When Kenji Fukuyado took on the CEO role at Uni-Asia Group in April 2020, he knew he was in for an uphill task. The alternative investment company — which offers structured financing, ship charter arrangement, shipping and maritime asset management and real estate investments — was slipping into losses that would hit US$7.5 million ($10.2 million) for its FY2020 ended December 2020. This was a sharp swing from earnings of US$6.6 million in the preceding FY2019.
At the start of 2020, trade volumes had plunged significantly because of the movement restrictions imposed by governments to curb the pandemic. However, thanks to a strong pickup in the shipping market this year, coupled with property investments steadily bearing fruit one after another, Fukuyado can look forward to helming a V-shaped earnings recovery in Uni-Asia’s current FY2021.
In fact, Fukuyado has given a “strong commitment” to turn the company around. “I put pressure on myself to make that strong message because we would have losses for two consecutive years if we were not able to move into recovery,” he tells The Edge Singapore in an interview. Such a situation, he adds, would put a strain on the group’s relationship with investors and the banks.