2008 was a challenging year but also one marked by our focus on streamlining our operations, controlling our expenses, and repositioning our business portfolio. This focus has been a direct result of the company’s conservative approach that was adopted since its inception, which subsequently led to a policy of well balanced distribution of profits.
This year we continued to work to improve the company’s performance through the consolidation of its portfolio of businesses, while restructuring others. However, few could have predicted how deeply the tightening of credit markets and the resulting global financial crisis would affect their performance.
For sometime ISKAN had been sceptical about stock market and real-estate valuations regionally, and had taken a conservative, yet a pragmatic approach towards their regional expansion within the investments sector. The company achieved unprecedented results during the first three quarters of the year, while our performance during the last quarter was affected as a result of the financial crisis’s repercussions. With that in mind, ISKAN has not incurred major losses.
Despite the decline in its financial performance, ISKAN’s overall achievements are considered as one of the best in Kuwait, while its shares maintaining a steady growth and not incurring significant losses. We achieved meaningful objectives in reorganizing and restructuring the business, which allowed us to position ISKAN strongly for the future through an optimized business portfolio.
ISKAN has reached the final stages in its efforts to completely shift its business activities into an integrated investment company, rather than just a finance company. Based on this new policy, it is expected that the company will achieve positive results in the coming years, due to particularly directing its efforts in operating within the real estate investment sector as well as placing a thoroughly developed plan that would meet the company’s financial obligations by the end of the year. As a result we expect to be in a strong position to manage the current economic downturn and for our organisation to become more competitive and achieve better performance in the future.
Despite 2008 proving to be one of the most difficult in the company’s history, our policy of operating a streamlined and consolidated business and reducing costs has positioned us with the maximum flexibility to gear up to opportunities in 2009. I expect this to move forward with greater clarity and confidence, which will result in good shareholder value.
On the behalf of the Board of Directors, I would like to pay tribute to His Highness, The Amir Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Jaber Al Sabah for his wise guidance and leading vision of turning Kuwait into an international financial and commercial centre. I would also like to thank our shareholders, business partners, clients, and suppliers for their ongoing trust and dedication. I also acknowledge the valued contribution of ISKAN’s directors, management, and staff. Their hard work and commitment have made our achievements of the past year, and of future years, possible.
We now look forward with confidence to a new chapter in the growth and progress of ISKAN, as we embrace imaginative and innovative strategies that will transform the nature and status of our company. I look forward to continued success in the years ahead.