached 626 million tonnes in 2019, a decline of 0.63% from 2018. The number of vessel arrival tonnage reached 2.85 billion gross tonnes in 2019, a rise of 1.8% from 2.8 billion gross tonnes in 2018. Singapore remains as one of the highest-performing logistics hub and is one of the world's largest transshipment container ports.

In December 2019, the Asian Development Bank revised the growth projections for the South Asian countries downwards to 5.1% in 2019 and 6.1% in 2020 given that trade conflicts continue to weigh on sentiment and activity in the region.

The situation pertaining to the spread and containment of the recent outbreak of the COVID-19 remains uncertain. The Company will continue to monitor the situation and take appropriate measures to address any issues arising from it.

We remain cautious about the short-term market outlook but confident that our efforts to strengthen our core segments will allow us to weather through tougher market conditions and reap the benefits in the longer term.

We aim to build an integrated logistics network in the South and Southeast Asian region to provide comprehensive services across the entire logistics value chain that is capable of serving growing consumer demand as South and Southeast Asia continue its economic growth. According to a report published by Google, Temasek and Bain, Southeast Asia has potential for further growth due to fundamental consumer behaviour changes and growing Internet connectivity.

The Company's ultimate holding company, China COSCO SHIPPING Corporation Limited, has a well-established logistics business network throughout the People's Republic of China ("PRC"). The Company will be able to leverage on the existing logistics business platform to potentially develop new business opportunities in the logistics sector in South and Southeast Asia, taking advantage of the "Belt and Road Initiative" formulated by the PRC Government in 2013. The Company will also seek to actively expand its logistical networks in South and Southeast Asia through strategic acquisitions and investments.

The Company plans to strengthen our key capabilities, increase marketing efforts and improving customer retention rate by increasing their satisfaction towards our services and our commitment towards them. We will also seek to improve operational efficiency and strategic cost reduction; invest in our people and retain human talents, prioritizing the safety of our workplace and ensure appropriate risk management. As part of the Company's overall growth and development strategy, the Company will also ensure to give full play to existing advantages of our Parent Company, our current logistics platform, our newly acquired assets and businesses as well as external customers and business partners to create and maximise synergistic values.

In 2020, we are expecting the completion of construction of Jurong Island Chemical Logistics Facility ("JICLF") project on Jurong Island. The JICLF consists of 8-storey general warehouse building with mezzanine offices (vehicle ramp to 7th storey) comprising a chemical warehouse, container depots and an ISO tank depot. The JICLF will be able to cater to the growing demand for one-stop logistics services within Jurong Island, serving the needs of global petrochemical manufacturers located there. We have begun the marketing efforts for the JICLF and have seen interest from prospective customers.

For the Company's recent acquisition in Malaysia, the Company will ensure good cooperation and teamwork between the management as well the integration of business operations so as to create synergistic value. As the Company continues to expand and develop its logistics platform in Malaysia, it is essential that we have the abilities to provide our customers with end-to-end logistics services and it will remain our core focus while consolidating and strengthening our customer base.

Through 2017 and 2018, the Company has undergone transformation into the logistics sector and managed to turn to profitability – but this was only the first step. In order to thrive and capture growth in the longer term, we have to ensure that the company has a recurring revenue stream with sustainable growth. We recognise the importance of diversifying our businesses and will seek to invest in other feasible and profitable businesses. In order to ensure sustainable growth, the Company will ensure that any potential investments have been studied extensively and will take into account economic trends as well as business and industrial development trends.

The Board underwent several changes in 2019. Mr Wang Yu Hang, appointed in 2016, retired as Chairman and Non-Independent and Non-Executive Director of the Company in August 2019. Mr Gu Jing Song was appointed as Vice-Chairman, President and Non-Independent Executive Director in 2016 and appointed as Chairman in August 2019. Mr Gu retired from his role as President in September 2019 and Chairman and Non-Independent Executive Director in November 2019.

On behalf of the Board, I would like to thank our former directors for their invaluable contributions to the Company and I look forward to working with the Board as we continue to drive our transformation and create sustainable growth.

I would also like to take this opportunity to express our appreciation to our employees, whose collective passion and commitment has enabled the Group to grow from strength to strength. To our shareholders, we would like to thank you for your steadfast support and unwavering confidence in the Group, as we look towards sustainable growth and value creation.

Zhu Jian Dong
Chairman and President

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