Firms should focus on long-term strengths - Jan 19, 2008 (ST)

BackJan 19, 2008

The Straits Times / The Business Times News On SPH

Firms should focus on long-term strengths

SPH won the net profit award in the services category at the Singapore 1000 and SME 500 awards.

By Gabriel Chen
Jan 19, 2008
The Straits Times

SINGAPORE companies should not have their vision clouded by the volatility and turbulence in the globalised economy, such as the United States sub-prime crisis, a government minister said last night.

SCORING A HAT-TRICK: Mr Mallek holding the net profit excellence award (services sector) that media group SPH has won for the third consecutive year.

Rather, they should be focused on their long-term strengths, Minister of State for Trade and Industry Lee Yi Shyan said.

They should also be single-minded in investing in their infrastructure and generating their own intellectual property.

'Focusing on the long-term positions will give us the confidence to sail through any near-term storms,' he said.

He was speaking at the Singapore 1000 and SME 500 awards presentation at the Shangri-La Hotel last night.

'The current unwinding of the US sub-prime market, high energy prices and the prospect of a US recession make our business projections of the immediate quarters much harder, but this should not cloud our vision of what we want to be and where we want to go,' he said.

Mr Lee also lauded companies in the Singapore 1000 and Singapore SME 500 list. 'Their contribution to the Singapore economy is multi-faceted and evident,' he added.

Among the winners was United Overseas Bank (UOB), which clinched the net profit award in the finance category.

Mr Lee Wai Fai, UOB's chief financial officer, said: 'Despite the intense challenges in the marketplace, we managed to lift our performance through our disciplined approach in deploying our resources in a diversified global portfolio of businesses and markets.

'Moving on, we will continue to adopt a prudent approach and leverage our regional business for greater synergy and economies of scale.'

Another winner was Singapore Press Holdings (SPH), which won the net profit award in the services category.

'This award is made possible through the guidance of our board of directors and senior management and the support of our staff and business partners,' said an elated Mr Tony Mallek, SPH's executive vice-president (finance).

He said that the company will further consolidate this position as it develops new media platforms in digital and interactive media to connect with new audiences.

In all, 44 awards were presented last night.