Profit up for Jamaica Stock Exchange

Fee income climbed 23 percent from $273 million in the 2020 June quarter to $336 million and rose marginally for the year to date to $646 million from $635 in 2020, but income from other sources was mainly flat to declining in both periods for the leading stock exchange in the Caribbean operated by the Jamaica Stock Exchange.
Revenues climbed 16.7 percent in the latest quarter to $442 million from $378 million in 2020 and for the six months, revenues fell from $887 million to $852 million as trading activity on the market remains subdued, with the main market still trading well below the highs of 2020 and financial stocks that dominate the market capitalization, mostly out of favour. Segment results show a $200 million decline in revenues as a result of lower trading activity on the stock market. Investment income was essentially flat at $10 for the quarter but fell from $32.6 million in 2020 for the half year to $24.6 million in 2021.
While revenues fell year to date, expenses for the half year rose 2.6 percent to $590 million from $575 million even as fees payable to the Financial Services Commission slipped from $27 million to $20 million. For the June Quarter, expenses rose by 10 percent, from $259 million to $285, with staff cost climbing 23 percent to $136 million from $110 million in 2020. Taxation gobbled up $51 million for the June quarter and $91 million for the half year.
The operations generated gross cash flow of $315 million, after an increase in working capital, the amount was reduced to $266 million and after acquiring investments, purchasing fixed assets and paying $112 million in dividends, the company reduced the cash funds of $140 million at the end of 2020 by $19 million. Net current assets ended the period at $540 million, with current assets of $892 million. Current liabilities at the end of the half year amount to $352 million. Trade and other receivables amount to $286 million, cash and bank balance $121 million and investments $434 million. At the end of June, shareholders’ equity stood at $1.8 billion, with no borrowings used in funding its operation.
Looking forward, the last half of the year tends to be more bullish than the first half. As the local economy continues to recover from the 2020 depression, greater activity in the wider economy is likely and should result in improved profitability of listed stocks, resulting in increased demand for them. Additionally, there will continue to be more listings that will generate fixed fees for the exchange and fee income based on trading in the stocks of the additional listings going forward. The exchange could also improve its results if it took a critical look at its fee structure, with a move to generating more fixed fee income and reduced reliance on varying fee income, which is the way it was in years gone by until some fixed fees were frozen for many years and have not changed much since. Short term, the stock may be considered overpriced, longer term, but it offers good growth potential with a decent dividend yield.
Earnings per share ended the June quarter at 17 cents and the six months at 27 cents and could end the year around 70-80 cents, depending a great deal on trading activities in the second half of the year.  The stock last traded at $17.79 on the Main Market of the Jamaica Stock Exchange with a PE ratio of 24 times 2021 earnings, in contrast to an average of 16.4 for the Main Market.  Net asset value was $2.57 at the end of the quarter, with the stock selling at 6.9 times book value.

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