Cortina Holdings Limited (“the Group”) delivered another stellar performance for the financial year ended 31 March 2019 (“FY2019”) amidst a challenging business environment. The year in review proved to be an excellent one for the Group, as we enhanced our growth trajectory and achieved strong financial results on the back of increased sales margins, improved stock management and higher tourist arrivals.
Globally, economic growth moderated during the year, as geopolitical and trade uncertainties continued to weigh on market sentiment. Singapore’s economy grew 3.2% during the year in review, as growth eased in the light of rising protectionist tensions around the world. Notwithstanding this, the Group continued to leverage its strong business fundamentals, operational excellence and vibrant regional network to deliver a robust performance and enhance shareholder value.
SCALING NEW HEIGHTS
In FY2019, the Group continued to build on its strong foundations as it delivered record financial results. Total revenue remained steady at S$460.8 million. Meanwhile, net profit surged 33.2% to reach a new high of S$30.8 million this financial year, from S$23.1 million in FY2018. Contributing to the uptick in our bottom line was our good sales mix and improved sales margins, which climbed to 25.3% in FY2019 compared to 23.2% in the previous financial year. Driving the higher sales margin was the price resilience of our products, in tandem with the sustained demand for luxury watches buoyed by increased tourist arrivals.
Alongside the robust expansion in revenue and profit, FY2019 saw the Group generating net operating cash inflow of S$83.2 million. Meanwhile, net asset value per share registered an increase to 120.4 cents, compared to 107.7 cents in FY2018, and earnings per share rose to 17.5 cents, up from 13.5 cents in the previous financial year.
ELEVATING CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE
Propelled by our forward-looking and proactive strategy, we persisted in driving sustainable growth and ensuring value creation, alongside our quest to enhance customer experience. As part of our continuing efforts to augment performance, we strive to improve operational efficiency while reviewing the performance of our retail outlets regularly to optimise same-store sales. At the same time, we will continue to refurbish our stores to enhance customer experience, offering private, elegant environments for watch aficionados to indulge their desires for luxury timepieces.
We enlarged our boutique at IMAGO Shopping Mall in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah. From two shop lots housing Rolex and several other brands, the boutique now occupies three lots with a total of 3,500 square feet (“sq ft”) – up from about 2,100 sq ft before the upgrade. With the expanded space, we took in new brands, including Breguet, Blancpain, Cartier, Glasshutte and Panerai, and repositioned the brands showcase to take full advantage of the new layout. We expect to officially unveil the revamped boutique in a soft launch during the second half of 2019.
Meanwhile, our multi-brand boutique in Central Embassy Mall Bangkok, Thailand, which opened in FY2018 has continued to deliver steady growth on the back of its prime location at a luxury shopping destination.
At the same time, we continued to embark on initiatives to refurbish our stores, in our quest to heighten customer experience and enhance our brand. The financial year saw us upgrading a number of our boutiques, as we remained committed to raising the bar in customer satisfaction.
POSITIONING FOR THE FUTURE
At Cortina Holdings, we recognise the importance of enhancing our brand through strengthening our long-term relationships with customers. The financial year saw us hosting a series of marketing events, aimed not only at growing our brand equity, but also driving brand loyalty and heightening customer satisfaction.
On the digital connectivity front, we launched an e-commerce platform on our website during the year. Featuring selected brands and models, this platform brings our luxury timepieces to a wider customer base, while allowing us to enhance our competitive edge and deliver greater convenience for our customers online.
Throughout the year in review, we persisted in maintaining a prudent capital management approach to ensure a robust balance sheet. Bearing testament to our efforts, the Group recorded a net cash position. With our sizeable balance sheet strength and positive financial performance, we are well-positioned to seize strategic opportunities to expand our regional network in the road ahead.
FOSTERING SOCIAL SUSTAINABILITY
We continued to uphold our commitments as a responsible corporate citizen. During the financial year, the Group remained dedicated to enhancing lives and building communities, as we contributed towards the arts, sports events and charitable organisations across Singapore. These included our donations to the SHF Charity Cup Golf Tournament and Golf for Life, which raised funds for the Singapore Heart Foundation and Life Community Services Society respectively. We also contributed to the local arts scene with a donation to the W!LDRICE Ball, and lent our support to the triathlon team, New Moon Khcycle.
Looking ahead, macro-economic growth for 2019 is expected to soften, with the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank moderating their global growth forecasts in anticipation of dampened trade across the US, Europe and Asia, amidst continuing trade tensions. Despite the muted outlook, the Group is well-positioned to weather the uncertain market conditions given our resilience that has been built up over numerous business cycles.
Moving forward, our strong performance over the past two years and robust balance sheet will stand us in good stead as we capitalise on strategic growth opportunities and deliver sustainable long-term value for our shareholders. Leveraging our vast expertise in the luxury watch business, we remain committed in enhancing our competitiveness while continuing to uphold a prudent approach to augmenting our presence in markets with high growth potential.
Our stakeholders contributed to the Group’s outstanding performance in FY2019. My sincere appreciation goes out to the Board of Directors for their wisdom and expertise in steering the Group to another outstanding year. I would like to thank our partners for their unwavering support, as well as our management and staff for their dedication and commitment throughout the past year. I am also grateful to our shareholders for their continued loyalty and confidence.
In view of the Group’s robust financial performance, I am pleased to inform that the Board of Directors has proposed a final and special tax-exempt cash dividend of 2.0 cents and 3.5 cents per ordinary share for FY2019, subject to the approval of shareholders in the next annual general meeting to be held on 26 July 2019. This marks an increase of 22.2% over the previous financial year.
Anchored on our robust business fundamentals, we remain focused on creating value and delivering sustainable returns for our shareholders for the long term.
LIM KEEN BAN, ANTHONY
Chairman & CEO