13 Junior Market stocks to watch in 2023

To make the 2023 ICTOP15, projected gains have to exceed 280 percent over the next 18 months at a projected PE of 22.5 times earnings. That level of growth is what the lowest on the list, Access Financial is projected to deliver over the period.
So great are the prospects of the Junior Market that IC Insider.com thought it important to highlight these additional companies for investors to see the great potential to make money over the next 18 months. This publication has never before put out such a list to start the year, in addition to the ICTOP15.
While the IC TOP15 2023 listings reflect 15 companies that show the greatest potential to be the top performers up to May 2024, a number of companies have the potential to do exceedingly well over the period but are likely to underperform those in the ICTOP15, even then, the future is not assured and some in the watch list could outperform projections and end in the top performers for the period.
The watch list shows that investors do not have to hit home runs to make decent gains in the stock market, but observation in the local market suggests that many persons may not have the patience to build gains over time.
These may or may not be the best companies in the market based on management, products or services and financial health, but they are undervalued and could deliver above average gains as well as pay attractive dividends in the 2023 to 2024 period.
The market has demonstrated that the ability to increase profits is the most important factor that will drive stock prices and is the primary area for investors to focus on going forward.
CAC2000 Projection EPS $1.
The company has the potential to do exceedingly well, especially with an upsurge in the construction of homes and hotels. But it is not without risk and disappointment from quarter to quarter as projects take time to complete, resulting in jerkiness in earnings. This is definitely a stock to consider from a longer time horizon and not one that can be relied on to deliver instant gains, but it could surprise.
Cargo Handlers
This company is not one that will be on every investor’s list for 2023, don’t let that dissuade you from taking a closer look. One of the smaller Junior Market companies and is highly profitable and holds over $500 million in cash funds and with add to it yearly.  The company serves one of the fastest growing regions of Jamaica with the continued expansion of the tourist sector that fuels above average economic activities and the BPO sector that lead to increased imports through the Montego Bay port where its operation is centred. Last year’s earnings per share were 77 cents and ICInsider.com is forecasting $1.10 for the current year, that should be enough to push the price towards $20 or more.
An important factor to consider is the cash that they hold which is available for investment in other entities that could add to improved profits going forward. By the way, don’t ignore the dividends they pay.
Dollar Financial came to the Junior Market in June last year and is now accredited by Bank of Jamaica to operate as a micro financial institution. For the nine months to September 2022, profit before tax amounted to $201 million, 257 percent higher than in 2021. Profit before tax for the quarter ending September 2022 increased a solid 214 percent to $70 million, an indication of what could be coming down the road.
The increase in profits was fueled by loans receivable of $1.2 billion to September 2022, an increase of $650 million or 125 percent over the  September 2021 position. Up to September, secured loans represented 72 percent of total loans and unsecured 28 percent.
The company recently raised $1.17 billion in debt financing and expanded the resources available for lending. These funds plus additional cash from profit to be generated provide more than adequate fuel for strong loan expansion that will result in continued above average profit growth. The company plans to use some of the funds raised to expand to the Bahamas and the Eastern Caribbean and capitalize Ultra Financier Limited, their asset based lender. The company could turn out to be exceptionally profitable if the resources are managed well to prevent heavy loan loss provisioning that could eat away at profits. ICInsider.com projects earnings of 35 cents per share for 2023 and that should be good enough to send the stock flying with gains of more than 200 percent.
Express Catering EPS is projected at 65 cents for 2023/4
The company started to benefit from the rebound in tourism but importantly the first half of the 2022 calendar year saw a decline in visitor arrivals compare to 2019, with the numbers for 2023 set to show a major increase over 2022first quarter numbers. The first quarter should be up over 50 plus percent compared with that of 2022. That will have a major impact on the revenues, with its entire operation within the Sangster International Airport. It is worth noting also that the company will have additional restaurants within the airport during the new fiscal year and this is going to add to revenues and profitability for the company.
With the stock price hovering around $5 per share this stock is selling slightly less than eight times earnings and shows the potential to do even better than the revenues and the earnings per share projections. With many Junior Market companies selling at PE ratios around 20 one should expect the stock to deliver a 200 percent rise in value over the next 18 months or so.
Fontana stock could gain 150 percent for the period. looking back, for the first quarter to September, revenues rose a healthy 26 percent and profit jumped 43 percent to $87 million. The projection is for revenues to continue to grow around the 26 percent level into 2023, with profit to rise to 80 cents per share for the year and $1.50 in the 2024 fiscal year ending June. With the stock priced around $9 it is nicely positioned for a bounce to provide an excellent return over the next year and a half.
The company is adding a new store in Portmore that should come into operation during the first half of 2023 and add revenues and profits to the business, but this may not be significant until the 2024 fiscal year. Expected growth in the local economy and a big bounce in tourism traffic will have a positive impact on stores in the western end of the country and deliver increased revenues and increased profit as a result. For the year to June 2022, profit was up 12 percent to $415 million from a 21 percent rise in revenues to $4.7 billion.
Image Plus Consultants – EPS 30 cents 2023 and $0.35 for 2023-4
The Image Plus stock failed to sparkle on listing in January, rising just 10 percent by the close of its first day on the market in heavy trading of nearly 12.4 million shares, the second heaviest traded Junior Market stock on opening, following an IPO. The price has now fallen below the issue price providing a good entry point for investors but has since bounced just above $2 with the release of nine months’ results to November. (See articles on analyzing the IPO and the nine months’ results.)
Jamaican Teas – earnings could hit 30 cents per share for the current fiscal year. Some input costs have declined following shipping facilities normalizing, resulting in lower shipping costs as well a reduction in some raw material prices worldwide. The forecast includes a sizable contribution from QWI Investments and a contribution from the real estate development that should see sales of its current development being concluded in the current fiscal year.
The group is expanding the product range for the local and export markets which will add to revenues and profits going forward.
The stock has seen increased buying from individual and institutional investors which is an excellent sign as it lends solid support for trading.

Knutsford Express

Knutsford Expressprojected EPS of $1 and $1.40 for 2024.
The company suffered, in a meaningful way, from lower revenues when business activities were severely curtailed with the advent of the Covid-19 pandemic in Jamaica which resulted in major disruption in the economy. In the latest fiscal year to May, revenues were back to pre-pandemic levels in dollar terms but profits lagged as increased costs grew faster than revenues, resulting in the 2022 full year results being 38 percent of 2019 but more than twice 2020.
For the August quarter, revenues rose 78 percent to $415 million and profit jumped from $9 million to $84 million. For the half year to November, revenues rose to $813 million from $473 million in 2021 with profit surging from $13 million after tax to $143 million. Third quarter profit rose from just $2 post-tax to $59 million. The Drax Hall Business Centre is contributing fully to profit with all available space occupied with several tenants already open for business and the company looking to generate income in the order of $100 million a year from the complex.
The company is benefiting from the upsurge in visitor arrivals both directly and indirectly from persons working in the industry.

Main Event returns to IC TOP 10.

Main Event – EPS is projected at $1.10 for 2023 
There is the potential for the stock price to gain 180 percent over the next 18 months. Profits for the nine months last year jumped 147 percent to $243 million over 2021 as revenues rose from $501 million to just over $1 billion dollars representing 85 percent increase over the previous year.  Revenues for the September quarter rose 147 percent to $602 million with profits for the quarter jumping a solid 332 percent to $104 million as profits rose by $95 million over the previous year, suggesting that the results of 2022 will be outstanding and that could carry over well into 2023.
What is worth noting is that revenues for the first quarter were just $203 million and for the April quarter $290 million, well below third quarter numbers. By contrast, revenues were $458 million in the first quarter of 2019 and $438 million in the second quarter, well ahead of those for the 2022 periods, this has a lot of significance for revenue growth in the first half of the 2023 year. The data show that there should be a significant pick up in revenues and profitability in the corresponding 2023 period and a major uptick in revenues for the year and profits. There is a bit of seasonality in earnings and this could have implications in 2023. The final results for 2022 will provide good guidance on this.
The lesson to be drawn from the numbers for the first three quarters of the year is that profit for 2023 will be up substantially up on the ultimate results for 2022. There is a level of uncertainty along with various developments in the local economy that makes it challenging to project with certainty the level of business that Main Event will undertake, this is the major reason why the stock is placed on the watch list. The final numbers could impact the stock price significantly.
Of note, the third quarter revenues are the highest record in the company’s history in the quarter. The company indicates that the increased business was due to added activity in its core business. The entertainment industry has seen a strong return to outdoor events and lifestyle experiences after a two year break.

Medical Disposables EPS is projected at 40 cents for fiscal 2023 and 70 cents for 2024
This company is not one to take at face value as they quietly build the infrastructure on which to deliver increased business going forward. The company is focusing on laying the foundation for growth in consumer products as increased business opportunities in the medical area slow. The dental area that is operated by the newly formed subsidiary has room for expansion outside of the western region and should be able to ride on the parent company’s infrastructure that currently exists in the next year or two.
The company in the meantime has increased expenditure to attract and keep talent within its employ to grow business, this development resulted in increased costs in the current fiscal year and negatively affected growth in profits for the fiscal year to date.
There is the possibility that more shares could be available in the market over the next year or so.
One on One Educational EPS is projected at 20 cents
The stock raced out the blocks on the fifth day of listing in the latter part of last year to hit $2.50 but the price has fallen to a low of $1.10 in December, with investors concerned that they may have lost a major client and the negative impact that may have on profit. The prospectus stated that in August 2021, 63 percent of the Company’s revenue came through Business to Business contracts and 37 percent through the Company’s end user consumers’ business line. Neither the 2022 audited accounts nor the first quarter results show any fall out of business, in fact, revenues almost doubled in the quarter with profit rising to $12 million before tax from a loss of $1.8 million in 2021. The price could be considered appropriate based on results released so far but as more results become available, the current price may appear to be a gift.
Funds raised in the public issue in 2022 net of loan repayment were earmarked for the development of technological infrastructure for expansion. Regardless, the major reasons to invest in this company is not its short-term fortunes or misfortunes but the major potential its operations have to deliver above average growth within Jamaica and overseas.
Spur Tree Spices EPS is projected at 40 cents.
The company recorded a 9.4 percent growth in revenues to $672M for the nine-months ended September 2022, from $614 million in 2021. Gross Margin increased from 31 percent in 2021 to 35.4 percent in 2022.
For the September quarter revenues slipped to $233 million from $247 but improved profit margin resulted in a gross profit of $75 million versus $73 million in the prior year. Profit before Taxation fell to $30 million in the quarter from $33 million in 2021, but climbed 30 percent to $119 million for the year to September compared with $91 million in 2021 and was just shy of the $124 million for the full year in 2021.
The company implemented investment projects to expand the Exotic Products factory infrastructure to double production capacity, purchase of building in Port Morant to establish a production facility and upgraded the Spur Tree Spices production capacity.
They also advanced $100 million to purchase a controlling interest in Canco, an ackee canning company, and if combined with Exotic Products could result in a major jump in production and improved efficiency. They also appointed Massy Distributions agents for regional distribution.
This company has a lot of promise but the valuation placed on the stock ran ahead of results as such improved results in 2023 are unlikely to be reflected fully in the stock price and provide above average growth for the stock but it could be good enough to deliver a reasonable gain that investors would be normally pleased with even if it does not put it in the top ranking of stocks. Additionally, it has growth potential going beyond 2023 that could help deliver above average long term growth.

Stationery & Office Supplies recording record 2022 profits.

Stationary and Office Supplies should deliver gains of 250 percent for the period. The company has done exceptionally well in 2022 and is one of the top performing stocks for that year, gaining 140 percent as a result of very strong profit performance during the year that came from an incredible 60 percent increase in revenues that should end close to $1.8 billion for the year and $2.3 billion for 2023. The company generated a profit of $250 million for the nine months to September that should reach $360 million for the full year and just over $550 million in 2023.
ICInsider.com does not expect the performance to be at the same level in 2023 but sees continued attractive growth in earnings that should put it at about $2.20 per share, up from around $1.35 per share in 2022.
The business continues to increase from local and overseas demand. Information is that a deal was struck with a Trinidad company to sell their furniture in that market in addition the possibility exists that they could be getting into other Caribbean countries to add to the organic growth of the business. There is the possibility for acquisitions of small businesses during the year that could benefit from synergies within the company and deliver above average returns from such investments. Investors should not ignore the possibility of a stock split that could provide additional spice to make the performance of the stock an attractive one.
Finally, the company is well managed and financially healthy with limited debt and increasing shareholders’ equity.

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