31% Express Catering rebounding profit

Tourist arrivals passing through Montego Bay rebounded strongly in the August quarter just a fraction less than the previous high mark in 2019 pushing revenues at Express Catering up 35 percent for the first quarter of the 2023 fiscal year to August to US$4.9 million as profit surged 31 percent to US$652,841, even as the 2021 period benefited from a rental concession of US$351,544, with none in the latest quarter.

Ian Dear, Managing Director of Express Catering

The company also released full year results showing continued recovery from last fiscal year’s fallout, with a profit of US$1.1 million, up from a loss of USUS$1.73 million in 2021. In contrast, in the nine months to February, profit was just US$364,607, with only US$120,248 of it generated in the February quarter.
Sales jumped 223 percent for the year to US$14.24 million from just US$4.4 million in 2021. For the fourth quarter, revenues rose to US$4.6 million, just 7 percent behind the August 2022 quarter and well ahead of the US$933,000 generated in 2021.
According to directors Ian Dear and John Byles, “total passengers accessing the departure lounge at the Sangster International Airport during the quarter were just below 623,000 or 37.44 percent higher than the similar period last year.” The directors also stated that they expect the trend to continue for the rest of the fiscal year.
Gross profit margin remained stable at around 65 percent for all periods from 2021, but input rose a tad faster than sales, with that for the latest quarter rising 40 percent and 228 percent for the fiscal year. The effect, gross profit rose just 32 percent in the August quarter to US$3.17 million from US$2.4 million in 2021 and increased 220 percent for the 2022 fiscal year, to US$9.3 million from US$2.9 million in 2021.
Administrative expenses rose 24 percent to US$1.23 million in the August 2022 quarter and increased 100 percent in the year to May, to US$5 million. Depreciation charge moved from US$2.4 million to US$2.78 million for the fiscal year and was stable at US$678,000 in the latest quarter. Finance costs rose in the quarter, to US$522,000 from US$515,000 in 2021 and from US$1.9 million to US$2.1 million for the year to May.
Gross cash flow brought in US$1.35 million, with US$1 million advanced to a related company, in addition to fixed assets consuming $298,324 and lease payment absorbed US$475,222.
At the end of August, shareholders’ equity stood at US$3.9 million with borrowings at US$33 million. Current assets ended the period at US$12.6 million, with US$11 million due from related company, without a date for repayment and on which no interest is charged even as the company is due to pay interest at around 12 percent per annum on funds it owes. Current liabilities amount to $6.47 million and Net current assets ended the period at US$6.1 million.
Earnings per share came in at 0.04 US cents for the quarter and 0.067 US cents for the fiscal year, If the company passed on the interest cost to the related party, profit for the quarter would be higher by around U$350,000 for the quarter, assuming no amount changed back for the prior years and more than US$1 3 million for the year.
ICInsider.com forecasts 40 Jamaican cents per share earnings for 2023 fiscal, assuming no interest is charged on the intercompany debt. The rebound in tourist arrivals only came back to 2019 levels in June, this year. Providing there are no reversals, the company that is highly dependent on the sector will enjoy a big bounce for the next nine months compared to the lower business generated from last year to May this year.
The PE is 13 times earnings based on the latest stock price of $5.25 on the Junior Market of the Jamaica Stock Exchange.
The company is increasing its coverage in the airport, according to the Directors, construction work on the revamped post security food and beverage lounge is ongoing. “There was a soft transitioning into the new food court with some concepts opening March 2022” stated the report accompanying the quarterly. Work on the second phase is slated for completion by the end of December, the directors indicated, “with the full rollout of the rest of Concepts – Bob Marley One Love, Freshens and Bento Sushi.”

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