When I think back on the past year, words that come to mind are “change”, “delivery”, “stress”, “uncertainty”, “success”, “relief”, “excitement”, “caution” – in that order. The 2014 financial year was really about driving the implementation of the medium-term strategy we determined in early 2013. I am pleased to report that we have made significant progress against many of the key objectives and initiatives we set out in last year’s report.
The various measures we undertook to restructure our business, which focused specifically on growing revenue and cutting costs, are already resulting in an improved operational performance. We have also concluded a number of strategic initiatives to better leverage our existing assets and to grow into new products and geographic areas.
As a general assessment, I’d say we are about half way through this process of change. Given the scale of some of the operational initiatives being implemented, it’s important to acknowledge that it will take time before they gain traction and the benefits are fully realised. The results are, however, already positive, and the emphasis for the year ahead will be to conclude the restructuring and ensure that the various changes are properly bedded down and deliver the sustainable improvement they are intended to.
In addition to the process to restructure our business, we announced a number of strategic transactions over the past year which are all now in the process of being implemented. We are investing significant time and effort in ensuring that these transactions are executed properly, while at the same time maintaining our focus on the pipeline of new opportunities (of which there are a number), to ensure that these are not neglected.
We continually evaluate our medium-term strategy and are comfortable that it currently remains relevant, without the need for any significant change. We have a really great platform in the existing business and the changes that we have been making are designed to realise its full potential. The risk or concern, if any, has been that in our efforts to improve, we could damage something that was working reasonably well to start with. The recent improvements in performance are very encouraging and certainly show that we are on the right track.
Our Chief Financial Officer, Anthony Leeming, will cover the results for the 2014 financial year in his financial review, which follows. We then go on to discuss our performance against the objectives and focus areas of each of our five strategic priorities in more detail.