Profit rises 14% at GraceKennedy

Revenues at GraceKennedy rose 9.7 percent to $117.8 billion, over $10.4 billion earned for the nine months to September over the same period in 2022. Profit before tax reached $8.8 billion, up by J$1.1 billion, or a 14 percent increase, while net profit after tax rose 14.2 percent to $6.4 billion.
Profit attributable to stockholders hit $6 billion, a 15.3 percent increase over the corresponding period last year. Earnings per stock unit for the period were $6.02, compared to $5.23 in 2022.
Earnings per share for the full year ending in December should hit the $8 market, with PE ratio of 9 based on Thursday last traded price of $71.50.
The company stated that “GK’s food business demonstrated strong performance, with notable growth in revenue and profitability for the period. GraceKennedy Financial Group also delivered a positive performance, driven by strong top-line growth”.
A dividend of $0.65 per stock unit has been announced and will be payable on December 15, 2023, totalling approximately $643 million. This is the fourth and final dividend payment by GK for 2023, bringing GK’s year-to-date total dividend pay-out to approximately J$2.15 billion.

Seprod stock trades at $90

Seprod traded just 2,605 shares up to a 52 weeks’ high of $90 in Wednesday’s morning trading session on the Jamaica Stock Exchange. Trading is suspended as the price breached the circuit breaker, as there was limited selling of the stock.
Buying in the stocks could be better, with 43,579 units on the bid at $75 and 9,539 units between $75.01 and $80.90. Sellers range from 9,000 units at $80.90, 9,400 shares at $80.95, 2,989 units at $90 and 3,000 shares at $150.
As trading in the stock is suspended, more sellers and buyers could come to the market and change the day’s outcome.
At $90, the stock traded at a PE ratio of 18 times this year’s earnings. The significant publicly known development is the pending listing of Seprod subsidiary, AS Bryden and Sons, on the Jamaica Stock Exchange later this week. That will not affect the result of the group as it will neither increase nor decrease its earnings. It will not even change the group’s reported net asset value.
Seprod traded 1,459,106 shares in Tuesday trading session and closed at $79.99 with a gain of $6.97.

Early November listing for A.S. Bryden on JSE

A.S. Bryden will list its ordinary and preference shares on the JSE Main Market on 10 November 2023, by way of an introduction, majority shareholder, Seprod stated in a release posted on the Jamaica Stock Exchange website.
AS Bryden is a group of companies operating out of Trinidad and Tobago that Seprod purchased the majority holdings in 2022.
The company will be listed existing shares on the JSE Main Market. and investors who have an interest in purchasing shares will have to do so by way of trades through  the  Jamaica Stock Exchange trading system, through brokers

AS Bryden & Sons JSE listing imminent

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AS Bryden & Sons Holdings Ltd seems set to be the next listed company on the Main Market of the Jamaica Stock Exchange. The company, through its listing agents NCB Capital Market, posted an abridge financial statement on the JSE website on Monday, a sign that the listing will be in days, so far, there are no signs that is will list in Trinidad at the same time.
The company has shareholders” equity of TT$576.2 million of Jamaican J$13.25 billion as of June 2023 with total borrowings exceeding shareholders equity with long term loans of TT$285 million and medium term borrowings about two TT$534 million.
Current assets stand at TT$1.19 billion, with inventories and trade receivables amounting to TT$976 million and current liabilities at TT$576 million.
Sales revenue for the six months to June amounts to TT$1.18 billion with gross profit of TT$304 million, for a 25.7 profit margin. Pretax profit amounts at TT$74 million an after tax profit of TT$56 million.
Massey Holdings is trading around 10 times current year’s earnings if this is achieved by Bryden it would value the stock at J$12 billion or just a bit below book value.
The company focuses is on the distribution of fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) and the sales divisions are grouped into three teams specialising in Premium Beverages, Food & Grocery, and Hardware & Housewares.
Seprod owns 54 percent of Bryden, which was acquired in 2022.

Inflation plunges to 5.9% in past year

Inflation over the past twelve months plunged to 5.9 percent data from the Statistical Institute of Jamaica states. The drop was occasioned by a 0.5 percent rise in inflation for September down sharply from 1.4 percent in September last year. The fall follows a jump in August to 6.8 percent from 6.6 percent to July.
If the rate for September holds or falls in October the twelve month rate will fall below 5 percent.
According to Statin, the main contributor to September’s movement was an 11.8 per cent rise in the index of the ‘Education’ division, due to higher tuition fees for private schools at the primary level. The inflation rate was also impacted by the 0.7 per cent ‘Transport’ division mainly as a result of higher petrol prices. The index for the heavily weighted ‘Food and Non-Alcoholic Beverages’ division went up by 0.1 percent. However, there was a 1.9 per cent decline in the index ‘Vegetables, tubers, plantains, cooking bananas and pulses’ class and this tempered the overall increase of the division.

Downward trend of murders in Jamaica

Murders in Jamaica have been on the increase since 1962, the year of independence and surged sharply after, averaging just under 1,000 per year between 1996 and 2003, peaking between 2004 to 2010 with an average of 1,545 per annum, followed by a substantially lower average of 1,136 between 2011 and 2016 with the average climbing back to 1,415 since then.
Close analysis suggests that murders in the country may have peaked but that there has been a steady decline since, with more to come. The decline this year is a continuation of the new downward trend.
In 1962, the year of independence for Jamaica, there were 63 murders which jumped by 153 percent over the 351 in 1979 to 889 in the politically charged murderous 1980. Murders have gotten out of control since, with respective governments unable to tackle this chronic problem and bring resolution to it.
From a surge in 1980, murders fell back to the 400 level but it gradually started to rise at the start of 1990 and broke the 1,000 mark in 1997 when there were 1,038 murders and remained elevated, hitting 1,471 in 2004 and then 1,674 the following year before hitting a new high of 1,683 in 2009.
In 2011, there were 1,133 murders down from 1,447 in 2010 following the incursion into Western Kingston by the security forces that seemed to have disrupted some of the criminal activities in certain areas in the country.
The accompanying chart shows murders peaking with a downward trajectory even before an 11 percent decline in 2023 to August. The data also shows that the upward trend was broken in 2010, with murders falling back below the red line, although it spiked higher for a few years, that has not really changed the downward drift as can be seen from the black line that is sloping downward after peaking in 2005. Barring some extraordinary developments murders are set to be lower than the 2023 figure and likely to be the in the range of 2018 to 2020 with an average of 1,316 murders.
The chart shows annual murder in Jamaica from 1962 onwards and reflects a scenario where the trend line in the early years put the country with a murder rate around 600 per annum assuming there were no developments to reduce the rate below that level.

General Accident to jump Junior Market

General Accident Insurance advises that it has successfully applied for graduation of its listed ordinary shares from the Junior Market to the Main Market of the Jamaica Stock Exchange, which will take place effective September 27,

General Accident spreading wings

According to the company, since being listed on the Junior Market over ten years ago, the Company has grown its gross written premium almost seven-fold. In addition to its market leadership in Jamaica, the Company has established a regional presence in Barbados and Trinidad. The Directors of General Accident believe the successful application reflects its growth, increasing scope and ability to comply with the applicable governance standards for companies listed on the Main Market.
The company with more than $15 billion in annual premium income reported a profit of $577 million last year and $246 million for the six months to June this year up from just $41 million for the same period in 2022. projected profit of more than $1 billion for 2023.
The move follows Eppley another member of the Musson Group that migrated from the Junior Market in December 2018.

Jamaica’ NIR jumps to record high

Jamaica’s net international reserves continue to scale new heights closing at the end of August 2023 jumped US$299 million to a record month end balance of US$4.43 billion, up from US$4.13 billion at the end of July.
The main factor driving the reserve is a reduction of amounts due to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) of $362 million moving the figure from US$508 million in short term debt down to US$146 million at the end of August.
At the end of December last year, the reserves stood at US$3.978 billion and have climbed US$456 million for the year to date.

Sharp jump in tourist arrivals in July

Visitor arrival numbers passing through the Montego Bay Sangster International Airport jumped sharply by 19.4 percent to 513,700 in July this year compared with 430.400 in 2022, Grupo Aeroportuario del Pacífico, operators of both local international airports reported.
The July 2023 numbers also jumped 15 percent over the 447,934 passengers using the airport in July 2019, the last year that the data was not affected by the disruption to the industry by Cocid19 pandemic. Passenger traffic through the Montego Bay Airport, for the year to date, is up a solid 25.8 percent to 3.17 million in 2023, over 2.52 million in 2022 and nearly 6 percent up on the 2.998 million in 2019.
Data from Grupo Aeroportuario del Pacífico also revealed that Kingston had a 2.9 percent increase in traffic to 181,700 from 176,600 in July 2022 and a 13 percent jump on the 204,948 that passed through the system in July 2019. For 2023 to date, 25.3 percent more passengers used the airport facilities to hit 1.011 million from 807,200 in 2022, but 5 percent less than the 1.06 million in 2019.

Jamaica’s unemployment drops to record low

Jamaica’s unemployment rate dropped to the lowest level on record in April 2023, with only 4.5 percent of persons said to be out of work, according to data released today by the Statistical Institute of Jamaica (Statin) and is 1.5 percentage points lower than the 6 percent in April 2022.
There were 1,373,800 persons in the Labour Force, 23,500 or 1.7 percent more than in April 2022, but 43,300 persons gained employment, according to the official government body that collects the data.
The number of persons Outside the Labour Force in April this year was 725,700, a decrease of 20,700 or 2.8 percent compared to 746,400 in April 2022.