Despite the continued instability in world economies and the significant capital outlay on expansion we made in the year as we invested for future growth, we recorded a good performance for FY2013. This is testament to the effectiveness of our growth strategies and the competence and innovation of our entire team.
YEAR IN REVIEW
In line with our business strategies for growth, we have continued to extend our market presence in prime shopping districts by adding to our existing retail footprint that currently covers Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Hong Kong and Taiwan. In FY2013, we opened three new boutiques in Singapore: TimeWise by Cortina Watch, Raymond Weil and Chinatown Point, with a further boutique in Malaysia to be launched in 2013. We also made additional investments in inventory totalling $43.9 million, with the majority of the investments in both Patek Philippe and Rolex timepieces. This move increases our inventory by a significant 24.4% and sets us on the right track for growth as the economy picks up.
On that same note, we are delighted to announce that there have been several significant developments in the groupís business needs and operating environment in view of the growth opportunities we have seized. As such, the board of Directors has determined that it would be prudent to reduce bank borrowings and strengthen the groupís working capital position by selling the office units at the Adelphi we had originally earmarked as our new headquarters. The increased liquidity enables us to capitalise on more opportunities as they present themselves; the benefits of which outweigh those of relocating our administrative operations and headquarters at this point in time. This is in keeping with our long-term strategy to maintain and galvanise the companyís future prospects.
OVERALL MARKET PERFORMANCE
FY2013 saw a modest 8.1% growth in revenue for the group, with recorded profit after tax of S$17.1 million, compared to S$21.9 million in the previous year. This 21.9% dip is symptomatic of the challenges brought by a soft global economy as well as the significant spending we made in the year as we invested strategically for our future growth, preparing to position ourselves to take advantage of the eventual recovery in the market.
As of 31 March 2013, our retail network of boutiques stands at 24, with 17 multi-brand boutiques, 4 Patek Philippe boutiques, 2 Rolex boutiques and 1 Raymond Weil boutique spanning Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Hong Kong and Taiwan. Along with our acquisition of one Patek Philippe boutique in Malaysia, we will be adding to our Malaysia presence an additional Rolex boutique located in Starhill Gallery Shopping Mall in 2013. Singapore has remained the strongest performing market for the group. Our newly opened Chinatown Point boutique is strategically located at the heart of Chinatown and is the second boutique opened outside the city district aside from I12 Katong mall.
Launched in Singapore in April 2012, TimeWise by Cortina Watch is located at Wisma Atria in Orchard Road. This collaboration with the Swatch Group showcases South East Asiaís most comprehensive high-end to mid-tier brands such as Breguet, Blancpain, Omega, Longines and Rado. Also located in Wisma Atria, the newly opened Raymond Weil boutique managed by Cortina strengthens the groupís presence in the mall.
Our boutiques in Malaysia are all strategically located within the countryís prime shopping districts and will continue to drive brand visibility and potential profitability. As the opportunity arose in FY2013, the group increased our market share in Malaysia by taking over the Patek Philippe boutique in KLCC.
In Thailand, we are pleased to bring another addition to the Cortina brand as we open a new boutique in Central Plaza Ladprao, Bangkok in May 2013. This multi-brand boutique will proudly carry 7 brands Ė Rolex, Tudor, IWC, Jaeger-LeCoulture, Bell & Ross, Chopard and Ebel.
CELEBRATING 40 YEARS OF SUCCESS
The year in review was a special one for the group as we celebrated our 40th Anniversary. To commemorate this significant milestone in our history, we organised several commemorative events in the past year, one being our 40th Anniversary gala Dinner held at Fairmont Hotel Singapore. Along with our 40th Anniversary Watches, all previous anniversary watches were on display and videos were presented showcasing the groupís history and beginnings. The 1000-strong crowd was able to see how far Cortina has grown over the span of 40 years.
We also celebrated our 40th Anniversary with a golf event held at the Tanah Merah Country Club on 18 December 2012 with the aim of gathering customers and friends for a friendly golf competition. Despite the dark clouds and stormy weather, which quickly abated, our guests enjoyed a splendid day of golf followed by a sumptuous sit-down dinner.
FY2014 will be an exciting year for the group as we start to implement our strategic plans for growth, capitalising on the substantial investments we have made this year. The renovation of current and newly acquired leases as well as an increase in staff headcount to man our new boutiques will be the focus of our organic growth path.
As mentioned earlier, we are also set to open an additional Rolex boutique in Starhill Gallery in Malaysia in 2013 and a multi-brand boutique in Central Plaza Ladprao in Bangkok, Thailand. We will continue to monitor the Malaysia and Thailand markets and act on any further growth opportunities that present themselves.
Over the last 40 years, we have grown Cortina from a single retail outlet in Colombo Court to a network of retail boutiques across the Asia region. This could not have been achieved without the tremendous support of our staff, board of directors, business partners, shareholders and, of course, our valued customers.
I would like to take this opportunity to express my deepest thanks to our shareholders, board members and business partners for their valuable insights and continued support. Their contributions have been fundamental in our growth through the years.
My thanks also go out to our management and staff for their hard work and dedication in realising our growth plans. Their passion and enthusiasm personify the Cortina brand.
As a group, Cortina will continue to capitalise on all available opportunities and resources in order to achieve high growth and maintain our position as a leader in the luxury timepiece market. We have, and will remain committed to standing the test of time.
Lim Keen Ban, Anthony
Chairman & CEO
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