MARCH 2009
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Message from the CE

Dear Readers

CEOThe state of the global economy has declined significantly since our last Robust. In just a few short months we have regressed to a state of economic crisis last seen in the 1930s.

It is my sense that current volatility will endure until at least the end of this quarter whereafter we may be in a better position to understand the future outlook for our business.

We are experiencing such a fundamental tectonic shift in our financial systems that it is proving difficult to imagine the nature of the future. But we do have our enduring human spirit to light the way forward.

We have experienced a meltdown in Dubai where many project developers have difficulty raising the finance they need to complete projects. Banks have become wary of our sector and in many instances, are not prepared to issue performance bonds even where projects are secure.

Abu Dhabi seems a safer market in the short-term and we are fortunate to have the bulk of our Middle East order book in this emirate.

The Minerals Resource sector is prioritising its capital programs, with many projects being cancelled as a result. The worst seems to be behind us with some expectation that there will be a return to near normalisation by year-end.

In South Africa, our government has committed to increased infrastructure spend, which, combined with lower interest rates and input costs, will support our sector through the crisis.

This is a challenging time for all of us. We have the asset of a great order book and good positions in all our markets. We have good to great management teams in most of our operations and the leadership capability to support our areas of relative weakness. We have a great brand and an enviable track record of major project delivery.

But we cannot afford to be complacent. Apart from just plain hard work, it is diligence in the detail, commitment to our contracted rights and caution with opportunity that will help us through.

We are entering a Business Fitness Regime to ensure we win through the period ahead. This is about Getting in Shape.

  • Trimming the excess - Cost
  • Building Strength - Assets and Balance Sheet
  • Aerobic fitness - Performance Efficiency with Less Cash

Brian Bruce