The first half of 2008 saw a robust economy, while the second half suffered a setback, making future prospects uncertain.
However, despite the internal and external economic uncertainty, we still sought to achieve substantial growth, and this effort reaped significant fruit.
We reestablished the medium- and long-term strategy of LGI, thus embodying our future goal and vision. We also endeavored to bolster the competitiveness of our human resources and to establish a culture of innovation in order to take greater leaps forward.
In the development of our natural resources, we made every effort to boost our existing business of exploring petroleum and coal. This has made it possible for us to begin full-swing production in the West Bukha oilfield of Oman, and the MPP bituminous coal mine in Indonesia in 2009. We have also become engaged in the Wantugou bituminous coal mine business in China. As such, we made efforts to secure future grounds for generating profits.
Furthermore, we launched Twin Wine, a subsidiary that specializes in importing wines, and we have great hopes that this will lead the way in boosting the Korean wine market. We changed the status of our Pixdix operation into a subsidiary that specializes in the distribution business. This is a turnaround that is geared toward enhancing professionalism and customer value.
The ongoing financial crisis and sluggish economy is likely to continue throughout 2009, and our business risk will also increase due to uncertain economic variables, such as the price of raw materials and foreign exchange rates.
However, LGI has overcome many crises in the past, and, in doing so, has created the best value for its customers.
We are committed to overcoming the current difficulties and developing new business opportunities.
To that end, we will push to develop natural resources in developing countries with great potential for economic growth, as well as related plant and infrastructure construction projects. Through this country-specific marketing, we will proactively respond to the industrial needs of these areas, and secure new resources and markets.
We will also continue to develop appropriate investment projects, and to boost our ability to improve our business structure and our management efficiency. We are committed to embodying customer value and differentiating our businesses from others, which will keep us viable in the challenging business environment of the future.
What LGI is today, after having overcome various crises and having successfully challenged the seemingly impossible over the past 50 years, is a result of your strong support and patronage.
We will not remain complacent with the status quo, but will aim for higher goals that will reward you for your efforts and faithfully practice our management principle (Jeongdo).
I look forward to receiving your continued support and wish you a Happy New Year.
Thank you very much.