My fellow shareholders, permit me to extend a warm and cordial welcome to our 62nd Annual General Meeting of Banks DIH Limited and to thank you for the support, kind sentiments, and congratulatory messages extended during the period of our Anniversary celebrations. It was a truly memorable and rewarding experience.

My fellow shareholders, consequent upon the passing of Mr Richard Fields, the Board of Directors invited Ms Melissa De Santos to fill the vacancy on the Board of Directors, which she accepted and became a member of the Board effective 26 January 2018. Ms De Santos’ Resume is as follows:

Nationality Guyanese
Education
2015-2016 Loma ALMI –
Associate Life Management Institute
2010-2011 BPP University College
Business School (London, UK). Masters – Msc. Management
2009 Centre of Brazilian Studies Levels 1-2 – Brazilian Portuguese
2007-2008 University of Manchester Master of Laws –
LLM- International Business Law
2006-2007 University of Cambridge – Int. Centre -Nations University
International Diploma in Business
2002-2005 University of Guyana
Bachelor of Laws (LLB)
1999-2001 Bishops’ High ‘A’ Levels –
History and Literature

Professional Activities

Member of the National Risk Assessment (NRA) Working Group – Insurance Sector Team – Guyana February 2016 – Present

Chairperson – Fire Section Committee – Insurance Association of Guyana – 2014-205

Work Experience

2012 – Present Demerara Mutual Life Assurance Society Ltd
Legal Officer/Assistant Company Secretary/Manager – Demerara Fire & General
Insurance Company Ltd (Subsidiary of Life Co)

Let us welcome Ms Melissa De Santos to the Board of Directors.

My fellow shareholders, in 2016, Price Waterhouse Cooper conducted the 19th Annual CEO Survey under the theme “Building the Foundation for Growth”. The CEO’s who came from a wide cross section of businesses of various sizes indicated what their priorities are which they thought are most important to society today. Not surprising, was the almost universal top answer:

a skilled, educated and adaptable work force. This outcome was the most important for CEO’s across all regions and business models. Additionally, the survey also revealed that this is also a high priority for the public and a key driver of good growth and productivity.

Also listed on the list of priorities which the survey revealed were :

  • Adequate physical and digital infrastructure
  • High levels of employment
  • Reduced environmental impacts
  • Greater income equality
  • Good health facilities for the work force, and
  • Work force diversity and inclusiveness

The conclusion arrived at was that skilled workers tend to be more flexible, or able to learn new skills and to be entrepreneurial. Such workers can adapt to a changing job market and demonstrate the capacity to drive new ventures to support economic recovery.

My fellow shareholders, ladies and gentlemen, it was Henry Kravis, the American Businessman and Co-Founder of the Private Equity Firm “Kohlberg, Kravis, Roberts and Company” who said:

“If you build a foundation both moral and ethical as well as the business foundation and the experience foundation, then the building won’t crumble”.

Mr Kravis, my fellow shareholders, makes reference to four necessary components in the life of any successful business venture and those are:

  • Business Knowledge and Institutional memory or experience supported by a moral and ethical understanding and an appreciation for the value of relationships as the guiding principle on the journey of life.

My fellow shareholders, what purpose will that good advice serve us as we embark on the continuing of our company’s evolution? My fellow shareholders, you will have noticed from the Annual Reports and other correspondence sent to you that the theme for the new Financial Year of our Company is “Foundation for Growth”. Why was this slogan selected as our Company’s motto and Inspiration for financial year 2017-2018? My fellow shareholders you may recollect that over the past years, we have focused on the value and importance of relationships and how necessary are good relationships as the foundation upon which our Company’s success has been built. I refer to the relationships we enjoy with our shareholders, our employees, our customers and dealers and our suppliers. I am of the view, my fellow shareholders that this reality having been restated and emphasised over these past years, that we all now have a deep and sincere appreciation of the value of good relationships and that having practiced same, we have benefitted in meaningful ways from having inculcated and sustained meaningful and lasting relationships with family members, friends and fellow travellers on the journey of life.

My fellow shareholders, you must have heard it said at some point in your life’s experiences that “we are not all called to be perfect, but rather to be consistent”. With the understanding being that through the practice of consistency in all things, perfection can be attained. This recognition brings us to yet another important question on the journey of life. “How does anyone build a strong foundation for growth and happiness or success?” Additionally, my fellow shareholders, you must have heard it said that the most important attribute or quality required to achieve true success is a positive attitude. Some persons might equate success only in terms of the acquisition of wealth and material possessions or perhaps educational achievements. As important as these may be on life’s journey, in the context of the achieving of self-fulfilment and success, a positive attitude ranks way up there on the list of requirements.

My fellow shareholders, within the context of the rapidly changing environment of the 21st Century, individuals may have various and varying opinions and points of view on the understanding and relevance of having a positive attitude. In as much as individuals may want to consider that their feelings and thinking on the subject of attitude and temperament are the only ones worth considering, I wish to share with you some thoughts taken from the writings of Brad Waters who is a Career Coach, Consultant and author. Mr Waters in his book “Story Launch” offers several life story editing tools to enable taking better control of one’s life. My fellow shareholders, these tools referred to are the habits we practice if we harbour guilt, regret, anger, sadness, fear or resistance within any part of our life’s story. If we learn to practice those skills as recommended by Brad Waters, they will enable us to grow rather than remain stuck in those unhelpful and unhealthy places we so often find ourselves. My fellow shareholders, events and situations which occur in our lives don’t just happen. There is always a cause. We can have much input in how our decisions or lack of decision making influence what happens to us. So quite like an author who writes a book and edits that book to ensure that the story flows smoothly, we too need to learn some life editing skills to keep the story of our life flowing more smoothly.

My fellow shareholders ever so often individuals even organisations such as ours, find themselves unable to make progress or to be successful because of a lack of confidence. Such persons or organisations, appear to have the compelling need to always seek the assurance and approval of others. They appear never to have developed the confidence to make decisions which positively impact their own growth and development. It’s not that it’s wrong to seek advice or to get a second opinion but we need to be aware of the fact that we can remain stuck in one place having to face unnecessary obstacles, by always experiencing the need to seek someone else’s approval. My fellow shareholders, it’s difficult to develop assurance and self-confidence if at every turn we have to seek approval and permission from others. My fellow shareholders we need to recognise that in the final analysis, having considered the information available to us and its impact, we must trust ourselves to make decisions. We must be able to choose our various forms of behaviour doing so with a strong moral and ethical base. When we constantly seek the approval of others, what we are in fact doing, is shifting the responsibility to others to lessen the burden of bearing that responsibility ourselves.

My fellow shareholders, today we have spoken of some of the ways we bring life and meaning to our lives, our relationships and our company to ensure that we can continue to build on the foundation which has been laid. So often my fellow shareholders, too many of us continue to believe that what happens to us, meaning our present life activities and the events of our lives are the result of what others can and may do for us. Some of us pass over the possibility of present and future success for ourselves to others. We fail to recognise the value and importance of being engaged in the business of life and living. My fellow shareholders, the worst possible thing we can do to ourselves is to fail to accept that we must be a part of life and living which goes on around us. We shouldn’t just give up and drop out of life content to remain in the shadows and on the side lines of life. And this really is the reason why we are here. The happiness, success and well-being we achieve is directly related to the quality of life we live each day. In other words, my fellow shareholders, the richness of day to day living that we allow ourselves to achieve decides our state of well-being. It’s more than how well we eat, how much sleep we get, our personal hygiene habits and where we live. Happiness and success have to do with how well we are engaged or connected with the world around us which adds meaning to our lives. My fellow shareholders the future success of our company and our connection with the world around us, is the responsibility of all of us individually and collectively. It’s related to just how well we are engaged in the life and well-being of our company doing all that we can do to ensure that the foundation which was laid continues to serve the purpose of encouraging future growth and development.

Chairman's Report

My fellow shareholders, it is with pleasure that I present my report on the performance of Banks DIH Ltd Group for the period ended 30 September 2017, and to advise on the improved results of the Group. Third Party revenue was $30.006 billion compared to $28.763 billion in 2016, an increase of $1.243 billion or 4%. The Trading Profits from operations for the Group was $6.196 billion compared to $5.066 billion recorded in 2016, an increase of $1.130 billion or 22.3%.

The Group’s Net Asset Value per share has increased from $31.72 to $34.33 by 8% and the Company has increased its dividend proposal to shareholders to $1.04 per share unit resulting in an overall cost of $884.0 million.

My fellow shareholders, the improved results were made possible as a result of the increases in sales of our Malt products, Aerated and Liquor beverages and the Food products. Additionally, further benefits accrued from improved production efficiencies resulting from our Capital Investments in Plants and machinery. The Company also benefited from the reduction in prices paid for several key raw and packaging materials which included sugar and pre-forms. Prudent management of our asset base and financial resources also contributed to the overall results.

My fellow shareholders, while the global economy experienced some shocks as a result of the recent general elections in the United States of America, there were marginal improvements resulting from the increases in commodity and oil prices. Our Company weathered the effects of an artificial increase in foreign exchange rates which affected the acquisition costs for raw and packaging materials, plant and machinery spares and capital equipment, and the availability of foreign exchange for the payment of goods and services. The introduction of an Environmental Levy of $10.00 per container on all non-returnable glass and PET containers, drew an immediate response as consumers reacted to a new pricing reality. As a consequence, the predictable reduced consumer spending along with the overarching effects of reduced export earnings in the Agricultural Sector affected overall retail sales.

Capital Expenditure

My fellow shareholders, our recapitalisation of the Company’s Production, Distribution, Power Generation Facilities and Central Services was continued in 2017. Our Distribution Warehouse was extended with the addition of 15,900 square feet of new storage space. A 1.7 MW generating set was added to increase our generating capacity. A new Malts in-take system was installed in the Brewery. The Beer Bottling Plant benefited from the installation of a crate washer and a new Cleaver Brooks Boiler. The modernisation of the Trisco Cookie, Cracker and Snack lines was continued with the acquisition of new packaging equipment and machinery. The modernisation of the Demico House facilities and the new Vehicle Workshop continued and these projects are to be completed in 2018.

Additionally, my fellow shareholders, the services offered by our Sales and Marketing team, were further enhanced through the introduction of handheld devices for the Preselling Department. This innovation has resulted in cost-savings, better management of products and services and a more satisfied customer base in terms of the time saved between the placement and the filling of orders. Our focus for the new financial year will be further investments in solar energy, an initiative which was tested and introduced in 2017 at our Main Street Qik Serv Restaurant.

Dividends

The Board of Directors declared a first interim dividend of $0.27 per share unit which was paid on 31 May 2017. A second interim dividend of $0.27 per share unit was also paid on 26 October 2017 and now the Board recommends a final dividend of $0.50 per share unit, with the overall dividend per share unit held of $1.04 or an overall cost of $884.0 million.

Growth in Shareholder’s Value

We continue to evaluate our traditional business model to create wealth for shareholders through the creation of new synergies, the implementation of finance and marketing initiatives and continuing emphasis on cost reduction strategies.

From the Net Profit of $3.888 billion, a dividend payment of $802.0 million is proposed leaving the amount of $3.086 billion for transfer to Retained Earnings. The shareholder’s net asset value per share is now $34.33 per share as compared to $31.72 in 2016.

The last trading price on the Stock Exchange as at Monday, 29 January was $ per share.

Current Litigation Matters

On 1st April 2016, Guyana Revenue Authority consented to a substantial tax write off for a local manufacturing Company. Acting on legal advice, Banks DIH wrote to Guyana Revenue authority claiming that it was entitled under Article 149D of the Constitution to be treated equally by the State as it treated the local manufacturing Company’s liability. Guyana Revenue Authority did not respond favourably. As a result, Banks DIH acting on legal advice caused to be filed in the High Court of Guyana, legal proceedings against Guyana Revenue Authority and the Attorney General of Guyana, claiming “Inter alia”:

“ … a declaration that Banks DIH Limited is entitled under Article 149D of the Constitution to have the Guyana Revenue Authority treat its liability for Consumption Tax for the years 2001 – 2006 and its liability for Excise Tax for the years 2007 – 2016 equally or materially in similar manner as the Guyana Revenue Authority treated a local manufacturing Company’s liability for the same taxes during the same periods as embodied in the Consent Order dated 1st April, 2016. The proceedings by Banks DIH are pending in the High Court of the Supreme Court of Judicature.”

Quality Control and Environmental Responsibility

The Company continues to comply with requirements which enable it to manufacture products that conform to international manufacturing standards. The Company continues to assign resources to obtain such improvements and to enhance our production efficiencies. For 2017, the Soft Drink and Novelty/Dairy Plants successfully completed re-certification with Lloyds Register Control and South America Limited for the following:

ISO 9001: 2008 – Quality Management System
ISO 22000: 2005 - Food Safety Management System
FSSC 22000: 2014 - Food Safety System Certifcation
ISO/TS 22002-1: 2009 - Prerequisite Programme on Food Safety
ISO/TS 22002-4: 2013 – Prerequisite Programme on Packaging Manufacturing

Additionally, we were successful at the Finance, Environment and Safety Audits that were conducted within our Company by the Coca Cola Administration. The Company performed exceptionally in the Guinness League of Excellence which resulted in the Company earning the Second position in the Americas and Fourth worldwide for the manufacture of Guinness Stout as at 30 September 2017.

The Company operates within the principles of sustainability so as to ensure the Health and Safety of its employees and to reduce its impact on the environment. Our commitment to environmental responsibility is reflected in the ISO re-certification 14001: 2015 and ISO 18001: 2007 – Environmental and Safety Standards in our manufacturing processes, and our plans to invest in solar energy panels, as an alternative energy source which is intended to save cost and preserve the environment.

Community Relations/Partnerships

Our relationships with the communities in which we operate have been very strong and established over years of goodwill. Our Company’s theme for 2017 was “Building Relationships”. Fellow shareholders, your Company continues to build on the already strong relationship it shares with the Guyanese people, in the form of programmes such as sponsorship of Brand Ambassadors, Sports Event, Bursary Awards, Apprenticeships/Works-study and Academic Scholarships.

Future Outlook

While our Company has performed well in 2017, we have to continue revisiting our strengths and areas for improvement. The uncertain global and local economic environment together with the effects of changing global weather patterns are factors which will adversely affect our Company. We have to continue to examine areas in which we can diversify our business portfolio.

The Future & Beyond

My fellow shareholders, as we look to the future and what it holds, the reality is that most companies want to grow their business but seem to be unable to sustain the business model over the long term, beyond the next Annual Report. My fellow shareholders, growing a business requires having in place the right people with the right attitude and moral grounding, equipped with the best possible education and training. Additionally, there is also the need for carefully selected strategic partnerships meaning positive relationships and products and/or services with a strong market place demand. Parallel to these fundamental requirements, is also required a strong operational foundation to reduce the risks to the business over time. My fellow shareholders, for Banks DIH Limited to grow and to sustain its momentum into the future, there are some things we need to do for long term success.

We need to ensure that there is a pool of talent from which can be drawn the skill sets and resources necessary to move the business forward. Without the right people, a business can’t grow and it certainly makes it difficult to sustain momentum overtime. Business is about people and without the right people, a business can’t grow and mature. What this requires my fellow shareholders, is to continually refresh and recharge the talent pool in support of the organisation’s business model and needs. We need the support of the Primary and Secondary Schools, the technical, vocational and tertiary institutions of learning to support the continuing replenishment of the talent pool. The realities of a 21st century world have served to highlight deficiencies which need to be corrected.

Additionally, my fellow shareholders, to be prepared for the future we need to ensure that there are operational efficiencies in place and in force across the company. Efficiencies my fellow shareholders, are not limited to our production plants. We need to sustain a culture which drives costs down and embed a mind-set within the culture of the company that makes employees sensitive to costs and methods to streamline how the company operates. We also need my fellow shareholders to recognise how to connect the dots of opportunities. This in turn helps to ensure that all that we do within the company is in alignment with the business model to create wealth and sustain growth.

Having said that, my fellow shareholders, the word entrepreneur is no longer just a business expression anymore. Within the context of our rapidly evolving society, it’s now a way of life. All of our employees who interact with the public and are the first line of encounter with the public, must always embrace an entrepreneurial attitude to recognise and to seize the right opportunities especially those that others don’t see to enable the business not only to grow but to sustain itself over time.

My fellow shareholders, it’s difficult to sustain growth when we have to operate in an environment where we are constantly being overly reactive rather than proactive. Sound decision making is a matter of good judgement and the ability to identify the right timing to assure that momentum is continued and never disrupted.

Finally, my fellow shareholders, as we consider and reflect on the future, and what it holds for us and our company, I am reminded of a quote from the inaugural address made on the 4 March 1933 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt as he contemplated the difficult task of bringing the USA back to its feet after the Great Depression. President Roosevelt said “the only thing we have to fear, is fear itself”. My fellow shareholders we cannot allow fear of the future and what it may hold, to prevent us and our company from growing. To sustain growth, you must have the mind-set of embracing risk as you would embrace a loved one. Whenever one is afraid or unwilling to share one’s thoughts and ideas, it becomes difficult to take ownership of the company’s needs and we forfeit our place and role in the wider society. Sustaining growth requires that we share our own momentum with others. It demands that we have their best interests at heart. It demands not only a strong team effort, but a clear understanding of working together and benefitting from each other’s strengths. When diversity of thought is embraced, it serves as a powerful unifier to make the best use of various forms of thinking and opinions within each business unit and the company as a whole. My fellow shareholders, when sustainability becomes central to the thinking of the business, we will be better able to sustain growth and be better able to remain ahead of the competition. To get there my fellow shareholders, we must be like pioneers, breaking new ground, forging new paths which others do not see, doing so with the commitment to see the process through to the end. Hopefully by working together with enthusiasm and purpose we can infuse our company with a new found sense of purpose and excitement, thereby encouraging further growth and development.

Acknowledgement

I wish to thank our Management Team and Employees for their commitment and dedication to those values which have contributed to the growth and development of the Group. I also wish to thank my fellow Directors for their continued support, encouragement and guidance throughout the year, and our valued Shareholders, loyal Customers, reliable Suppliers, Businesses and Consumers who continue to support our products and services.

In conclusion my fellow shareholders, ladies and gentlemen, permit me on my own behalf and that of the Board of Directors to extend to you all and your loved ones, an exciting, productive and rewarding 2018.

Financial Reports For Year Ended 30 September 2017