TTSE: Friday, 10th May 2013

TCL dominates, Grace gains

Trinidad Cement (TCL) traded 1,297,434 shares and the price was down 2 cents to 95 cents at the end of trade. Grace Kennedy traded 35,400 units and gained 27 cents to close at $3.60 in the process. There was still unfilled demand at the end of trade at $3.61 but there were no stocks on offer. Angostura Holdings traded 44,800 units at the same price as prior to today. Grace released their first quarter result yesterday and this may have contributed to the price changes.

Trading accounted for 1.4 million units, valued at $2.33 million as two stocks registered price gains and one fell. Ten securities traded for the day.


FX: Friday, 10th May 2013

Buying exceeds selling by US$10m

USD | Trading activity in the currency market was relatively uneventful with the most watched currency against the Jamaican dollar, the US, hardly had any rates change. Authorised dealers bought US$37.5 million and sold only $27.6 million, that is almost a $10 million difference. The average buying rate for US dollars was $98.579 and the currency was sold at $99.0575. Yesterday, the rates were, buying $98.448 and selling $99.051 resulting in a minor devaluation of the Jamaican dollar against the US.

CAD | More Canadian dollars were purchased today than on Thursday. The amounts purchased was CAD$ 1.63 million and selling $885,795. Purchases of Canadian dollars cost more but sellers charged less to offload the currency today.

GBP | Today £960,233 pounds were bought compared to Thursday’s buying of £3,661 million. There was selling of £734,700, far less than the £3.04 million sold on Thursday. The rate of the pound fell in today’s trading with the buying rate off J$2.30 taking it to J$150.45, the selling rate was 46 cents lower.

Yen falls | Elsewhere the Japanese yen crossed aggressively over the 100 barrier and reached just under 102 yen to the US dollar before retreating to 101.61 at the close as the US dollar gathers strength based on what many in the market are seeing as an ever improving economic developments in the United States. The yen has climbed back from a low of 77 to one US dollar last year. The move which many expect to continue will benefit Jamaicans, making imports form that country vastly cheaper than in 2012.



FX: Thursday, May 9th 2013

Mixed FX market

GBP | The main action was in the trading of pounds sterling on Thursday as buying was up on Wednesday with £3,661 million bought compared to £779, 323 on Wednesday. The rate climbed for buying as it moved up by $1.90 over Wednesday’s price of J$150.832 to the pound. On the sell side, more than £1.56 million were sold than on Wednesday but the price slipped by 14.55 cents. The pound’s lowest buying rate moved down sharply from 130.07 to J$124.09 and was the most pronounced change in rates for the day.

CAD | The Canadian dollar was less expensive on both the buying and selling side as it took, on average, 47 cents to sell to the system but buyers were paying under a cent less for that currency.

USD | Authorized dealers bought US$24 million for 10 Jamaican cents less per US dollar and sold US$23 million for about 2 cents more than on Wednesday. Overall, the market once more traded more currency on the buy side than on the sell side. Sale of foreign currency was also less than the amount bought on Wednesday. Purchases on Thursday were less than on Wednesday and less selling also took place. There were US$9.6 million less purchases in the system and US$10.3 million less were sold than on Wednesday.



Dividends to come

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The Board of Directors of Desnoes & Geddes (D&G) has advised that they will meet on Thursday, May 16, 2013 to consider the payment of a second interim dividend for the year 2013. On the same date the Board of Directors of Pan-Jamaican Investment Trust will meet to consider the payment of a second interim dividend for the year.

If the dividend is approved, Desnoes & Geddes would be returning to the regular practice of paying two dividends per year, which was suspended when the operations was faced with challenges after the global economic crisis took full effect in Jamaica. The company paid 20 cents per share in December.

Pan Jamaican already made a payment of $1.10 cents in March and if the Board approves, it would be the second of four for the year and likely to be $0.50.

The Board of Directors of Dolphin Cove has declared a dividend of $0.10 per share payable on June 6, 2013 to shareholders on record as at May 20, 2013. The ex-dividend date is May 16, 2013. This payment is likely to be the second of three for the year having paid one in March already.

Grace looking up

Grace Kennedy posted increased profits in spite of a one-time charge of $216 million in the first quarter of this year. The charge relates to the write-off of premiums on investments that were swapped in the government debt exchange in February. The improved results flowed from revenues which were up to $16.5 billion in the quarter from $15.85 billion in 2012 and profit before tax $1.14 billion and $689.7 million after tax and minority interest, slightly more than the $652 million netted in 2012.

NDX plunged the banking and finance division into an operating loss of $7 million, down from $209 million in 2012. The trading operations more than doubled operating profit from $22 million to $55 in 2013. All other divisions contributed moderate increases to the groups operating results for the quarter.

Growth markets | Management stated that the food division performed well with improved profit. Jamaica, Canada, Belize and the USA were leading markets for them. Grace‘s international business benefited from marketing efforts with the main focus on consumer acceptance. The focus on newer markets is going well. The west coast of America expansion is on target whilst they have seen gains in shelf space in the UK top retail chains. Lower yields on government bonds have forced shifts within some of the group companies. Other segments within the group will benefit from lower cost of funds as interest rates on some instruments have declined since the NDX.

This year’s results are commendable. If the company can maintain or improve upon the first quarter numbers, earnings for the full year could beat last year’s and the year’s results could come in around $11 per share. The group has also increased the dividend payout to shareholders making the stock a bit more attractive with a 17 percent increase in the last one paid out in March.

Financial position | Grace’s finances are in good health. Assets amount to $104 billion including fixed assets of just $7 billion. Liabilities are $72 billion. Equity capital is $30.7 billion.

With economic growth in the local economy at low levels and likely to be that way for some years, Grace needs to look outside Jamaica for higher growth levels than they have been enjoying having been dominant in most areas that it operates in the local market.

The stock is cheap, selling at around 5 time earnings. Growth has not been great and may not be so for a while, but with the present price between $55-56 per share the stock has lots of room to grow. It is worth a serious look.

Who is running the stock exchange?

The last posting on the stock exchange website for D&G is the release of the December quarter’s results posted on February 8, 2013. The exchange’s web site, on which information should be posted, did not have the release that the company would consider the payment of a dividend at a meeting to be held on May 16. How come a brokerage house had the said information posted on their website on Thursday but the exchange did not until after 9 am on Friday? What is really going on at the JSE? And where is the Financial Service Commission (FSC) in seeing to the orderly running of the capital market?

More questions | Why does the JSE put information about the trading of Proven ordinary shares in the combined trading report but at the same time, leave out the value of trade and the quantity? It makes absolutely no sense. Why should investors have to add the trading data to determine the full extent of a day’s trade? Importantly, why is the combined trading sheet that has the US$ listing as well as the US dollar index, carry the total trade but when checked, the value of trading is not included and nowhere on the report is there a notation that it is not included?

The reality is the stock exchange needs all the positive publicity it can get to interest more persons in the market. But do they see the value in fully informing the public about the total level of trading on the market? Is anyone then surprised that many persons think our market is a joke and prefer to try their luck in shark infested waters?

For example, the trade sheet section with market indices carries a column that is headed “value” and next to it “volume”. One would naturally think the value relates to the dollar value of trades, but not so. It is in fact the the closing indices for the day. The Trinidad Stock Exchange shows the section as closing indices and that seems far more logical.

The problem with our exchange | The executives think they know it best and constantly refer to international best practice for some of what they do. That however, is selective as there are other occasions that they do things when it suits them that are not done elsewhere. What about the users of the information? Should they not get trading reports that meet international best practices?

It’s time they wake up to reality. The question is who will do it.

TTSE: Thursday, 9th May 2013

Witco grabs $2.94 more

Trinidad Cement with a volume of 1,433,143 units valued at $1,395,545.50 while gaining 1 cent in price was the dominant traded stock but West Indian Tobacco stole the show with another record price up $2.94 to close the day at $110.01 on a mere 80 shares that traded for the stock. The stock closed without any on offer, the indication is that the price could go much higher in the days ahead. JMMB traded 157100 units at 50 cents around J$7.80. The stock is trading at $7 in the Jamaican Market. Guardian Holdings traded 47,204 units at $17.50 with a value of $826,070, without any price change, Neal & Massey traded 38,959 units at $59 valued at $2,298,581. Clico Investment fund traded 28.090 units at $21.08 the same price as yesterday with a value of $592,137.20.

TTSEMay9At the close, there were 6 stocks closed with bids that are higher than the closing price. These are Ansa Merchant Bank, Berger, Grace Kennedy, Prestige Holdings, Republic Bank and Scotia Investments. Praetorian Property Mutual Fund did not trade but had a bid of 102,650 shares at $3.40 each. The fund just released results to March 2013 showing a small profit of $164,533 versus $2.8 million in 2012 and a loss of $6.4 million for the year to September 2012. The book value of the fund is put at $5.43 but the entity looks illiquid with less than a $1 million in cash down from $2 million at the end of September last year.

A volume of 1,711,122 shares crossed the floor of the Exchange today valued at $5,054,669.42, as 11 securities traded with 4 advancing, 1 declining and 6 traded firm.

Clico Investment Fund was the only active security on the Mutual Fund Market, posting a volume of 28,090 shares. Clico Investment Fund remained at $21.08. Fortess Caribbean Property Fund remained at $5.00.

JSE: Thursday, 9th May 2013

Scotia Investments jumps $2.60

Scotia Investments jumped $2.80 to close at $26.15 and was the biggest mover on the day trading 8,805 units, all at $26 or above. Grace Kennedy had a bid of $56 closed which was higher than the last sale price and ended up with a gain of $0.55 to close at $55.55 having traded at a high of $56. Scotia Group closed at $22 up 79 cents on the day, Sagicor Life made amends for the fall yesterday by putting on 40 cents to close at $8. Lasco Financial Services gained 19 cents to close at $7.99, the stock traded at an all-time high today of $8. Carreras gained 50 cents to close at $57.

Advancing stocks continue to out-pace declining ones by more than 2 to 1 with 9 ordinary shares advancing to 4 falling.

JSEINdicesMay9J$34.1 million invested in 4,282,236 units of stocks traded on the Jamaican dollar segment of the market. US$947,000 was expended in the US dollar market in trading on Thursday.

Proven Investments accounted for 8,578,641 shares valued at US$947,939.83 in the US market. Just one trade took place in the stock, with Pan Caribbean Financial Services handling both sides of the trade. Data indicates that they did it on behalf of clients. The main market index and the All Jamaica Composite index recovered all the points lost yesterday, and more, in today’s trading.

Grace Kennedy traded 205,745 shares valued at $11.44 million between $55.55 and $56. Access Financial Services lost 10 cents in trading 1,363,200 shares valued at $9.54 million. Mayberry Investments crossed 1.316 million units which they bought for in-house purposes. Gleaner Company traded 2,073,109 units with a value of $2.49 million. The entire Gleaner trade was handled by NCB Capital markets on behalf of clients. NCB closed down 20 cents to $17.80 on 139,292 units valued $2.5 million. Sagicor Investment saw 104,521 units changing hands for $1.62 million, Proven’s 8% preference shares traded 470,377 worth $2.39 million, all traded at $5.09 up 6 cents on the day.

Bullish signs persists | There are still bullish signs being reflected in prices on the market with quite a few stocks still having bids that are higher than the last selling price.

Sagicor undervalued despite $B NDX hit

Sagicor Life group got hit with a billion dollar charge — the product of the Government of Jamaica’s debt swap in February. The Group exchanged $60.65 billion of GOJ securities for new securities with lower market values, lower coupon rates and extended tenors. The bond exchange resulted in “one-time” realized capital losses of $1.11 billion and lower interest will be earned on the new bonds going forward. To the end of March, the reduction in interest was $83.25 million. In addition, there was expense of $48.1 million for asset tax, which was introduced in June 2012 as stated by management in a release accompanying the first quarter numbers.

NDX effect | Despite the effects of the NDX debt exchange and increased taxes, Sagicor Group posted a net profit of $620.15 million for Q1 2013. In the first quarter of 2012, a net profit of $1.49 billion was earned. The Q1 2013 basic earnings per stock unit was $0.16 (2012: $0.40) and the annualized return on average Stockholders’ Equity was 8% (2012: 20%). Total Comprehensive Income including, net profit for the period and movements in reserves held in Equity, was $1.06 billion and the amount for 2012 was $2.04 billion. For the 2012 financial year the group reported audited profits due to Sagicor’s shareholders of $5.8 billion or $1.54 per share.

SagicorBuilding280x150The release went on further to state that the group’s insurance business performed relatively well but the banking arm faced challenges. Revenue would have been up about 9% but for the impact of the NDX. Net Premium Income, in aggregate, was 6% more than that for 2012. The Individual lines of business earned premiums up by 10% while Group Insurance and Annuity premiums were up by 3%. There was good new business across all lines in the first quarter contributing to strong growth in the in-force policies.

Investment income, before interest expense and capital gains was higher than in the prior year by 2%, including lower coupons in March on some GOJ bonds. Capital gains, for other than NDX security trades, and fair value adjustments were 28% lower than in 2012. Fees and Other Revenues were ahead of prior year by 59%, mainly influenced by higher current period unrealized foreign exchange gains from devaluation of the Jamaican dollar. The life insurance arm paid out 17 percent more on insurance claims due to higher mortality rate and growth on business.

Sagicor boasts total assets of $180 billion, with equity of $33 billion, making it one of Jamaica’s largest financial institutions. Total revenue for the quarter was $7 billion versus $7.5 billion in 2012 and for 2012 equity was $31.5 billion.

Maturity | The life company has reached or is close to maturity in the local market for insurance while the banking arm will need to fight hard to make any meaningful impact on Sagicor’s profits. Management is clearly seeing this, hence the decision to move into Costa Rica.

Stock outlook | The stock for the group is trading around $8 and is considered undervalued by IC Insider as earnings from ongoing operations should range between $1.60-2.00 based on existing business for this year when the one-off NDX charge is removed. Investors should note that historically the PE ratio of this stock has been much higher than for most in the market, which makes the stock a steal at current prices.

Carib Cement profit mired in concrete

Badly financially structured, the lone Jamaican producer of cement and gypsum, Caribbean Cement Company continues to be under concrete with huge losses weighing it down and in spite of recent price increases, the company is still reporting losses as shown by the 1st quarter 2013 results. Unfortunately, when analyzed, the interim results do not shed any light as to when its fortunes will not only change for the better but when will it start making returns to its owners.

Although local sales are up from 143,316 tonnes last year to 151,862 tonnes this year, export sales was down and revenues were up to $2.646 billion aided by recent price adjustments. In 2012, revenues came in at $2.3 billion. The improved revenues helped to turn around the profit, before depreciation interest and devaluation losses, to $184.25 million up from a loss of $377 million in 2012. Even without any foreign exchange loss the company needs another 10 percent increase in revenues, net of expenses, to be somewhat safe.

Price increases | In January the company increased cement prices by 16.5 percent on average and 3 percent in April as well. Interestingly, in spite of the January increase and a 9.2 percent increase in July last year and increased volume of local sales, revenue for cement is up only 15 percent over that of 2012, well below the price adjustments. Admittedly, the decline in exports would have impacted income growth.

caribcementlogo150X150As stated by management in a release, total sales volumes declined when comparing first quarter of 2013 with the first quarter of 2012. However, domestic sales volumes, which are essential to the company’s viability, increased by 6.7%. The improvement in domestic sales was entirely due to increased market share as the overall domestic market declined. This increase in domestic sales, along with increases in selling prices and further improvements in clinker production have resulted in a $561 million improvement in Earnings before Interest, Depreciation and Tax [EBITDA] over the corresponding period for 2012.

Management went on to further state, that the negative Group equity increased to $3.44 billion and with the significant build up in clinker inventory during this first quarter as production exceeded sales, the Group could not continue to operate without the financial support of the parent company, Trinidad Cement Ltd. Management is pursuing various strategies to improve both domestic and export sales and it is proposed that a significant portion of the debt due to the parent company be converted into equity during the second quarter.

Messed up | Caribbean Cement has messed up so many times in recent years that it will take a massive change in its financial fortunes to restore investors’ confidence. The first error is that the company totally mistimed the plant expansion by not anticipating the increased in demand in the mid-2000s. As a result, they missed most of the increased demand and the expanded plant only caught the tail end of it. Secondly, the company missed a glorious opportunity in 2004, when the stock price was sky high, to raise added capital in the local market to help fund the expansion. Finally, there is no evidence that they forged the right political connections or presented a viable plan to ensure continuity in cement supply, thus opening the market to unneeded imports which severely hurt them and from which they continue to reel.

Minority shareholder to be battered | The contemplation to convert debt to equity by the parent company, could negatively affect shareholders’ value if the conversion is to ordinary shares. If the conversion is to redeemable preference shares that would be a far different proposition, as preference are quasi debt and equity.