PETALING JAYA: Press Metal Aluminium Holdings Bhd won the coveted The Edge Billion Ringgit Club (BRC) Company of the Year award, while QL Resources Bhd executive chairman Dr Chia Song Kun was named this year’s Outstanding CEO & Value Creator.

Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad graced the event, which started 10 years ago to honour Corporate Malaysia’s crème de la crème, with the aim of encouraging Malaysian companies to be even better at what they do, to grow, to invest, to create jobs as well as be socially responsible. That, in turn, is hoped to inspire others to excel.

“To be recognised and to win awards, companies must grow their profits, be more efficient, invest in technologies, exhibit high returns to shareholders through dividends and stock price,” The Edge Media Group chairman Datuk Tong Kooi Ong said in his welcome address.

A total of 60 awards were presented to 43 companies. A special award for contribution to nation building was presented to The Employees Provident Fund (EPF), whose chairman Tan Sri Samsudin Osman accepted the award from Dr Mahathir.

Chia and Press Metal group chief executive officer (CEO) Tan Sri Paul Koon Poh Keong also received the award from the prime minister, who was accompanied by Tong and The Edge Media Group publisher and CEO Datuk Ho Kay Tat.

When met by The Edge Financial Daily after receiving his award, Press Metal’s Koon said: “We feel very honoured, but this honour goes to all our employees, because they are the ones that contribute and make the company what it is today. So, a big thank you to all of them.

“We also believe that with the award and honour, we will continue to work harder to reward shareholders and the investors,” he added.

After winning The Edge Billion Ringgit Club Company of the Year award back in 2011, QL’s Chia said winning this year’s Outstanding CEO & Value Creator is “out of [his] expectations”.

“I believe, with this award, we have to work harder to deliver and create more value for our stakeholders, especially for our country at this difficult time, we have to pay more tax, and create more employment,” he said.

There are 168 The Edge BRC members this year, down from 170 last year. The all-time high was 185 in 2011.

At RM1.55 trillion, the total market capitalisation of the 168 companies was below RM1.69 trillion last year and RM1.59 trillion the year before, even as earnings came off. BRC members made a collective pre-tax profit of RM101.32 billion in financial year 2018 (FY18), below RM123.19 billion in FY17 and RM108.6 billion in FY16. Collective net profit was RM73.37 billion, skidding from RM90.7 billion in FY17 and RM81.6 billion in FY16.

“While we will recognise many successful companies tonight, the hard truth is that over the past six years, many companies listed on Bursa Malaysia have not done well. This is evident by the continuous decline in profit margins,” said Tong, who also noted how Malaysian companies have not invested enough to become more efficient by embracing technologies and new opportunities, so that profit margins will increase and the companies will be better placed to compete and remain competitive.

That said, BRC members continue to be major taxpayers, paying an estimated RM26.04 billion in taxes in FY18.

The awards are in its 10th instalment this year. Companies with at least RM1 billion market capitalisation as at March 31 each year are added to the annual The Edge-BRC membership list automatically and are evaluated on growth in profit, return to shareholders and corporate responsibility (CR) commitments, among others.

“Our awards, like BRC, are coveted by Corporate Malaysia, because the methodology and criteria are transparent and independently audited — [they] cannot be bought,” Tong said. “[Just as The Edge is] trusted by our readers because we are credible and honest”.

Last year, Petronas Dagangan Bhd was named Company of the Year, trailing AirAsia Bhd which received the award in 2017. Nestle (Malaysia) Bhd was the award recipient in 2016 while Tenaga Nasional Bhd won it in 2015. Prior to that, it was Dutch Lady Milk Industries Bhd (2014), DiGi.Com Bhd (2013), Genting Bhd (2012), QL Resources Bhd (2011) and Supermax Corp Bhd (2010).

Past winners of the Value Creator: Outstanding CEO of Malaysia award are Public Bank Group chairman Tan Sri Teh Hong Piow, former CIMB group chairman Datuk Seri Nazir Razak, AMMB Holdings Bhd chairman Tan Sri Azman Hashim, AirAsia group CEO Tan Sri Tony Fernandes, former S P Setia Bhd president and CEO Tan Sri Liew Kee Sin, former Malayan Banking Bhd president and CEO Tan Sri Abdul Wahid Omar, Axiata Group Bhd president and group CEO Tan Sri Jamaludin Ibrahim, Sunway Group chairman Tan Sri Jeffrey Cheah, Khazanah Nasional Bhd former managing director Tan Sri Azman Mokhtar, Westports Holdings Bhd executive chairman Tan Sri G Gnanalingam and Dialog Group Bhd executive chairman and co-founder Tan Sri Ngau Boon Keat.

OCBC Bank (Malaysia) Bhd, a key partner since the award’s inauguration in 2010, returned as the main sponsor for the 10th year.

“It’s been a decade now since we first started honouring the best of the best, and the winners have always been worthy of the high honours bestowed on them. Our heartiest congratulations to this year’s winners for going the distance and improving significantly on all counts including the important area of sustainability. We must all continue to ride the crest of the wave we are on in order to be both viable and meaningful for the future,” OCBC Bank (Malaysia) Bhd CEO Datuk Ong Eng Bin said, noting how the awards have grown to be recognised as the gold standard for showcasing Corporate Malaysia’s quest to mesh outstanding business acumen with sustainability, inclusiveness and corporate responsibility.

Mercedes-Benz Malaysia is the official car while Swiss luxury watchmaker Jaeger-LeCoultre is the supporting sponsor. The year’s outstanding CEO was presented with the Master Ultra Thin Réserve de Marche timepiece. Present at the dinner were Mercedes-Benz Malaysia president and CEO Dr Claus Weidner, and Iñigo Ohlsson, Jaeger-LeCoultre managing director of Southeast Asia & Oceania.

“I thank OCBC, Jaeger-LeCoultre and Mercedes-Benz for their steadfast support of the BRC. This prestigious annual gathering would not have become Corporate Malaysia’s most anticipated corporate awards ceremony without these excellent partners,” Ho said.

Details on The Edge BRC members and award winners will be published in a special supplement in the Sept 30 issue of The Edge Malaysia weekly.