MANAGING DIRECTOR’S LETTER
On 21 August 2022, Trustco turned 30. A few days later, the group concluded its first year reporting as an investment entity under IFRS 10. The board of directors firmly believes that reporting as an investment entity aligns with our core business purpose of creating sustainable, medium- to long term wealth for our investors. It also reflects our continued commitment to ensuring that our financial statements are transparent, accurate and provide a clear picture of the group’s financial performance and position.
THE ROAD TO TRUSTCO AS AN INVESTMENT ENTITY
Trustco’s enduring commitment to create sustainable medium- to long term wealth for its investors is demonstrated through the various corporate actions the group has undertaken over the last decade. Notably, the 2015 acquisition of Meya Mining by Trustco Resources marked Trustco’s first partial ownership investment. By 2017, Trustco had secured coinvestors in both its insurance and investments segment, with the group retaining an 80% stake, and in Trustco Resources, where it retained a 98.7% stake.
Since then, Trustco has taken decisive measures to ensure sustainable, medium- to long term wealth creation through capital appreciation and investment income. Notably, the partial exit from its resources portfolio, along with the restructuring of its internal management and governance structures, signalled a significant turning point in the execution of Trustco’s objectives. This restructuring included the adoption and implementation of investment policies, investment charters and exit strategies for all investments by September 2021.
In light of these developments, Trustco had to re- evaluate its reporting requirements within the financial reporting framework. Consequently, Trustco began reporting as an investment entity, aligning its business purpose of generating capital and investment income for investors with its financial reporting.
As a result, Trustco’s trove of coinvestors acquired in the Trustco ecosystem over its 30 year existence would now see Trustco reporting on the fair value of its underlying investments. Trustco had always had its individual coinvestors and owing to its Namibian roots, they numbered almost 5 100 in total, with Namibians constituting more than 3 700 and almost 1400 individual international investors. Trustco’s institutional investors, however, make up for their number in value, with the group having almost 90 institutional coinvestors, of which more than 20 are local Namibian institutions.
Our investors expect strong returns on their investment in Trustco and we remain committed to delivering on that expectation. Throughout the year, our focus has been on maximizing wealth creation for our investors on a per share basis, with particular emphasis on our financial services and resources investment portfolios.
We have achieved a balance of risk and return that we are confident is optimal for our investors and we believe that our continued focus on these portfolios will enable continuous sustainable growth until we eventually exit at the most advantageous time. The details of our investments within these portfolios, as well as their returns, can be found in other sections of this report. We remain committed to providing our investors with accurate, transparent and comprehensive information about our investments in these portfolios.
Unfortunately, while Trustco’s internal returns on its investments remain strong, the same cannot be said for our returns on the stock exchange, which remains a cause for concern. As a result, our board of directors is actively exploring alternatives that will allow us to deliver the reported returns to our investors. We are carefully evaluating various strategies to optimize returns and minimize any negative impacts. We are confident that our ongoing efforts will yield positive results.
Both Trustco as well as its investees had to initiate efforts to protect and enhance the value of our investments by engaging in various legal actions over the course of the past few years. While some of these actions have been successful in achieving our objectives, others have not. We understand that these legal actions can be complex, costly and time consuming, and we are committed to keeping our investors informed of their progress.
The details of these legal actions can be found in other sections of this report. We would like to assure our investors that we take these legal actions very seriously and will continue to take whatever steps are necessary to protect and enhance the value of their investment in Trustco.
Across the board, however, our investments are growing in rich fields. In Namibia, we see significant potential for future growth, particularly in the areas of green hydrogen and oil exploration. The country has a wealth of natural resources, as well as vast reserves of undeveloped solar and wind resources, which make it well-suited for the production of green hydrogen. Additionally, recent oil finds off the coast of Namibia have the potential to significantly boost the country’s economy and provide new opportunities for investment. We believe that these developments have the potential to drive growth in the Namibian economy and create new opportunities for our investors. We are closely monitoring these trends and believe that these developments, coupled with the country’s growing population and expanding middle class, position Namibia to be the key to African growth in the coming decade.
In Sierra Leone, we see particular potential in the diamond mining sector. The country has a rich history of diamond mining and it’s believed that there are still significant reserves that have yet to be discovered. The government has been working to attract foreign investment and improve the legal framework for the mining sector, which could lead to an increase in diamond production in the future. Additionally, the government has also been working on promoting responsible mining practices and ensuring that the mining sector contributes to the development of local communities. We believe that the diamond mining sector in Sierra Leone has the potential to drive growth in the country’s economy and boost the investments already made there.
None of the above would be possible without the support our leadership team has received during the year. I would like to extend our deepest appreciation to the members of our board of directors and our employees for their hard work and dedication to making our group a success. Their contributions have been invaluable in driving our performance and achieving our goals. The board of directors has provided invaluable guidance and oversight, helping us to navigate the complex and ever-changing business landscape. Our employees have been tireless in their efforts to ensure that we are delivering the best possible results for our investors. We are proud to have such a talented and dedicated team and we look forward to continuing to work together to achieve even greater success in the future.
As such, I would like to leave you with a quote from Benjamin Franklin that resonates with our investment philosophy:
“An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.”
We firmly believe that knowledge and understanding are the foundation for making informed and strategic investment decisions.
We remain committed to providing our investors with the information and insights they need to understand our investments and the markets in which we operate. We will continue to invest in our team, our processes and our knowledge to ensure that we can deliver the best possible returns to our investors.
Thank you for your support and trust in us over the last 30 years. We will reward your support in the true Trustconian way – by giving you the exceptional returns you’ve come to expect from us!
|DR QUINTON VAN ROOYEN (57)
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR AND GROUP MANAGING DIRECTOR/CEO