Al Masaood | Abu Dhabi | UAE


New Year Message – Brian Woodside, Group Chief Financial Officer 

30 December 2021

Following the extraordinary challenges of 2020, the resilience and rapid adaption skills of our employees could be refocused and we entered 2021 in good shape, immediately recording strong commercial and financial results. The lessons learned from 2020 were still useful to keep all of us safe, but I believe a new working dimension has developed across the Group. Building on 4 years of reengineering operations under the new Board, overcoming challenges and working as One Team has become a reactive instinct in us all.


The hard work of incremental operational improvement across all parts of the Group over these years is now paying back each day as the infrastructure of Board approved policies and operating procedures within the governance framework has provided certainty and reduced risk for the shareholders. As the external business environment evolves, this is of course, an ever forward process and currently substantial work is being carried out on risk assessment and an evolved governance structure for the Group. The results of such will be considered by the Board early in 2022.


I am most pleased to note that the strong commercial and financial performance of the Group continued throughout the year, and we are now closing an exceptional 12 months surpassing the budget and setting new highs for revenue and bottom-line results. As a diversified conglomerate of businesses, there will always be units in different places in their market cycles, however, there have been outstanding individual performances across the Group.


In 2021, real work was carried out on developing new business lines and new regional markets, drawing on the insights, experience and intellectual capabilities of our teams. These initiatives are continuing and as converted, will further diversify the Group business offerings in 2022 and beyond.


Supporting the Group’s treasury and trade finance needs, our banking network remain as key stakeholders in supporting progress. They continue to value Al Masaood as among the best in class of any family-owned enterprise in the UAE. Having this kind of accreditation brings a direct business benefit. For the banks, the depth of our financial and risk infrastructure together with the management team are key metrics for their financial profile/evaluation of the Group that will be needed to back expansion and entry into more complex transactions.


As we turn into the new year, we are completing our budgeting process and are now being able see the potential shape and what 2022 might hold for Al Masaood. Given the platform of our 2021 performance, a focus will be on growth, driving higher margins and working capital management. Improving our business unit balance sheets remains key, but there has already been a step change reduction in our working capital employed in operations, such that the finance costs have been very substantially reduced – a direct impact on profits and cash for the shareholders.


On behalf of the Executive Committee, I want to thank all the employees in the Group for their outstanding contribution, undiminished commitment and enthusiasm over the past year, and to wish you and your families a happy and successful New Year.