SINGAPORE (Mar 4): Zico Holdings reported earnings of RM5.8 million ($1.9 million) for FY18 ended Dec, lifted by 10% increase in revenue of RM90.1 million.

The Asean-focused multidisciplinary professional services provider said that the FY18 revenue growth was driven by contributions of its core Advisory and Transactional Services (ATS) segment which expanded 19.3% compared to FY1 ended Dec.

The ATS segment includes corporate finance advisory services under Zico Capital in Singapore and Malaysia, trust services under Zico Trust, as well as asset management services under Zico Asset Management and newly-acquired businesses. This segment also recorded additional revenue contributions from Zicolaw Thailand which was acquired in FY18.

The group’s FY18 performance was also lifted by five months’ contribution from Fragomen (Malaysia), a joint venture with Fragomen Global Immigration Services LLC, the global leader in specialised immigration services. For FY19, Zico will recognise the full 12 months of financial contribution from the joint venture.

The group maintained a profit before tax of RM8.5 million for FY18 compared to RM8.3 million for FY17 despite the adoption of a new accounting standard which resulted in a non-cash charge of RM2.2 million. However, NPAT declined by 15.8% compared to RM6.9 million in FY17 due to higher income tax.

The group also recorded higher employee benefits expense of RM51.5 million, up 14.6% from RM45 million over the comparative periods due to the increase in headcount for the ATS teams arising from acquisition of new business and expansion of existing businesses.

Earnings per share on a fully diluted basis declined to 1.07 sen in FY18 from 1.90 sen in FY17. As at Dec 31, net asset value per share increased to 38.29 sen compared to 37.17 sen a year ago. Cash and cash equivalents amounted to RM16 million.

In his outlook, Chew Seng Kok, MD of Zico, says, “Zico continues to attract specialist professional services players who are drawn to our footprint and to the potential to scale up adjacent competencies across 10 countries. To further strengthen our suite of services across ASEAN, the Group, its subsidiaries and its associated companies will continue to explore strategic alliances, collaborations, and partnerships”

Zicap SG expects to complete a third IPO on the Catalist Board of the Singapore Exchange in FY19.

As at 9.42am, shares in Zico are trading flat at 14 cents.