Cost control boost Purity’s profit

Consolidated Bakeries (Purity) recovering from 2017 loss

Cost fell and profit margin rose at Consolidated Bakeries in the June quarter, this year, as the company put in a vastly better performance in the quarter than for the similar period in 2017.
For the half year, administrative, selling and distribution cost rose just 2 percent to $166 million but declined 6 percent to $79 million in the June quarter. While sales revenue grew 10 percent for the six months to $493 million and less than one percent to $221.5 million in the latest quarter. Input cost climbed just 3 percent for the half year, compared to 2017 and fell 4 percent for the quarter, giving rise to increased profit margin in the first half of the year to 38 percent, from 34 percent in 2017 and in the June quarter, to 35 percent from 31 percent in the year ago period.
Profit rose from a loss of $8.5 million in 2017, for the six months to June, to a profit of $22.6 million this year and earnings per share of 9 cents, but the company is reporting a loss of just $891,000 after tax credit of $128,000, a big improvement over the loss in the prior year’s quarter of $14 million. Full year’s profit should end at around 17 cents per share. If achieved, it would be the first time since the year it listed that profit has been this high.
Administrative expenses fell 13 percent to $42 million in the quarter and increased marginally in the six months period to $92 million from $91.6 million. Distribution and sales expenses declined 4 percent to $33 million. Finance cost rose in the quarter, to $3.6 million from $812,000 in 2017 and from $2.5 million to $6.8 million for the half year.

Consolidated Bakeries Miss Birdie Easter bun.

Gross cash flow brought in $38 million but growth in receivables, inventories, addition to fixed assets of $35 million offset by loan inflows and increased payables position ended at a negative $3 million. At the end of June, shareholders’ equity stood at $736 million with borrowings at just $115 million. Net current assets ended the period at $100 million inclusive of trade and other receivables of $96 million, cash and bank balances of $99 million. Current liabilities ended the period at $140 million.
The stock traded at $2.17 on the Junior Market of the Jamaica Stock Exchange with a PE ratio of 12 times 2018 earnings. Net asset value is $3.31 with the stock selling at just 66 percent of book value. The company is the only Junior Market stock to be selling at a discount to net asset value. This means management has a lot of work to do to break even and much more to reach the average of the market of a premium of more 400 percent.

JSE stocks retreat from Thursday’s record

Mayberry Jamaican Equities traded 1M shares & the price hits a new high of $10 but retreated by Friday’s close.

The All Jamaican Composite Index of the Jamaica Stock Exchange and the JSE index fell more than 2,000 points as main market stocks retreated from Thursday’s record close as the market set its sight on breaking through the 350,000 mark this coming week.
At the close, the All Jamaican Composite Index dropped 2,312.28 points to 346,726.53 and the JSE Index dived 2,106.75 points to 315,907.02. Market activities resulted in 31 securities trading including 3 in the US dollar market compared to 27 securities trading on Thursday.
At the end of trading, the prices of 12 stocks rose, 12 declined and 7 traded unchanged. Trading in the main market ended with 12,389,267 units valued $54,066,117, compared to 7,549,926 units valued at $378,631,059 on Thursday.

The day’s volume was led by, JMMB Group 7.5% preference share concluded trading at $1.03, with 8,590,090 shares with 69.3 percent of the traded volume, followed by Mayberry Equities that closed at $9 in trading 1,046,000 shares, for just 8.4 percent of the day’s volume after trading at an intraday high of $10 and Supreme Ventures with 604,043 units and 4.9 percent of the main market volume.
Stocks with major price changes| Caribbean Cement jumped $2.50 and finished at $47.50, trading 73,872 shares, Grace Kennedy rose 85 cents and ended trading at $59.50, with 41,775 shares, JMMB Group lost $1 and ended at $29, exchanging 120,176 shares, Mayberry Investments gained 39 cents to settle at $7.89, with 10,100 units, PanJam Investment fell 80 cents and concluded trading 42,221 shares and closed at $51.60, Portland JSX lost 50 cents and ended at $8 trading 2,700 units, Sagicor Real Estate Fund dived $2.90 to $12, with 11,200 shares, Salada Foods shed $1 to close at $17, in exchanging 48,271 units, Scotia Group rose 50 cents in traded 113,232 shares to close at $53,  Seprod finished trading 4,500 shares, and gained 59 cents to close at $36.10, ended at $15, with 21,164 shares after losing 30 cents, Victoria Mutual Investments lost 42 cents in concluding trading at $3.51, with 604,043 stock units and Wisynco Group fell 25 cents and finished trading 105,450 shares to end at $9.05.
Trading in the US dollar market closed with Margaritaville traded 9,700 shares and ended at 18 US cents Proven Investments trading 44,500 shares, falling 0.09 cent and closed at 19.01 US cents and Sygnus Credit Investments traded 9,000 shares and rose 0.03 cent to 10 US cents. The JSE USD Equities Index slipped 0.12 points to end at 159.24.
Trading resulted in an average of 492,474 units valued at over $1,930,933, in contrast to 290,382 shares valued at $14,562,733 on Thursday. For the month to date an average of 231,530 shares valued at an average of $4,665,985 versus 211,092 shares valued at an average of $4,956,066 on Thursday. July closed with an average of 169,022 units valued at $3,514,756, for each security traded.
IC bid-offer Indicator| At the end of trading, the Choice bid-offer indicator reading shows 5 stocks ended with bids higher than their last selling prices and 4 closing with lower offers.

Watch Lasco Financial

Lasco Financial connected parties recently purchased 15 million shares.

When persons connected with the management of a listed company trade shares in the company other investors are well advised to take note.
In some cases it means nothing, but in others it can be a telltale sign of things to come. One such trade that could be telling is embodied in a release to the Jamaica Stock Exchange by Lasco Financial Services that advised that eight connected parties purchased a total of 15.05 million shares in the company on August 9. The average price of the stock on the day the block traded, was $5.29, placing a value on the block of more than $75 million, that is no small change and is more likely than not to be a vote of confidence in the future fortunes of the company.
The purchase takes place after generating revenues of $555 million, $235 million or 74 percent more than the corresponding period in 2017 and importantly, grew $55 million over the $500 million generated in March quarter and may be suggesting the possibility of quarterly growth going forward for a while. Profit before taxation, jumped 62 percent to $132 million from $81 million in 2017. Profit after tax ended the quarter 50 percent higher than the year before at $101 million and could end up around $500 million for the full year for earnings per share around 40 cents.
The strong increase in revenues and profit comes from continued growth from the original business lines and was boosted by the acquisition of CrediScotia business in late 2017.
Profit before loan Interest more than doubled from $83 million to $172 million but funds borrowed to purchase the CrediScotia portfolio pushed interest cost to $41 million up from just $2 million in 2017.
At the end of the quarter, loans and receivables was at $1.8 billion with the majority being loans and the company borrowed $1.5 billion to help fund the acquisition and provide working capital. Shareholders’ equity was $1.47 billion.
This one is worth watching keenly as a long term buy with the large profit margin in lending.

Record profit for Palace Amusement

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Carib Cinema, the flagship for Palace Amusement.

Black Panther delivered record profit for Palace Amusement Company, the full year’s results show. Palace reported profit after tax of $152 million up from just $33 million for the full year in 2017 and earnings per share of $96.58.
For the final quarter the company posted profit of $102 million compared to just $28 million in 2017 but a $61 million gain on sale of the Harbour View property added $61 million to the company’s bottom-line. Revenues climbed nicely by 17 percent to $1.67 billion that flowed from a 25 percent rise in patronage income at Carib in Kingston 27 percent increase at Cineplex located in Kingston and just 11.5 percent at Montego Bay Multiplex.
The major contributor to the rise, was the blockbuster film Black Panther that ran from February to May this year. In the June quarter revenues rose 10 percent to $330 million and would have been generated form increase patrons coming to the movies. Cost rose with direct expenses climbing 13 percent for the year and 7 percent in the quarter while administrative cost was up 19 percent for the quarter and 10 percent for the year.
Palace ended the year with cash and bank balances of $284 million up from $141 million in 2017. The stock last traded on the main market of the Jamaica Stock Exchange at $1,500 at a PE of almost 15.

13 Junior Market stocks gain – Tuesday

In Junior Market trading on Tuesday 4 stocks traded at a 52 weeks’ high and one at a 52 weeks’ low as the prices of 13 securities advanced, 7 declined and 4 remained unchanged.
In spite of the positive price movement at the close, the Junior market index declined 22.15 points to close at 3,135.85 with 25 securities changing hands, compared to 27 on Monday. Trading resulted in 1,564,416 units valued at $8,693,578 changing hands compared to 2,611,628 units valued at $11,933,757 on Monday.
IC bid-offer Indicator|At the end of trading, the Investor’s Choice bid-offer indicator reading had 2 stocks ending with bids higher than their last selling prices, 3 closed with lower offers.
Trading closed with an average of 62,577 units for an average of $347,743 in contrast to 124,363 units for an average of $568,274 on Monday. The average volume and value for the month to date amounts to 182,596 units valued at $994,997, compared to 201,586 units, valued at $1,097,411 previous trading day. Trading in July, averaged 154,060 units valued at $655,146 for each security traded.
At the close of trading Cargo Handlers settled at $10.89, with 308 shares, Caribbean Cream ended trading with a loss of $1.08 at $4.72, trading 30,431 shares, Caribbean Flavours traded 15,000 stock units and jumped $1.50 to a 52 weeks’ high of $14.50, Caribbean Producers finished trading 88,000 units and gained 12 cents to close at a 52 weeks’ high of $6.89, after trading as high as $7.15, Consolidated Bakeries closed 1 cent higher at $2.17, with 229,179 shares changing hands. C2W Music ended with a gain of 4 cents to $1.75, as 1,400 shares traded, Derrimon Trading concluded trading 120,000 shares and climbed 50 cents to a new closing high of $25.50, Dolphin Cove finished at $16.50, while exchanging 184 stock units, Elite Diagnostic settled 5 cents higher at $2.85, with 5,000 units. Everything Fresh traded 244,413 shares and ended at $1.90, Express Catering traded 3 cents higher at $8.03, with 131,000 shares, FosRich Group finished trading of 64,858 shares with a loss of 24 cents at $2.76, General Accident closed with 13,000 stock units trading and fell 10 cents to $3.70, GWest Corporation ended 7 cents higher at $2.27, with 36,282 units. Honey Bun concluded trading with a loss of 1 cent at $4.50, in exchanging 13,700 shares, Iron Rock finished at $3.50, with 186,606 shares, Jamaican Teas ended trading with a loss of 5 cents at $4, with 8,401 stock units changing hands, Jetcon Corporation traded 256,529 units and gained 5 cents to end at $4.05. Key Insurance finished trading 9,147 shares and rose by 45 cents to $3.47, KLE Group closed 19 cents higher at $3, with 6,129 shares trading, Knutsford Express ended with a rise of 5 cents to $11.35, as 17,350 shares were traded, Lasco Distributors concluded trading of 45,066 stock units at $3.99. Lasco Financial finished with a loss of 40 cents at $5.50, exchanging 12,136 units, Lasco Manufacturing settled with a loss of 5 cents at $3.95, with 28,671 shares and Medical Disposables jumped $1.29 in trading 1,626 shares at $6.49.
Prices of securities trading for the day are those at which the last trade took place.

West Indian Tobacco profit rise

Profit before tax rose 10.7 percent to $284 million, for the six months to June this year, over the 2017 period for West Indian Tobacco and profit grew 8.7 percent after tax to $194 million.
Profit before tax grew 13 percent to $178 million for the quarter over the 2017 period and after tax an increase of 9 percent to $121 million. Gross profit in the quarter rose to 79 percent, from 77 percent of revenues in 2017 and from 75 percent for the six months in 2017 to 77 percent in 2018.
The profit improvement came from a 13 percent rise in revenue for the quarter to $268 million and by 12 percent for the six months to $456 million.
Distribution costs rose to $4 million from $1.26 million in the June quarter and for the period to June $10.3 million from $6.4 million, Administrative expenses rose sharply to $22.8 million for the quarter from $18.2 million in 2017 and for the half it rose to $38.46) million from $33.12 million and Other operating expenses rose to $6.66 million in the quarter from $6 million in 2017 and for the half year to $20.7 million from just $11.7 million for an increase of 77 percent.
The company raked in cash from operating activities of $325 million in the six months compared to $232 million in 2017.
Earnings per share for the quart is $1.44 and $2.30 for the half year and should end at around $5.30 for the full year giving the stock a PE of 16.5 based on the last traded price of $88 on the Trinidad & Tobago Stock Exchange.
The company ended the period with total equity of $379 million and cash of $279 million and current liabilities of $161 million.
The Board has accordingly approved the payment of a second interim dividend of $1.14 per ordinary share payable on 27 August 2018.
All amounts are quoted in TT dollars.

Derrimon buying Woodcats International

Staff at Derrimon Trading.

Derrimon Trading signed an agreement to buy Woodcats International with the transaction set to close within thirty days.
Woodcats was founded in 1999 by Christopher Collings and reached of $450 million in the 2017 financial year. products include: export pallets, warehouse pallets, wooden crates, sawdust, and landscaping mulch with in heat treatment and pallet repair.
Revenues for the Derrimon Trading first quarter March this year, climbed 27 percent to $1.94 billion above the $1.53 billion reported for the 2017 quarter and led to a big hike in profit.
The company reported a strong 45 percent jump in its first quarter results, from $35 million to $52 million or 21 cents per share to March this year, but profit could have been even higher had they not incurred finance cost which jumped 56 percent to $38 million from $25 million in 2017.
Derrimon stock traded 236,050 as high as $25 on Friday on the Jamaican Stock Exchange but ended at a record close of $24 to be up 243 percent for the year. The company is expected to approve a  stock split of 10 to 1 at their upcoming annual general meeting slated for August 22.

Profit jumps 58% at Proven

Investors in shares of PROVEN Investments pushed the price to a year’s low of 12 US cents last month but data now available suggest that they made a big mistake, as the stock now trades back at 20 US cents and profit that suffered from foreign exchange losses in the second half of 2018 fiscal year is now back up.
The investment bank just released first quarter results to June showing profit attributable to shareholders jumping 58.43 percent to US$1.79 million from the US$1.13 million in the same period last year. Annualized return on average equity translate to 8.56 percent and is consistent with Proven target set when they went public. The sharp jump in earnings resulted from net revenue for the quarter rising a 17.4 percent to US$8.5 million compared to US$7.25 million earned in the June 2017 quarter. According to the CEO Christopher Williams, “this was mainly due to a more efficient carry trade strategy and significant improvement in foreign exchange gains.”
Earnings per share for the quarter amounted to 0.29 US cent versus 0.20 US cents in 2017. An interim dividend of 0.25 US cent per share will be paid to shareholders on September 10.
According to the report released with the financials “spread income was the major contributor to revenue during the period, with a 16.97 percent improvement compared with the same period last year as net interest income totalled US$5.28 million. This increase reflects success in the carry trade strategy as the company was able to concurrently increase interest income while reducing interest expense by 18.30 percent.
Net foreign exchange gains totalled US$1.20 million, compared to just US$200,000 in the same period last year. While foreign exchange grew fees and commission income declined from $1.2 million to $894,000 due to change in reporting some fee income with some income now being booked over the period that they cover rather than at the time of billing, the impact for the full year should not reflect a major difference, IC Insider.com was informed.
Proven invests in a number of privately held entities except for Access Finance. The investment strategy seems to be working with most entities delivering increased returns in the quarter.

Christopher Williams, Proven Investments CEO.

According to the release Proven Wealth net income totalled US$0.93 million for the quarter, representing more than a six -times increase compared to the same period last year. The firm continues its strategy to offer investment products to clients in reducing the previous reliance on repurchase agreements. Total Assets of the company as at June 2018 stood at US$120.5 million.
Proven Fund Managers continues to be one of the top players in the Asset and Pension Fund Management and Administration business. Profitability increased by almost 68 percent compared to the same period last year, with net profit of US$220,000 compared to US$130,000 million for 2017.
Access Financial Services appears to be maturing contributing nearly 21 percent increase in net profits attributable to PIL of US$790,000 or 44 percent of the group’s profit for the quarter. But according to Williams, profit at Access is growing around $10 million on a monthly basis and is expected to continue for the rest of the fiscal year barring unforeseen negative development. IC Insider.com gathers that they may be more acquisition in the period ahead for this subsidiary in a new market. Access seems to have absorbed the acquisitions last year that led to a hike in doubtful loan provisioning being above normal in the 2018 fiscal year. The loan portfolio was US$24.4 million up 22 percent over the balance at June 2017.
BOSLIL Bank headquartered in St Lucia is Proven Investments’ most recent acquisition and currently 75 percent owned by the group. BOSLIL contribution to group profits was just below Access at US$610,000 million. Total Assets of the bank stood at US$271 million and seems set to increase as the group has signed an agreement to acquire yet another banking entity that will fall under the arm of Boslil.
PROVEN REIT is involved in residential real estate development with two new developments scheduled to commence construction and are expected to be completed and sold over the next twelve to eighteen months. But the current fiscal year is not likely to benefit from these is they are successfully executed.
Operating expenses increased by 11.5 percent to US$5.6 million compared to US$4.9 million in 2017 but the expenses include US$236,000 in preference dividends that will not repeat as the company retires the preference shares on which dividend was paid while there was just over $400,000 provision made relating to the impact of IFRS 9. Excluding these two items profit for the quarter would have been much greater than reported.

Access Financial contributed much to Proven profit in the quarter.


At the end of June total assets amounted to US$575 million down slightly from US$599 million at June 2017 and liabilities fell from US$509 million in 2017 to US$470 million. Shareholders’ Equity grew to US$82 million from US$71 million as at June 2017 mainly from increased in the share capital following the rights issue last year.
The group has not been able to put the new capital fully to work as they awaited regulatory approval for the plan acquisition of a brokerage company in Cayman Island which has now been granted with the acquisition said by Proven to close at the end of the month. That may not be the only acquisition for Proven this fiscal year as the group seek to grow its overseas business and take advantage of the many investment opportunities management sees within the region.
In going forward, investors need to pay attention to the impact of foreign exchange trading and movement in the rate of exchange and the impact on profits positively or negatively, so the strong gains enjoyed in the quarter may not repeat in the rest of the year. The preference dividend and the provision for IFRS provisioning should not repeat and are likely to reduce cost going forward. Access continues to grow profit on a quarterly basis as the company increase loans granted and securities trading can add or subtract from profits depending how well the investment portfolio is managed.
With the continued focus on acquisition, the future could be brighter for the group, in addition IC Insider.com is forecasting a rise in the PE ratio from an average of 12.5 now to a higher level by year end.
The stock that was in the IC TOP 10 and slipped out this past week traded at 19 US cents on Thursday on the JSE US dollar market and sits just outside the Top list.

Honey Bun profit up modestly in Q3

Sales for the three months ended June 2018, rose 15 percent to $332 million over the 2017 out turn of $289 million at Honey Bun, but profit before tax was just $9 million, 5 percent higher than the $8.6 million earned in the corresponding prior year period.
Profit after tax rose to $9.7 million up from $7.55 million as a provision of $1 million in taxes in 2017 turned into $695,000 in 2018. Management stated in their release to shareholders that “this has been as a result of continued investment in production capacity and restructuring of distribution.”
Year to date, sales for the nine months, were $1 billion up 4 percent over the corresponding 2017 period’s income of $969 million, leading to profit before tax of $80 million, 17 percent lower than in the previous year. After taxation of $8.3 million for the nine months, profit declined to $72 million from $84.7 million in 2017, after taxation for $12 million.
Earnings per share for the quarter amounts to just 2 cents and for the nine months period year to date amounted to 15 cents. Honey Bun’s last quarter is not the most robust for the fiscal year so not much improvement is expected when the year ends in September.
Even as the net profit was disappointing, there were some good signs. Gross margin increased to 44.1 percent from 42.4 percent in 2017 for the June quarter and from 43.2 percent to 45.2 percent for the nine months. Gross profit rose 19 percent to $146 million for the quarter but was up 8 percent for the year to date period to $455 million.
Marketing and Distribution cost rose 32 percent in the quarter to $61 million and 37 percent to $164 million while Administrative Expenses rose 14 percent for the quarter to $63 million and was flat at $166 million for the nine months. Depreciation moved up by 9 percent to $12.3 million for the quarter and 11 percent to $36 million for the year to date.
“The Company’s asset base has grown as a result of the investment in the expanded facilities. This investment will allow the company to take advantage of the strong market demand for our products.

One Honey Bun’s Products.

In April of this year Honey Bun launched its new Buccaneer Jamaica pocket size rum cakes in 3 flavors at the Jamaica Expo. We have entered two new markets with further interest from other buyers in existing markets,” Michelle Chong Chief Executive Officer, informed shareholders.
Operations brought in $113 million in cash for the nine months of which $93 million was used as payment for fixed assets and $18.6 million in dividends resulting in $84 million in cash at the end of the period.
Shareholders’ Equity grew to $600 million at the end of June, current assets fell to $212 million and current liabilities fell to $84 million from $117 million in 2017. Fixed assets rose to $441 million from $368 million in 2017 and borrowed funds stood at just $31 million.

Seprod could ditch Duckenfield sugar

Seprod could ditch loss making Duckenfield sugar operations.


Duckenfield sugar factory in St Thomas faces closure, unless the government steps in to alleviate the problems. IC Insider.com understands a major part of the issue is a cess placed on locally produced sugar that cost the industry almost a billion per year.
The industry that is struggling to be viable is not in a position to bear the cost of the cess. Duckenfield has racked up a huge amount of losses since it was taken over by Seprod.
Seprod who operates the St Thomas based Duckenfield factory, stated in a release accompanying their six months results as they bemoan the impact that continuous losses at the factory has on the results of the group.
The report singed by the Chief executive, Richard Pandohie and Vice Chairman, Peter John Thwaites states, “Unfortunately, the Group would have had much better results had it not been for the $220 million loss in the sugar operation for the period. Management has exhausted almost all options to make these operations achieve even a breakeven status and we are committed to, in very short order, eliminating these nine years of erosion in shareholders’ value.”
For the six months ended June 2018, Seprod generated revenues of $10.44 billion, an increase of J$2.07 billion or 25 percent over the corresponding period in 2017. Net profit increased 29 percent for the period to $598 million in the 2017 period. The 2018 results are bolstered by the transfer of the former Jamaican dairy operations of Nestle within the Group effective January, this year.

Sugar cane under production in Jamaica

These operations, located in Bog Walk, St. Catherine, produce Supligen and Betty products, as well as co-manufacture products for international customers. In 2017, these operations were operated by Seprod under a management services contract and were not included in the Group’s results. The directors’ report stated that, “had these operations been included in the Group’s results in 2017, the increase in revenues for the six months ended 30 June 2018 would have been $1.20 billion or 13 percent and the increase in net profit would have been $77 million or 15 percent.”
For the June quarter, revenues rose 33 percent to $5.48 billion with gross profit rising sharply to 36 percent from 24 percent in 2017, with gross profit hitting $1.96 billion and profit after tax coming in at $325 million attributable to Seprod shareholders, 37 percent ahead of the 2017 out turn.