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What These Blue-Chip Companies are Telling You in Their Annual Report

An annual report is prepared once a year (as the name suggests) and is mandatory for most organisations and a powerful tool for many. This piece of communication presents information about your organisation to various audiences, including shareholders, potential investors, customers, employees, or even your competitors. How they consume that content affects their perceptions of your business.

If your annual report is simply slapped together as a statement of facts, you’re losing a huge opportunity to boost your brand. Instead, it should share your mission, highlight your brand positioning, and outline your business strategies and opportunities for the future, which in turn build trust and confidence. Let’s take a look at how these 5 SGX-listed blue-chip companies’ annual reports tell their stories to build and retain their stakeholders’ support over the course of time.

1. Development Bank of Singapore (DBS)

All Singaporeans and foreign investors would be very familiar with DBS Bank, the largest bank in Singapore by market capitalisation. This banking behemoth has been in existence since the founding of Singapore. Going through the oil and gas sector downturn and China slowdown since 2014 to 2016, DBS bank still managed to grow its earnings. With its big plans to diversify geographical earnings exposure in order to be less reliance on the Singapore market alone for organic growth, how did their annual report shed light to the performance and future of DBS under CEO Mr Gupta?

Annual Report Theme 2016: Reimagine Banking – World’s Best Digital Bank
Key Messages: Forward-looking, Innovative, Trendy
Last Financial Year End: December 2016

It starts with reimagining banking. From Singapore’s favourite mobile wallet to India’s first paperless, branchless, signatureless mobile-only bank. A first-in-its-class social network for SMEs to hackathons across Asia and fintech internships in DBS. 

These are just some of the reasons we have been recognised as the World’s Best Digital Bank. Our digital transformation pervades every part of the bank. We are driven by one relentless purpose, which is to live and breathe innovation to Make Banking Joyful.

2. Singapore Airlines Limited (SIA)

Another blue-chip stock with annual report that warrants attention is Singapore Airlines, the famed world-class national flight carrier of Singapore. Over the past years, the cost dynamics are highly in favour for the Company as oil prices plunged from a high of USD140 per barrel to about USD50 per barrel. Its earnings recorded a healthy CAGR of 25% over the last 3 years, and with its efforts to compete effectively against low-cost carriers by acquiring Tiger Airways and integrating with its existing low-cost carrier Scoot, how did they communicate their story in the recent annual report?

Annual Report Theme 2017: 70 Years – A Great Way to Fly
Key Messages: Celebrative, Performance-driven, Growing
Last Financial Year End: March 2017

CELEBRATING 70 YEARS OF EXCELLENCE: The Singapore Airlines Group’s history dates back to 1947 with the maiden flight of Malayan Airways Limited. The airline was later renamed Malaysian Airways Limited, and then Malaysia-Singapore Airlines. In 1972, Malaysia-Singapore Airlines split into Singapore Airlines and Malaysian Airline System. Initially operating a modest fleet of 10 aircraft to 22 cities in 18 countries, Singapore Airlines’ commitment to service excellence, product leadership and network connectivity quickly distinguished it as a world-class international airline group. Today, Singapore Airlines operates a modern passenger fleet of more than 100 aircraft. Together with wholly-owned subsidiaries SilkAir, Scoot, Tiger Airways (which operates as Tigerair) and SIA Cargo, the SIA Group fleet comprises nearly 180 aircraft. The combined passenger network covers 131 destinations in 35 countries. More than 31 million passengers were carried by the SIA Group’s four Singapore-based passenger airlines in the 2016/17 financial year. Singapore Airlines and its subsidiaries today employ more than 25,000 staff, with the world-famous Singapore Girl as an iconic symbol of quality customer care and service. 

3. Singapore Technologies Engineering Limited (STE)

Singapore Technologies Engineering is an integrated engineering group in the aerospace, electronics, land systems and marine sectors. Over the years, it has diversified its businesses and geographies. It is one of two companies in Singapore that provides defence services, not only securing contracts from the Singapore Government but also winning contracts from the US and other countries for research and development, putting them in a sweet spot to continue developing new products and keeping itself relevant in the fast changing world. So how does it position itself in its latest annual report?

Annual Report Theme 2016: Engineering with Passion
Key Messages: Core Values, Forward-looking
Last Financial Year End: Decemeber 2016

Since ST Engineering began 50 years ago, we have been passionate about wanting to make a difference, to have an impact. We have been doing this by harnessing our hard-won experience, our leading edge expertise and the latest technology to develop creative solutions that assist our customers and leave a better world for our children to inherit. We believe that this passion, coupled with a drive to excel and a deep and abiding desire to make a difference, will create a better future for our customers, our stakeholders and our employees. 

4. CapitaLand Mall Trust (CMT)

CapitaLand Mall Trust is Singapore’s first and largest retail REIT. CMT first listed in July 2002 and now owns a portfolio of 16 retail properties and malls that includes suburban and downtown malls in Singapore like Westgate, IMM, Plaza Singapura, Raffles City, and Bugis Junction. Being an integrated retail real estate business platform, it highlighted how its creative asset planning and enhancement in its retail environment and attractiveness to shoppers and retailers unlocked the potential value of its malls, propelling its growth and improving the yield and productivity of its retail space.

Annual Report Theme 2016: Innovating the Future
Key Messages: Innovative, Forward-looking, Growing
Last Financial Year End: December 2016

CapitaLand Mall Trust is pushing the boundaries and exploring ways to future-enable our malls and retail services. In response to consumers’ growing desire to engage in more enriching, interactive and innovative experiences, we are reinventing the retail landscape by harnessing technological innovations. We will continue to work with our business partners to pioneer new possibilities for the future of retail, creating quality and unique experiences that serve the needs of this and future generations of shoppers. 

5. SembCorp Industries Limited (SCI)

SembCorp Industries is one of the largest companies on the SGX given that it is one of the 30 constituents of the Straits Times Index. It has three business divisions – Utilities (Energy, Water, Waste Management), Marine & Offshore (through its 61% ownership of SembCorp Marine), and Urban Development. Though its revenue and profit has not been growing favourably over the years, it continues to explore new growth opportunities, expanding into energy markets of emerging countries like India, Bangladesh, Myanmar as well as China. So how was its story told in the annual report?

Annual Report Theme 2016: Emerging Stronger
Key Messages: Resilient, Strong Fundamentals, Forward-looking
Last Financial Year End: December 2016

Like many businesses around the world, Sembcorp operates amidst increasingly challenging market conditions. Over the years, we have built up robust capabilities, a solid track record and leading positions in our key markets. Our businesses provide essential solutions, for which long-term demand will continue to grow. With this firm foundation, we are confident that Sembcorp has what it takes to remain nimble and resilient, emerge stronger as a Group and continue delivering value for years to come.

How to optimise the effectiveness of your annual report within a reasonable price range?

How to increase brand awareness through social media and create sustainability?

If you’d like to get a little more creative with your annual report, let’s chat. Find out what investors really want to know from your annual report.

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