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Sembcorp shines at S'pore Corporate Awards
[SINGAPORE] Sembcorp Industries emerged the biggest winner at the Singapore Corporate Awards last night.
The energy, water and marine group clinched accolades in three out of five categories: its group president and chief executive officer, Tang Kin Fei, was named Best CEO for companies with $1 billion and above in market value, and the company won gold in the Best Managed Board and Best Annual Report categories.
In all, 29 firms and six individuals were honoured for demonstrating high standards in corporate governance and disclosure practice at the awards ceremony last night at Resorts World Convention Centre, where President Tony Tan Keng Yam was the guest of honour.
Sembcorp chairman Ang Kong Hua said the firm was honoured and, at the same time, humbled by the awards, as the real test of the firm's worthiness and contribution will be in the future when it continues to grow and deliver value.
"We believe that governance is an integral part of ensuring we do the right things in the right way," he said. "And that good governance is a source of competitive advantage and the foundation of value protection and creation when it is a living process, integrated into the business and embraced as part and parcel of the company's culture and DNA."
Other notable winners were CapitaLand, whose Reits - CapitaCommercial Trust, Ascott Residential Trust and CapitaRetail China Trust - swept all the awards under the Reits and Business Trusts category for the Best Annual Report; DBS, which won gold for Best Managed Board and silver for Best Investor Relations; Baker Technology, which got a gold award for Best Managed Board and a silver for its annual report; and Tuan Sing, which bagged a silver for Best Managed Board and a gold for Best Annual Report.
Singapore Press Holding, which owns The Business Times, won gold for Best Investor Relations.
Said its chief executive officer Alan Chan: "This award is an endorsement of our investor relations strategy at SPH. We help the investment community understand the company's plans through regular and timely engagement."
The annual awards, started in 2005, are organised by the Institute of Singapore Chartered Accountants (ISCA), Singapore Institute of Directors (SID) and The Business Times.
The "Oscars" of listed companies recognise excellence in corporate governance and shareholder communication; awards are given for best managed board, best chief executive officer, best chief financial officer, best investor relations and best annual report.
The well-rounded quality of the overall candidate pool this year shows that the general level of corporate governance has improved, said ISCA president Gerard Ee, who added that he was heartened by it.
With the recent debate on the lapse of public trust, listed companies need to work even harder to win the confidence of their various stakeholders, said BT editor Alvin Tay. "Marketing gurus have been saying that customers are no longer buying your products, but buying what you stand for - your corporate soul. I believe the same can be said for your investors and employees."
Companies are also realising that there is no running away from good corporate governance, said SID chairman Willie Cheng.
"If managements of corporates are not displaying proper corporate behaviour, then ultimately the regulators and capital market will impose the discipline upon them. However, the more progressive companies don't view disclosure requirements as a necessary nuisance. Instead, they are turning it around and using corporate governance as a competitive edge."
When companies have the "deep-rooted trust" of stakeholders, this can bring about many tangible and intangible advantages, he added.