WITCO profit up 20 percent

West Indian Tobacco reported profit of $115.4 million before tax for the three months ended March 2013, an increase of 18.4 percent over the corresponding period in 2012. Profit after tax for the quarter ended at $84.9 million, representing $1.01 per share, an increase of 19.6 percent over 2012 but is down on the December quarter’s figure. IC Insider estimates earnings to exceed last year’s figure and should end up around $4.40 for 2013.

While revenues climbed, the company was able to hold, or lower cost in the period. The cost of sales moved down by $1 million compared to March quarter 2012, as gross profit increased by $16 million and gross profit margin moved up to 73 percent from 70 percent in 2012. Distribution cost just barely inched up around $100,000 but administrative cost slipped slightly while other operating cost declined by $2 million to $14.5 million. The holding of expenses is quite a feat in a country where consumer prices rose by 7 percent since last year.

WITCO_Tobacco150x1502012 results | For the year to December 2012 the company reported $4.16 with the December quarter being $1.08 or $91 million which was up strongly from the $79 million earned in 2011. Revenues for 2012 increased by 10 percent to reach $1.1 billion up from $1 billion in 2011.

Finances | Witco’s equity stands at $309 million at the end of March with cash funds of $212 million. Current assets total $308 million and current liabilities $137 million and there is no interest bearing debt.

Dividend | The Board has accordingly approved the payment of a first interim dividend of $0.82 per ordinary share payable on 10 May 2013 to shareholders of record at close of business on 01 May 2013. Last year the company paid out 92 percent of its profit as dividends and the same is expected this year, which has been the norm for several years. The stock last traded at $117.25 and has a PE of 27 and the dividend yield around 3.4 percent much higher than long term rates in the twin island republic. The stock traded at $70.17 in early July last year and has gained 67 percent since then, well ahead of the movement in profits.

SSL uses IPO as fund raiser

[Press Release] Stocks & Securities Ltd is using a novel approach to raise funds for the Jamaica Environment Trust (JET). Read below to lear how voluntary donations can be made by applicants of the JamaicaStock Exchange IPO that opens today.

SSL JET Partnership - 5th July 2013_0

JSE: Insiders’ trading

Trade by insiders keep popping up — a development that investors should keep an eye on for buy or sell signals. When Mayberry insiders are buying, investors should pay keen attention as it usually means a big profit increase ahead. The same can’t be said about the others below, but pay attention to Consolidated Bakery.

  • A related party to Mayberry Investments Limited (MIL) has purchased 628,612 MIL shares between June 28, 2013 and July 3, 2013.
  • An Executive of Sagicor Life Jamaica sold 408,647 of the company’s shares on July 2, 2013
  • A director purchased 820,000 Consolidated Bakeries Jamaica Limited shares on June 28, 2013.
  • Scotia Group Jamaica Limited (SGJ) advised that sixteen senior employees will obtain a total of 182,763 SGJ shares which have matured by way of the Employee Share Ownership Plan.
  • A Jamaica Money Market Brokers Limited (JMMB) related party sold a total of 1,069,780 JMMB shares between June 25 and 26, 2013. Insiders have been making a few million share sales since the release of their March final year accounts.

Jamaican Teas expands property arm

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Jamaican Teas Limited (JAMT) has advised that an agreement has been signed to purchase Orchid Estates in Yallahs, St. Thomas. The property comprises eleven acres and has been approved for the construction of 71 individual housing solutions. The total cost of the purchase is $63,000,000 and construction should commence during 2013 with the first units being delivered in 2014. The low-income scheme, which was at an advanced stage of development before the acquisition by H Mahfood & Sons, requires completion of some units which require roofs and internals fittings, the full build-out of other units plus road works.

The development will be undertaken by H Mahfood & Sons Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of JAMT.

The company successfully developed a 19 unit apartment complex at Kingsway in Kingston this year and the units should be handed over to prospective owners by the end of the company’s financial year in September.

Jamaican Teas reported profits of $51.2 million for the six months versus $43.2 million in the six months period of the prior year, an increase of 18.6 percent from improvement in sales of 44 percent to $528.2 million versus $365.9 million in the prior year.

Scotiabank wins Service Award

Press Release, 3rd July 2013 | Scotiabank Jamaica scored high marks to cop this year’s PSOJ/Jamaica Customer Service Association’s (JaCSA) Service Excellence Award. The Bank emerged as one of three large companies with top scores in leadership strategy and governance, service standards, the existence of a service charter and its deployment throughout the organisation. The awards were held recently, in Kingston.

Rosemarie Voordouw, Director Customer Experience stated that customer insights and feedback; people; technology & processes; and governance are the pillars of Scotiabank’s customer service strategy. The judges’ report acknowledged this focus, noting that the company demonstrates world class practices in its delivery of customer service throughout its branches and contact centre, and that rich Service Excellence systems were “alive and integrated into the fabric of the organisation”.

Scotiabnk_psoj trophy150x150The judges report also stated that “passion for service excellence is rife among leaders and other employees”. This shows up in Scotiabank’s practice of continuous customer feedback measurement which includes daily, monthly and quarterly monitoring via surveys. The survey results form the basis action planning to address service gaps. Scotiabank’s strategy of creating a team dedicated to monitoring customer service delivery, and the well-defined complaint resolution process, also came in for commendation by the PSOJ/JaCSA team the bank said.

New prices for Lasco on Friday

All three Lasco listed companies that approved a 10 for 1 stock split at Extraordinary General meeting on June 26, 2013 will see the stocks trading at the new split price of less than $2 per share on Friday. The record date for the split is in the 9th of July which is not significant.

Stock split by the numbers |  Lasco Manufacturing will have 4.087 billion shares available to trade, Lasco Distributors 3.3664 billion shares in issue and Lasco Finance 1.228 billion shares.  At the close of trading on Wednesday 3rd July 2013, Lasco Manufacturing closed at $16.50, Lasco Distributors at $17 and Lasco Finance closed at $12.77. Based on these closing prices, it is not possible for the stocks to close above the equivalent of $2 on Friday.

Improved results for the first quarter of the 2014 financial year, which ends next year March, could help push the prices up when released in early August. However, early fervour after the split on Friday could well move prices to the extent that only exceptional results can move the stock prices higher.

OCM profits rise strongly

Acquisitions and revenues flows from a state election in Tobago and elections in Barbados helped to boost One Caribbean Media (OCM) revenues and profit for the March quarter this year by 40.4 percent.

OCM better results came as profits for the 3 months climbed to TT$18.1 million up from TT$12.8 million in 2012, emanating from revenues which were up by 24 percent to TT$124 million from TT$100 in the prior year. Management, in a statement accompanying the results, stated that revenues were boosted by the state election in Tobago in January and general elections in Barbados and from acquisition of four radio stations that was completed in the third quarter of 2012. They however, caution that the second quarter will be tougher than the first but expect growth to continue. In 2011 profits after tax amounted to $12.3 million pretty similar to that earned in 2012. Second quarter earnings were $18.4 million last year and moved to $22 million in the September quarter as revenues rose nearly 18 percent in that quarter. Revenues for the six months were down by $5 million in 2012 versus 2011. Hence, it would appear that the radio station acquisition during the quarter impacted revenues and profit positively.

Results comparison | The recent results is lower than the amount earned in the December quarter of $21.4 million from revenues of $145.7 million as well as the amount earned in September 2012 of $21.8 million from revenues of $132.6 million. For most media houses the first quarter of the calendar year is not usually the best in either revenues or profit as advertisers take a more moderate position in the first quarter coming out of the high expenditure of consumers and expanded advertising during the Christmas period.

OneCaribbeanMedia_easternCarib150x150Profit 2012 | For the 12 months to December last year, earnings came to $74.75 million slightly up on the $69.45 million generated in 2011 from revenues of $495 million versus $451 million for non-interest income, an increase of 9.7 percent. However, gross profit rose by 14.6 percent to $178 million from $155 million in 2011, showing greater level of efficiency in generating income. Gross profit margin was 36 percent up from 34.4 percent in 2011.

Financial health | The company is in a healthy financial position, generating annual cash flows of more than $70 million per annum, some of which it is using to acquire other income generating assets. Cash inflows could rise in the current year as profit seems poised to climb above that of 2012. It boasts equity of $620 million with current asset ratio of more than 3 to 1 with cash funds of $188 million at the end of March. Funds are clearly being built up for further acquisitions.

The company announced that on March 26, 2013 its subsidiary, The Nation Corporation of Barbados, acquired a 51% interest in a small, innovative Barbadian renewable energy company with effect from January 1, 2013. This acquisition represents less that 0.4% percent of OCM’s net book value. It is unclear what impact, if any, this acquisition will have on the company’s results in the short term.

Forecast | IC Insider is forecasting profits of $95 million or $1.41 per share for the current year giving the stock a PE of 12.2 times earnings. Based on the Trinidad stock market PE ratio and Guardian which is at PE of 22, the stock is rated a buy for medium term appreciation as the stock price could double based on these comparisons.

Stocks to watch: week of 1st July, 2013

Keep an eye on these stocks for movement | There aren’t many changes to this week’s posting compared to last weeks’. We added two new ones in the junior market as the Lasco companies gain interest from the approved stock split of 10 for 1 and one for the TTSE.


Blue Power dividend

Blue Power Group Limited declared a dividend of 15 cents per share payable on August 16, 2013 to shareholders on record as at July 31, 2013. The ex-dividend date is July 29, 2013.

The company last paid a dividend of 10.5 cents per share on September 6, 2012. The latest dividend is in keeping with the rise in profits to $1.84 per share compared with the earnings of 83 cents in 2012.

The board also agreed to introduce a resolution at the next Annual General Meeting to modify the Articles of Association to permit the appointment of two more directors to the Board which consists of six members at the present time.

To know more about Blue Power, read Blue Powered huge profit increase posted 16th June 2013.

$2.85 for JSE shares, is it worth it?

The Jamaica Stock Exchange (JSE) prospectus to raise $107,865,000 is now released to the public for consideration with the issue scheduled to open at 9:00 am, Friday 5th July 2013.  The Invitation is scheduled to close at 4:00 pm, Friday 19th July, subject to the right of the Company to close the Invitation at any time after it opens.  The total amount of shares being made available will be 38.25 million units comprising 28 million being issued directly by the Jamaica Stock Exchange and 10.2 million by JMMB. JMMB is selling the shares they acquired when they took over the Capital Group, which put their holding at 18.18 percent, well above the threshold of 10 percent any one investor is allowed to hold as stipulated by the JSE articles.

The issue price | IC Insider computes that the stock carries a value around 10 times 2013 earnings, based on the assumption that trading activity continues for the rest of the year at the rate experienced in June. For the 12 months to December last year, profit of $93 million was reported but that figure included revenue from the sale of a board seat to Proven Wealth Management for $60 million, as well as large fee income from the purchase of Lascelles’ shares that were acquired by Campari last year and to a lesser degree the shares traded when Capital & Credit was acquired.

Existing capital | There are currently 112,200,000 (formerly 28 million) ordinary shares in issue and the new shares will bring the issued capital to 140 million units.  The shares have a book value of $5.52 but earnings per share based on 2012 profit will be just over $0.83 and that figure is inflated by the non-recurring income mentioned above.

jse_logo150x150Profit after tax amounted to $5.8 million compared to a loss of $6.1 million in 2012. For the quarter ending March, the JSE’s income rose 8 percent to reach $69.5m compared to $64.4m in 2012. Other Operating Income increased by $5.5m or 32% over the same period, primarily due to an increase of $5.3 million in revenue from the JSE regional conference. Investment income of $22 million jumped $14 million over 2012 due largely to the gains on US dollar investments as a result of devaluation of the Jamaican dollar.

Positives | The number of shares to be issued is relative small but shareholding is limited to 10 percent of issued shares. The preference shares which was a debt instrument was repaid and these funds replace the amounts paid out. The stock market is not at its most buoyant but with interest rates having declined below ten percent and government slashing the fiscal deficit, rates could go lower. This development ultimately makes stock market investments more attractive and drive up trading volumes and therefore fee income for the exchange. The stock exchange plans for more instruments to be traded on the exchange but there are no imminent new listings that are known. The stock exchange is showing signs of greater activity this year but it has not reached a level to ensure that the JSE makes an operating profit. The JSE will benefit from listing fee income if the value of shares rise, as the annual listing fees are tied to the value of each company’s shares that are outstanding at the start of each year.

Negatives | The number of shares to be issued will not ensure a good level of liquidity for the stock, which will keep bigger investors away. There are no rules preventing existing shareholders from selling their holdings in partially or in full thus increasing the volume that could become available to the wider public. Short term profit prospects are not exciting suggesting that the stock is not very attractively priced relative to the rest of the market. The company has an oversized board of 19, resulting in an unnecessary waste of funds and an unwieldy structure that makes it more difficult to properly run board meetings and by extension, the company.

Revenues | The Company derives its revenue from a range of sources including the JSE cess, calculated on the value of each market transaction, fees charged for listing companies at the initial stage, annually, as well as any supplementary listings, membership, transactions, the registrar and trustee fees paid to its subsidiary company JCSD, amongst others, income generated from the provision of conferences, seminars and the e-Campus. The JSE has recently entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with the Bank of Jamaica to work towards the development of a fixed income trading platform for Government of Jamaica securities and corporate bonds. It is also conducting research into the development of exchange-traded products and other exchange-related products.

In summary | Stock markets are cyclical in nature resulting in peaks and troughs in earnings flowing from bull and bear markets. At this juncture, the market is in the process of moving into a bull market. Investors who buy the shares now are essentially buying at the lower end of the market. The levels of trading currently are a fraction of what they have been in the past, so the potential is huge going forward. The change in interest rates and the focus of government on controlling the fiscal deficit will ultimately have a huge impact on the fortunes of the stock exchange. Investors should not be looking for any big pay day any time soon from this stock.