For the financial year ended 31 March 2009 ("FY2009"), Group revenue grew by 6.1% to S$89.87 million. Excluding the one-off divestment gain of S$28.20 million in the previous financial year, full year net profit attributable to shareholders grew by 14.3% to S$10.98 million. We have every reason to be pleased with such a performance, bearing in mind that they were achieved on the back of the preceding few years of continuous upward improvement.
On behalf of our Board of Directors, I would like to compliment the management team of our Oilfield Division for their continued success in further improving upon its sterling performance.
With the worldwide economic downturn and the drastic reduction in oil prices, the Division's strong results are likely to weaken moving ahead though we continue to expect healthy demand for our Division's services and products.
The numerous unfortunate natural disasters in Australia this and last year have had a negative impact on the overall Australian economic conditions. Consequently, our efforts to improve performance were met with marginal results. Since it is uncertain when market conditions will improve, we have no choice but to adopt various cost cutting measures, to ensure our operational results will not be unduly affected.
Many acquisition opportunities have surfaced during the present economic downturn, and we are judiciously reviewing several opportunities which may have a good fit with our existing businesses. Needless to say, we will exercise the highest level of diligence and prudence in assessing these opportunities.
Our years of effort in expanding our Oilfield Engineering business into the much larger Middle East market has finally concluded on a satisfactory note.
We have obtained the necessary regulatory approvals and secured a long term lease of a well-developed industrial site in the Kingdom of Bahrain to build a brand new facility offering similar services to those we provide in Singapore to the Gulf and neighbouring areas.
The Middle East market is a much larger market than the ones we are traditionally serving in South East Asia. As such, there are opportunities to seize as well as challenges to face as a new entrant in this market. One key challenge will be to replicate in Bahrain, the high standards of competency and workmanship that we have built up over the last three decades in Singapore, so that we can provide the same level of service our customers have come to expect.
The current worldwide economic downturn will hopefully lead to lower construction and equipment costs. Being a start-up, it is likely to take two to three years for the facility to be fully operational and to achieve profitability. However, once the facility is up and running smoothly, we expect it to be an additional major contributor to our future earnings.
In view of the prevailing financial uncertainty and low interest rate environment we think it is in the interest of shareholders and the company to step up our share buyback exercise. To date, the company has acquired 7.48 million shares (representing approximately 7.8% of our total issued shares) which are being held as treasury shares.
In spite of all precautionary measures put in place, we must be realistic and expect the current worldwide economic crisis to weaken the Group's performance for the new financial year. Nevertheless, we expect to remain profitable.
The Board is recommending a tax-exempt (one-tier) final dividend of 2.0 Singapore cents per share for FY2009, subject to shareholders' approval being obtained at the forthcoming Annual General Meeting, bringing the total full year tax-exempt (one-tier) dividend paid to 3.0 Singapore cents.
I would like to thank all our customers, business partners and shareholders for their support and cooperation. I also wish to express my heartfelt appreciation for the dedication and contribution of my fellow directors, management team and all staff members of the Group.Kuah Kok Kim