The Motley Fool

Happy 48th Birthday, Singapore!

NationalDayAs we join together to celebrate our nation’s 48th birthday, let’s look at three companies that have contributed positively to the growth of Singapore over the years.

Coming to Singapore’s Defence

Singapore Technologies Engineering Limited (SGX: S63) has been the backbone of Singapore’s defence since 1967 under a company called Chartered Industries of Singapore (CIS).

In 2000, ST Engineering acquired CIS through ST Automotive, a subsidiary of ST Engineering, and the new company was named ST Kinetics. Now, ST Kinetics prides itself as having Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) as its main defence customer.

Some of the weapons and vehicles produced by CIS include the locally license-built Colt M-16S1 (a soldier’s “first wife” during his National Service days); Ultimax 100 SAW; Singapore Assault Rifle – 21st Century, or SAR21 for short; BIONIX Infantry Fighting Vehicle; TERREX 8×8 Armoured Personnel Carrier and BRONCO All Terrain Tracked Carrier.

ST Logistics, another subsidiary of ST Engineering, also provides e-Mart services to SAF camps.

Early this year, ST Engineering clinched a deal from Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) to design and build eight new vessels to replace the Republic of Singapore Navy’s existing Fearless-class Patrol Vessels, incidentally designed and built by ST Marine, another subsidiary of ST Engineering, in the 1990s.

Without proper weapons and capabilities, SAF would not be a dominant military force in the world. ST Engineering certainly had a part to play in shaping Singapore’s defence. Now, countries such as Indonesia, Brunei, Peru, Morocco and Thailand use our Ultimax 100 SAW and SAR21. That’s definitely something we Singaporeans should be proud of.

ST Engineering trades at 23 times 2012’s earnings and carries a dividend yield of 1.7%.

Carrying our Flag High

Whenever anyone mentions SIA, the first thing that comes to their mind is the sarong kebaya uniform donned by the air stewardesses. Singapore Airlines (SGX: C6L), the famous flag carrier and 5-star airline of Singapore, unquestionably did its part to cement Singapore in the global map.

SIA’s history dates back to 1 May 1947 with the incorporation of Malayan Airways Limited (MAL). In 1963, when Malaya, Singapore, Sabah and Sarawak formed the Federation of Malaysia, the airline’s name was changed, from Malayan Airways to Malaysian Airways.

In 1966, following Singapore’s separation from the Federation of Malaysia, the airline’s name was changed once more, to Malaysia-Singapore Airlines (MSA). MSA ceased operations in 1972, when Singapore wanted to develop its international routes but Malaysia wanted to develop its domestic routes before moving on to international routes, resulting in the formation of SIA and Malaysian Airlines System (MAS).

SIA did more than cement Singapore on the global map. It became a forefront of exceptional service and many other competing airlines look up to SIA to develop their own services. SIA has been carrying our Singapore flag high in the sky, proudly.

The PE ratio of SIA stands at 31 and yields of 2.3%.

Creating Literacy among Us

When Singapore gained independence in 1965, Mr Lee Kuan Yew, the founding father of modern Singapore, made English the main and common language to connect Singaporeans from different tongues. A common language is paramount to overcome the political and social situation of the four linguistic groups keeping to themselves.

Something that had a strong part to play in the proliferation of the English language in the early days was The Straits Times, an English-language daily broadsheet, originally established on 15 July 1845 and currently owned by Singapore Press Holdings Limited (SGX: T39). It is still a daily source of news for many Singaporeans, even after 168 years.

Other than catering to the English language, SPH also owns newspapers of the other main languages of Singapore – Chinese, Malay and Tamil.

SPH has undoubtedly created literacy among Singaporeans and nowadays, students are encouraged to read The Straits Times daily to improve their English.

SPH trades at 18.2 times 2012’s earnings and sports a dividend yield of 3.9%.

Foolish Wishes

There we have it, three companies – ST Engineering, SIA and SPH – that have positively contributed to the growth of Singapore.

Do be Foolish tonight by gawking at Marina Bay’s night skies at 8pm.

Majulah Singapura!

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The information provided is for general information purposes only and is not intended to be personalised investment or financial advice. Motley Fool Singapore contributor Sudhan P doesn’t own shares in any companies mentioned.