Berger Paints Q3 profit surges

Profit before taxation soared an outstanding 524 percent for Berger Paints for the third quarter, but that was insufficient to wipe out the losses incurred in the first and second quarters, amounting to $63 million.  

Berger Paints Q3 profit jumps.

For the quarter ended September 2020, the company recorded a profit before tax of $58 million, up from $9 million for the corresponding quarter in 2019.
Taxation climbed 700 percent for the quarter from a loss of $1.8 million to $14.7 million for the quarter but dropped by 162 percent for the year from $10 million to a credit of $6 million. Net profit came in at $43 million for the quarter, a 481 percent jump over the comparative quarter’s figure of $7.4 million.
Profit after tax dropped 151 percent from $40 million to a loss of $20 million for the nine months period after-tax, losing $26 million, for the nine months to September, compared to a profit of $50 billion at the end of September 2019. Heading into the traditional festive season, Berger will be hoping to close out the fiscal year on a high note with a strong increase in the final quarter profit.
Revenue improved by eight percent for the quarter from $534 million to $574 million but fell nine percent from $1.63 billion to $1.49 billion for the nine months to September.
Direct Manufacturing expenses fell by 29.7 percent for both the quarter and the year to date, recorded at $304 million and was down 26 percent to $763 million respectively. Gross profit jumped 103 percent for the quarter from $150 million to $304 million and increased 20 percent for the year to date from $609 million to $732 million, with gross profit margins of 53 percent for the quarter, up from just 28 percent in 2019 and 49 percent for the 2020 nine months, up from 37 percent in 2019. The input in paint production is heavily based on petrochemicals as such a fall in the price of oil on the world market would result in reduced production cost for the company.
Depreciation jumped 78 percent for the quarter to $20 million and a 58 percent increase to $45 million for the year. Other operating expenses declined 8 percent for the quarter from $118 million to $108 million and saw a 25 percent rise for the year from $262 million to $327 million. Other income for the quarter stood at $7.2 million for the quarter up from just $182,000 and at $7.7 million for the year to date from $54,000 in 2019.
The company implemented new information technology last year, which the company claims are working well. “The recently deployed Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system has settled and has been providing Management with key insights to allow for a deeper appreciation of the business drivers and, with that, quicker decision making. Although a relatively new deployment, it is already contributing value to the business,” the Chairman, Adam N. Sabga, remarked in a statement accompanying the quarterly.
Net cash inflows generated cash of $21 million, but a reduction in amounts due to payables and fellow subsidiaries resulted in cash from operating activities was an outflow of $190 million and capital spend and loan payments increased cash outflows to $263 million. Current assets stood at $1.37 million inclusive of Inventories of $509 million, Receivables of $443 million and cash and bank balances of $306 million.  Current liabilities tallied $572 million inclusive of $126 million due to the immediate parent company and $369 million to fellow subsidiaries. At the end of September, shareholder’s equity stood at $1.1 billion.
Earnings per share came in at 20 cents for the quarter and a loss of 10 cents for the nine months to September and ICInsider.com projects full-year earnings of $2.25 per share with a rise to $2.80 in 2021.
The stock is currently trading at $11.85 on the Main Market of the Jamaica Stock Exchange with a PE ratio of 5.3 times 2020 earnings.

Price movements bring change to IC TOP 10

Stocks rose to their highest level since mid-April on the Jamaican Stock Exchange Main Market in the past week, during the past week the Junior Market traded at the highest level in seven weeks, with moves in both markets confirming the bullish signal technical indicators been flashing for weeks.
The movement in the markets resulted in shifts in the IC TOP 10. In the Junior Market Top 10, Access Financial dropped out after a week with the price moving from $20.02 to $22 while AMG Packaging moving in to sit in ninth position. Jamaican Teas shareholders approved a three for one stock split leading the stock up to $6.70 from $5.50. Eppley lost its Main Market TOP 10 position with the price moving up from $18.97 to $20.02  and is replaced by Jamaica Producers.
The top three stocks in the Junior Market with the potential to gain between 233 to 456 percent by March 2021are Caribbean Producers, followed by Elite Diagnostic and Limber Depot. With expected gains of 150 to 280 percent, the top three Main Market stocks are Berger Paints, followed by Radio Jamaica and Grace Kennedy in the third position.
The local stock market’s targeted average PE ratio is 20 based on profits of companies reporting full year’s results, from now to the second quarter in 2021. The Junior and Main markets are currently trading well below the market average, indicating the potential gains ahead. The JSE Main Market ended the week, with an overall PE of 15.3 and the Junior Market 13.7, based on ICInsider.com’s projected 2020-21 earnings. The average PE ratio of the Junior Market has been slowly rising, with better profit opportunities than the Main Market and narrowing the gap. The PE ratio for the Junior Market Top 10 stocks average a mere 7.2 at just 53 percent to the average of the Junior Market. The Main Market TOP 10 stocks trade at a PE of 8.7 or 57 percent of the PE of that market.
The average projected gain for the Junior Market IC TOP 10 stocks is 202 percent and 140 percent for the JSE Main Market, based on 2020-21 earnings, indicating greater gains are likely in the Junior Market than the Main Market.
IC TOP 10 stocks are likely to deliver the best returns up to March 2021 and ranked in order of potential gains, based on likely gain for each company, taking into account the earnings and PE ratios for the current fiscal year.  Expected values will change as stock prices fluctuate and result in movements in and out of the lists weekly. Revisions to earnings per share are ongoing, based on receipt of new information.

Persons who compiled this report may have an interest in securities commented on in this report.

Seprod’s sugar closure sweetens profit

Seprod’s costly journey into a new difficult area of sugar manufacturing resulted in billion-dollar losses for the group. That management chooses to take on the worse performing and most difficult sugar operation in Jamaica raises some fundamental questions about corporate decision making, but then sometimes experience teaches wisdom.
After shedding the above loss-making business, profit from continuing operations surged 351 percent to $1.3 billion for the September quarter, up from just $285 million in 2019, but the jump benefited from $780 million, generated from other operating income, with $762 million of it being gains realized on the sale of a property.
Without the additional boost from the property sale, profit from continuing operations would stand at $551 million for the quarter, an increase of 94 percent, and $1.8 billion for the nine months to September, an increase of 52 percent. Earnings per share came out at $1.75 for the quarter and $3.38 for the nine months to September but would stand at 75 cents for the quarter and $2.41 for the year to date when adjusted for the one-off gain.
Revenue saw a sharp increase of 23 percent for the quarter to $10.1 billion from $8.2 billion and more moderate growth of 16 percent for the nine months to September to $28.7 billion from $24.5 billion in 2019.
Direct Expenses grew 12 percent for the quarter from $5.3 billion in 2019 to just under $6 billion in 2019, and 15 percent for the year-to-date from $15.8 billion to $18.1 billion. Gross profit margin increased to 41 percent for the quarter from 35.2 in 2019 and 37 percent for the nine-month period from 36.4 percent. Gross profit (GOP) jumped 42 percent for the September quarter moving from $2.9 billion in 2019 to $4.1 billion in 2020. GOP increased 17 percent to $18 billion from $15.8 billion for the nine months to September in 2019.
The Manufacturing segment generated revenues from third parties of $7.26 billion, up from $6.7 billion in 2019 while, Distribution accounted for revenues of $21.4 billion in 2020 and $18 billion in 2019. Segment results for the Manufacturing amounted to $2.47 billion in 2020 from $2 billion in 2019, while Distribution contributed $1.36 billion from just $684 million in 2019.
Despite a 52 percent increase in administrative and other operating expenses from $2.1 billion to $3.3 billion, profit before finance and other costs grew by 159 percent for the period from $651 million to $1.7 billion.

Some of Seprod”s products.

Loss from discontinued sugar manufacturing operations contributed to a loss of $31 million for the September quarter and $47 million for nine months. Total comprehensive income stood at $1.3 billion for the quarter, up from a loss of $124 million, and $2.6 billion for the nine months to September, up from $470 million in 2019.
Gross cash flow from operating activities stood at $4 billion, and working capital pulled the amount down to $2 billion. Dividend payment of $367 million and acquisition of property net and loan receipts of $1 billion saw net funds for the period increasing $1.6 billion to end at $3 billion. At the end of September, shareholders’ equity stood at $16.5 billion, while $14 billion was due from borrowings. Current assets ended the period at $17 billion including, Inventories of $6 billion, receivables $7 billion and cash and bank balances of $3 billion, while Current Liabilities stood at $9.6 billion with current loan liability amounting to $3.6 billion.
The stock is currently trading at $60.75 on the Main Market of the Jamaica Stock Exchange. With the most profitable period being the December quarter, IC Insider.com is forecasting earnings of $4 per share for a PE of 15.2 based on 2020 earnings.
The group is involved in the Manufacturing and Distribution of various household goods for the local and overseas markets, including cereals, flour, milk, cooking oil, margarine, to name a few. the stock has moved up in price since the results, historically, it has delivered some of the best returns for investors in the local market over several years. It’s a good long term investment.

Shake up of IC TOP 10

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A raft of company results was unleased on the Jamaican Stock Exchange, resulting in changes to the IC TOP 10. Some companies have not yet recovered sufficiently from the fall out following the COVID-19 outbreak earlier this year.

Fontana Waterloo Square Branch just after it was opened in October 2019.

Entering the Junior Markets Top10 are Access Financial and Fontana. Moving out are General Accident and Stationery and Office Supplies, both of which reported lower than expected profits for the September quarter and year to date. NCB Financial dropped out of the Main Market TOP 10 with full-year earnings coming in at $8.01 as the group stepped up the provisioning of expected credit losses. Eppley moved into the spot left vacant by NCB.
The Main Market closed the past week with notable gains in the market index while the Junior Market slipped modestly at the end of the week. Signals in the market continue to point to higher prices ahead. The Junior Market is currently signaling a big surge starting in December as short-term moving averages cross over longer-term ones to confirm a strong rally ahead. The move in the Main Market continues the move gradually higher ahead of the year-end and is in keeping with bullish signs that points to more gains ahead.
This week’s focus: Fontana had a 21 percent increase in revenues for the quarter ending September to $1.11 billion, over $921 million in the 2019 corresponding quarter. Gross profit also increased 25 percent to $395 million above $316 million generated in the September 2019 quarter. Administrative selling and other expenses grew modestly by 4.5 percent from $296 million to $310 million, even as the company benefited from economies of scale with the Waterloo Square location. Net profits increased to $45 million, a 146 percent improvement from the $18 million recorded in the prior year, with foreign exchange losses adding $27 million to finance cost in the 2020 quarter. The company is on target to earn 50 cents per share for the current financial year ending June 2021.
The top three stocks in Junior Market remain as they were this past week, with the potential to gain between 233 to 465 percent by March 2021. Caribbean Producers heads the list, followed by Elite Diagnostic and Limber Depot. The focus on all three is on the 2021 fiscal year profit, projected to recover from reduced profit for the 2020 financial year. With expected gains of 168 to 238 percent, the top three Main Market stocks are now, Berger Paints followed by JMMB Group and Radio Jamaica in the third position.
The local stock market’s targeted average PE ratio is 20 based on the profits of companies reporting full year’s results from now to the second quarter in 2021. The Junior and Main markets are currently trading well below the market average, indicating the potential gains ahead. The JSE Main Market ended the week, with an overall PE of 15.8 and the Junior Market 13.2, based on ICInsider.com’s projected 2020-21 earnings. The average PE ratio of the Junior Market has been slowly rising, with better profit opportunities than the Main Market and narrowing the gap. The PE ratio for the Junior Market Top 10 stocks average a mere 7.1 at just 54 percent to the Junior Market average. The Main Market TOP 10 stocks trade at a PE of 8.7 or 55 percent of the PE of that market.
The average projected gain for the Junior Market IC TOP 10 stocks is 210 percent and 136 percent for the JSE Main Market, based on 2020-21 earnings, indicating greater gains are likely in the Junior Market than the Main Market.
IC TOP 10 stocks are likely to deliver the best returns up to March 2021 and ranked in order of potential gains, based on likely gain for each company, taking into account the earnings and PE ratios for the current fiscal year.  Expected values will change as stock prices fluctuate and result in movements in and out of the lists weekly. Revisions to earnings per share are ongoing, based on receipt of new information.

Persons who compiled this report may have an interest in securities commented on in this report.

Q3 profit rises 33% at Grace Kennedy

Grace Kennedy continues to enjoy a phenomenal year, with profit attributed to the company’s shareholders, rising 33 percent to $1.68 billion for the September quarter, from $1.26 billion for the 2019 third quarter and 35 percent for the nine months to September to $4.4 billion from $3.27 billion the corresponding period in 2019.

Don Wehby CEO of Grace

Taxation more than doubled in both periods, but profit before tax grew 49 percent in the third quarter to $2.8 billion and 51.5 percent to $7.3 billion for the nine-months.
Total comprehensive income increased by 5 percent for the three-month period to $2.2 billion but dropped by 37 percent for the nine months to September, from $9.2 billion to $5.8 billion.
The group had one of the best years for growth in revenues so far, with a rise of 16 percent for the quarter to $29.6 billion, from $25.5 billion in 2019 and up 12 percent $86 billion from $77 billion for the nine months. The previous best revenue performance was back in 2009 with a full-year increase of 19.7 percent and then 2015, with an increase of 12.6 percent, thereafter growth declined annually to 2019. Revenues grew 10.7 percent in 2016, 5.5 percent in 2017, 4.8 percent in 2018 and just 5.7 percent in 2019. According to the Managing Director Don Wehby, “the strong growth in revenues was fueled by the food division and particular international food business.”
Contributing to the 2020 growth is added revenue brought in with the acquisition of the majority shares in Key Insurance helping to drive revenue for the Insurance segment by 28 percent over 2019 to garner $7.7 billion. Food and trading segment continues to account for the lion’s share of the revenue tallying $68 billion for the nine months period, an 11 percent increase over 2019. Revenue for the Banking segment increased just 3 percent to $4.7 billion while Money Transfer grew 12 percent to $6.5 billion.

Grace Kennedy new headquarters in downtown Kingston

Expenses inclusive of net impairment losses increased 16 percent to $27.5 billion for the quarter and 12 percent to $81 billion for the year to date over the corresponding periods. While separating direct cost from the administrative cost in their audited accounts, Grace continues to short change investors by lumping all costs together in their interim reports.
Net Cash generating operations brought in $9.7 billion. Total assets grew by eight percent to $168 billion with growth in investment securities and receivables but a decline in inventories. At the end of September, shareholders’ equity stood at $56.5 billion and borrowings at $25 billion.
Profit for the quarter equates to Earnings per share of $1.69 and $4.47 for the nine months and should exceed $6.50 for the full year. The stock last traded at $58 on the Main Market of the Jamaica Stock Exchange with a PE ratio of 9 times 2020 earnings.

Mailpac Q3 profit surges 129%

MailPac Group (MGL) continues to enjoy increasing strong profit growth despite the current pandemic, with revenue jumping 58 percent in the September quarter over the 2019 quarter and profit more than doubling.

Mailpac dominated trading on Thursday with 84% of the total volume of the market on Tuesday.

The company recorded net profit of $149 million for the quarter, a solid 129 percent jump from the $65 million the operation recorded for the September 2019 quarter. For the year-to-date, there was an even more sizeable growth of 150 percent, moving from $203 million in 2019 to $339 at the end of September 2020.
Revenues grew 58 percent over the September 2019 quarter, from $301 million to $477 million, and grew a stunning 30 percent over the June 2020 quarter with revenues of $366 million. For the year to September, revenues rose to $1.2 billion, 42 percent more than the $851 million recorded at the end of September 2019.
Gross profit rose to 50 percent from 44 percent in the June quarter but fell to 48 percent for the nine months compared to 52 percent in 2019.
Direct expenses jumped 57 percent from $150 million for the September 2019 quarter to $236 million for the September 2020 quarter and 15 percent over the June 2020 quarter. For the year to date, the expenses climbed by 52 percent from $410 million in 2019 to $623 million in 2020. Gross profit stood at $240 million for the quarter ending September 2020, up from $150 million in 2019 and $584 million for the year to date versus $442 million in 2019.
Administrative, selling and promotion expenses increased 22 percent over the second quarter and slipped two percent from the September 2019 quarterly figure of $86 million to $84 million. The Executive Chairman attributes the increase in expenses in the third quarter over the second quarter to its expanding operations, the partnership with PriceSmart presumably one such notable factor.
For the nine months to September, selling and promotion expenses amount to $30 million, up from $29 million in 2019, while administrative and general expenses dropped to $199 million, from $218 million in 2019. Overall, these expenses were down seven percent from $246 in 2019 to $228 million at the end of September 2020. The effect, operating profit, rose a strong 140 percent over the comparative quarter to $157 million from $65 million in 2019 and an 82 percent increase for the nine-month period, moving from $195 million to $356 million.
Finance costs rose for the quarter from $352,000 in 2019 to $11 million in 2020, while the nine months to September ended at $31 million from $3 million for 2019.

Mailpac CEO Khary Robinson.

Gross cash flow brought in $346 million but MGL recorded trade and other payables increase of $127 million, spent $12 million on the acquisition of fixed assets and paid $225 million in dividends to end with cash and equivalents of $309 million at the end of September. Shareholders’ equity stood at $467 million. Current assets ended the period at $369 million and Current liabilities at $185 million.
Earnings per share came out at 6 cents for the quarter and 14 cents to September. IC Insider.com is forecasting Mailpac will end the year at 20 cents per share for PE of 11 times earnings and they should go on to earn 33 cents in 2021.
At the IPO, the company projected a profit of $317 million in 2020, while IC Insider.com projected $356 and 14 cents per share. The nine months’ results are just below our full year’s forecast.
The stock is priced below the average of the Junior Market of 12 and offers strong upside potential. The strong current growth continues the trend since 2017, when revenues grew 12.2 percent, 25.7 percent in 2018 and 28.8 percent for the first half of 2019. The company offers a convenient way to shop and far less costly than traditional ways. Listing on the stock exchange provides greater credibility that augurs well for increased business. MGL provides clients with physical addresses in Miami, Florida, where they can receive all goods purchased are flown to Jamaica. The company clears all goods and delivers them to the customers at their homes or for collection.
On the negative side, the main asset owned is the brand and technology that drives the business. Other entities could break into the market and squeeze profit margin longer term.
Coming off a robust third quarter, MGL is entering what is normally the busiest time of the year for the company that should continue the solid growth experienced in 2020 so far.
The stock currently trades at $2.13 on the Junior Market of the Jamaica Stock Exchange. The company paid an interim dividend of 5 cents per share in July 2020 and 5 cents per share in October and more is expected, with the company promising at the time of the IPO that the Directors intend to pursue a dividend policy that projects an annual dividend of up to 75 percent of net profits available for distribution.

Stationery & Office back in IC TOP 10

Stationery and Office Supplies returns to the Junior Market IC TOP 10 list for the first time since February last year as the stock price dropped to $4.55 and replaced Medical Disposables that reported a loss in the half-year, resulted in the downgrading of full year’s earnings and potential stock price movement.

Stationery & Office Supplies Head quarters

Medical Disposables earnings per share are now projected at 30 cents for the current year and 85 cents for the succeeding year and put the PE ratio at 14 times current-year earnings. As indicated last week, Lasco Financial was set to be a big winner for the past week, after the company reported outstanding second-quarter profit. The stock rose 23 percent to close the week at $2.60 after trading as high as $2.75 in the week. The price should move higher going forward, with likely earnings around 40 cents per share for the current fiscal year and a PE ratio of 6.5.
Signals in the market continue to point to higher prices ahead. The Junior Market is currently signaling a big surge in a few weeks as short-term moving averages cross over longer-term ones to confirm a strong rally ahead. The big move in the Main market seems a few months away, but signs are that the market should continue to move gradually higher ahead of the year-end.
This week’s focus: Grace Kennedy continues to enjoy a phenomenal year, with profit attributed to the company’s shareholders, rising 33 percent to $1.68 billion in the September quarter, from $1.26 billion for the third quarter in the previous year and grew 35 percent for the nine months to September, to just $4.4 billion from $3.27 billion the corresponding period in 2019. Taxation more than doubled in both periods, but profit before tax grew 49 percent in the third quarter to $2.79 billion and for the nine-months, it rose 51.5 percent to $7.3 billion. Earnings per share are $1.69 for the quarter and $4.47 for the nine months and should exceed $6 for the full year.
The top three stocks in Junior Market remain as they were this past week, with the potential to gain between 272 to 726 percent by March 2021. Caribbean Producers heads the list, followed by Caribbean Assurance Brokers and elite Diagnostic. The focus on all three is on the 2021 fiscal year profit, projected to recover from reduced profit for the 2020 financial year. With expected gains of 150 to 238 percent, the top three Main Market stocks are now, Berger Paints followed by JMMB Group and Grace Kennedy in the third position.
The local stock market’s targeted average PE ratio is 20 based on the profits of companies reporting full year’s results from now to the second quarter in 2021. The Junior and Main markets are currently trading well below the market average, indicating the potential gains ahead. The JSE Main Market ended the week, with an overall PE of 15.8 and the Junior Market 12.1, based on ICInsider.com’s projected 2020-21 earnings. The average PE ratio of the Junior Market has been slowly rising, with better profit opportunities than the Main Market and narrowing the gap. The PE ratio for the Junior Market Top 10 stocks average a mere 6.5 at just 54 percent to the average of the Junior Market. The Main Market TOP 10 stocks trade at a PE of 8.3 or 52 percent of the PE of that market.
The average projected gain for the Junior Market IC TOP 10 stocks is 247 percent, and 147 percent for the JSE Main Market, based on 2020-21 earnings, indicating potentially greater gains in the Junior Market than the Main Market.
IC TOP 10 stocks are likely to deliver the best returns up to March 2021 and ranked in order of potential gains, based on likely gain for each company, taking into account the earnings and PE ratios for the current fiscal year.  Expected values will change as stock prices fluctuate and result in movements in and out of the lists for most weeks. Revisions to earnings per share are ongoing, based on receipt of new information.

Persons who compiled this report may have an interest in securities commented on in this report.

Lasco Financial Q2 profit jumps

Lasco Financial generated a profit of $136 million in the September quarter compared to a loss of $16 million for the 2019 second quarter. Profit after tax for the six months to September amounts to just $30 million, down from the corresponding period’s $75 million, and an improvement on the first-quarter loss of $106 million.

Lasco Financial former HQ

Earnings per share ended at 10.7 cents for the quarter and just 2.4 cents for the half-year.
For the quarter, revenues fell 5.7 percent or $38 million from the 2019 September quarter, to $617 million, due largely to a $78 million decline in revenues from loans, in the quarter following a $74 million fall in the June quarter, compared with the similar periods in 2019. Remittances grew 11 percent and added $50 million to revenues while Cambio operations contributed 10.8 percent or $34 million to increased revenues, the company’s Managing Director Jacinth Hall-Tracey, informed shareholders in a commentary accompanying the quarterly report. Revenues slipped $140 million from $1.3 billion to $1.16 billion for the six months period.
Administrative and selling and promotion expenses dropped from $1.06 billion to $961 million for the half-year and from $585 million to $400 million for the September quarter. Finance cost for the quarter slipped slightly from $48 million to $45 million and from $96 million to $95 million for the six months. Expenses include loan loss provision of $152 million for the six months compared to $262 million in 2019, and effectively there was an $18 million recovery of doubtful loans in the September quarter.

Jacinth Hall-Tracey, Managing Director of Lasco Financial.

In September 2019, quarter provision for loan losses was $178 million. Taxation dipped slightly, from $38 million for the quarter to $36 million, while the half-year tax provision fell from $76 million to $70 million.
The company generated positive cash flows of $389 million for the half-year, down from $514 million in 2019 and ended the periods with cash and short-term deposits that rose to $1 billion from $307 million. Loans to customers fell to $1.54 billion at the end of March from $1.83 billion at the end of the prior year-end after loan loss provisions rose from $99 million in 2019 to $328 million. Loans to customers are included in the heading of Loans and receivables of $1.6 billion at the end of September. Shareholders equity stood at $1.57 billion and Long-term debt $1.9 billion, up from $1.7 billion at the end of September last year.
The company indicates that “there will now be a shift towards lending again, however, as opportunities for lending are now beginning to manifest as businesses are adjusting to the new normal, with some embracing new opportunities.” The shift to increase lending will add to revenues and profit going forward. With the December quarter being the most profitable, ICInsider.com still holds to the projection of 60 cents per share for the full year, but even if it comes out lower, the stock that closed at $2.11 of the Junior Market of the Jamaica Stocks Exchange on Friday with a PE ratio of just 3.5 is highly undervalued and will move sharply higher.

Lasco Financial set to dominate IC TOP 10

Kremi and NCB Financial are back in the Main and Junior Markets IC TOP 10 lists for the week as Access Financial and Salada Foods moved out, with the former earnings downgraded following the release of half-year results while the latter recovered from the price decline suffered in the previous the week.  

Jacinth Hall-Tracey, Managing Director of Lasco Financial.

The past week belonged to Caribbean Cement (CC) that posted strong increased revenues and profit with the stock jumping 12.5 percent from $45.96 to close at $57. As was the case with CC last week, Lasco Financial is set to be a big winner this week, with the company reporting outstanding second-quarter profit that should encourage investors to pick up the stock.
The Main and Junior markets closed trading for October lower than September. Signals in the market point to higher prices ahead. The Junior Market is currently signaling a big surge that will start in a few weeks as short-term moving averages cross over longer-term ones to confirm a strong rally ahead. The big move in the Main market seems a few months away, but signs are that the market should continue to move gradually higher ahead of the year-end.
This week’s focus: Lasco Financial generated $136 million in the September quarter profit compared with a loss of $16 million for the second quarter in the previous year. Profit after tax for the six months to September amounts to just $30 million, down from the corresponding period’s $75 million, and an improvement on the first-quarter loss of $106 million. Earnings per share ended at 10.7 cents for the quarter and 2.4 cents for the half-year. For the quarter, revenues fell 5.7 percent or $38 million from the 2019 September quarter to $617 million, due largely to the decline of revenues from loans that fell 34.5 percent or $152 million in the six months to September, compared with the previous year financial period.
Remittances grew 11 percent and added $50 million to revenues while Cambio operations contributed 10.8 percent or $34 million to increased revenues, the company’s Managing Director Jacinth Hall-Tracey, informed shareholders in a commentary accompanying the quarterly report.
Access Financial reported $62 million in profit after tax for the six-month to September, compared to $280 million for the same period in 2019. Higher revenue in the September quarter was offset by a $45 million increased loan loss provision, resulting in a slightly lower profit of $29 million versus $33 million in the first quarter. The next few quarters will be interesting to watch for future direction.
The top three stocks in Junior Market remain as they were this past week, with the potential to gain between 287 to 723 percent by March 2021. Caribbean Producers heads the list, followed by Lasco Financial and Elite Diagnostic. With Lasco Financial posting strong second-quarter results, they will likely drop out of the top three this coming week. The focus on all three is on the 2021 fiscal year profit, projected to recover from reduced profit for the 2020 financial year. With expected gains of 161 to 238 percent, the top three Main Market stocks are now Berger Paints followed by JMMB Group, Radio Jamaica replacing Grace Kennedy in the third position last week.
The market’s targeted average PE ratio is 20, based on companies’ profits reporting full year’s results from now to the second quarter in 2021. The Junior and Main markets are currently trading well below the market average, indicating the potential gains ahead. The JSE Main Market ended the week, with an overall PE of 15.8 and the Junior Market 12.2, based on ICInsider.com’s projected 2020-21 earnings. The average PE ratio of the Junior Market has been slowly rising, with better profit opportunities than the Main Market and narrowing the gap. The PE ratio for the Junior Market Top 10 stocks average a mere 6 at just 49 percent to the Junior Market average. The Main Market TOP 10 stocks trade at a PE of 8.3 or 52 percent of the PE of that market.
The average projected gain for the Junior Market IC TOP 10 stocks is 287 percent, and 149 percent for the JSE Main Market, based on 2020-21 earnings, indicates potentially greater gains in the Junior Market than the Main Market.
IC TOP 10 stocks are likely to deliver the best returns up to March 2021 and ranked in order of potential gains, based on likely gain for each company, taking into account the earnings and PE ratios for the current fiscal year.  Expected values will change as stock prices fluctuate and result in movement in and out of the lists for most weeks. Revisions to earnings per share are ongoing, based on receipt of new information.

Persons who compiled this report may have an interest in securities commented on in this report.

Cement Q3 profit jumps $1.15B

Profit at Caribbean Cement surged over by $1.15 billion to $1.23 billion percent in the September quarter, from a 32 percent jump in sales. For the nine months to September, profit jumped a strong 42 percent to $2.2 billion from $1.57 million in 2019 as revenues rose 12 percent to $15 billion.
Investors immediately reacted to the results by driving the stock up $8.04 or 17.5 percent to $54 on the Jamaica Stock Exchange.
The third quarter results blew past the June quarter, with revenues of $4.78 billion reflecting a modest increase over 2019 with the profit rising from $368 million to $521 million.
Operating profit surged 69 percent in the quarter, to $2.85 billion from $1.69 billion and rose 19.6 percent for the year to date, to $6.97 billion from $5.8 billion in 2019.  Direct operating cost, increased 8.5 percent from $2.7 billion to $2.93 billion and increased 5.8 percent for the year to date, to $8.1 billion from $7.7 billion in 2019.
Other operating and administrative expenses dropped 25 percent to $6.44 million in the quarter and fell slightly in the nine months period to $2.04 billion. Foreign exchange losses amounted to $266 million in the quarter and $923 million for the year to date, while finance cost declined in the quarter, to $173 million from $209 million in 2019 and from $677 million to $503 million for the nine months. The company provided $536 million for taxation for the quarter representing 30 percent of the profit and $1.27 billion for the nine months for 36 percent of profit.
Earnings per share came out at $1.44 for the quarter and $2.62 for the nine months. ICInsider.com is forecasting $3.50 per share for a PE of 15 times earnings. The amount could be beaten as there could be no foreign exchange losses in the December quarter and if sales keep close to the third quarter numbers while the provision for taxation could less than in the third quarter.
Gross cash flow provided by operating activities brought in $2.56 billion from which they paid $2.5 billion against loans, leaving $374 million in cash at the end of the period.
At the end of September, shareholders’ equity stood at $10.58 billion, up from $8.3 billion at the end of December last year. Borrowings are down to $7.7 billion from $12.8 billion at the close of September last year.
The results for the quarter shows the potential for the company to increase profits as cost are fairly fixed. The reverse is true as lower sales will adversely affect gross profit and drag profits lower. With the expansion in buildings in Jamaica and prospects for exports barring increased importation of cement into Jamaica, the future appears bright for the company. Added to the above is the rapid repayment of loans that will reduce interest cost and foreign exchange losses.