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30 companies, 6 business leaders honoured at 18th Singapore Corporate Awards

The Best Chief Executive awards went to (from left) Mr Seah Kiin Peng of BRC Asia for mid-caps, Jardine Cycle & Carriage’s Mr Benjamin Birks for large-caps and Ms Jeannette Chang of Baker Technology for small-caps. PHOTO: BUSINESS TIMES

SINGAPORE - Top companies received accolades at the Singapore Corporate Awards (SCA) 2023 on Thursday for their work in corporate governance and sustaining shareholder returns.

In the 18th edition of the awards, 30 companies and six individuals were honoured. SCA aims to recognise companies listed on the Singapore Exchange (SGX), and individuals in such companies who, through their corporate practices, have helped to raise the Republic’s corporate disclosure standards.

Speaking at the event, guest of honour and Manpower Minister Tan See Leng said corporate leaders should look into three key areas to strengthen corporate governance – sustainability, embracing transformation and caring for the well-being of their workers.

“Having robust corporate governance, which fosters an environment where decisions are made with accountability and responsibility, is a necessary condition for successful business performance and... sustainable growth,” he said.

“A successful business must not just generate profits, it has to also positively impact all of (its) stakeholders.”

Among the winners, CapitaLand Group – which comprises CapitaLand Investment (CLI), CapitaLand Integrated Commercial Trust (CICT), CapitaLand India Trust (Clint) and CapitaLand Ascendas Reit (Clar) – and UOB Group – comprising UOB, United Overseas Insurance (UOI) and UOL Group – bagged the most company awards at five each.

CLI won gold for Best Risk Management and bronze for Best Annual Report, while CICT was awarded silver for Best Investor Relations. Clint and Clar clinched the gold and bronze awards respectively for Best Annual Report.

CLI won the awards under the category for large-cap companies with a market capitalisation of $1 billion and above, while CapitaLand Group’s three real estate investment trusts (Reits) picked up the awards under the Reits and business trusts category.

UOB picked up gold for Best Managed Board and Best Investor Relations, while UOI bagged silver for Best Risk Management. UOL won bronze for Best Risk Management and Best Investor Relations.

UOB and UOL’s awards were under the large-cap category, and UOI’s was under the category for mid-cap companies, referring to those with a market cap of $300 million to less than $1 billion.

Other large-cap winners were Keppel Corporation, ST Engineering, Singtel and DBS.

ComfortDelGro Group clinched three company awards under the mid-cap category through Vicom and SBS Transit. Vicom won gold for Best Risk Management and silver for Best Annual Report, while SBS Transit was awarded gold for Best Annual Report.

The other mid-cap winners were Hong Leong Asia, Del Monte Pacific, Micro-Mechanics (Holdings), Tuan Sing Holdings, Q&M Dental Group, SIIC Environment Holdings and Yeo Hiap Seng.

Sing Investments & Finance went home with three company awards as well. It bagged gold for Best Managed Board and Best Risk Management, as well as bronze for Best Annual Report, under the category for small-cap companies with a market cap of less than $300 million.

The remaining small-cap award recipients were RE&S Holdings, Teho International, Banyan Tree Holdings, CSE Global, Yoma Strategic Holdings, Global Investments and Qian Hu Corporation.

As for the Reits and business trusts category, the other winners were NetLink NBN Trust and Frasers Logistics & Commercial Trust.

For the individual awards, Best Chief Executive went to Jardine Cycle & Carriage’s Mr Benjamin Birks for large caps; Mr Seah Kiin Peng of BRC Asia for mid caps; and Ms Jeannette Chang of Baker Technology for small-caps.

City Developments’ Ms Yiong Yim Ming, Mr Parag Sachdeva of Del Monte Pacific, and Pan-United Corporation’s Mr Teh Tiong Jim were recognised as the Best Chief Financial Officer for the large-cap, mid-cap and small-cap categories respectively.

Ms Judy Ng, co-chair of SCA and executive committee member of the Institute of Singapore Chartered Accountants (ISCA), said: “Embracing the principles of good governance and integrity is the key to foster trust with stakeholders, investors and regulators.”

Behind these winners’ pursuit of growth is “the bedrock of uncompromising good governance”, she added.

The Business Times’ (BT) editor Chen Huifen, who also co-chaired this year’s SCA, said the winners were strongly committed to good corporate governance amid an environment affected by the changing business and geopolitical landscapes, as well as “new conditions caused by technology or innovation”.

“We have seen how generative AI is creating a buzz in recent times and the potential applications for businesses. As generative AI tools gain users in companies, risk and governance policies in corporate boardrooms would have to evolve as well.”

Ms Wong Su-Yen, chairperson of the Singapore Institute of Directors (SID) and SCA co-chair, noted that a strong board of directors that is active in helping to transform organisations is critical to the corporate governance process.

She said: “Board members serve as good conduits – providing strategic direction in an evolving landscape, and ensuring that the company is in compliance with all relevant laws and regulation. Having the right competencies and diversity would help to ensure the robustness and resiliency of the board.

“But above all, integrity of the board and members must never be in doubt or all would be in vain.”

SCA is co-organised by BT, ISCA and SID, and supported by the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority and SGX. THE BUSINESS TIMES