Wishing Chinese viewers a
HAPPY LUNAR NEW YEAR
and ALL ... happy holidays.
Moomin Bakery & Cafe, Tokyo
A cafe located next to Tokyo Dome. Pleasant place to take a break after a tiring day. If a customer visiting the cafe is alone, the staff would ask if they like to have Moomin sit with them. Moomin is a Scandinavian comic strip character by illustrator Tove Jansson. It was originally published in Swedish by Schildts in Finland. Quite a long way to eventually find global fame in Tokyo.
Twenty-nineteen was an eventful year and am reminded of a conversation
John Cage had with Ally McBeal in the comedy-drama Ally McBeal
"If you think back and replay your year,
if it doesn't bring you tears of joy or sadness,
consider the year wasted."
For Retail Investors in SGX Equities
On 9-Jan-2020, SGX RegCo announced the scrapping of quarterly reporting for firms except for riskier companies. These risky companies includes those whose auditor have raised alarm. Remaining companies only need report their financial half-yearly. This new ruling takes effect from 7-Feb-2020.
The announcement did not explain in detail its rationale for this change other than ...
' ... to enhance its regulatory regime by taking a more targeted approach.' and
to 'brings us in line with other global markets, including Hong Kong, Australia, the U.K. and other E.U. countries.
Some explanation through news feed were:
" ... to be more targeted, even surgical so as to ensure compliant companies aren't overburdened while non-compliant companies receive more attention." (The Straits Times, 10-Jan-2020)
'Experts, ... They believe the move announced yesterday by the regulatory arm of the Singapore Exchange (SGX) will not adversely affect transparency but will relieve firms of significant cost burdens. (The Straits Times, 10-Jan-2020)
There were many other amendments in light of the new ruling:
Financial assistance to third parties
Rights issue and
Changes in earning prospects.
THINKING OUT LOUD
From a retail investor perspective, I view these changes as a step backward in building a regulatory environment that nutures highly competitive and potentially global companies.
"More targeted approach"
While SGX is responsible for listing good and healthy companies into the exchange and SGX RegCo is taking a proactive approach in targeting riskier companies; it is investors that eventually bore the risk of a company performance. Hence the final decision regarding risk should rest with investors. Taking away quarterly reporting increases investment risk in particular the ability to react timely to changes in the risk profile of a company, especially small & medium enterprise.
"In line with global markets"
Referencing exchange practices in Hong Kong, Australia, U.K. and other E.U. countries for decision; and excluding dominant exchanges in U.S. and I think Japan as well, borders on confirmation bias. The latter exchanges house global companies, many of which have changed the way we live. Following 'other global markets' do not reflect independence of thought & innovative thinking in defining a unique value proposition for SGX.
"Companies are overburdened"
Timely reporting is one of the most critical management & investor tool. It allows executive and investors to take early actions to explore opportunities or manage risk. If a company view quarterly reporting burdensome, it is a red flag in itself.
While reporting would take up much time 20 years ago; the proliferation of software & computing power have dramatically shorten time-to-report and at a much lower cost.
Global companies in U.S. could report quarter results within 30-days. Most of our simple structured corporations requires 45 to 60 days to report unaudited results.
In today's highly competitive environment it is liken to investors having to read history every 4-1/2 months and now 7-1/2 months after the fact (companies given 45-60 days to report results).
It also increases the risk of insiders exploiting this longer reporting duration to their advantage, rules aside.
"Relieve firms of significant cost burden"
When a company decides to list in the local stock market, it was already a known fact that quarterly reporting & reporting cost is a given. That it is a significant cost burden years after raising public funds is simply absurd.
Depending on SGX RegCo to target riskier companies is not a viable option. History of corporate failure have shown that:
By the time annual audit flag a going concern or material uncertainly, it is usually long after the fact.
- A black swan event like in 2008, could render many healthy businesses becoming a going concern within months.
- The investor community is much more apt at sounding out risky companies e.g. short-sellers, fundamental analysts or investor communities.
SGX RegCo role is in regulation and ensuring transparency. Not to decide for investors which company is riskier relative to others.
This new ruling should have little impact on large insurance funds, mutual funds, sovereign wealth fund or private equity which typically invest in established companies for very long term.
However, retail investors will have to be mindful of the added risk, primarily because the community typically invest or trade in micro, small and medium size companies where a company's balance sheet can weaken dramatically over a short period; unlike larger companies that require a longer period for creative destruction to run its course.
We now have to be more vigilant, work a little harder, and perhaps look a little further to invest our hard earned savings.
Singapore Technologies Engineering
The company was founded in Jan-1967 shortly after Singapore independence as Chartered Industries of Singapore; an ammunition manufacturer.
Incorporated in 1997, today, ST Engineering is a global technology, defence and engineering group.
Business segments are:
Served markets includes: Americas, Europe, Asia and Oceania.
Order-book started to pick-up pace from 4Q17, driven mainly from contract wins in Electronics and Aerospace.
Aerospace engine up-cycle in 2018 and the acquisition of MRA Systems, LLC from General Electric Company further boost order-book for maintenance, repair and overhaul.
Despite the order-book increase, sales remained largely flat in 2018. However the company should record a double digits growth for FY19e; driven largely by the Aerospace sector.
Electronics after years of revenue growth is flattening. Land Systems and Marine both continue to soften.
Post MRA Systems and Newtec acquisition, STE debt have increased substantially to $2.4B including a short-term debt of $1.9B.
Moving forward, managing these debt will be crucial for maintaining a healthy company.
STE can be liken to a company that wear two hats. One, as a defence company crucial for the city state well being. Two as a public company accounting to shareholders for its growth in value and assets in decades to come.
On the first, there is an element of shielding e.g. in Electronics and Land Systems where the government is a major client. On the second, the company is subjected like most businesses to the wind of change like trade war especially in the Aerospace and Marine sector.