Profit up at West Indian Tobacco

Profit before corporate taxes rose 6.8 percent to $105.8 million, for the three months ended March 2018, over the corresponding period in 2017 for Trinidad and Tobago’s West Indian Tobacco company.
Profit for the quarter, after tax ended at $72.5 million, an increase of 7.6 percent over 2017. The improvement flowed from slightly lower cost of sales, amounting to $46.4 million versus $46.5 million in 2017, pushing gross profit to $141.45 million over the $124.65 generated for the similar period in 2017. Distribution costs rose to $6.3 million from $5.14 million while Administrative expenses rose to $15.65 million from $14.9 million in 2017 but other operating expenses rose sharply to $14 million from $5.7 million in 2017.
Cash flow of $144 million was generated and after paying taxes of $42 million, net cash from operating activities amounted to $102 million.
The Board approved the payment of a first interim dividend of 82 cents per share to be paid on 21 May 2018, an increase over 76 cents paid in the similar period in 2017.
At the end of the quarter, Current assets amounted to $426 million and included Cash and cash equivalents of $333 million, while Current liabilities was $117 million and Shareholders’ equity was $450 million. In 2017 the company suffered a sharp fall in revenues and profit resulting from increased taxation and lower revenues. Profit for the year ending December 2017 amounted to $380 million down 26 percent from $515 million as revenues dived from $1.24 billion in 2016 to $1.09 billion in 2017.

The stock closed on the Trinidad & Tobago Stock Exchange at $88.55 on Friday.

Berger’s Managing director bullish on future

Berger Paints fell $2.07 to $17 with the largest block of shares on Tuesday.

Berger Paints just released its 2017 annual report, filled with a series of goodies for shareholders from talk of going after market share and adding new product lines to the addition and upgrading equipment to increase efficiency.
The report also disclosed the company will pay a final dividend of 28.5¢ per share totaling $61 million, equivalent to 35 percent of the profit to December 2017. The payment will to be made on May 28, to shareholders on record at the close of business of May 11, the proposed dividend compares to 50 cents or just over 30 percent of profit to March in 2017.
“For the nine-month period, revenues were $1.91 billion versus $2.36 billion for the 12-months ended March 2017, with a net profit of $174 million versus $316 million for the previous fiscal year. Berger enjoyed steady growth in profits from the 2012 fiscal year when it posted a profit of $33 million and rising in each year. Profit nearly doubled in 2016 to $122 million from $67 million the year before and more than doubled to March 2017.
The biggest contributor to the revenue decline for the December 2017 period “was a deliberate strategy of using aggressive pricing in an extremely competitive environment, to drive volume growth and take market share. This, coupled with increasing market acceptance and demand for our economy line, put downward pressure on margins. There has been an increase in administration expenses, some of which were one-off and related to the acquisition. Apart from these, there were higher costs for legal settlements as well as higher inventory and bad debt provisions, which adversely affected the current period compared to 2016/2017,” Andy Mahadeo, the Managing Director told shareholders in his report to them.

Andy Mahadeo, the Managing Director

“In addition to the one-off expenses identified in the Overview, raw material prices have also increased significantly over 2016. In a very competitive environment, we have made a deliberate decision to grow market share by absorbing the price increases and ensuring our customers get the best possible value for money. While this has resulted in declining Gross Margins in the short term, it positions the brand for growth in the future as our strategies are implemented going forward.”
“The outlook for 2018 and beyond is extremely positive. The Berger brand remains strong and continues to dominate the local market with strong brand equity and a reputation for quality. With GDP projected to grow by at least 1.5 percent in 2018, construction activity and the demand for coatings is expected to remain relatively strong for the next two to three years. Plans are already being implemented to expand the company’s local distribution and product range as well as to improve our level of customer service and responsiveness. In 2018, there will also be greater emphasis on building out exports by targeting new markets in Central America and the Greater CARICOM region,” the Managing Director reported.
Of note are developments in 2017 that are pointed out in the Managing Director’s report, “While the performance is creditable, there has been a decline in revenue and profits when compared to 2016/2017 on a pro-rata basis, with a few one-off extraordinary events that adversely affected the results. The one-week shutdown of operations and sales in order to conduct the verification exercise prior to the transfer of ownership as well as the significant legal and valuation costs incurred in September, will not be repeated going forward.”

Berger Paints is one of IC Insider’s TOP 10 stocks.

We expect to realize the full effect of our coatings synergies across our five operating plants in 2018 as we leverage our regional supply chain to remove cost. Our Strategic Plan over the next three years will see the company investing heavily in plant and equipment. This will enable us to increase production capacity and improve operational efficiencies while maintaining an unwavering focus on creating additional value.
Gross cash flow brought in $267 million, but growth in receivables, inventories, addition to fixed assets offset by increased payables and the paying of $113 million in dividends, left negative cash flow of $156 million. At the end of December, shareholders’ equity stood at $1 billion with no borrowed funds. Net current assets ended the period at $1.3 billion, inclusive of Trade and other receivables of $674 million, cash and bank balances of $232 million. Current liabilities stood at $494 million of which trade payables accounted for $381 million.
The stock traded at $18.20 on the main market of the Jamaica Stock Exchange with a PE ratio of 7 times 2018 projected earnings of $2.60. Net asset value is $4.93 with the stock selling at 3.5 times book value.

Profit drops a whopping 85% at Unilever

Unilever’s huge drop

The Trinidad based Unilever Caribbean ended 2017 with a profit, but it was not the greatest year for the company. Profit fell 72 percent in the December quarter, to TT$3.5 million from TT$12.4 million in 2016.
For the year to December, profit dropped 85 percent from TT$71.7 million in 2016 to TT$10.7 million.
Sale revenues fell 27.5 percent for the quarter, to TT$113.7 million from TT$157 million and declined 18 percent for the year, to TT$464 million from TT$566 million in 2016. The fall in fortunes resulted from pressures in the home country the results of a continuing recession and shortage of foreign exchange. In the second half of the year, the company faced added pressure from the damaged and dislocation caused by hurricanes that affect several countries in the Eastern Caribbean. Corporate taxation fell 54 percent to TT$8.7 million for the year compared to TT$18.8 million in 2016.
Revenues reached a high of $588 million in 2014, dipped to $549 million in 2015, recovered a bit in 2016 to $566 million before falling sharply in 2017. Profit peaked at $70 million in 2013 dropped sharply in 2014 to just over $47 million in 2015 and $42.5 in 2016
Gross profit margin in the final quarter, declined to 35 percent from 38 percent in the 2016 and 36 percent for both the year, compared to 40 percent for 2016. The effect, gross operating profit declined 33 percent in the quarter to TT$40 million from TT$60 million but fell 27 percent for the year to TT$166 million from TT$228 million in 2016.
Administrative expenses rose 7 percent to TT$7.6 million in the quarter and increased just 1 percent in the year, to TT$29.5 million. Selling and distribution expenses declined by 31 percent to TT$21.7 million in the last quarter and was down 16 percent to $115 million for the year. The company suffered a loss of TT$1.7 million on disposal of fixed assets in the December quarter and TT$1.9 million for the ear.
Gross cash flow brought in TT$30 million but a TT$43 million addition to fixed assets and paying TT$13 million in dividends more than wiped out to inflows reducing the cash funds from TT$57 million to TT$32 million at the end of the year.
At the end of December, shareholders’ equity stood at TT$234 million with no borrowings. Receivables stood at TT$111 million and Payables at TT$86 million.
The capital spend will has boosted plant capacity and improved efficiency and is expected to drive domestic and export sales. The company now earns 45 percent of its revenues from exports. A part of the plan is new detergent formulations that will be offered in 17 markets, in the region, the company stated.
Earnings per share came out at 13 cents for the quarter and 40 cents for the year. The stock traded at TT$32 on the Trinidad & Tobago Stock Exchange with a PE ratio of 80 times 2017 earnings and net asset value is TT$8.92 resulting the price to book value being 3.6 times.

KLE profit rise from ongoing operation

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KLE Group reports profit for 2017.

Profit at KLE Group fell 95 percent for 2017 to $9 million from $162 million in 2016 but the 2016 result was boosted by a one off gain from sale of shares in a subsidiary, amounting to $164 million.
Without the one gain profit would have increased sharply from just under $2 million in 2016. Earnings per share ended at 6 cents. The company actually suffered a loss in the order of $12 million in the December quarter. Sale revenues that rose 10 percent for the year, to $215.4 million from $196 million in 2016.
Gross profit margin remained at 68 percent in both years while gross profit rose by 9 percent over 2016. Other income closed the year at $17 million, remaining constant with 2016 excluding one off gains.
Other operating and administrative expenses rose just 6 percent to $152.5 million while Finance cost declined to $2.4 million from $2.76 million in 2016.
Importantly, gross cash flow brought in $22 million but growth in receivables and reduction in payables reduced the net cash for the year and investments activities left cash at the $7 million level.
At the end of December, shareholders’ equity stood at $140 million with borrowings at just $14 million. Net current assets ended the period $64 million and current liabilities at $57 million.
The stock traded at $2.50 on the Junior Market of the Jamaica Stock Exchange with a PE ratio of 12.5 times 2018 IC Insider.com forecasted earnings of 20 cents.

Trinidad recession bites Guardian Media hard

Guardian Media profit falls sharply since 2014.

A sharp fall in sale revenues in 2017, at Trinidad’s Guardian Media left the company hugging a small loss for the year ending December, according to an abridged quarterly report.
Profit dropped 94 percent in the 2017, to TT$488,000, for the December quarter before tax, from $8.5 million in 2016, but rose to $1.9 million after a tax credit of $1.4 million from a net profit of just $400,000 in 2016. For the year, the media house recorded a loss of TT$3 million after tax, from a profit after tax of $6.3 million in 2016, resulting in negative earnings per share of 8 cents.
Revenues fell 20.6 percent in the December 2017 quarter to TT$36 from $45 million and 16 percent to TTS$138 million from $164 million for the year.
The 2017 results is in stark contrast to 2015 when the company posted $35 million after tax and TT$34 million in 2014 from revenues in excess of $195 million for both years.
Cash flow brought in amounted to TT$20 million but capital payments and investments activities including paying $24 million in dividends used up $27 million, leaving cash at $72 million. Shareholders’ equity at the end of December, stood at TT$278 million, down from $305 million in 2016. Current assets ended the year at TT$131 million well ahead of current liabilities of TT$49 million.
According to the company’s chairman Peter Clarke, in his report included with the results, “2017 was a year of transition for Guardian Media as it implemented a number of planned structural changes. These changes included: (1) print automation systems to improve efficiency; (2) internal restructuring to lower the cost base and further improve the efficiency and quality of content creation and (3) re-alignment of teams to better serve our customers and fully equip the company for the digital media landscape. The one-time costs of these changes are reflected in these results. Parallel to this, the country’s economic slowdown has had a considerable impact on advertising spend across all sectors.”
The stock last traded at TT$17.98 in November on the Trinidad and Tobago Stock Exchange (TTSE), but now has an offer at $16.38. Net asset value is TT$6.66 per stock, with the stock offered for sale at 2.46 times book value. The company is a subsidiary of Ansa McAl which is also listed on the TTSE.

Angostura Holdings 2017 profit drops 9%

Angostura Holdings aged rum.

Profit at Trinidad’s Angostura Holdings dropped 8 percent in the 2017, to TT$154 million before tax on profit and was down 9 percent to TT$111 million after tax.
The 2017 out turn, resulted in earnings per share of 54 cents, with profit coming from a 7 percent fall in sale revenues, to TT$575 million. Profit declined sharply from 2015 when the company posted $164 million after tax, compared to TT$153 million in 2014 and TT$122 in 2016.
Despite the fall in sales gross profit margin rose to 64 percent from 60 percent in the 2016, as operating cost fell 18 percent. Other income declined to a loss of TT$6 million from a loss of TT$1 million while interest income rose to TT$2.3 million from TT$642,000 in 2016.
Marketing and sales expenses declined by 4 percent to TT$131 million while administrative expenses rose a hefty 24 percent to TT$82 million from TT$66 million in 2016. Finance cost declined to TT$844,000 from TT$1 million in 2016.
Cash flow brought in TT$161 million but capital payments and receipts included put aside in net new investments of TT$118 million resulted in net outflows of TT$30 after paying TT$56 million in dividends.  Shareholders’ equity stands at TT$982 million at the end of December, with borrowings at just TT$20 million. Current assets ended the period TT$765 million well ahead of current liabilities of TT$98 million and cash and investment rose to TT$369 million from TT$281 million in 2016.
The stock traded at TT$15.70 on the Trinidad and Tobago Stock Exchange with a PE ratio of 29 times 2017 earnings. The company paid a dividend of 27 cents down from 32 cents in 2016. Net asset value is TT$4.78 with the stock selling at 3.28 book value.
In spite of the fall in profit since 2015, the stock price have remained around the $16 range from then resulting in the PE ratio rising sharply by nearly 50 percent.

Purity can turn around 2017 loss this year

Consolidated Bakeries (Purity) make a loss in 2017 but could return to profit in 2018.

Profit melted away at Consolidated Bakeries for 2017 with a loss of $40 million down from a profit of $10 million in 2016 from sale revenues that slipped from $880 million to $863 million.
The company continued the loss right through to the year with a loss of $9 million before differed tax charge in the final quarter but the 2017 loss was lower than the loss of $20 million in the same period in 2016. Closer examination of the results show hope for the company going forward, into 2018
While revenues for the year fell 2 percent it rose 10 percent in the December quarter and helped to improve gross profit to 39 percent from just 31 percent in 2016 quarter. The 2017 final quarter was also much higher than the 35 percent for the full year.
Cost appeared mixed, with marketing and sales expenses rising 31 percent to $55 million and 17 percent to $158 million as this category of cost out stripped revenues by a big margin.
Administrative expenses fell 41 percent to $23 million in the quarter and fell 3 percent for the year to $158 million. Finance cost jumped in the quarter, to $16 million from $7 million, in 2016 and from $12 million to $19 million for the year.

Consolidated Bakeries Miss Birdie Easter bun.

Revaluation of the Jamaican dollar cost the company $4 in the final quarter and resulted in reduction in other income ending with a negative $2.5 million versus $5.5 in 2016 and just 875,000 for the full year versus $9 million, while the big jump in Finance cost in the December quarter seems to be one off, as such without these two items the company would have reported a profit for the quarter and augurs well for the 2018 results.
Gross cash flow was negative $7 million but growth in receivables, inventories, addition to fixed assets and drawn down on investments was offset by net loan inflows and increased payables and increased in bank overdraft ended at $74 million. At the end of December, shareholders’ equity stands at $716 million which was boosted by gain on revaluation of land and building by $206 million. Borrowings at just $135 million. Net current assets ended the period $92 million well over payables of $77 million.
Earnings per share was negative for the quarter and the fiscal year. The stock traded at $2 on the Junior Market of the Jamaica Stock Exchange with a PE ratio of 12 times 2018 estimated earnings of 17 cents. Earnings could be more if revenues were to increase above 10 percent for 2018.

Paramount’s lubricant plant in operation

New Lubricant plant at Walton Park Road

Profit at Paramount Trading, jumped 137 percent to $34 in the first quarter to August last year, but declined by 35 percent in the November quarter, to $24 million from $37 million in 2016.
For the six months to November, profit rose only 13 percent to $58 million from $51 million in 2016. Sale revenues rose 28 percent for the November quarter, to $257 million from $200 million in 2016 and increased 31 percent for the year to date, to $487 million from $370 million in 2016.
The board of directors in their report to shareholders accompanying the quarterly, stated that “our lubricant business line produced strong sales during the quarter when compared to the last year growing $28 million or 261 percent and by $41.6 million with a 248 percent increase year to date. Technical grade product sales grew by $47 million or 137 on quarterly basis and $83 million or 133 percent year over the period year. We expect this trend to continue into the last two quarters.”

Processing and storage tanks inside factory.

Profit margin declined in the November quarter to 28 percent from 30 percent in the 2016, and slipped to 29 percent from 31 percent for the year to date period. The effect, gross profit rose 15 percent in the quarter to $99 million from $86 million and 19 percent for the year to date, to $200 million from $169 million in 2016.
While revenues rose solidly, so did administrative expenses that jumped 47 percent to $72 million in the quarter and increased 13 percent in the six months period to $121 million. Finance cost declined in the quarter, to a negative $2 million from $4 million in 2016 and from $7 million to $1.5 million for the half year.
Earnings per share came out at 1.5 cents for the quarter and 3.7 cents for the six months and should end the fiscal year ending to March around 25 cents with four months production and sales from the lubricant plant and the expanded chlorine and bleach operations.
Gross cash flow, brought in $72 million but growth in receivables, inventories, addition to fixed assets offset by loan inflows and reduced Payables wiped out the gains.

Another view inside of the factory.

Shareholders’ equity stands at $739 million with borrowings at just $77 million. Net current assets ended the period at $486 million, well over payables of $237 million. Inventories rose to $394 million from $320 million at the end of November 2016 and receivables climbed to $321 million from $238 million with cash and investments ending at $78 million.
The company commenced operation of the joint venture lubricant plant from around a month ago as well as production of bleach, an addition of a new product line. When the lubricant plant was announced in 2015, the estimate for revenues was in the US$5 million range but now that Alpart is reopened, the amount should rise.
The stock traded at $3.10 on the Junior Market of the Jamaica Stock Exchange with a PE ratio of 5.6 times IC Insider.com, 2019 earnings of around 55 cents per share.

Palace is much more than Black Panther

Carib Cinema, the flagship for Palace Amusement.

Revenues and profit are getting a big lift from the strong showing of the Black Panther movie currently playing at the Palace Amusement cinemas in Jamaica.
The stock jumped sharply in March, more than doubling the previous price of $560. Some investors are of the view that interest in the stock is purely as a result of the movie. While it may be a factor, Palace’s story goes well beyond that.
Although in the public eyes daily, the shares of Palace are not the focus of attention for many . One main reason is the 1,437,000 shares issued by the company, resulting in limited liquidity in the stock. The other is that historically profit can be a bit erratic. Management’s failure to split the stock for greater liquidity only adds to investors’ concerns.
Palace is reminiscent of Lascelles deMercado back in 1983 when the stock hardly traded due to liquidity issues and a lousy dividend policy. Asked then why the stock was so cheap, around $6, a broker responded —no one buys

A seen from Black Panther

Lascelles’ shares. That of course was a terrible error by investors as the stock went on to deliver one of the best returns on the local market with Campari ultimately buying out the company.
Stocks that are not sexy don’t get much attention from investors, but in many cases, these are the ones to record massive gains when the story is fully told. A reader of IC Insider.com indicated that a look at the last two years’ results revealed flat revenues. That prompted a review of the numbers. The history may not be spectacular but closer examination shows a high degree of attractiveness that is not based solely on the pile of added income Black Panther will rake in.
Revenues have been climbing since 2014 when it reached $833 million, rising to $916 million in 2015, with a slight dip in 2016 to $909 million. Revenues rose 9 percent in 2017 to $990 million and for the half year to December 2017, growth was 11 percent to $493 million with profit rising 138 percent.
Revenues will hit the billion mark for the first time in the company’s history, for the current fiscal year and remain over that level going forward. The performance of the economy is critical to the future fortunes and to a lesser degree, the quality of films. Data indicates that with a tight economy, patronage in Kingston suffered badly with the downturn in the economy from 2008 onwards. At the same time, strong growth, said to be around 7 percent per annum in the Montego Bay economy, showed up in strong revenue gains there compared to Kingston for a number of years. With the overall economy recovering and employment growing, Palace is benefitting and it’s reflected in the numbers to December 2017.

Palace Multiplex in Montego Bay.

Segment results tell the story of the strong impact of the economy on operations. For the six months to December, Box office patronage at Carib Cinema in Cross Roads rose 14 percent to $147 million, while at Palace Cineplex, the gains were 10 percent to $55 million and 8 percent at Palace Multiplex in Montego Bay to $77 million. Sales from the concessionaires surged 29 percent to $80 million at Carib, 22 percent at Cineplex to $27 million and 21 percent to $34 million at Multiplex. The fact that Carib has outgrown the other two cinemas is not an accident but is reflective of the recovery in disposable income of a large number of Jamaicans.
While revenues are on the rise, cost has been kept under control. Direct operating cost increased by 6 percent to $190 million for the quarter and 8 percent for the half year.

Another Palace movie – Bruce Willis and Cole Hauser star in Acts of Violence.

Administrative Expenses rose just 4 percent to $37 million in the December quarter and 7 percent for the six months to $76 million. Depreciation for the six months period rose just 5 percent to $17 million. If the trend continues into 2019 fiscal year earnings should be close to $100 per share range. Prior to Black Panther, earnings were set to reach around $45 per share but the phenomenal success of Black Panther is Projected by IC Insider.com to push 2018 earnings to be well over $100 per share when the fiscal year closes in June.
The company concluded the year with equity capital of $343 million, borrowings at just $25 million with cash funds of $130 million helping to push Current assets to $242 million as Current liabilities stand at $110 million.
The stock traded at $1,300 earlier in the month is poised to fall back with the lowest offer being $1,000. Palace trades on the main market of the Jamaica Stock Exchange at a PE around 10 times projected 2019 earnings and much lower based on the 2018 earnings.

Express Catering Q3 profit jumps 105%

Ian Dear, Managing Director of Express Catering

Profit for Express Catering jumped 105 percent in the February quarter, to US$1.14 million from US$558,267 in 2017. For the nine months to February, profit surged 166 percent to US$2.52 million from US$947,989 in 2017.
Sale revenues rose 9.7 percent for the quarter, to US$4.39 million from US$4 million and rose 12.44 percent for the year to date, to US$11.27 million from US$10 million in 2017. Revenues benefited from strong increase in visitor arrivals during the period around 10 percent.
Gross profit margin remained stable at 74 percent in the quarter and 73 percent for the nine months with gross profit of $3.25 million for the quarter up 10 percent from $2.96 million in 2017 and $8.28 million for the year to date 11 percent more than $7.46 million in 2017.
Depreciation fell 8 percent in the quarter to US$128,754 million and was 4 percent lower for the year to date, to US$400,475.

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

Administrative expenses fell 14 percent to US$1.87 million in the quarter and fell 13 percent in the nine months period to US$5.05 million. Finance cost rose 18 percent in the quarter, to US$112,418 and moved just 1 percent for the nine months period to US$287,176 from US$283,625.
Earnings per share came out at 0.07 US cents for the quarter and 0.154 US cents for the nine months and should end the fiscal year ending to May around 0.24 cents or 30 cents Jamaican.
Gross cash flow brought in US$3 million but growth of $1.49 million in amounts owing by related companies, additions to fixed assets of US$303,103 and paying US$1.5 million in dividends, reduced cash to just US$34,145 at the end of the period.
At the end of February, shareholders’ equity stands at US$5.56 million with preference shares of US$3.5 million. Current assets ended the period US$5.68 million of which amounts due from related parties amounts to $5.3 million and I up from US$3.6 million in the prior year. Current liabilities amounted to US$1.5 million.
The company will be rolling out the Starbucks Coffee stores in the final quarter and that should boost revenues and profit in the new fiscal year.
The stock traded at J$4.50 on the Junior Market of the Jamaica Stock Exchange with a PE ratio of 15 times 2018 earnings. The company will go into a new year, come June, that should result in a lowering of the PE with IC Insider.com forecasting 48 cents per share for PE of 9 times earnings.