Profit jumps 237% at Lasco Distributors


Lasco Distributors

Lasco Distributors profit jumped sharply in the December quarter by 237 percent to $127 million from just $38 million in 2016.
For the nine months period profit is up just 28 percent to $535 million form $417 million.
Sales revenues were down slightly for the quarter to $3.89 billion from $3.91 billion and was marginally higher for the year to date at $12.24 billion from $12.06 billion in 2016.
Improvement in profit margin along with a rise in other income to $50 million from $19 million in 2016, helped in boosting profit for the December quarter.
Gross profit climbed 21 percent to $676 million for the quarter and 18 percent for the nine months to $2.19 billion from $2 billion in 2016 as margins improved. Gross profit margin rose sharply to 17.4 percent from 14.3 percent for the quarter and for the year to date 17.9 percent from 16.6 percent for the 2016 period.
Operating expenses rose by 9.2 percent to $589 million in the quarter and by 8.3 percent in the nine months period to $1.67 billion.
Earnings per share came out at 4 cents for the quarter and 16 cents for the nine months period and should end around 20 cents for the fiscal year.

Lasco’s products

Gross cash flow brought in $600 million but growth in receivables and advances to related companies, resulted in a rise of just $30 million from operating activities. After paying dividends of $155 million cash funds were reduced from $1 billion at the end of December 2016 to $879 million. Shareholders’ equity stands at $8.1 billion with borrowings at just $215 million. Net current assets is $3 billion just a little below Payables of $3.2 billion.
The company rolled out new flavours in the instant Chocolate range and iCool brand in the quarter. In the coming months, Lasco will expand its product offers.
The stock traded at $3.91 on the Junior Market of the Jamaica Stock Exchange with a PE ratio of 19 times 2018 earnings. The company will go into a new year, come April, that should result in a lowering of the PE.

10 TOP Junior market stocks for 2017

tTech, one of ICI top selections for 2017.

With just over one month of 2017 slipping by, the junior market is up more than 14 percent in a relative short time. Market movement delivered some stunning gains with five stocks rising between 54 percent and 77 percent up to Friday.
The PE ratio, the best measure of valuing stocks, for this market is at 10.5 times 2017 estimated earnings and 16 times 2016, with 9 stocks selling above this level, including Cargo Handlers selling at a rich 51 times 2016 and 40 times 2017 earnings. The top 10 stocks have PE ratios for 2017 between 4.3 and 7.4 times estimated earnings compared to the average of 10.5. Nine socks are priced higher than the average.
Technical indicators show the junior markets braking through major resistance levels at 2,600 points and seem poised to reach new highs around 3,400 points before the next level of resistance is met, that is 15 percent away from the close on Friday.
What makes junior market stocks attractive, is their size, relative to the majority of main market stocks and their ability to grow at a much faster pace, from existing business or expansion into new ventures, delivering superior profits and greater growth in the stock prices.
ISP Finance has very limited supply of stocks available for sale, this should ensure that the price should surge to match seller and buyers. The company could see a sharp rise in profits if the $145 million raised in a bond issue last year is invested in new loans. Based on its interim results to September last year, interest income works out at 100 percent per annum. At these levels and with the infusion of cash from the bond and the cash to flow from profits, the stock could enjoy and explosive blast, if they are able to put the funds into profitable loans.
tTech revenues for this technology company grew strongly by 34.3 percent for the nine months to September and stronger 43 percent for the September quarter, with very good demand for its services. A negative is that cost has been growing just as fast, as they add personnel to service customers need. At September 2016, the company had 33 full-time employees compared to 24 at the same period in 2015. While staffing grew 57 percent between September 2015 and September 2016, the growth in the September quarter was only 7 percent over the June quarter. The sharp growth in cost slowed growth in profits, from a relatively small base. The slowdown in staffing in the September quarter, should allow more revenues to flow into profits in 2017 onwards.

Lasco Manufacturing

Lasco Manufacturing has enjoyed very strong demand for its new drinks, resulting in major expansion of the factory. Total revenue to September 2016 was $4 billion, an increase of 28 percent over the same period last year, resulting from increased production volumes brought to market, as part of the expansion of the manufacturing plant.
The company indicated that production at the liquid plant continues to grow steadily. The plan is for increase capacity to meet strong market demand for the iCool line of beverages, by ramping up production with the installation of additional equipment by the end of the financial year. The new Dry Plant at White Marl is fully operational together with the existing Red Hills Road Dry Plant. New products will be introduced by the end of 2016 to enhance the product line which is projected to continue to realize significant sales and profits, the company stated.
Main Event is the latest public issue to hit the market. The issue was heavily oversubscribed. The price is set to enjoy a big bounce when it list this week Wednesday with the PE ratio of just 7, based on 2016 earnings and less based on estimated 2017 profit. The funds raised will be used to expand its operation, including setting up a branch in Montego Bay.
Medical Disposables focussed on increasing the product line it represents in 2016, reflecting in a strong 38 percent sales growth for the first six months of the financial year, but at lower margins. Increased cost associated with the expanded sales has so far kept profit from growing a great deal in 2016. That should change in 2017, as sales growth, out pace cost increases. With the focus on rapidly expanding products and sales, this is clearly a stock for investors to keep a keen eye on.

Caribbean Flavours traded at $9.50 on the junior market last week

Caribbean Flavours is a company with much promise for growth, with potential for increased exports and new product lines for sale, locally and with the Caribbean region. The stock is selling below many other in the junior market currently, and the price has room to run, having fallen to $9.50 with the confusion investors faced, with the acquisition majority shares by Derrimon Trading.
Access Financial is undervalued based on a number of factors but the stock is extremely scarce. Earnings for the fiscal year ending March, should be in the order of $2.80 and based on this and with 10 junior market companies selling at more than 17 times 2016 earnings, the stock should be trading over $45. As the company makes profit, most of the funds are reinvested in its operation to expand loans, this in turn fuels strong increased profit. Access seems set to generate earnings of $4.35 per share for the 2018 fiscal year, which will push the price much higher than its current level.
Key Insurance nine months profit ended at $66 million compared to $68 million for the 2015 period and seems set to reach $120 million for the full year, for earnings per share of 35 cents. The company should benefit from the lowering of restriction on investments that insurance companies could undertake which should free up funds for more profitable investments as the companies see fit. Investing in general insurance companies can be riskier than for many other companies, in the short term.

Jetcon Corporation revenues enjoyed strong growth for 1st nine months of 2016

Jetcon Corporationlisted at $2.25 in 2016, is shot to $10.50 for a rise of 366 percent. An announcement of a stock split and dividend gave the stock added push as investors bought more shares at higher prices. The company more than doubled profits to September last year over results for 2015 for the same period. Jetcon benefitted from the capital injection of the public share issue. It helped boosts inventory, and in turn grew sales by 61 percent to $610 million for the nine months to September and 86 percent for the September quarter. The publicity from the listing seems to have enhance the company’s image in the minds of potential customers which has also helped sales. The trend of increased sales for the past two years suggest that sales growth may continue to be strong in 2017 and should be helped by the continued attractive financing terms available in the market, strengthening of the economy and reduction in PAYE that some workers will enjoy, when the tax threshold increases in April thus increasing take home pay.
Dolphin Cove was the darling of the investing public when the company was listed but seems to have lost its lustre as profit growth slowed sharply. With continued growth in the tourism industry and more cruise ships coming to the country, the company should get a boost in revenues and earnings for this undervalued stock.

Persons associated with this article may have an interest in the companies commented on.

LASCO Manufacturing profit jumps 45%

Lasco canProfit jumped 45 percent to $363 million for the quarter ending September this year, from $250 million in the September 2015 quarter for LASCO Manufacturing from revenue of $2.2 billion, an increase of 29 percent over the 1st quarter, this year and 35 percent over the June quarter of 2015.
For the six months period ended September 2016, LASCO generated a net profit of $587 million, 18 percent above the previous year’s profit of $497 million.
Revenue increased 28 percent to September 2016 to $4 billion, over the same period last year resulting from increased production as part of the expansion of the manufacturing plant. Gross margin of $1.3 billion, was achieved compared to $1 billion, the previous year.
Expenses for the six months rose 23 percent to $585 million, compared to the same period last year, due mainly to increases in marketing and equipment maintenance expenses.
Lasco new drnks“Production at the Liquid Plant continues to grow steadily, and we will further increase our capacity to meet the market demand for our iCool line of beverages, by ramping up production with the installation of additional equipment by the end of the financial year. We continue to be optimistic and confident about the future for this product line with substantial profits to be realized” Robert Parkins, Managing Director, stated in a release with the results.
Perkins went on to say “The new Dry Plant at White Marl is now fully operational, and together with the existing Red Hills Road Dry Plant recorded an increase of 24 percent in profits over last year at the end of the 2nd quarter. New products will be introduced by the end of the year to enhance the product line which is projected to continue to realize significant sales and profits.”
“The Statement of Financial Position shows Property, Plant and Equipment moving from $3.5 billion, at the beginning of the financial year to $4.6 billion at the close of the 2nd quarter. This is due to approximately $1 billion, of assets associated with both the liquid and dry plants being transferred during the period from work in progress as a result of continuing commissioning of these operations.”
The company reported cash flows from operations of $1.5 billion including more than $600 million released from working capital of which $1.17 billion was spent on expanding the plant.
IC Insider is forecasting $1.8 billion in profit or 45 cents earnings for the full year to March next year and $3.7 billion or 90 cents per share for 2018. Lasco last traded at $5 on the junior market of Jamaica Stock Exchange.

Lasco Distributors blow out profits

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Lasco Distributors with responsibility to distribute "I Cool" drink.

Lasco Distributors with responsibility to distribute “I Cool” drink.

Lasco Distributors reported an 87 percent increase in profit after tax for the six months to September, of $379 million over 2014 and a 121 percent increase in the September quarter of $247 million over the similar quarter last year.
The Gross profit for the period was S1.1 billion, an increase of $299 million or 36 percent over the prior year. The Gross Profit margin for the quarter was $628 million, or 32 percent over the same period last year. Gross profit margin for the august 2015 quarter is 17.26 percent versus 17.5 percent in 2014 and year to date 16.2 percent in 2015 and 16.28 percent in 2014.
The huge gain came from increased revenues of 34 percent for the quarter, amounting to $6.95 billion and 36 percent for the six months of $3.64 billion.
“This growth was driven mainly by contributions from our iCool and Unilever lines of business, both of which have been doing very well”, Peter Chin, Managing Director reported to shareholders in the directors’ report accompanying the financial data.
An interesting element of the results is the 10 percent growth in revenue over the June quarter a continuation of the quarter over quarter growth evident from late in 2014 with an average of 8 percent for the last three quarters.
Earnings per stock for the six months amount to 11 cents and 7 cents for the quarter. IC Insider projects profit of 34 cents for the current year and 50 cents for the year to March 2017.
Cost were held well below the growth in revenues with Operating Expenses in the latest quarter rising to $396 million from $377 in 2014 and for the six months this year the company incurred $779 million versus $658 million in 2014 for a rise of 18 percent.
Cash flow from operations increased by 94 percent to $391 million from $202 million for the similar period to September 2014 swelling Cash and Equivalents at the end of the Period to $904,043 compared with $191,277.
The company’s shares are listed on the junior market of the Jamaica Stock Exchange. Its principal activity is the distribution of pharmaceutical and consumable items, ii distributes all of Lasco Manufacturing’s products locally.
The stock may be considered fully priced currently with a PE of 10 being one of the higher priced junior market stocks, but with strong growth expected and lower interest rates to come, investors with a long term time horizon may want to accumulate from now, bearing in mind the limited supply available.

Profit jumps 45% at Lasco Distributors

Lasco Distributors" hot new "I Cool" drink.

Lasco Distributors” hot new “I Cool” drink.

Profit at Lasco Distributors jumped 45 percent in the June quarter to $132 million from $91 million in 2014, from revenues that jumped a significant 38 percent to $3.3 billion from $2.4 billion. Profit however, was down on the March quarter’s $152 million from revenues of $2.5 billion.
“The main contributing factors to the increase revenues were the increase in volumes of iCool beverages and additional revenue from the distribution of the full range of Unilever Products”, Peter M. Chin, Managing Director reported to shareholders in the directors’ report accompanying the financial data.
“Increase logistics costs for the period and the continued aggressive selling and marketing activities resulting in the gross profit margin being lower by 1.4 percentage points than the prior year. The aggressive efforts to drive demand for our newly launched iCool brand of beverages has been successful as the company achieved a significant increase in volumes’, Chin went on to say.
P chin 2Cost of sales rose 41 percent to $1.75 billion faster than revenue growth but still allowed for the strong increase in profit. Gross profit margin came out at 16.9 percent down from 18.25 percent in 2014 and declined to 17.94 percent for the 12 months to March 2015 from 19.37 percent in 2014. Administrative, selling and other expenses rose 22 percent to $441 million during the June quarter, from $361 million in 2014.
“For the reporting period Current Assets increased by 24.5 percent or $951 million. The major contributory factor was Trade and Other Receivables category which increased by 48.1 percent or $776 million, this was a result of the increased Credit Sales and Principal activities. Inventories increased by 33.6 percent or $436.7 million due to new products to market and new business agreements, Trade and Other Payables increased by 34.4 percent or $615 million over the corresponding period,” Peter M. Chin, reported.
Earnings per share ended at 4 cents, and IC Insider is forecasting 35 cents per share for the full year which would be well ahead of the 16 cents earned for the 2015 fiscal year.
While the stock is trading at $1.90 or 5.5 times current year’s earnings, making the stock attractive especially as profits are likely enjoy a big uptick in 2017 as well with more products to distribute. Investors need to bear in mind that profits become taxable at 12.5 percent starting in the second half of this fiscal year, for five years.

ICooled profits hike at Lasco Manufacturing

Lasco Manufacturing's bottling line.

Lasco Manufacturing’s bottling line.

Lasco Manufacturing generated total revenues of $1.44 billion, 34 percent more than the $1.08 billion in the June quarter of 2014, resulting in a 75 percent jump in profit to $247 million or 6 cents per share from $141 million in 2014 and slightly ahead of the $243 million for the March quarter.
Gross profit margin for the quarter climbed to 33 percent from 29 percent in 2014 but gross profit jumped 50.50 percent well above the growth in revenues, a positive development for continued strong growth in profit going forward.
Operating Expenses climbed 29 percent to $185 while finance cost rose from $32 million to $42 million as a result of construction phase of the factory completed, resulting in the interest on the funds used in construction being expensed as opposed to being capitalised during the construction phase.
With new factory facilities completed and in use, depreciation ended at $67 million for the fiscal year up from $27 million in 2014 but is set to jump in 2016 with only a fraction of the annual charge being booked to March 2015. With more monies to be transferred to fixed assets for the year to March 2016 depreciation cost should climb. At the end of March, net book value of property, plant and equipment amounts to $3.4 billion and includes assets under construction of $1.34 billion. The cost of assets under construction will be depreciated once the property is complete and in use. The estimated additional cost of completion of the facility was $373 million at March, since then more than $150 million was added to fixed assets.
Lasco's new I Cool drink distributed locally by Lasco Distributors, produced by Lasco Manufacturing.

Lasco’s new I Cool drink distributed locally by Lasco Distributors, produced by Lasco Manufacturing.

“Production capacity at the Liquid Plant has already been doubled during this quarter, to meet the overwhelming market demand for our iCool line of beverages. During this year, we will invest further in new equipment to increase its capacity. There will be many more new products to come on line once production capacity is at its normal level”, Chairman Lascelles Chin advised shareholders“. The new Dry Plant at White Marl has now completed the testing and trial phase, and will be fully operational within the next quarter to achieve full efficiency. The existing Red Hills Road operation for this quarter has recorded an increase of 28 percent in net profits over last year. There will be new products coming on stream by the end of the year,” the Chairman further stated.
At the end of the June quarter, Inventories stood at $736 million and is up from $433 million and Receivables jumped to $1.26 billion from $846 million at the end of June 2014. Borrowing stands at $1.86 million against equity capital of $5.8 billion.
IC Insider projects profit at $1.6 billion for the year or 40 cents per share for the year to March 2016, that should jump to around 60 cents for 2017. While the company becomes taxable this year capital allowances plus tax will be a 12.5 percent will result in little or no taxes being paid on profit for the year.
The company is listed on the junior market of the Jamaica Stock Exchange and last traded at $1.90 for a PE of just less than 5 based on IC Insider’s projected earnings. The stock should deliver a healthy increase in price during the fiscal year and the next as the expanded product lines and the new factory deliver increased revenues at reduced cost.
Lasco Manufacturing has been a BUY RATED stock for some time and remains with that status.

Lasco Manufacturing profit climbs 19%

Lasco's new I Cool drinks - demand exceeded supply in the December quarter

Lasco’s new I Cool drinks – demand exceeded supply in the December quarter

Lasco Manufacturing enjoyed a 24 percent jump in revenues for the December 2014 quarter to $1.25 billion over the same period in 2013. Net profit however, increased by lesser 19.5 percent to $158 Million resulting in earnings per share of 4 cents.
Revenue for the nine months to December increased by 16 percent to $3.3 billion. “This performance was mainly due to increased sales volume in the export markets as well as the introduction of the iCool line of products. The export division revenue year to date, shows a 53 percent growth over the same period in the 2013” Dr. Eileen Chin, Managing Director stated in her report accompanying the financials. Additionally, finance cost increased in the quarter, as well as year to date, with the quarterly figure rising 180 percent to $45 million and the nine months, to $102 million from just $18 million in the prior year’s nine months period, much faster than the increase in revenues. The increases above helped to pressure profit for the period, resulting in slight 5 percent reduction in net profit for the nine months, amounting to $426 million, from the prior year.
LasMn 12-14“There was also an increase in operating expenses during the period due to a significant investment in marketing to support and promote the introduction of our new iCool line,” Chin also states in her report. “Operationally, we are meeting our growth milestones. Lasco Manufacturing is well positioned in the current environment to deliver increased growth. We have completed a significant transformation that provides us with a strong asset base. Importantly, we expect strong growth in the 2015-16 financial year driven by ongoing success in our local and export markets. The integration of our business process and product extension portfolio has contributed positively to this quarter’s results. This integration is also expected to have further positive impact on profitability during the 2015-2016 financial year. We are on target to deliver on the promise to improve efficiencies and productivity, reduce operational costs, and increase product portfolio, sales and profitability”, said Chin.
Lasco recorded gross profit margin of 30 percent, in the December quarter from 23 percent in the same period in 2013, the margin, year to December, is 37 percent. Administrative and marketing expenses were flat in the quarter and up 29 percent year to date, compared with the prior year.
Earnings for the full year to March should end up around 15 cents per share. With new products to be added to its portfolio when the dry products factory is activated, revenues going forward should grow strongly. Increased finance cost and depreciation charge will be a drag on earnings for a while. At a stock price of $1, the stock is a buy to benefit from strong future income and above average profit growth.
Shareholders’ equity stood at $3 billion at December, borrowed funds stands at $1.4 billion. Work in progress stood at $2.26 billion, this amount relates to the dry product factory and when completed will swell fixed assets to $3.3 billion but it will result in increased depreciation charge and the funding for it will result in finance cost hat was being capitalised being expended against revenues.