WCT Holdings Bhd, an investment holding company with businesses in engineering and construction, property development and investment in and management of retail malls, hotels, and business aviation, is cautiously optimistic about the current economic outlook, particularly now that Malaysia has transitioned into the endemic phase.
The gradual normalisation of economic and social activities will augur well for the Group’s businesses.
For FY2021, the Group’s revenue remained largely unchanged at RM1.70 billion as compared to FY2020 (FY2020: RM1.70 billion). Despite stagnant revenue growth, the Group achieved a profit attributable to equity holders of the Company of RM97.2 million as compared to the net loss of RM213.6 million registered in FY2020 due to profit growth from all its business segments.
Commenting on the future prospects of the Group, Group Managing Director Dato’ Lee Tuck Fook added that the expected recovery of Malaysia’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) following the increase from 4.3% in January 2022 to 5.4% in March will further contribute to the Group’s growth.
He said that the recovery will enhance WCT Group’s revenue, in light of the resumption of global and domestic economic activity, opening of the international borders, the normalisation of labour market conditions, increase in consumer spending, and the continuation of large infrastructure projects.
The Engineering and Construction Division continues to strengthen the Group’s financial position as it is expected to remain as the key contributor to the Group’s earnings. In 2021, the Group’s Engineering and Construction Division successfully secured approximately RM1.48 billion worth of new contracts despite the competitive landscape and challenging market conditions.
Despite the pandemic and prolonged Movement Control Order (MCO), WCT remained focused on areas such as efficient procurement, supply chain management and project execution which led the Engineering and Construction Division to achieve practical completion for two of its projects namely Lusail Development Project in Doha, Qatar, and MRT2 V204 & S204 alignment from Bandar Malaysia South Portal to Kampung Muhibbah, one of the most challenging alignments of the MRT2 line.
With the improved economic conditions, Malaysia’s construction industry is expected to grow by 16.5% this year with the government’s focus on completing large infrastructure projects and increasing investments in industrial and energy projects. This is a positive indication that would further spur the growth of the WCT’s Engineering and Construction Division, while the Group will continue to concentrate on project execution and seeking new engineering and construction opportunities to replenish its outstanding orderbook which stood at RM4.41 billion as at 31 March 2022.
The Property Development Division maintained its resiliency by expanding its digital presence and adopting multi-online channels. The digital marketing initiatives contributed to roughly 70% of the Group’s 2021 property sales. In 2022, the Group will continue to offer attractive sales incentives through property development launches and offers, while the Group’s retail malls and hotels will continue to provide exclusive customer experiences and distinct F&B options.
On 1 June 2022, Jelas Puri Sdn Bhd, a subsidiary of WCT, entered into a franchise agreement with Marriott International to rebrand the 300-room New World Petaling Jaya at Paradigm Petaling Jaya to Le Mèridien Petaling Jaya, a 5-star luxury hotel under Marriott International. WCT Group aims to be the preferred hotel choice for accommodation, events, and dining in Petaling Jaya by tapping into the larger base under The Marriott Bonvoy programme, the largest loyalty programme in the world with 140 million members. “The recent relaxations and the reopening of the country’s border are very timely with the opening of Le Méridien Petaling Jaya,” Dato’ Lee concluded.