Text of speech by Tan Sri Francis Yeoh:
I stand before you this morning to make an exciting announcement indeed - one that is a result of a long, fulfilling journey, one that we have toiled and worked towards, and certainly one we feel is well deserved. YTL Corporation is turning 50, and we are planning on celebrating this half-century mark in style. Time has come for our annual Concert of Celebration, and it will be bigger than we've ever planned before.
Celebrating 50 Years of Running the Good Race
Themed 50 years of running the good race, our celebrations this year come at a timely moment as we, as a company, have realised several goals we have set for ourselves. In striving to live out our historically sound sense of innovation, and our astoundingly simple yet effective corporate strategy of producing world-class products and services at very competitive prices, we are now seeing it all work together.
Our utility businesses of power generation and water- and sewerage services continue to thrive, as does our cement division. Starhill Gallery is a resounding success, the Sentul East and West developments are successfully coming into their own and Pangkor Laut is still winning awards, as our e-commerce initiatives also grow in leaps and bounds.
Our celebrations this year, you see, are not just celebratory -they are thanksgiving, for a journey that has brought us from our humble beginnings in Kuala Selangor to an integrated infrastructure developer with operations on three continents and a combined market capitalisation of over 5 billion US dollars.
So like any 50-year old, we are looking forward to taking a moment off and celebrating what we have achieved. To kick off our shoes, slow down, and reap all we have painstakingly sowed. It has been 50 long years of rapid change, just as Malaysia our home, has grown from a former British colony to an Asian economic powerhouse, leading the way in South East Asia's socio- economic reform and technological advances. We have been blessed to watch our nation grow in this way, and it is this development that enabled companies like YTL to expand beyond the limits of national borders. Nowhere is this clearer than in our utilities division. In 2000, the Group ventured into Australia, acquiring a 33.5% stake in ElectraNet, which operates the electricity transmission grid for the state of South Australia under a 200-year concession.
Our next investment was Wessex Water, which we acquired in 2002. Wessex Water, which operates under a concession in perpetuity, is one of the most efficient water and sewerage companies in the UK, with over 2.5 million customers.
Most recently, in 2004, we acquired a 35% stake in Jawa Power in Indonesia, a 1,220-megawatt power plant that supplies power to the Java-Bali transmission grid, which currently handles approximately 80% of Indonesia's energy consumption. The investment in Indonesia's power generation sector was a sound growth opportunity for our utilities division and has also created the potential to tap into Indonesia's vast infrastructure needs as this nation prepares to spend up to RM245bn over the next five years in toll concessions, express rail projects, cement plants and other power projects.
Our cement business, too, has grown into the second largest cement producer in this country with a capacity of 5 million tonnes. In addition, just this year, we expanded into Singapore with the acquisition of a stake in Jurong Cement, which will also see us gain access to the unlimited potential contained in the Chinese markets.
Looking at where we are today, as I plan for the festivities to commemorate all these achievements, I am often reminded of where we came from. A small family owned construction business, that did simply that -build things. And today, 50 years later, we are pleased to see some things haven't changed. We still build buildings, but we fill them with communities too. We build fancy roadside cafes and restaurants, but we have done so to enhance the quality of life. We have built a big, big company, ladies and gentlemen, but we have built it with heart.
Supporting Arts & Culture in Malaysia
Alongside all the business we do, we have ensured we made the time to give back to the community. Utilising a cause that is very close to us as a family, we have consistently provided our support to the community via sponsorship and funding for music and the arts. Our most recent and possibly our largest single commitment has been to the Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre, a RM35 million architectural masterpiece that has firmly settled in its spot as the undisputable home of the performing arts in Malaysia.
Elsewhere, for the ninth year running, YTL sponsored the highly popular Penang Arts Festival, turning this idyllic island into a centre for traditional and contemporary music, dance, drama and the visual arts.
Our Journey of Thanksgiving to God
Since 1994, we have chosen to celebrate our anniversary every year with a classical music concert for all Malaysians to enjoy. YTL's annual Concerts of Celebration have been our way of sharing the magical quality of music with the community and part of our spiritual endeavours and thanksgiving to God for all his blessings.
Notable concerts we have had particular joy in presenting were the three tenors - Jose Carreras, Placido Domingo and Luciano Pavarotti - and the star of the musical stage Michael Ball.
YTL's 50th Anniversary Celebrations
This year, as we turn 50, we have made plans to make this special tradition into an affair like no other. Over a magical 5-day period we will be organising musical extravaganzas that will sway the most jaded of music aficionados with its variety and pure unencumbered spirit. Come be entertained by a specially crafted comedy set, or perhaps immerse yourself in the holiday spirit with a Christmas special performed by acapella group LiT and the Selangor Philharmonic Choir. Things get more serious with a performance by the highly acclaimed Melbourne Gramma School Orchestra, and finish up with Nuit D'Amour, an evening of operatic arias performed by Malaysia's best.
All these concerts, held at KLPac, will culminate in our most exciting presentation - world-renowned tenor, Russell Watson, accompanied by the critically acclaimed Adelaide Symphony Orchestra. This elaborate open air affair, set to be held in the lush rolling fields of Sentul Park is something we are all very excited about and look forward to sharing with as many Malaysians as possible through a ballot draw with the public.
All these concerts, I am keen to emphaise, will be provided for absolutely free to the public as our labour of love to the magical beauty of music. It is not just about us sharing this experience with Malaysians, but to also emphasise what the music means to us. How it goes far beyong the strum of a harp or the opening chords of the most beautiful soprano. It is about how we see ourselves as a company, and how we see the music as a reflection of all we aim to one day become - world class, timeless and always leaving an indelible mark.
Ladies and gentlemen, the festivities are a month to the day away - if you're all excited, I'm gald, as half my job is done. Thank you for coming again today, and may God continue to bless you and prosper you and give you peace.
Speech delivered by Tan Sri Francis Yeoh
Managing Director, YTL Corporation Berhad
at the Press Conference for YTL 50th Anniversary Concert of Celebration 2005
at JW Marriott Hotel, Kuala Lumpur
on November 17 2005
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