WHEN, IN THE COURSE OF HUMAN EVENTS, IT BECOMES NECESSARY FOR ONE COMPANY TO DIVERSIFY THE BAND THAT HAS CONNECTED IT, AND TO ASSUME AMONG THE POWERS OF THE ECONOMY THE SEPARATE AND EQUAL STATUS TO WHICH THE COMPANIES ACT AND THE CONSTITUTION ENTITLES IT, A DECENT RESPECT FOR THE OPINIONS OF MANKIND REQUIRES THAT IT SHOULD DECLARE THE CAUSES WHICH HAVE IMPELLED IT
I am, of course, paraphrasing the unanimous declaration of independence of the United States, but the impetus to explain the events that led up to a current situation seems apt at this point in Trustco’s history.
Trustco has had another prodigious year, with accolades galore while charting a course into new territories for us in an attempt to secure our future, but unlike the United States in its declaration, Trustco does not claim independence from our imperial master, the economic world and the country we’re rooted in. Trustco has always been a Namibian group, and during this year we’ve strived to strengthen the bond we have to our nation. It is thus perhaps more apt that we see ourselves in the light of our own constitution than that of the global superpower.
WHEREAS RECOGNITION OF THE INHERENT DIGNITY AND THE EQUAL AND INALIENABLE RIGHTS OF ALL MEMBERS OF THE HUMAN FAMILY IS INDISPENSABLE FOR FREEDOM, JUSTICE AND PEACE
Trustco has experienced a sense of peace in Namibia that has given us the freedom to flourish. Trustco placed second in the prestigious Sunday Times/Johnnie Walker Top 100 Companies Awards in 2015, making a Namibian company one of the top performers over a five-year period on the JSE.
Trustco was also proclaimed to be “The Best Company To Work For” in Namibia for 2015, by Deloitte’s survey of the same name, after placing third in the 2014 survey. But, it was not just external accolades that perched Trustco’s flag atop a field of achievements.
With our South African operations streamlined, the insurance segment, a stalwart of our group, managed to achieve its organic growth targets and once again contributed meaningfully to our bottom line.
Our new resources segment started with the acquisition of a Namibian diamond mine and Namibian diamond polishing factory.
With only a few items outstanding to finalise the acquisition and consolidate it into the group, the new segment is off to a running start, and I expect it to provide significant value to shareholders in the coming years. Aiming for greater beneficiation along the entire value chain will not only set us apart from other competitors, but will also ensure that we deliver a product that is not only flawless in its beauty, but also unmatched in its sustainability and wealth creation from mine to market.
Our investments segment maintained its expected growth during the year. Our President Geingob’s Harambee Prosperity Plan has significant sections directed specifically towards land provision, and the investment segment capitalized on this drive, providing 291 plots of serviced land in the Elisenheim development during the year.
Our banking and finance segment had significant growth this year, as the financing arm flexed its muscles and showed what it was capable of, while the banking arm got off the ground, and continues to make headway into becoming a full-fledged local commercial bank.
With the employees that carried our great group to such heights behind me, I could not help but be impressed by their resilience, and embarked on a revolutionary expansion of our broad-based employee retention plan, making every employee employed for more than one year, now and in future, a shareholder in the company. This not only aligns employee goals with that of the shareholders, but as it turns out, companies with employee ownership consistently outperform others in the market. No shareholder can complain about outsized returns, after all.
WHEREAS THE SAID RIGHTS INCLUDE THE RIGHT OF THE INDIVIDUAL TO LIFE, LIBERTY AND THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS
But, as our constitution states, we only have a right to the pursuit of happiness – happiness itself is not a right. And so it is with Trustco as well. Trustco’s Namibian roots occasionally means we are anchored to events beyond our control, such as the emerging markets implosion and its knock-on effect to our economy, as a result of South Africa’s currency woes.
Let it not be said, though, that Trustco is not valiant in its pursuit of happiness. My team and I always maintain a forward focus, looking for strategic opportunities to hedge our growth while allowing for above normal returns on the upside. This year was no exception, and several of the milestones we’ve aimed at are starting to bear fruit. We anticipate that several more will start blossoming during the coming year, resulting in a bountiful harvest for all our shareholders.
Trustco has built up a strong balance sheet, and we plan on tapping that well to make full use of its intrinsic value in the short-term. The well of potentiality in Trustco goes deep, and we’re quite enthusiastic to unlock its value for all shareholders.
WHEREAS THE SAID RIGHTS ARE MOST EFFECTIVELY MAINTAINED AND PROTECTED IN A DEMOCRATIC SOCIETY
I, of course, cannot claim that all these plans are mine alone, or that I alone executed them. Our elected board has been my constant source of guidance and support, and I’d like to warmly thank them for their tireless work and support during the past year. My executive team has served as my right hand during the year, and I thank and commend them for their efforts. By holding themselves to a high standard they ensure that maximum value is added for our shareholders.
Trustco’s employees, the lynchpin that keeps Trustco performing at the top of the line year after year, are the “assets” that truly make our group great. Thank you for everything you do to at least keep this shareholder smiling.
And to all our stakeholders, our customers, our loyal friends and our investors – we could not have done any of this without you. Thanks for joining us on this journey – but we’re not even close to completing it. I think the next few years will be even more spectacular and we intend to change to “second gear”.
WHEREAS WE, THE PEOPLE OF NAMIBIA, ARE COMMITTED TO THESE PRINCIPLES
Just as the people of Namibia remain committed to their principles as enshrined in our constitution, so too I remain committed to Trustco, and its continuing growth. Whilst the road behind was rocky and the path we now travel is smooth and even, I am poignantly aware that we should never be satisfied with the status quo. Together we’ve laid the groundwork for truly exceptional growth and I intend to turn that possibility into a reality. Let’s make that journey together.
Dr Quinton van Rooyen