On behalf of the Board of Directors of PPG / the Group, I am pleased to present the Annual Report and Financial Statements for the financial year ended 30 September 2017.
This year we leveraged our core businesses’ strengths and have seen another year of improved revenue growth and earnings from 2016 to 2017. The Group has overcome significant economic headwinds as this is a challenging time for businesses in global education, with rapid changes taking place in the sector. Consumers moving to e-books and online purchases also impacted the outlook for book retailing. These changes offer big opportunities for PPG, but also present risks and transitions that we will need to manage in some of our traditionally strong businesses.
We see ourselves as an education solutions provider and are committed to improve the education standards in the region. We are also on a mission to further strengthen our expertise and reach into all sectors of the market thereby diversifying our income streams which will add value for our shareholders.
In the past year, PPG has responded to the needs of learning and teaching in the 21st century by joining up with FrogAsia Sdn Bhd to deliver free revision digital quizzes via 1BestariNet to students in Malaysia. This helps the Group to remain relevant by embracing technological innovation and diversifying beyond publishing, to offer e-learning and technology-driven information solutions.
We also pride ourselves for not merely being a publisher, but rather a content creator. In creating new contents of the best quality, our team of regional office in Thailand worked with Macmillan Publisher and Suan Dusit University in producing the best educational content for Thailand market. PPG values the importance of content and continually explores the best authors in the ASEAN region.
It does not stop there. Education, to Pelangi, is a lifelong process. Thus, to cultivate healthy reading habits, we have begun partnering with Yayasan Literasi Anak Indonesia (YLAI) and launching Indonesian Graded Reading Programme in Bahasa Indonesia. We are also constantly innovating and developing new ways to engage our readers, to accompany them on their exploration of education by working with popular educational cartoon characters such as Smurfs, Boing, Origanimals, and Regal Academy. The Group has also been working with talented authors and expanding Pelangi’s publications to Korean educational comics that helped widening the Group’s range and variety of products.
PPG is well-prepared for continued penetration into the digital learning sector which has the potential to revolutionise education and is the key area for future growth. We see digitisation as an opportunity rather than a threat. It holds the potential to expand distribution of our content, to monetise that content in new ways and to radically change our cost structure. To harness this potential, PPG will continue to develop and explore new, innovative digital products to benefit the young generation.
The Group is ambitious in transforming conventional education delivery to digital education for the new generation, in line with the worldwide trend in the education industry and the Malaysian Education Blueprint 2013-2025. The Group has also intensified its efforts in expanding into the higher education market, through Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET), where funds have been allocated by the Malaysian government in the 2018 Budget.
Young people will play a vital role in ASEAN’s future where youth under the age of 30 make up one of the largest segments of the community. We are confident that education remains an attractive investment opportunity with the growth potential to enable us to serve more students around the world and deliver good, sustainable returns to our shareholders. Thus, ASEAN markets outside Malaysia through our team in regional offices - Thailand and Indonesia, will be the development focus for PPG in coming years. It is our passion to improve the education standards to neighbouring ASEAN countries.
I would like to express my utmost and sincere appreciation to the employees, business associates, financiers, government bodies and authorities, shareholders and fellow Board members. May we continue to work together to achieve greater growth and success for the betterment of the PPG.
Datuk Sum Kown Cheek
Executive Chairman and Group Managing Director