Dear Fellow Shareholders,
I am pleased to report that in fiscal year 2021, our Group returned to pre-pandemic profitability levels notwithstanding the enduring COVID-19 restrictions and closures.
These results are a testimony to the resilience of the Group even when faced with these unique challenges. We are also quite proud to have been able to achieve these creditable results without any job losses arising directly from the impact of COVID-19.
With almost all segments showing an increase in profit, the Group’s overall Profit Before Tax (PBT) increased by $212 million or 29% to $935 million ($723 million – 2020). Revenue increased by $50 million or 1% to $5.970 billion ($5.919 billion – 2020). Earnings Per Share (EPS) was up by 40% - $3.45 ($2.46 – 2020) and total assets grew by 11% - $17.461 billion ($15.705 billion - 2020). The Group’s gearing ratio reduced and remains healthy at 9.1% (9.8% - 2020). Your directors have therefore declared a final dividend of $1.50 per share which will be paid on June 3, 2022. This together with the interim dividend of $0.30 per share ($0.15 – 2020) brings the total dividend to $1.80 per share ($1.65 – 2020).
The year 2021, though laden with uncertainty, provided an opportunity to test the Group’s ability to adapt and to be agile. It is characteristic of ANSA McAL to not only navigate, but to seize opportunities presented during unpredictable and volatile market conditions and this occasion was no different. Our people exhibited unwavering dedication throughout this unprecedented time, finding effective, creative, and safer ways to engage and bring satisfaction to our customers. I am very proud of what our teams have accomplished, and stand assured by the high quality of talent we have across the Group.
The Group was relentless in assuring the health, safety, and well-being of our employees through robust COVID-19 protocols and a supportive Employee Assistance Programme (EAP). We actively promoted vaccine awareness on a national and regional scale in an effort to counteract the effects of misinformation. We were heartened that 80% of our people chose to make ANSA McAL an even safer place to work by becoming vaccinated against COVID-19.
The Group reached an important milestone in 2021 as it marked 140 years of existence. Over that period, the Group has demonstrated the ability to create value for its shareholders on a consistent basis. However, for us, sustainability is not just about delivering profits and growth. We are very conscious of our duty to our employees, younger generations, investors, customers, and the broader society, to operate our businesses responsibly. It is about leaving a positive impact in the interest of all our stakeholders, such that they are better off by us operating in proximity to their community, and from having invested in us, partnered with us, worked with us and/or used our products and services. Simply put, sustainability is doing business the right way.
In 2021, the Group decided to sharpen its focus and refine its strategy to ensure that our businesses continuously increase the role they already play in alleviating major environmental and social issues.
A key aspect of developing our new sustainability framework was defining why we exist, which culminated in the creation of our new Company Purpose:
The common motivation that permeates our Group is that we all want to create a better future for people. There is also an acknowledgment that the choices we make today determine how we will live tomorrow. The size, nature and diversity of our businesses give the Group the unique opportunity to contribute substantially to building a brighter future for a wide cross- section of people and businesses. We believe that sustainability, if done correctly, is good for people, the environment and the bottom line.
In that context, the Board contributed to, reviewed and approved the Group’s Sustainability Business Priorities which are aligned to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Using an Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) lens, the Group has elected to deepen existing efforts within its own businesses in the areas of water preservation, waste reduction, climate impact, modern energy, people and communities, and corporate governance. The world has never had a clearer understanding of the social and environmental issues that threaten our existence on this planet. The need for action has never been greater.
The Group continues to focus on upgrading its Corporate Governance Framework and procedures. We were delighted to be the recipient of the award for the Best Corporate Governance Conglomerate in the Caribbean from Ethical Boardroom, a London based digital magazine well known for in-depth coverage and analysis of global governance issues. The Ethical Boardroom awards recognise annually the outstanding leadership by boards who have raised the bar to ensure that strong corporate governance plays an essential part in protecting and enhancing long-term value for all stakeholders. I wish to thank my fellow directors for their active participation and input throughout the year.
During the year, in the area of board governance, there was an emphasis on board refreshment, to increase the independence of the Board, director training and performance evaluation.
The Group’s subsidiary governance structure was also bolstered with the introduction of Sector Advisory Councils for each sector comprising largely persons who are independent of the Group. These eminently qualified Council members with expertise in various fields will, I expect, challenge and bolster our strategic thinking.
We also streamlined our enterprise risk management framework to provide a further layer of assurance around the achievement of the Group’s business objectives. The Board was extremely satisfied with the work done by our leaders to redefine the principles, framework and processes for the management of all of the Group’s risks.
Since its inception, the ANSA McAL Foundation (est. 1992) has been committed to addressing a broad range of social needs and has adopted a policy of concentrating on projects of national and regional significance.
In total, the Foundation disbursed TT$4,213,414 during 2021. This disbursement comprises TT$2,213,414 given directly to various charities and TT$2,000,000 to the Anthony N. Sabga, Caribbean Excellence Laureates for 2021.
The Foundation channeled its resources by way of monetary donations, food and medical supplies and educational equipment in the form of tablets to individual families, schools, and organisations. Children's homes received TT$150,000, community- based organisations received TT$547,486, schools and educational initiatives received TT$846,428, and TT$669,500 went to individuals, families and NGOs working on COVID-19 relief efforts.
The laureates of the Anthony N. Sabga Awards, Caribbean Excellence (formerly the Anthony N. Sabga Caribbean Awards for Excellence) for 2021 were Maria Nunes (Trinidad & Tobago) and Sean Sutherland (St. Vincent & the Grenadines), Arts & Letters Joint; Dr. Guna Muppuri (Jamaica), Entrepreneurship; Dr. Floyd Morris (Jamaica), Public & Civic Contributions; Professor Rupika Delgoda (Jamaica) and Dr. Ayanna Carla Phillips-Savage, Science & Technology Joint. These accomplished Caribbean men and women of the soil were lauded in a made for television feature which aired regionally on January 20th, 2022. The prize awarded per category was TT$500,000. This brings the number of laureates named by the Anthony N. Sabga Awards, Caribbean Excellence to 49 and the amount of money disbursed since 2005 to TT$21.5 million.
As part of the ongoing board refreshment process, we were pleased to welcome in May three new independent directors Mr. Norman Christie, Ms. Krysta Behrens de Lima and Ms. Vicki-Ann Assevero. Ms. De Lima and Ms. Assevero joined the Board’s Governance Nomination and Remuneration Committee, while Mr. Christie joined the Audit Committee during the year.
Mr. Anthony Phillip will retire from the Board this year after 15 years of stellar service. The Board benefitted enormously from Anthony’s vast knowledge and experience during his tenure. I would like to thank Anthony for his long-standing and dedicated service to the Board and the Group, and wish him the best upon his retirement.
The Company’s Annual Meeting of shareholders will be held in virtual only format via online webcast on Thursday May 26, 2022, at 11:30 a.m. from our Company’s boardroom. Further details are available on our company website (www.ansamcal.com) and notices will be placed in print media.
As the COVID-19 virus appears to move from pandemic to endemic stage, and the world takes definitive steps to return to normal life, we see significant opportunity for our Group. Even during the current uncertain times, we continue to invest in our people, plant, equipment, and technology for the future. In addition, when making decisions, we have and will remain steadfast to our stated core values: Employee Centred, Customer Excellence, Creativity and Innovation, Social Responsibility, Respect and Trust. The combination of all of this and the Group’s strong balance sheet allows us to drive good growth and properly manage our capital as we have consistently demonstrated over our
In closing, I would like to extend my heartfelt thanks to our 6000 employees for their fortitude and resilience during the year, as well as our customers and suppliers for their business and continued trust. To you, our shareholders, we are deeply appreciative of your support and encouragement and look forward to building an even more rewarding future together.
A. Norman Sabga LLD (Hon.) UWI; (H.C.) UTT