Message from Chief Executive Officer

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As we end 2019 and look towards the decade ahead, Thai Wah Public Company Limited remains focused on serving our customers consistently and diligently. Amidst a volatile global environment, we continue to build our vision to create value from Farm to Shelf and solidify our aspiration to be a regional leader in starch and starch-based solutions, now with 14 operations located across Asia-Pacific.

2019 was a challenging year for our starch business due primarily to external macro factors such as the Drought, Cassava Mosaic Virus and significant Baht appreciation. We expect the drought situation in Thailand to persist in the medium term and will prepare mitigation and operational plans to address this issue. In 2019 these macro pressures caused significant price and raw material volatility, resulting in a drop in earnings compared to previous years. Although Thailand export volume dropped 2 percent, Thai Wah’s export increased by 18% driven by our key markets China and Taiwan and we continue to gain market share from our competitors and build customer loyalty in our key markets.

To ease these pressures, we have strengthened our supply chain through strategic farm development, building partnerships and collaboration with local governments and industry experts. We support a few thousand Thai Wah farmers by piloting and scaling farm technology and building bio-factories to multiply health stems for distribution. Our farm development platform has expanded to Myanmar, Cambodia and Laos as alternative sources of raw materials. In 2019 we made 2 strategic acquisitions - one in Maesot and another in Tapioca Development Corporation Limited “TDC” - as part of our overall investment and corporate strategy to move towards higher value-added products. Management and operational integration of these acquisitions have been smooth and successful, and we continue to grow these businesses.

We continue to aspire to be the leading tapioca brand in the world. Our Rose brand is the preferred brand for food-grade tapioca starch in China, Taiwan and ASEAN markets. Through several exhibitions and key market channels this year such FIC in China, Thai Fex and FIA, we continue to build our evolution to become a starch-solutions provider and have made strong momentum in gaining market share and better distribution in markets such as Vietnam, Japan and Indonesia. To address a rising middle class in Asia, we aim to serve our customers with better innovative starch solutions and will continue to do so in increasing the variety of our starch solutions such as cassava flour, rice flour, organic tapioca starch and pre-mixes.

Our Food business delivered stable growth for both exports and domestic sales largely driven by Modern Trade, Van Sales and Exports. Food Business profit improved year on year by 22% driven by factory automation and innovation programs as well as operational improvement in our production costs. Participation in international food trade shows have allowed us to reach new customers and expanded our partnership with global FMCG and Retailers, as some of our key products have gained traction in North America, Europe and the Middle East. Expansion efforts in Rice Noodle and expanding into the Vietnam market have registered continuous double-digit growth and we will continue to strengthen these foundations as we seek to build our consumer business across the region with stronger sales and distribution.

Agriculture and Food is one of Southeast Asia’s most important exports and we are committed to serving our consumers and customers better by putting innovation and sustainability at the core of our long-term vision. In 2019, we continued our research with leading local and overseas research institutions to new plant-based ingredients, bioplastic and protein technology, new processing and new formulations. These efforts were enabled by a new R&D hub based at Chulalongkorn University in Thailand. We launched more than 10 new products for both starch and food business and will continue to invest in its growth and innovate for the future, developing a more open innovation ecosystem for partnership and breakthrough technologies in areas of food modification, fermentation, bioplastics and polymer-science.

Although the net profit decreased in 2019 compared to previous year, we remain in a strong cash position with a strong balance sheet. We continue to invest with discipline by measuring Returns on Invested Capital and our policy on generating long term equity value for shareholders, focusing on improving operating cash flow as one of our key performance metrics. This filters down to the way we manage supply chain, working capital, maintenance and renovation and new capital expenditure.

All-in-all, the Company’s net profit for the period from 1 January to 31 December 2019 based on its consolidated financial statements amounted to Baht 68 million (Baht 0.08 / share). On this note, the Board of Directors has resolved to recommend a dividend payment of THB 0.134 per share in respect of the full financial year ended December 31, 2019 which is subjected to shareholder’s approval at the Company’s Annual General Meeting on 27 April 2020.

We are also proud to announce that Thai Wah was selected to list on the “Thailand Sustainability Investment (THSI)” in 2019 by the Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET). This is driven by how we embed sustainability targets in farming, environment, safety and health standards and strive to operationalize our sustainability framework. In addition, we were awarded the ESG 100 for the second consecutive year as well and received the First Sustainability Disclosure Award by Thaipat. We are proud to have received “Very Good CG Scoring” rating in 2019 for our corporate governance from IOD. These awards are testament of our passion to drive change, accountability and transparency across our entire value chain.

Looking forward to the next decade, the Thai Wah family remains focused and committed to deliver our vision in creating Innovation and Sustainability from Farm to Shelf. We thank you for your feedback and encouragement as we embark on our next lap into 2020 and beyond.

Mr. Ho Ren Hua
Chief Executive Officer