Profit jumps 56% at Knutsford Express

Knutsford Express posted strong gains in profit for Q1.

After more than a year when Knutsford Express traded at elevated levels, things are on the mend but investors in the stock may still have to wait to see their investment paying off with much increase in the stock price.
The company’s latest results is encouraging that investors’ wait for full recovery of the price may not be far away. Profit jumped 56 percent in the August quarter to $88 million from $57 million in 2017 from Sale revenues that rose 23 percent for the quarter to $293 million from $237 million in 2017.
The company still has not provided investors with relevant information to be able to see what gross profit margin they are enjoying to better determine how well the operation is being managed.
Expenses rose at a slower pace than revenues, climbing 16 percent to $211 million from $181 million. Earnings per share rose to 18 cents for the quarter, up from 11 cents on 2017. IC is forecasting 75 cents per share. The stock traded at $11.5 on the Junior Market of the Jamaica Stock Exchange, with a PE ratio of 15 times 2019 earnings.
Gross cash flow brought in $108 million but growth in receivables, inventories, addition of $61 million to fixed assets net cash flows used up just $4 resulting in with cash and bank balances of $134 million plus short term investments of $96 million. At the end of August, shareholders’ equity stands at $714 million with borrowings at just $71 million. Net current assets ended the period $280 million well over Payables of $34 million.

Mayberry Equities profit rises

Mayberry Investments

Strong growth in the Jamaican stock market drove the net assets of Mayberry Jamaican Equities to $15.6 billion at the end of September from $7.4 billion at September last year and from $8.9 billion at the end of December.
Mayberry reported an after-tax profit of $250 million for the September 2018 quarter, up sharply from $65 million in 2017. For the year to September this year, profit rose to $690 million from just $84 million in 2017 but a strong increase of $615 million in the September quarter and $1 billion year to date were the main drivers of the increased results in 2018. The performance resulted in Earnings per share of 21 cents for the quarter and 57 cents for the nine months.
Total comprehensive income for Q3 amounted to $4.25 billion, compared to $295 million for the corresponding quarter of 2017 and the booking of $6 billion for the nine months period reflecting gains from stocks held in the portfolio.
Net Revenues increased to $658 million from just $23 million in the 2017 quarter and is up to $1.26 billion for the nine months to September from a mere $32 million for the similar period in 2017.
Unrealized gains on investment, accounted for the bulk of the income while dividend Income amounted to $69 million in the quarter versus $29 million in 2017 and for the year to September, $296 million versus just $65 million in 2017. The addition of Supreme Ventures to the portfolio would have contributed in a major way to the increase.
Operating expenses increased to $390 million in the quarter from $8 million in 2017, for the year to date it moved to $548 million from $36 million in 2017 due to incentive and management fees for Investment management services and, also, Legal and Professional fees for a corporate loan of $2.2 billion acquired to expand the equity portfolio.
At the end of the quarter the company had cash funds of $1.37 billion and investments of $16.95 billion and amounts due creditors of $482 million and Net Book Value per share moved to J$13.01, at September 30 but fell by October 5, 2018 to $11.96, the company reported on the website of the Jamaica Stock Exchange.
The company’s portfolio comprises 31 securities including, Lasco Financial Services, Caribbean Producers, Blue Power, Iron Rock Insurance and Supreme Ventures.

Prestige profit slips & slides

Prestige Holdings brand – TGIF

Profit at Trinidad’s fast food franchise operators, Prestige Holdings fell a sharp 35 percent to TT$7.7 million for the quarter ending in August, compared to $11.8 million for the similar period in 2017 as economic pressures continued to affect the Twin island state of Trinidad & Tobago, where the bulk of the income is generated.

The operation includes, Prestige Holdings’ of KFC, Pizza Hut, Subway and Starbucks, Weekenders Trinidad Limited (TGI Fridays Trinidad) and Prestige Restaurants Jamaica, (TGI Fridays Jamaica).
Revenues slipped in the quarter to $268 million from $273 in 2017 quarter, dragging down gross profit to $90 million versus $95 million in the 2017 period, as cost of sales remained flat at roughly $178 million in both periods.
For the nine months to August, revenues increased a mere 1 percent to $790 million and profit after tax declined 24 percent to $21 million, from $27.7 million in the previous year. For the 2017 fiscal year, the company reported $32.9 million in after tax profit, from revenues of $1.04 billion.
Earnings per share for the nine months ended at 34 cents compared to 45 cents for the same period in 2017. The results were generated from an average number of 123 restaurants, the company stated in a release with the quarterly results.
Other operating expenses were flat in the quarter but rose moderately, by just $5 million to $170 million for the nine months. Administrative expenses edged up slightly, in both the quarter and year to date period, to $20.6 million from $20 million and from $61 million to $63.7 million respectively.
According to the Chairman, Christian Mouttet in his report to shareholders, “our less than stellar performance for the nine months of 2018, as mentioned in my Half Year Report, has been driven primarily by higher costs, a still recovering local economy and consumers who are very price and value sensitive. As mentioned then, we are implementing initiatives and making changes to our operations that over time will improve our performance and strengthen our business. Additionally, we opened our tenth Pizza Hut restaurant in Princes Town on 1 October 2018.”
“We do not anticipate any significant changes in the macroeconomic environment in the short term and expect to finish the year broadly in line with the previous nine months.”
The Board approved an interim dividend of 12 cents per common share (2017 – 14 cents) to be paid on October 31.
Prestige closed the period with shareholders’ equity of $290 million, Current assets of $131 million and Current liabilities of $131 million. Non-current liabilities amounted to $54 million. The stock closed at $7.52 or a PE ratio of 17 on the Trinidad & Tobago Stock Exchange on Monday.

Everything Fresh down but not out

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Everything Fresh is one of a hand full of initial public stock offers to be selling below the IPO price months after the issue. The stock that was over priced has only been partially helped by a big jump in 2018 half year profit.
The fall in the price was due to over pricing the initial offer and failure to provide more up to date information on the 2018 performance to the time of the IPO and to address developments with the margins. Even with improved results, the stock remains one of the higher priced units on the Junior Market, at a PE of 14 times this year’s pretax earnings and is in line with the market’s average.
Boosted by a big jump in profit margins, earnings after tax jumped 180 percent in the June quarter, to $26.5 million from $9.5 million in 2017. For the six months to June, profit climbed 99 percent to $38.6 million from $19.4 million in 2017. For the next five years, profit will be free of corporate taxes and in the second five years will pay taxes at half the regular rate.
Sales revenue rose 9.7 percent for the quarter, to $494 million from $451 million and increased 6 percent for the half year, to $969 million from $915 million in 2017.
Improvement in profit margin in the first half of the year that grew from 8 percent to 11 percent, increased further to 13 percent in the June quarter and was the major contributor for the sharp increase in profit. The Chairman, Gregory Pullen informed IC, that the company took a deliberate decision in 2017 to go after certain clients with an introduction of low margins, with the expectation that they would be able to enjoy higher margins in 2018 onwards.

Everything Fresh two major owners and directors, Mr. & Mrs. Pullen.

The effect of the changes, operating profit rose 84 percent in the quarter, to $66 million from $36 million and increased 49 percent for the year to date, to $108 million from $72 million in 2017.
Sharp increase in administrative expenses by 38 percent to $28 million in the quarter and by 30 percent in the six months period to $54 million, kept the growth in the top line from filtering fully into profit. Marketing expenses associated the public of share issue added to cost in the period. Finance cost rose in the quarter, to $5 million from $4.3 million in 2017 and from $8.7 million to $9.3 million for the six months.
Earnings per share before tax came out at 5 cents for the quarter and 8 cents for the six months and should end the year at 15 cents for PE of 14 times 2018 earnings and 10 times 2019 projected earnings of 20 cents per share. The stock traded at $2.10 on the Junior Market of the Jamaica Stock Exchange on Friday.
Gross cash flow brought in $48 million but changes in working capital and inflows from the issue of shares, resulted in $213 million of cash funds as of June. A large portion of the share issue proceeds was received after the end of the quarter, the chairman’s report to shareholders stated.
At the end of June, shareholders’ equity climbed to $651 million from $225 million in 2017. Borrowings stood at just $107 million. Net current assets ended the period at $614 million inclusive of trade and other receivables of $503 million and cash and bank balances of $213 million. Current liabilities ended the period at $207 million.
The company is looking at three meat processing facility locally with a view to acquiring one and expects that discussions will conclude by the end of this year or early in 2019. The plan is to enable the manufacturing of products by them to sell directly to its clients at more competitive prices.

Sales jump sharply at Main Event

Main Event backed with IC BUY RATED status

Growth in revenues while not an exact proxy for increased profits, is often a very good indicator of greater gains ahead. That may be exactly what is happening at the Junior market listed Main Event.
The results for the nine months to July show strong sales growth but flat profits. Revenues for the July quarter surged nearly 26 percent to $364 million, but profit fell 7 percent to $24.5 million from $26.3 million in 2017. For the nine months to July, profit was up just 4 percent to $105.5 million that flowed from a 13 percent rise in revenues to $1.07 billion, compared to net income of $101 million in 2017.
The company incurred increased cost as it seeks to expand its service offerings. The results to date suggest that the full year earnings will not vary much from the 2017 full year results of 37 cents. But 2019 could be a blow out year for them, if revenue growth seen so far for this year, continues into 2019.
Profit margin in the first half of the year, was held to the same level as in 2017, at 48 percent and declined in the July quarter to 45 percent from 49 percent in the 2017, the impact, operating profit rose just 15 percent in the quarter to $164 million from $143 million but fell to 14 percent for the year to date, to $512 million from $447 million in 2017.
Administrative expenses rose 20 percent to $111 million in the quarter and increased 15 percent in the nine months period to $311 million. Marketing and sales expenses increased by 44 percent to $15 million for the nine months. Depreciation rose 49 percent to $24 million in the quarter and increased 29 percent in the nine months to $69 million, an indication of increased capital spend to accommodate expansion and increased income. Finance cost was flat in the quarter, at $5.2 million and rose just 5 percent to $13.6 million for the nine months.
Earnings per share came out at 9 cents for the quarter and 37 cents for the nine months and should end the fiscal year around 40 cents. For 2019 earnings should be in the order of a string increase to 75 cents.
“Performance has been negatively impacted by write downs on trade receivables to align to reporting standard, IFRS 9, continued start up expenditure for new service offerings and cost with higher head counts and incentive compensation,” the Chairman Ian Blair and Chief Executive Officer reported to shareholders in their commentary accompanying the quarterly.
Gross cash flow brought in $175 million but growth in receivables, inventories, addition to fixed assets of $160 million, offset by net loan inflows and increased payables resulted in net cash flow ended at a negative $63 million and leaving $29 million in cash at the end of July. Shareholders’ equity stood at $551 million with borrowings at just $185 million, including amounts due to related parties. Net current assets ended the period at $141 million, inclusive of trade and other receivables of $304 million, cash and bank balances of $29 million. Current liabilities amounted to $209 million inclusive of short term borrowings.
The stock traded at $5.50 on the Junior Market of the Jamaica Stock Exchange with a relatively low PE ratio of 7.3 times 2018 earnings and is elevated to BUY RATED status.

Plastic ban to have minimal impact – Wisynco

Wisynco, traded the most shares on tuesday.

Wisynco Group will see little impact in the recently announced ban on plastic bags, plastic straws and Styrofoam, to take effect between 2019 and 2020 a release by the company stated.
“The areas of impact for Wisynco include plastic straws and Styrofoam, which the Company manufactures. Regarding plastic straws, it is proposed that this ban take effect on January 2019. Plastic straws represent less than one tenth of 1 percent of the Company’s revenue and the ban will therefore have no impact.”
“Regarding the ban on Styrofoam for local manufacturers, though there is still some uncertainty, it is currently proposed that this ban take effect on January 2020. Styrofoam represents 4 percent of the company’s revenue and approximately 3 percent of the company’s net income.”
For the fiscal year ended June 2018, Wisynco recorded profits attributable to shareholders of $2.3 billion or 62 cents per share on a normalized basis for the year from a 14.8 percent rise in revenues to $24.54 billion compared to a profit of $1.97 billion or 55 cents per share on a normalized basis for the corresponding prior in 2017.
Revenues for the June quarter grew 15.2 percent to $6.49 billion over the $5.63 billion generated in the 2017 corresponding quarter.
The group benefited from improved profit margins in the quarter and for the full year while general expenses rose at a much slower pace than the increase in revenues. In the quarter Selling, Distribution & Administrative Expenses for the quarter totaled $1.86 billion or 3.4 percent more than the $1.79 billion for the corresponding quarter of the prior year and for the 12 months it rose 8.5 percent to $6.37 billion.
Wisynco Group stock that has been under selling pressure from the start of May, when it was trading at $10.72, gained 20 cents to close at $9 with 320,465 shares changing hands on Thursday, on the Jamaica Stock Exchange. The stock is selling at less than 10 times 2019 earnings and remains one of the better buys in the market.

One-off gains push up Scotia’s profit

Scotia Group reports growth of 24 percent in net profit to $11.2 billion for the nine months to July, but importantly, profit jumped a strong 37 percent in the July quarter, over that of 2017 to $4.4 billion as net revenues climbed in the quarter by $940 million and costs were effectively flat.
While the results are impressive, especially in light of recent years of weak growth, the improvement is boosted by what could be considered as one-off income. The nine months profit that grew by $2.2 billion over the similar period in 2017, inclusive of gains on the sale of a subsidiary of $750 million. In addition, the group enjoyed above average foreign exchange trading gains, partially as a result of the relatively sharp slippage in foreign exchange rate of the Jamaican dollar. Excluding, the exceptional income profit would be modestly up from the results of the prior year.
The year’s operations was impacted by lower cost and lower income in some areas while income for some other segments grew. Total revenues excluding impairment losses on loans for the nine months to July increased 10.7 percent to $33 billion, over the prior year. “While there were increased loan and transaction volumes across the business lines, this was offset by reduced net interest margins as a result of lower interest rates,” the group’s CEO and President, David Noel stated in the report to shareholders. Net interest income after impairment losses for the period was $17.9 billion, compared to $18.44 billion the same period in 2017. For the quarter, net interest income declined by nearly $460 million before loan impairment losses, to $6.3 billion and by $427 million after to $5.68 billion.

David Noel new Scotia Group’s CEO.

Net fees and commission income was $6.1 billion, down $477 million or 7 percent compared to last year, impacted by the ongoing shift from branch transactions to online and mobile transactions which Scotia states, “attract lower fees,” Insurance revenue increased by $135 million to $2.4 billion or 6 percent, due to growth in core insurance business and actuarial reserve releases from changes in assumptions on valuation of the portfolios. Net gains on foreign currency activities and financial assets amounted to $4.6 billion, up $2.5 billion, more than 100 percent compared to last year based on increased market activities and revaluation gains. For the quarter, net fees and commission income dipped to $2 billion from $2.17 billion, gains on foreign trading jumped sharply from $570 million to $1.95 billion due partially to the sharp depreciation of the Jamaican dollar. Gains in financial assets rose from $228 million to $598 million but insurance revenue fell from $567 million to $525 million.
Operating Expenses of $16.3 billion for the nine months, increased $145 million or just 1 percent compared to prior year. Salaries and staff benefit costs declined $414 million, while other operating expenses grew by $575 million. For the quarter cost rose from $5 billion to $5.07 billion as staff cost dipped slightly to $2.45 billion from $2.68 billion.
Loans and advances grew 6.3 percent, with loans after impairment losses increasing to $176.9 billion since the end of the previous fiscal year in October but grew a stronger 3.7 percent between April and July quarter. Impairment losses on loans were down $310 million or 21 percent from last year, due to lower provisioning requirements on a reduced non-accrual loan portfolio as the quality of credit portfolio continues to improve.
An interim dividend of 48 cents per stock unit payable on October 24, was declared. Scotia is trading on the Jamaica Stock Exchange at $62 on Tuesday with a PE of 13.5 times 2018 earnings from continuing operation around $4.50 per share.

Express Catering profit up but concerns linger

Ian Dear Chairman & CEO of Express Catering

Profit at Express Catering (ECL) jumped 290 percent to US$3.5 million on increased revenue of 10 percent to $15.7 million. A fall of $1.4 million in administrative cost to $6.6 million and a near $1 million rise in gross profit accounted for the bulk of the profit growth.
Earnings per share came in at 0.021 US cents. With the Starbucks franchise, which should be in full operation for the entire 2019 fiscal year and continued strong showing in tourist arrivals, revenues should climb much faster than the 10 percent experienced for 2018, helping to boost profit, which IC is estimating at 0.035 US cents or Jamaica 45 cents.
Of grave concern is that while the company is incurring $333,000 in preference dividends on $3.5 million preference shares, amounts owing by related parties, rose from $3.6 million last year to $6 million to May, but ECL gets no income from it. That seems partially on the way to be corrected, based on information provided the company’s Chief Execuitive.
The preference shares issued is exactly the same amount due on debt owing to the company by a related party and reported in the financials for the first time in the 2017 fiscal year. While the amount owed by Margaritaville Limited increased by $2.3 million with no interest payable, Express pays dividends on the preference shares. No interest is paid to Margaritaville St. Lucia by Express for an amount due to the former, partially countering the position against the dividend payable. The preference shares, denominated in US dollar, is obligated to pay dividend at 9.5 percent per annum. That is high for a US dollar instrument now, as well as when it was contracted. These matters are clearly an untidy for a listed company with amounts owing to and from related entities, with some incurring a charge while others are not.
IC spoke with Ian Dear who is Chairman of the company on this issue. Dear advises that the dividend to be paid shortly will result in Margaritaville Limited repaying US$4.8 million of the debt in September and it is not expected that the account will return to the above level in the future. Regardless of the above payment, the situation requires regularizing to ensure equity and transparency for the investing public.

Starbucks one of the brands Express Catering will sell at the Montego Bay Airport.

Dear went on to state, “The balance of US$5.99 million at May, due from Related Parties is made up of 3 separate Related Party accounts with amounts due from ECL as well as amounts due to ECL. This is a carry forward from the period when ECL was a fully owned subsidiary of MCL Group. The company will take steps to cancel the non-active balances by paying down the amounts due to Related Parties and collecting from Related Parties amounts due to ECL. The company declared recently a dividend of US$6 million that will result in a further substantial reduction of the existing balance.”
“The existing Preference Shares were entered into at a time of higher interest rates. Since then rates have trended downwards. ECL is currently engaging funding institutions with a view to refinancing this debt. Redemption costs as well as Arranger fees will be critical factors in this decision,” Dear, Chairman & CEO informed IC

Dear also confirmed that the annual results had very little revenues from the Starbucks store. He also indicated that there will be three stores initially, in the Sangster International Airport of which two opened around 2 months ago and the third was opened last week. Annual revenues should be in the order of $1 million per annum, IC estimates.
Unless otherwise stated, all amounts are denoted in US dollars.

Broken capital market no one is fixing

Gwest booked preference shares but no notice seen for the issue.

The Jamaica Stock Exchange and the Financial Services Commission regulate the financial market, but the system is seriously broken and no one is moving to really fix it.
IC brought to the attention of the public, the appalling situation relating to Knutsford Express where the Prospectus which was signed off by both the above institutions but there is no indication how the share capital moved from 973 units to 95 million. The Auditors of the company still have not sorted out and reported on properly in the audited accounts on the movement of the share capital and the proceeds of the initial public offer, even as it was brought to public attention and the JSE was aware of it from 2014.
There is the case where a brokerage house, signed agreements and breached a series of agreements and refused to correct the errors. The FSC who should be aware of the breach failed to recognize the matter year after year, nor have the auditors dealt with the matter properly.

The FSC fell down on the job in reviewing Knutsford prospectus & reports after IPO.

GWest has published the first quarter report to June, showing the issue of 250 million preference shares, but there is no notice on the JSE website of an extraordinary general meeting called or held to approve the issue of the shares. The JSE requires that any directors’ meeting at which a change in share capital is to be considered, such information should be communicated to the JSE and when the directors consider it, the JSE is to be advised of the decision within 48 hours. The Company’s act requires that changes in share capital must be approved by shareholders. From all indications, no such thing has happened at GWest. First off GWest had no authorized preference shares up to the end of March. How and when were these shares established and approved, is the question to be answered.
GWest came to market, with results that were based on sale of property. That changed substantially in the recently concluded fiscal year, when a loss was reported. The company projected figures, showing highly profitable future, with revenues from medical services rising sharply for the just concluded fiscal year. The results to March, showed revenues well below forecast, from the new operations. The company projected medical income to March this year, at $86 million but only generated $17.4 million and that puts the issue of generating the forecasted $710 million for fiscal year ending March 2019, in grave doubt.

Knutsford Express 204, 2015 auditing accounts still filled with errors.

Admittedly, the company had projected a loss to March of $110 million but came up much lower, with a loss of $88 million. For the June interim report this year, the company generated revenues of just $25 million with a loss of $42 million. From all indications, the company will fall far short of projections, but the directors gave shareholders who gave the company, their seal of approval, very little to go on as to the immediate future. With new borrowings and big losses investors, should not be left in left in the dark as to the true state of the company’s operation and what are the likely prospects for the rest of the year. In the quarter report there is no comment about the preference shares and the reason for the increase in liability and most importantly, what are the situation relating to the expected revenues flows.
We cannot develop a serious capital market with such sloppy monitoring and total lack of concern for shareholders by directors and mentors.
The JSE and the management of Knutsford Express met in connection with the errors in the audited Financials and both parties IC is informed are to be revised.

Big bounce in Fosrich profit

FosRich profits rose sharply in 2018

Fosrich Group reported profit of $30 million for the June quarter, an increase of 630 percent over the $4 million reported for the prior year’s reporting period.
Profit before tax climbed to $60.6 million for the half year to June, for an increase of 144 percent over the $25 million for the similar period in 2017 and by an increase of 234% over the post-tax profit of $18 million, reported for the prior reporting period.
Having listed on the Jamaica Stock exchange Junior market in 2017, profits are now free form taxes for a period of 5 years. Earnings per stock unit ended at 12 cents for the half year and 6 cents for the quarter and should end up just around 27 to 30 cents, if the trend continues.
During the second quarter, the company enjoyed an 18.7 percent hike in income to $320 million, from $270 million for the prior year. For the half year, sales revenues were just up by 5 percent to $592 million from $565 million in 2017.
Gross profit for the quarter, rose 23 percent to $141 million from $115 million, in the prior reporting period and for the six months to June gross profit increased just 6 percent to $269 million. Gross profit margin slipped from the first quarter to 44 percent with the margin for the six months ending at 45 percent. Other income for the year-to-date benefited from foreign exchange gains of $15 million.
Administrative expenses fell $14 million for the half year, to $198 million and slipped just slightly for the quarter to $102 million from $103 million. According to the Managing Director, Cecil Foster, “the decrease was driven primarily by efficiencies gained from the management of staff and related costs, reductions in selling and marketing expenses, reduced insurance costs and reductions in damaged goods write-off and warranty expenses. The cost savings were partially offset by increases in staff training, legal and professional fees, rent and bank charges,” management indicated.
Finance cost for the year-to-date was $28.5 million compared to $19.6 million for the prior reporting period, but rose 68 percent in the June quarter to $17.5 million. “This increase is being driven by a new working capital line of credit obtained to assist with the financing of operations. This new facility was obtained at more favourable rates than the previous bank facilities,” Foster advised, in his commentary on the interim results.
Inventories rose sharply from $625 million in December to $808 million in June, receivables declined to $148 million from $156 million. Amounts due to creditors fell sharply from $297 million as of December to just $35 million. The company paid off amounts due on overseas line of credit thus reducing foreign exchange risk. The switch contributed to a sharp rise in loans from $384 million to $795 million.
“The company continues to closely manage inventory balances and the supply-chain, with a view to ensuring that inventory balances being carried are optimised, relative to the pace of sales, the time between the orders being made and when goods become available for sale, to avoid both overstocking and stock-outs. Monitoring is both at the individual product level and by product categories,” foster advised shareholders.
Part of the loans was on lent to an affiliated company that is completing an apartment complex on Shortwood Road, the managing director confirmed to IC The financials show $243 million due form them. The amount due incurs interest at 12.5 percent rate, Foster stated. The line allowed the company to stock up on some commodities at low prices relative to what normally obtains in the trade.
Shareholders’ equity now stands at $670 million, up from the $609 million at December 2017. Fosrich trades on the Junior Market at $2.80 on Tuesday, just around 10 times earnings.