Has Purity broken negative spell?

For many investors, Consolidated Bakeries wasted the ten years of tax holidays garnered in listing on the Junior Market back in December 2012 as profits pretty much stagnated at very low levels and moved into losses occasionally. But those dark days may well be behind, if recent quarterly results to June are to be believed.

Consolidated Bakeries Purity brand

The improved results show up in a strongly transformed financial position resulting in an enhanced working capital position even as sales surged, a buildup of cash and a reduction in borrowed funds.
Revenues climbed 30 percent in the March quarter, from $291 million last year to $378 million and rose a more robust 42 percent in the June quarter to $342 million from $241 million in 2021. For the six months, revenues are up 35 percent to $720 million from $532 million in 2021, while gross profit rose 41 percent to $292 from $207 million. At the same time, in the recent past, gross profit margin tended to hover around 39 percent, rose to 42 percent in the second quarter this year, from 38 percent in 2021.
Profit before tax rose 61 percent in the first quarter to $14.5 in 2022, from $9 million last year and is up 200 percent in the second quarter to $13.5 from a loss of $13.4 last year. For the half year, pretax profit surged 735 percent to $28 million from a $4.4 million loss in 2021.
Purity, as the company is more popularly known, generated a loss in other comprehensive income from investments of $2.65 million for the quarter and $3.57 for the half year, reducing the overall profits to $10.8 million for the quarter and $26 million for the half year.

Anthony Chang, Managing Director of Consolidated Bakeries

Administrative and other expenses rose 11 percent to $66 million in the quarter and increased 18 percent in the half year to $139 million. Marketing and sales expenses increased by 33 percent to $50.5 million in the June quarter over 2021 and are up 30 percent to $97 million for the six months of 2022. Depreciation rose 10 percent in the June quarter to $8.6 million and 8 percent for the half year to $17 million. Finance cost jumped sharply in the quarter to $7 million from $2.5 million in 2021 and from $6.3 million to $9.4 million for the six months.
The company’s finances are looking much better at the end of June than in 2021, which is undoubtedly helped by management’s renewed focus on these areas. Operations for the half year generated gross cash flow of $47 million and to $77 million with changes in working capital but slipped to $56 million after receiving an $11 million loan and spending $29 million on the purchase of fixed assets. Shareholders’ equity stood at $708 billion, while Long term borrowings ended the period at $167 million and short term loans at $42 million, representing a reduction from December 2021 of $25 million and cash and bank balances rose to $82 million, up from $62 million at the end of December last year. Current assets ended the period at $295 million, with trade and other receivables at $105 million, a reduction from $115 million at the end of June 2021 and $110 million at the end of December 2021, even as sales surged. Inventories doubled over June 2021 from $41 million to $81 million and are up from $67 million at the end of December. Current liabilities ended the period at $181 million, up from $175 million at the end of December but down from $190 million in June 2021. Net current assets ended the period at $115 million and are well up on the $69 million at the end of June 2021 and $93 million in December last year.
The big concern in the past was the ability of the company to hold on to the profit made in the first six months in the year’s second half. This time seems set to deliver to the upside as revenues benefit from increased volume sales as the company makes headways into new areas and some new products. Anthony Chang stated that while new products helped sales, in some cases, traditional products found new takers in regions of the country where demand was not as strong in the past.

Consolidated Bakeries Miss Birdie Easter bun.

According to Chang, they are now benefiting from some personnel changes that are delivering improved results. He also indicated expansion of the distribution channel into smaller stores while consolidating the business in the bigger stores. They also placed focus on the cost by employing a cost accountant. The company still faces challenges, Chang informed ICInsider.com; most flows from the economic environment businesses face locally with the supply chain for raw materials for production.
Retooling played a vital role in the gains, but Chang says this is a work in progress. According to him, bread at one stage in the past accounted for 90 percent of sales, was in direct competition with the market leader and had a low profit margin, but it took time to make the shift as new machinery was needed to effect the change to new products, that needed machinery for packaging these products. The company has been adding to fixed assets as a part of the drive to have suitable machines and in quantity required to churn out new products.  In the 2022 half year, $29 million was spent on fixed assets, up from $21 million in the six months to June last year and $33 million for the financial year 2021.
As Chang indicated, July is showing growth in sales over last year, but while he is unsure where they will end the year, he is cautiously expecting some growth in the rest of the year.
Analysis done by ICInsider.com shows that over the past two years, the first quarter has had the highest revenues, with the second quarter 82 to 90 percent of what the first quarter generates. This year was somewhat different at 90 percent, no doubt due to Easter falling in the middle of April, that would have resulted in more Easter bun sales coming in April than in 2021 and moved the percentage from 83 to 90. The September quarter revenues year were 111 percent of the second quarter and was up from 93 percent in 2021, with December at 105 percent of 2021 September and 99 percent in 2020. Based on the above, ICInsider.com projects this year’s revenues at $1.4 billion, with a profit of $49 million for earnings per share of 22 cents. If achieved, the PE ratio currently would be 6.8, based on the price of $1.49, the stock traded on the Jamaica Stock Exchange Junior Market on Friday. The numbers pushed Consolidated Bakery in the lower end of ICInsdier.com TOP10.

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