I had the opportunity to attend Kingsmen Creative’s AGM on 26th April 2012. This year, the AGM was held at a new room on the ground floor near the main entrance. This room was previously part of a showroom showcasing Kingsmen’s designs to potential clients. In the previous year, the AGM was held in another room in one of the upper floors. That room has since been converted to a design studio due to the growth of Kingsmen. When I was signing in my attendance before entering the room, Andrew, the Group General Manager noticed me and he jokingly said, “You also need to sign in ah?”. I was humbled by that comment. It’s not as if I’m a substantial shareholder of the company but he surely made me feel at ease. I also asked him how come the AGM has shifted to a new place. He said the other room on top has been converted to a design studio and he joked that next year, the AGM might have to be held outside the building under a tentage. The growth of Kingsmen surely bodes well for the shareholders.
Before the AGM kicked off, Andrew, gave a snapshot of how Kingsmen fared for the year. The AGM proper began after that. I will summarise below the salient points of the AGM.
- One shareholder asked about the competitors of Kingsmen. Benedict Soh, the co-founder and Executive Chairman, said that the competitors vary for each division. He also said something very significant. He said that Hans Bruder, Managing Director of Octanorm, told him, “No other company in the world has the same breadth of services as Kingsmen”. I felt elated at hearing this. Ben joked that now he has someone to quote instead of him always saying that Kingsmen is a strong company.
- 70% of Kingsmen’s clients are repeat customers. Ben said that clients come back to Kingsmen just like how patients always visit the same family doctor for illnesses. Word-of-mouth recommendations have also helped Kingsmen’s business.
- Revenue contributions from Singapore takes a huge percentage of total revenue. Many of the projects done overseas are still billed in Singapore as the Singaporean teams are involved in the project overseas even though the clients are overseas clients.
Honestly, there weren’t many questions asked during the AGM this year unlike the previous year. I learnt more about the business last year than this year. Probably, the rising share price placated the investors present and thus, didn’t bother asking much questions.
After the meeting, a few of the shareholders and I had the chance to chat with Simon Ong, the other co-founder and Group Managing Director. I asked about the succession plan for Ben and himself. He said that the systems and processes are in place and the 2nd echelon of managers are already trained and are capable. If they were to leave tomorrow, the business will still run as usual. Both of them are taking a step back to look at the various competition so that they would not be taken by surprise if something crops up. Simon also said that shares are issued as bonuses to employees so that they have a belonging to the company. Almost 100% of the senior managers and almost 60% of total workforce (including overseas employees) own shares of Kingsmen. Furthermore, Simon added that training is very much emphasized in Kingsmen. This was the first time I chatted with Simon and I realised he is really affable and knows his stuff as a businessman.