DeClout to step up investments, slash CEO's pay and 'right-size' some departments in turnaround plan

SINGAPORE - Catalist-listed infocomm technology company DeClout has come out with a corporate and business update after recording its first net loss.

For one, the company will tighten its belt further, including slashing the group CEO's basic pay by 40 per cent to cut costs, cutting senior management and managers' pay by 20 per cent, freezing all staff salaries and embarking on a "right-sizing" of certain departments in the first half of 2018, it said in a Singapore Exchange announcement before the Singapore market opened on Monday (March 5).

With these new measures in place, the board said that DeClout expects its corporate expenses in FY2018 to decline by at least 20 per cent against costs of S$7.6 million in FY2017.

"DeClout will review staff salaries after assessing operational efficiency and financial performance over the course of FY2018, with a view to reinstate compensation upon returning to profitability," it added.

The board said that the group expects to reduce its losses over the course of 2018, and forecast a return to profitability in FY2018.

DeClout recently reported that it slipped into the red in FY2017, to the tune of S$16.4 million, against a net profit of S$7.8 million the year before.

On Monday, it said industry trends such as online-to-offline commerce, trade facilitation and blockchain will be part of the group's "forward growth strategies".

DeClout outlined four strategic initiatives, including accelerating investments in start-ups. It said its pursuit of "unconventional high-growth strategies" will require continued investments, and its shareholder returns "may not reflect its intrinsic value".

"For a company of DeClout's nature, return to shareholder value may be better enhanced in future 'harvests', through possible in-specie share distribution to shareholders, corporate actions, or recycling capital to incubate more portfolio companies," the board added.

DeClout's strategic thrusts in the turnaround plan include consolidating its core digital business, through a focus on subsidiaries such as network infrastructure unit Beaqon, and capitalising on data-based revenue stream expansion, such as value-added analytics.

It also plans on accelerating its investment activity, including intensifying efforts to support startups and co-investing in local data analytics, smart logistics, financial technology and cyber security companies.