Regency, Lasco Financial &138SL Stocks to Watch

Regency Petroleum is added to the Stocks to Watch following the release of its prospectus On Thursday with an issue price of $1, with the possibility of the price hitting over $2 initially. Palace Amusement is dropped for the time being with the company reporting improved results in the September quarter but still ending with a loss, but investors should be on the lookout for good things from the stock in the future as it continues to make headway to recovery.
Barita Investments and Consolidated Bakeries are removed from the list at this time with recent results suggesting that they are unlikely to move higher in the short term. watch list comprises Access Financial, Caribbean Assurance Brokers, Dolphin Cove, Caribbean Producers, Elite Diagnostic, Everything Fresh, General Accident, Guardian Holdings, Jamaica Broilers, Key Insurance, Knutsford Express, Lasco Distributors, Lasco Financial, Lasco Manufacturing, Medical Disposables, NCB Financial, 138 Student Living, One on One, Paramount Trading, Regency Petroleum, Scotia Group, Stationery and Office Supplies and Wisynco.
Major factors to consider going forward. The rebound in tourist arrivals only came back to 2019 levels since June. Providing there are no reversals, then companies who are highly dependent on the sector will enjoy a big bounce for the next nine months compared to the lower business generated since last year to April this year. The same applies to the entertainment industry as the sector only opened up after March this year. Banks will make a fortune from increased interest rates.

Persons who compiled this report may have an interest in securities commented on.

Guardian finishing strongly in 2022

Guardian Holdings generated a 131 percent surge in profit attributable to shareholders of $1.06 billion for the nine months to September 2022, up from $457 million in the 2021 period, profit jumped 210 percent in the third quarter to $620 million from $201 million in 2021.

Earnings per share amounted to $2.67 for the September quarter and $4.55 for the nine months to September, that should end the year around $7 per share, with a PE of 3.5 times current year’s earnings and a stock price at J$530.
The vastly improved 2022 results follow a 5.3 percent increase in net premium income to $3.57 billion in the nine months to September, from $3.39 billion in the previous year and a 5.5 percent rise for the quarter to $1.2 billion versus $1.14 billion in 2021. Net income from all activities ended at $2.4 billion in 2022 for the nine months, up 26 percent from $1.89 billion in 2021 and for the September quarter $1.06 billion with a 67 percent increase over $634 million in 2021.
Net income from investment activity slipped 18 percent from $1.15 billion in the nine months to September 2021 to $942 million for the 2022 period. However, the quarterly figures reflect a marginal decline from $383 million in 2021 to 372 million this year.
Operating expenses of $1.15 billion for the nine months of September 2022 rose 6.9 percent from $1.07 billion and increased 33 percent for the quarter to $405 million from $305 million in 2021. Finance charges of $155 million for the nine months to September 2022 popped marginally from $150 million in 2021 and for the quarter $51 million versus $47 million in 2021.
Provision for taxation was $113 million for the year to September 2022, a reduction from the $136 million for the same period in the previous year and $68 million for the quarter in 2022 versus $59 million in 2021.
According to chairman, Patrick Hilton, “the group has been on a transformation journey centred on technology, people and processes. We have invested heavily in technology to bring world class customer service to our markets, leverage of scale of our group and reduce our operating costs. While in recent years, we have reaped some of the benefits, we are now at a resultant juncture where the payback on this investment is rapidly accelerating. In 2022 the group implemented many of these initiatives for our life, health and pension segment, with the alignment of our Trinidad and Jamaican operations bringing to reality operational synergies, cost savings and centres of excellence. These activities result in long-term cost savings which have the effect of creating favourable reserve movements contributing to the exceptional performance recorded in the year to date.”


The group has two primary areas of operation. The life health and pension business generated underwriting revenues of $2.97 billion in 2022 and delivered net income from operations of $1.2 billion compared to underrating revenues of $2.77 billion in 2021, with an operating profit of $621 million. The other major segment of property and casualty business generated underwriting revenues of $999 million with an operating profit of $162 million in 2022 versus revenues of $961 million in 2021 with an operating profit of $121 million.
The group has total assets of $34.46 billion as of September compared to three $34.43 billion at the end of September 2021 with shareholders’ equity of $5.4 billion up from $4.87 billion at the end of 2021. The main assets include investment securities at $21 billion, loans and receivables at $2.4 billion, cash and cash equivalent at $3.8 billion dollars and investment property amounting to $1.67 billion. The main liability comprises insurance contracts of $19 billion and financial liability of three-point infant investment contract liabilities and third party mutual funds of $4.1 billion.
Cash flow brought in $1.44 billion to September. After investment activities, the group ended with $375 million before funds were used in financing and other activities and ended with negative flows of $103 million.

Q4 profit jumps 76% for Honey Bun

The Easter bounce in earnings never happened for Honey Bun with sales in the March quarter up 13 percent and the June quarter down 7 percent, but fourth quarter sales compensated for the June fall out, increasing a strong 15.5 percent.

Rising profit at Honey Bun

Profit after tax in the fourth quarter rose a healthy 76 percent to $54 million from $31 million in 2019, bettering the 21 percent rise in the June quarter, to $20.4 million from $16.7 million. For the year to September, profit increased just 6.6 percent to $167 million from $156 million in 2019.
Sale revenues rose 15.5 percent for the quarter, to $432 million from $374 million but rose 8.5 percent for the year, to $1.675 billion from $1.544 billion in 2019. The company manufactures and distributes baked products in Jamaica and overseas, with overseas revenue less than 10 percent of gross sales revenue.
Historical profit performance has not been exhibited a predictable pattern, partly due to expansion related cost. Profit jumped sharply in 2016 from 2015 but dipped in 2017 and again in 2018 but rose in 2019 as a recent expansion allowed for increased sales, with the latest period continuing to reflect growth but muted by the COVID 19 dislocations.

One Honey Bun’s Products.

Notwithstanding the profit performance that may present a chequered path, the company has one of the best management teams of Junior Market companies to build-out the capacity for continued growth in revenues and increased efficiency.
Gross profit margin moved up from 46 percent in 2017 and has been consistent at 48 percent since 2018 and resulted in gross profit rising nine percent to $799 million from $745 million.
Administrative and other expenses rose just one percent to $295 million, while depreciation charges relating to administrative expenses increased 28 percent to $48 million. Selling and distribution expenses rose 17 percent to $292 million from $250 million in 2019.
The company employed an average of two hundred and seven workers during the year, up from one hundred and eighty in the 2019 period costing $428 million compared to $406 million in 2019.
Finance cost was negligible at just over $1 million for the year.
Earnings per share came out at 35 cents for the fiscal year. The stock traded at $4.83 on the Junior Market of the Jamaica Stock Exchange at a PE ratio of 14 times earnings. is forecasting 55 cents per share for 2021 at a PE of 9 times. Net asset value is $1.85, with the stock selling at 2.6 book value. The company paid a dividend of 8 cents d 20uring the year.
Gross cash flow brought in $260 million but increased working capital reduced the amount marginally to $253 million and payment of dividends amounting to $38 million acquisition of fixed assets amounting to $119 million and the payment of $27 million in taxation left $98.5 million to be added to funds on hand at the start of the year. Current assets ended at $444 million, including inventories of $71 million, receivables of $73 million, cash and bank balances of $297 million. Current liabilities stood at $148 million. At the end of the year, shareholders’ equity stood at $870 billion, with borrowings at just $26 million.

Record profits at Barita

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Barita Investments recorded the highest profit in its history, with the group delivering an impressive $2.7 billion profit after tax for the year ended in September. The company was bettering by 59.4 percent, the profit of $1.7 billion, a then-record for 2019 and continuing a stunning transformation of a former sleepy little family dominated company that few investors paid attention to.

Barita public stock offer pulled money away from other JSE stocks.

Those sterile days seem to be behind it as the company posted another quarter of strong results to September, with after tax profit jumping 158 percent to $727 million from $285 million in 2019. Earnings per share for the quarter ended at 88 cents and $3.29 for the year.
For the latest quarter, revenues climbed 17 percent from $1.16 billion to $1.36 billion and rose a solid 29 percent from $3.98 billion to $5.14 billion for the full year. There were major shifts in the lines of income generated during the year. Net Interest income rose a robust 35.5 percent from $650 million to $881 million for the year, while Fees and Commission Income more than doubled to $1.84 billion from $847 million. Foreign exchange trading brought in $978 million versus just $199 million in the prior year. Investment activity suffered from a fall, with $1.36 billion generated in 2020 versus $1.94 billion in 2019. September quarter Investment activity revenues declined even more than for the year with an income of $701 million in 2019 versus just $251 million this year.
While the revenues were growing attractively, expenses grew modestly in the final quarter by two percent, moving from $697 million to $710 million, but climbed a more robust 32 percent for the year from $1.53 billion in 2019 to $2 billion. Tax liability dropped sharply from $742 million in 2019 to $393 million, despite the rise in pretax profit.
The group’s rapid transformation has some investors stunned, wondering if the surge in profit for the past two years is real and lasting. Oblivious of those concerns, local and overseas’ based investors piled into a public issue of shares in September, priced around $50 each and invested $13.5 billion of fresh capital in the company after the issue was heavily oversubscribed. In September 2018,

Shareholders at Barita Investments AGM.

shareholders’ equity was just $3.3 billion that has now jumped to $27.7 billion with the recent capital raised, helping to double the amount shareholders have invested in the company.
There is more growth to come with the new capital placing them in a much stronger financial position. The group has not yet taken full control of the enormous potential for growth from their pool of managed funds. The expanded capital base places them in a good spot to become even more aggressive to undertake business deals or acquire other businesses to merge with existing ones.
The company now has $70.5 billion assets comprising, amongst others assets, Cash funds of $5.7 billion, marketable securities of $8.5 billion, other investments of $48 billion, and loans of $1.7 billion. On the liability side, repurchase agreements amount to $34 billion.
The stock trades on the Jamaica Stock Exchange at $84.50 with a PE of 25.5 based on 2020 earnings, that multiple should fall with the 2021 results that will start being released with the first quarter due late January.

Q4 profit doubles at Tropical Battery

Recently listed Tropical Battery saw profit after tax soaring 107 percent in the September quarter, to $27 million from $13 million in 2019, bettering the nine-month increase of 18.6 percent over the 2019 period for pretax profit. For the year to September, profit rose a more modest 16 percent to $73 million from $63 million in 2019.
Sale revenues
rose just 2.6 percent for the quarter, to $506 million from $493 million in 2019, but rose 7 percent for the year to date, to $1.87 billion from $1.74 billion in 2019.
The September quarter benefited from improved profit margin to 31.8 percent from 29.9 percent in 2019 and rose to 31.3 percent for the year, from 30.2 percent for 2019. Gross profit rose 9 percent in the quarter to $161 million from $147 million in the previous year and increased 11.2 percent for the year, to $585 million from $526 billion in 2019.
Administrative expenses grew 11 percent to $123 million in the quarter and 10.5 percent in the year period to $456 million. Finance cost rose in the quarter, to $13 million from $9 million in 2019 and $19 million to $38 million for the year.
Gross cash flow brought in $109 million but growth in receivables, inventories, addition to fixed assets offset by loan inflow, proceeds from the sale of shares and reduced payables, cash funds ended at $261 million. Net current assets ended the period at $827 million, including trade receivables of $314 million, amounts due from related parties at $177 million and cash and bank balances noted above. Current liabilities closed the period at $229 million. At the end of the year, shareholders’ equity stood at $776 billion, with borrowings at just $415 million.
“As a part of our Strategic 2021 Growth Plan, we will be focusing on creating shareholder’s value through acquisitions and partnerships of aligned profitable companies in Jamaica and across the Caribbean region. To this end, we have entered into discussions with several key partners to assist in identifying suitable acquisition targets”, March Melville, Chairman and Alexander Melville, Managing Director, stated in a jointly signed report accompanying the quarterly.
Earnings per share after tax came out at two cents for the quarter and six cents for the year. The company’s net asset value is 68 cents, with the stock selling at 76 percent above book value. With the company profits now being free of taxation, having listed on the Junior Market of the Jamaica Stock Exchange, earnings are adjusted to 8 cents, giving it a PE ratio of 15 times earnings, based on the stock price of $1.20 the traded at on Friday. IC is forecasting 10 cents per share for a PE of 12 times 2021 earnings.

Profit more than doubles at Kremi

Profit after taxation at the IC BUY RATED Caribbean Cream more than doubled, with a jump of 110 percent for the six months to August and 220 percent in the August quarter, to $74 million from $35 million in 2019 for the half-year and a rise from $14.7 million for the 2019 quarter to $47 million.
Operating revenues rose nine percent for the quarter, to $461 million from $422 million and six percent for the year to date, from $840 million in 2019 to $891 million. For the fiscal year to February, this year, revenues rose by 10 percent to $1.7 billion.
Improvement in profit margin resulted in gross profit rising faster than sales with 15 percent improvement in the first half of the year to $310 million versus $269 million in 2019 and 28 percent in the August quarter with gross profit of $171 from $133 million.
Selling, distribution and administrative expenses declined from $114 million in the 2019 quarter, to $111 million in 2020 and from $221 million in 2019, to $216 million in the six months to August. The decline in cost took place in spite of a sharp increase in depreciation charges in the current year, from $29 million to $59 million. Finance cost increased in the quarter to $6 million from $4 million in 2019 and from $10 million to $9 million for the six months period. Taxation doubled to $10.6 million for the half-year from $5 million in 2019 and moved from $2 million for the quarter to $6.7 million.
Historical results going back to the 2014 fiscal year shows steady annual growth in sales revenue but a more uneven increase in profits. The latter is partially due to the cost associated with expansion and the buying of market share that saw a less aggressive increase in selling prices for its products.
Earnings per share for the quarter came out at 12 cents and 20 cents for the six months.
Gross cash flow brought in $143 million, but growth in inventories, loan repayment offset by loan inflows and reduced payables pushed the cash funds to $152 million at the end of August, up from $58 million at the end of August 2019. With the increased profit for the year to date, shareholders’ equity now stands at $818 million, with borrowings at just $249 million. Net current assets ended the period at $191 million, including trade and other receivables of $63 million, while Current liabilities stood at $162 million.
The company paid 2.49 cents per share as the final dividend for the year ended February 29, 2020, on Friday, October 2. Net asset value is $2.16, with the stock selling at 2.3 times book value.
The results encouraged buying into the stock on Friday, with the price moving from $4.71 it last traded at on Thursday to a high of $5.25. IC forecasts earnings of 60 cents per share for the current year that ends in February 2021 and 95 cents for 2022. The PE is currently 8.5 times the current year’s earnings based on the latest price of $5.15, the stock traded at on the Junior Market of the Jamaica Stock Exchange.

Scotia jacks up credit loss by 344%

In the July quarter, Scotia Group jacked-up expected credit loss provision by 344 percent from $582 million in the 2019 period to $2.6 billion due to the impact of the 2020 COVID 19 virus has on several businesses in Jamaica and, notably, the banking sector, resulting from lower business activity since March.  

Scotia Group increased loan loss provision by 344% in the July quarter.

The big July quarter, the increase comes after the banking group hiked the provision by a hefty 264 percent to $1.77 billion in the April quarter, from $487 million in the April 2019 quarter and $895 million in the January 2020 period.
The Group’s total expected credit loss provision for loans in July 2020 amounts to $8.1 billion, while nonperforming loans amount to $4.9 billion compared to $3.8 billion last year and $5 billion at the end of April.
Loans advanced to customers stood at $221 billion at the end of July, a growth of 12 percent year over year, but declined modestly from $223 billion at the end of April, the result of the increased credit loss provisioning and no new net loans granted.
While the bank increased the provision for expected credit loss sharply in the quarter, the stabilization of nonperforming loans at the April levels may be an indication that there may be no need for heavy provisioning in the next few quarters. If the nonperforming loans hold around current levels, it could help in returning profit to more normal levels, compared to a profit after tax that declined sharply by 63 percent for the July quarter to $1.55 billion, from $4.2 billion in 2019.
At the close of trading on the Jamaica Stock Exchange, Main Market to stock gained 50 cents in ending at $50.50.

Virus hits SOS in 2020 Q1

The 2019 financial year was an excellent one for Stationery and Office Supplies, with record revenues of just over $1.2 billion, resulting in net profit rising 47 percent to $135 million over the previous year.
On the heels of the robust 2019 performance, SOS started the 2020 fiscal year on a much more somber note as the Coronavirus intervened and changed what started as a promising quarter and ended with lost sales in the final month. The Deputy Managing Director, Allan McDaniels and Marjorie McDaniels,  Chief Operating Officer in their joint report accompanying the interim results, reported that the ”revenues dropped 17 percent year over year for March, after a strong showing for the first two months of the quarter.” The directors also stated that the company “was only able to deliver on one of three planned shipments of goods for the first four months of the year to Grenada.” as a result of the disruption caused by the Coronavirus.”
SOS closed out its first quarter with sales of $337 million, a 2 percent decline versus the $343.5 million in comparative period for 2019, net profit dropped a more aggressive 24 percent, from $57.4 million in 2019 to $43.8 million in 2020.
Direct expenses were down 2 percent to $172 million, but the Gross profit margin for the quarter was constant at 49 percent in the 2020 quarter, similar to the 2019 first quarter. Gross profit closed out the quarter at $165 million down slightly from $168 million in the March 2019 quarter.
Net profit margin before finance cost declined for the March quarter to 14 percent with $45.54 million generated compared to $60 million for a 17 percent margin, in 2019.
Administrative expenses grew by 11 percent to $86 million, but selling and promotional expenses were effectively flat at $23 million. SOS realized $3.3 million profit from the disposal of property and equipment, helping to offset some of the reduced operating profit for the period.
Earnings per share
came out at 18 cents for the quarter, down from 23 cents for the 2019 first quarter. IC is forecasting $1 per share for PE of six times earnings, but that depends on how quickly the company can recover from the dislocation to sales.
The operations generated $50 million in cash inflows and the company paid out a net amount of $22 million in increased working capital, capital expenditure and loan repayment.
Cash and equivalents rose 66 percent between March 2019 and 2020 to end at $90.4 million. Current assets increased by 8 percent to $521 million with trade and other receivables accounting for $173 million, down from $182 million from a year ago. Inventories ended at $226 million from $223 million at the end of March 2019. Current liabilities stood at $120 million down 23 percent year over year from $156 million.  Current liabilities include borrowings of $30 million and payables of $91 million. Overall total loans payable amounted to $91 million. Shareholder’s equity climbed to $640 million up from $540 million at the end of March 2019 and $597 million at the end of December last year.
The stock traded at $6 on the Junior Market of the Jamaica Stock Exchange with a PE ratio of 6 times 2020 earnings.

Profit up 21% at Lasco Distributors

Lasco Distributors reported full-year results to March, with revenues rising 7.5 percent to $19.5 billion and profit increasing 21.4 percent to $726 million. The year’s performance reflects a big recovery after profit fell 30 percent in the first quarter to June last year, and 10 percent to the end of the third quarter.
The company enjoyed an 8.24 percent rise in revenues for the March quarter to $5.2 billion, with profit after tax for the quarter at $183 million, up 961 percent from just $17 million in 2019. The quarter suffered from a fall in gross profit margin to 18.4 percent versus 19.2 percent in 2019. Gross profit was 19.4 percent for the fiscal year versus 19.6 percent in 2019.
Other income in the fourth quarter climbed to $60 million, a turnaround from a loss of $37 million in the March quarter in 2019, but was nearly flat at $130 million for the year to March.
The increase in cost for the year was kept close to the growth in revenues, with Administrative expenses rising 8 percent to $2.37 billion while selling and promotion expenses fell 9 percent to $703 million for the year.
Segment results show revenues rising 3.6 percent for the Consumer division for the fiscal year to $15.7 billion while the Pharmaceutical division jumped 27.7 percent to $3.8 billion. Segment profit jumped 36.5 percent for the Consumer division to $557 million but the Pharmaceutical division dropped by 18.6 percent to $154 million even as revenues rose strongly.
Earnings per share ended at 21.27 cents and IC projects 38 cents per share for the 2021 fiscal year, with the stock trading at a PE ratio at 7.7 at the last traded price of $2.91, well below its sister company, Lasco Manufacturing.
Cash flows from operating resulted in the generation of $1 billion before working capital changes. Current assets stood at $6.9 billion, including Cash and cash equivalents of $1.47 billion at the end of March with current liabilities closing the year at $3.38 billion. Shareholders’ equity ended the year at $5.7 billion, with borrowed funds being just $116 million.
The company paid a dividend amounting to $151 million last year, with profit rising, a large pool of cash and virtually no borrowed debt, there is room for a big increase in future dividend payments that could make the stock an attractive dividend payer.

5 hot summer IPOs

Initial public offers have been extremely popular amongst investors who have made good money from the vast majority of them. Come this summer investors will get five more opportunities to invest in IPOS.
The last issue, Wigton Windfarm made several thousands investors happy, with the price rising as high as 90 percent over the IPO price of 50 cents. Even now that it is trading lower than the peak, investors are still more than 40 percent up on the initial price. Investors in the year’s first IPO, iCreate are not that lucky as the $1.01 they paid for the stock fell as low as 70 cents since and remains well below the IPO price.
Coming this summer are, The Lab that styles itself as a fully integrated 100 percent Jamaican born and bred advertising agency with global reach and an island swagger.

Kimala Bennett, Managing Director of The Lab.

Kimala Bennett is the company’s Managing Director. NCB Capital Markets are the brokers for The Lab, that could be looking at regional expansion. Clients include National Commercial Bank, JPS. Wendy’s Dominos, Supreme Ventures, Wray and Nephew, Grace Kennedy, Caribbean Broilers, Digicel. Persons in the know say this is one of those IPOs to plan for, as it is unique and profitable. NCB Capital Markets is also taking Eppley Property Fund, a company that owns property across the Caribbean, to market this summer as well as QWI Investments, a new company that invests in listed shares.
NCB Capital Markets is also brokers to Tropical Battery Company. The company expects to come to market in July, to raise around $200 million in an IPO our sources state. The company was founded in 1950 and later purchased by John Melville and remains in the  family, since. The company’s core business is the sale of automotive batteries, complemented by the distribution of several local and world renowned automotive consumer brands. Tropical Battery’s headquarters is located in Kingston, with distribution centres in Kingston and Montego Bay.
Another that will be coming to market is Sagicor Select Funds Limited an Exchange Traded Fund that is going to market in June to raise $5 billion. The fund according to Sagicor Investment CEO, Kevin Donaldson, will track the JSE Financial Index and will be rebalanced if needed, monthly. Donaldson indicates that the fund currently has assets of $1.2 billion already. Sagicor Investments could have 2 to 3 additional listings before the year ends.
When completed, the new listings on the Jamaica Stock Exchange will raise the listed ordinary shares to more than 80 and total listings to more than 100 securities.