Lasco Financial’s Q1 Profit up 14%

Lasco FinLasco Financial Services (LFSL) reported profit of $10 million for the March 2015 quarter, down from $41 million made in 2014 but revved things up to a 14 increase in June quarter to $54 million as revenues climbed 8 percent to $192 million and well over the $148 million generated in the March quarter.
For the March quarter revenue that compared with the 2014 quarter expenses grew by $28 million due mainly to increase spend on marketing and selling expenses. Jacinth Hall-Tracey, Managing director indicated that the period suffered from squeezed margins in March quarter on foreign exchange trading and foreign exchange losses in the quarter, resulting from the revaluation of the Jamaican dollar and greater stability of the exchange rate. Loan disbursements slowed as credit rating data used in assessing potential clients resulted in lower loan approvals.
Total expenses for the first quarter increased by 5.5 percent to $137 million compared to the corresponding period. This is primarily due to a 36 percent increase in administrative expenses and 16 percent decrease in selling and promotion expenses. “The net increase is reflecting the expansion of our network, staff cost and software support to manage operational efficiencies and to build customer relationships. LFSL continues to review its marketing tactics which gave rise to a reduction in selling and promotion expenses”, Hall-Tracey said. She went on to say “During the quarter, our growth initiatives included the launch of our motorcycle loan product and the opening of our new cambio branch in Port Antonio”. The opening of the new branch would have added to administrative cost against which revenues would not cover.
Lasco cambioThe company has cash of $563 million and is generating over $200 million per year. If the company can find the formula to ramp up good quality lending successfully, the profit outlook can be transformed considerably with high profit margins for lending. “We are working on a number of initiatives that will help in the transition from lower income in foreign exchange activity” Hall-Tracey said in response to questions posed after the company released the Full year results to March. The area of credit approval is one that they is being revisited as the use of credit rating information is stymying lending. But Hall-Tracey expects profit for this year that ends March 2016 to be higher than for the year just ended, subject to taxes on profit which the company will start bearing at fifty percent of the official tax rate of 25 percent.
The equity capital of Lasco is $868 million and is well below that of its two siblings who have equity in equity of more than $2.4 billion each, as such the possibility for strong growth is probably more present here than with the bigger entities over time.
The company has done well from the money remittance and cambio operations but it is in the lending that the future growth prospects seems to rest. Hence the connection between Mayberry Investments with the know-how having been exposed at Access Financial. The company has adequate free capital to increase lending with only $147 million in loans at March. Earnings per share of 0.45 cents for the quarter should end around 20 cents for the year to March 2016. The stock last traded at $1.80, investors need to keep an eye for the possibility that Mayberry Investments could increase their holdings in the company.

Profit jumps 45% at Lasco Distributors

Lasco Distributors" hot new "I Cool" drink.

Lasco Distributors” hot new “I Cool” drink.

Profit at Lasco Distributors jumped 45 percent in the June quarter to $132 million from $91 million in 2014, from revenues that jumped a significant 38 percent to $3.3 billion from $2.4 billion. Profit however, was down on the March quarter’s $152 million from revenues of $2.5 billion.
“The main contributing factors to the increase revenues were the increase in volumes of iCool beverages and additional revenue from the distribution of the full range of Unilever Products”, Peter M. Chin, Managing Director reported to shareholders in the directors’ report accompanying the financial data.
“Increase logistics costs for the period and the continued aggressive selling and marketing activities resulting in the gross profit margin being lower by 1.4 percentage points than the prior year. The aggressive efforts to drive demand for our newly launched iCool brand of beverages has been successful as the company achieved a significant increase in volumes’, Chin went on to say.
P chin 2Cost of sales rose 41 percent to $1.75 billion faster than revenue growth but still allowed for the strong increase in profit. Gross profit margin came out at 16.9 percent down from 18.25 percent in 2014 and declined to 17.94 percent for the 12 months to March 2015 from 19.37 percent in 2014. Administrative, selling and other expenses rose 22 percent to $441 million during the June quarter, from $361 million in 2014.
“For the reporting period Current Assets increased by 24.5 percent or $951 million. The major contributory factor was Trade and Other Receivables category which increased by 48.1 percent or $776 million, this was a result of the increased Credit Sales and Principal activities. Inventories increased by 33.6 percent or $436.7 million due to new products to market and new business agreements, Trade and Other Payables increased by 34.4 percent or $615 million over the corresponding period,” Peter M. Chin, reported.
Earnings per share ended at 4 cents, and IC Insider is forecasting 35 cents per share for the full year which would be well ahead of the 16 cents earned for the 2015 fiscal year.
While the stock is trading at $1.90 or 5.5 times current year’s earnings, making the stock attractive especially as profits are likely enjoy a big uptick in 2017 as well with more products to distribute. Investors need to bear in mind that profits become taxable at 12.5 percent starting in the second half of this fiscal year, for five years.

ICooled profits hike at Lasco Manufacturing

Lasco Manufacturing's bottling line.

Lasco Manufacturing’s bottling line.

Lasco Manufacturing generated total revenues of $1.44 billion, 34 percent more than the $1.08 billion in the June quarter of 2014, resulting in a 75 percent jump in profit to $247 million or 6 cents per share from $141 million in 2014 and slightly ahead of the $243 million for the March quarter.
Gross profit margin for the quarter climbed to 33 percent from 29 percent in 2014 but gross profit jumped 50.50 percent well above the growth in revenues, a positive development for continued strong growth in profit going forward.
Operating Expenses climbed 29 percent to $185 while finance cost rose from $32 million to $42 million as a result of construction phase of the factory completed, resulting in the interest on the funds used in construction being expensed as opposed to being capitalised during the construction phase.
With new factory facilities completed and in use, depreciation ended at $67 million for the fiscal year up from $27 million in 2014 but is set to jump in 2016 with only a fraction of the annual charge being booked to March 2015. With more monies to be transferred to fixed assets for the year to March 2016 depreciation cost should climb. At the end of March, net book value of property, plant and equipment amounts to $3.4 billion and includes assets under construction of $1.34 billion. The cost of assets under construction will be depreciated once the property is complete and in use. The estimated additional cost of completion of the facility was $373 million at March, since then more than $150 million was added to fixed assets.
Lasco's new I Cool drink distributed locally by Lasco Distributors, produced by Lasco Manufacturing.

Lasco’s new I Cool drink distributed locally by Lasco Distributors, produced by Lasco Manufacturing.

“Production capacity at the Liquid Plant has already been doubled during this quarter, to meet the overwhelming market demand for our iCool line of beverages. During this year, we will invest further in new equipment to increase its capacity. There will be many more new products to come on line once production capacity is at its normal level”, Chairman Lascelles Chin advised shareholders“. The new Dry Plant at White Marl has now completed the testing and trial phase, and will be fully operational within the next quarter to achieve full efficiency. The existing Red Hills Road operation for this quarter has recorded an increase of 28 percent in net profits over last year. There will be new products coming on stream by the end of the year,” the Chairman further stated.
At the end of the June quarter, Inventories stood at $736 million and is up from $433 million and Receivables jumped to $1.26 billion from $846 million at the end of June 2014. Borrowing stands at $1.86 million against equity capital of $5.8 billion.
IC Insider projects profit at $1.6 billion for the year or 40 cents per share for the year to March 2016, that should jump to around 60 cents for 2017. While the company becomes taxable this year capital allowances plus tax will be a 12.5 percent will result in little or no taxes being paid on profit for the year.
The company is listed on the junior market of the Jamaica Stock Exchange and last traded at $1.90 for a PE of just less than 5 based on IC Insider’s projected earnings. The stock should deliver a healthy increase in price during the fiscal year and the next as the expanded product lines and the new factory deliver increased revenues at reduced cost.
Lasco Manufacturing has been a BUY RATED stock for some time and remains with that status.

Knutsford’s sales up 38% cost 44%

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  Knutsford Express’ audited report for 2015 shows a big 38 percent surge in profit to $69 million over the $50 million in 2014, from revenues of $454 million, 38 percent more than the $329 million generated in 2014. With that level of revenue increase profit should have grown much faster than it did, and should have been closer to doubling.
New routes added could have been a factor as passenger traffic takes time to build up, more importantly, increased cost in a number of areas seems more the culprit. Expenses for 2015 are up 41 percent but excluding $4.58 million of IPO cost included in 2014, the increase would have been 43.5 percent. The overall increase comes against the fact that fuel rose only 12 percent to $70 million and accounted for 19 percent of cost, down from 24 percent in 2014. Excluding fuel, all other costs are up 50 percent over 2014 and 54 percent, excluding the IPO cost, well over the revenue increase of 38 percent.
Staff and labour cost jumped 72 percent to $126 million and now accounts for 34 percent of cost up from 28 percent.
Telephone cost rose 68 percent to $7.9 million. Rent grew 61 percent to $7.8 million, travelling was up 160 percent to $6 million, advertising and promotion grew only 30 percent to $12.4 million and is one of the items that grew more slowly than revenues.

Knutsford's New Kingston depot

Knutsford’s New Kingston depot

Professional fees moved up 90 percent to $7.7 million. Passenger supplies were up 29 percent to $7 million which is well lower than the revenue growth. Parts and supplies grew 60 percent to $38 million. Surprisingly, insurance was only up by 12 percent to $14 million. Cleaning and sanitation increased 200 percent to $4.4 million. Toll fees jumped 163 percent to $7.4 million and would be due to the opening of the new leg of the highway to Ocho Rios while the South Coast routes that were added would add to the original cost. Depreciation and amortization grew to $25 million a 32 percent increase and security climbed 59 percent to $7.9 million.
Some items of cost such as repairs and maintenance actually fell while others such as electricity and office supplies rose more moderately than those above.

Caribbean Producers BUY RATED again

CPJ Mkt PlCaribbean Producers reported profit of US$3.54 million or 32 US cents per share for the year to June 2015, versus $3.46 million or 31 cents in 2014, according to the company’s audited financial statements. Sales brought in $86.85 million during the year compared with $79 million in 2014, a gain of 10 percent and for the quarter sales were up just 4 percent over 2014 to $21.86 million from $21 million in 2014 while profit came in at $1.3 million compared with a loss of $613,000 in 2014.
Profit for the latest quarter is 23 percent higher than the $922,000 earned in the March quarter, a period that is usually the highest earner. Earnings per share ended at 32 cents for the year or close to J$3.75.
Gross profit margin jumped in the June quarter to 31 percent and well over the 27 percent enjoyed in the 2014 quarter and higher than the 28 percent for the full year. Gross profit climbed as well by 19 percent to $6.8 million for the quarter much faster than the growth in revenues and was up by 8 percent for the year a bit less than revenue growth. Selling and administrative expenses fell in the quarter, by 15 percent but was up 10 percent for the year.
Profits seem to be moving in the right direction with cost falling in some areas and profit margin improving. At the current price of J$2.50 the stock is undervalued as it should be moving into the J$3 region with these results. The group has been seeing improvement in the St Lucian operations and that could be improved upon in 2016 fiscal year. CPJ 6-15Caribbean Producers made a profit of $447,000 in the September 2013 quarter but made on $2,500 profit in 2014, the results for this year’s September quarter should be better as 2014 had certain cost associated with new products and the holding of prices for certain items sold to the hotel sector during that period.
The bother continues to be the heavy debt, at $24.76 million which is down from $25.2 million in 2014, while equity is up to $19 million from $16 million in 2014 thus improving the debt to equity ratio quite a bit. The probability exists that there should be an improvement in 2016 as well, as profit continue to perform, thus building up equity.
IC Insider is restoring it BUY RATED stamp on this one.

Profit jumps 129% at Honey Bun

Honey bun 2Profit jumped 129 percent over the June 2014 quarter, after taxes for Honey Bun to $17 million for the June 2015 quarter and growth for the nine months period to $64 million versus $41 million, an increase of 58 percent, and cash flow from operation of $98 million from increased sales of 17.5 percent, to $672 million.
For the quarter sales grew 20 percent to $218 million from $181 million in 2014, whilst gross profit was up by a larger 24 percent. The company attributes the increase in sales to a strategic restructuring of the sales department. Gross profit margin increased to 45.5 percent up from 44 percent in the June quarter of 2015 versus 2014 and 44.9 percent for the nine months in 2015.
Export sales increased by 48 percent year to date. “The major increase in exports is as a result of our placement in ASDA stores in the UK” Michelle Chong, Chief Executive Officer said, in response to IC enquiry, and is in keeping with the Company’s objective of increasing exports.
The problem in the past has been the last quarter with a tendency for lower sales and losses, is the company over this? “The company services a lot of schools and so the summer months are normally reduced due to the holiday season for July and August. We will always have this challenge but we have somewhat overcome a significant portion of it by way of the development of new products that are not directly geared for schools and by targeting other markets also. This has made a significant impact,” Chong stated in response to questions posed to her by IC
Hony BunLast year there were problems and added cost in the distribution department, it appears that the company is over that for 2015 fiscal. “We have outsourced over 50 of the distribution that was costing us excessively very successfully and last year we were also suffering from 2 of our major distribution vehicles being out of service and so we had to pay a lot for other vehicles to service the deliveries. These critical vehicles are now back in service” Chong said.
Honey Bun would have enjoyed savings in electricity and flour cost with the reduction of prices of oil and wheat on the world market. Chong agrees and indicated, “yes but besides the reduced rates we have also undertaken significant energy conservation on our own. We have also commenced the first phase of a large solar energy project”.
Receivables remained static at $56 million over June 2014 figure while Inventories fell to $45 million from $51 for the same period while payables were up to $59 million from $55 million. The company ended the quarter with $72 million in cash and investments, borrowed funds of $38 million and equity of $363 million. During the fiscal year a dividend totalling $11 million was paid more than twice the $4.7 million paid in the prior fiscal year.
IC Insider’s project a slight loss in the final quarter ending September this year with earnings for the full year to end at 66 cents versus 68 cents reported for the three quarters to June and 43 cents for the fiscal year to September 2014.

Carib Flavours profit up – Now BUY RATED

Ingredients input into Caribbean Flavours products

Ingredients input into Caribbean Flavours products

Focusing on the end results of Caribbean Flavours & Fragrances for the year to June 2015 with increased profit of 22 percent over 2014 would lead one to look elsewhere, but that would be a big error.
For while the nine months to March showed profit down marginally to $39 million from $40 million, profit for the March quarter was up 20 percent over March 2014 quarter but the June quarter increased by 143 percent to $18.77 million from just $7.6 million for June 2014.
The future much brighter that the past year, for the company that manufactures and distributes flavours mainly for the beverage, baking and confectionery industries and also sells food colouring and fragrances. The company audited financial statements show profit of $58 million or 64 cents per share versus $47 million or 56 cents in 2014, from sales that were up to $307 million from $255 million in 2014. It is the performance of revenues that is the most telling message to flow from the report that points to big improvement in profits to come. Revenues jumped 44 percent in the quarter to reach $96 million the best quarter by far for the financial year. CFF 6-15rAccording to the company’s board, “the economic environment has allowed the company to grow its revenues and profits by securing new markets for fragrances and increasing the volume of sales of flavours to existing and new customers in foreign markets. Based on the outlook for the coming year, it is expected that the company will continue to improve its profits whilst increasing its market share in the domestic and overseas markets”.
IC Insider has projected profits for 2016 at $100 million or $1.10 per share with increased sales and improving profit margins.
Net asset value is $2.25 per share, with the price of the stock on the junior market trading at $2.55 for a PE of just over 3 and 2.3 based on the forecast, indicative of much upside price potential.

Berger Jamaica in big profit upturn

Berg -6-15Jamaica’s Berger Paints reported big improvement in profit flowing from a near 14 percent increase in sales revenue to $440.6 million up from $387.3 million, in the 2014 first quarter, with profit ended at $17 million after tax well up on the reported a loss of $372,000 in 2014.
Earnings per share ended at 8 cents and for the year earnings should be in the 55 cents per share region, if the present trend continues which should be helped by the low price of oil on the world market as a major input into the production of paints is fuel oil based.
For 2015 fiscal year to March, Berger reported profit of $67 million after tax and earnings per share of 31 cents from sales revenues of $1.85 billion.
Gross profit was slightly up on 2014 with $1.286 billion realized in the March 2015 quarter and $1.257 billion in 2014. ”The company continues to yield benefits from process improvements, energy cost savings and its plant and Machinery upgrade, these along with growth in sales contributed to the profit performance” Mustafa Turra, General Manager reported in a short report to shareholders.
Berger last traded on the Jamaica Stock Exchange at $2.55 but that is before the above results were disclosed on Friday.

Kingston Properties pulls in $650m

One of Kingston Properties units at Red Hills Rd, Kingston

One of Kingston Properties units at Red Hills Rd, Kingston

Kingston Properties (KPREIT) advises that approximately Six Hundred and Fifty Million Dollars was raised from its recent Rights Issue.
The Rights Issue which opened on Wednesday, July 22 closed on Friday; August 7, 2015 after an extension by a week. The company stated that there were over one hundred (100) subscribers to the issue.
The plan was that the issue would raise at least $954 million from the 136,271,694 units on offer at $7 each. The amount raised more than doubled the issued share capital that was just over 68 million shares, moving it to 160 million units and the overall equity base to $1.5 billion.
KPREIT reports currently owning fifteen units in the Miami Loft II condominium building, as well as a nineteen unit residential complex in South Florida and an office and warehouse complex in Jamaica. The company will use the proceeds to pursue expansion plans in various real estate markets in the United States and Caribbean countries.
The company is yet to release the second quarter results. For the first quarter, rental income of $25.6 million was recorded versus $25 million in the prior year, with profit before tax of $2.9 million compared to a loss $680,000 in 2014 and total comprehensive income came in at $12.3 million for the March 2015 quarter versus $18.2 million in 2014.

Huge jump in National Flour’s profit

NFM logoTrinidad’s National Flour Mills reported a 200 percent jump in profit for the six months to June to $20.57 million versus only $6.79 million in 2014 and earnings per share of 17 cents and 10 cents for the quarter.
Profit fell in the June quarter from that of last year to $11.7 million versus $14.3 million but from higher revenues as profit margin shrank to 23 percent from 26 percent. Revenues climbed 15 percent for the six months to $245 million and a 10 percent gain to $124 million for the June quarter.
Helping the company is the sharp fall in the price of wheat on the world market from a high of more than US$700 to just over US$500 now but below US$500 per tonnes for quite a bit of the reporting period this year. National Flour earnings for the full year to December should end around 40 cents per share. NFM - 6-15The stock trades at $2.10 around 5 times earnings, a low valuation and if the company can maintain the level of profit now being generated and hopefully improve on that in 2016, the stock stands to generated a good level of appreciation. Investing in the stock is not without risk. The largest item of cost, wheat and the ability for management to adjust prices if wheat prices increase can be critical.
Borrowings have declined from $122 million at the end of the financial year in December last year to $57 million at the end of June while cash fuds are at $57 million while equity stands at $215 million.
The company shares are listed on the Trinidad Stock Exchange.