428% dividend hike jolts stock price

Caribbean Assurance Brokers announced a 428 percent jump in dividends to 14.11 cents from just 2.67 cents paid last year. This year’s dividend is payable on September 16, with an ex-dividend date of August 15 and the announcement pushed the stock up 22 percent in a day and 73 percent for the year to date.
The dividend yields 4.8 percent based on Thursday’s closing price of $3.15 and four percent based on Friday’s closing of $3.83, almost twice the junior Market average of 2 percent.
The increase follows a jump in profits for 2023 to $123 million or 47 cents per share after a charge of $17 million or 6.5 cents per share for doubtful debt which was reversed in the first quarter to March this year with a profit of just $3 million after the credit impairment loss was revered and compares with a profit of $17 million in 2023.  Net profit for 2022 was $78 million or 30 cents per share.
Also announcing dividend payment is Salada Foods with an interim dividend of 6.4 cents per stock unit, payable on July 4, 2024, with an ex-dividend date is June 14.

Dolphin Cove the dividend king

The dividend yield on the Junior market listed Dolphin Cove is 10 percent based on Wednesday’s early traded price of $24 and dividends of $2.40 payable since October last year.

Dolphin Cove price paying 60 cents dividend in June.

Dolphin’s shareholders have much more than the high yield to cheer about, with the stock gaining 68 percent in value over the past twelve months in a market that has delivered no increase during the same period. The company reported profit declining from US$1.57 million for the first quarter last year to $1.38 million in the March 2024 quarter with revenues of US$4.9 million up from US$4.85 million with operational expenses jumping by US$300,000. For the year to December 2024, the company reported sales of US$17 million from $15 million in 2023. It generated a profit of US$4.2 million before booking a cost of US$1.13 million in penalties and interest on GCT relating to an earlier period compared with $2.97 million in 2022
The returns for Dolphin are far ahead of a 7 percent yield for Mailpac but in line with Carreras at 10 percent yield and Transjamaican Highway at 6 percent. Scotia Group another high dividend payer is currently 4 percent but that is expected to rise as the year progresses and dividends are increased with rising profit and a return to the traditional pay out ratio of more than 40 percent of profit.
The real virtue of Dolphin over Carreras is that the former continues to record growth while the latter has has little or no growth for years.

The aroma of rising profit

The wonderful aroma of increased profit brewed by Salada Foods ended with an impressive 43 percent jump in earnings in the March quarter, to $68 million from $48 million in 2023. For the six months to March, profit rose by a more sedate but still impressive 31 percent to $99 million from $75 million in 2023.
The latest results follow a moderate rise in profits in 2022 and 2023 and a 42 percent jump in 2021.
Contributing to the gains in profits was an 8 percent rise in sales revenues for the quarter, to $427 million from $394 million and a 6 percent pop for the year to date, to $727 million from $688 million in 2024.
Gross profit margin slipped to 68 percent from 69 percent in both the second quarter and for the half year, effectively, pushing operating profit 13 percent in the quarter to $138 million from $122 million and 6 percent for the year to date to $229 million from $216 million in 2023.
Increased revenues were not the sole contributor to the solid rise in profits. Administrative expenses fell 11 percent to $36 million in the quarter and slipped two percent in the six months to $74 million. Marketing and sales expenses dropped by a sizeable 29 percent to $17 million for the second quarter and declined by 28 percent for the six months to $32 million. Finance cost jumped to $6 million in the quarter, from $1.4 million in 2023 and from $3.5 million to $7.6 million for the six months.
The operations generated gross cash flows of $189 million after working capital spend and ended with $95 million after paying $62 million in dividends.

Current assets ended the period at $1.2 billion inclusive of trade and other receivables of $305 million, cash, investments and bank balances of $492 million, inventories climbed to $417 million from $374 million at the end of September last year. Current liabilities ended the period at $291 million. Net current assets closed the period at $923 million.
At the end of March, this year, shareholders’ equity amounted to $1.13 billion, with no outstanding loans.
Earnings per share for the quarter was 7 cents and 10 cents for the year to date. IC Insider.com computation projects earnings of 22 cents per share for the fiscal year ending September 2024, with a PE of 16 times the current year’s earnings based on the price of $3.76 the stock traded at on the Jamaica Stock Exchange Main Market. The PE ratio compares with an average of the market of 12.9. Net asset value ended the period at $1.09 with the stock selling at 3.44 times book value.

Profit surged 89% at NCB Group

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Profit surged 89 percent at NCB Financial for the six months to March from a combination of higher revenues and reduced costs in some areas, driving profit 74 percent higher in the March quarter to $5.6 billion compared with the same period in 2023, with $3.2 billion and surged for the half year to March with $8.7 billion, from $4.6 billion in 2023.
Net interest income rose to $9.4 billion in the second quarter of this year, from $8.2 billion in the prior year’s second quarter and for the six months, jumped 15.6 percent to $18.85 billion from $16.3 in the 2023 half previous half year. Net fee and Commission income went from $5.3 billion in the $6 billion in March 2024 quarter and from $11 billion in the half year in 2023 to 12.5 billion in the current year.
Credit impairment losses jumped sharply to $1.9 billion in the March quarter from $1.2 billion last year to $2.77 billion in the half year, compared with $2.4 billion in 2023. Dividend income amounted to just $171 million in the March 2024 quarter, down from $488 million in the previous year. The half year is essentially flat, at $1.26 million. Insurance activities delivered profits of $11 billion for the latest quarter, up from $9.3 billion in the previous year. For the half year it surged to $25.2 billion from $16.7 billion in the comparative period in 2023.
Operating expenses slipped to $21.76 billion in the March 2023 quarter from $22.8 billion the previous year and for the half year rose to $47.9 billion from $45.8 billion in 2023. The major contributing factor to cost savings is staff costs, which fell from $14.3 billion in the 2023 March quarter to $13 billion this year and dropped to $26.6 billion for the six months, from $27.5 billion in 2023.
A loss of $3.4 billion is reflected in other comprehensive income in the March 2024 quarter compared with a surplus of $5.7 billion, with the six month period ending up with a loss of $1.2 billion compared to a surplus of $28.3 billion in 2023, effective reducing the quarterly overall profit to $1.4 billion compared to $5.2 billion in 2023 and for six months $7.7 billion versus $20.9 billion in the previous year that is attributable to the NCB Group shareholders.
While most eyes are on the profit statements, the results shown by the various segments are of critical import as they show details of revenues and profit for each segment, enabling investors to have greater insight into the overall results.
Results for the six months show the Consumer and Small Business Enterprise segment generating revenues from outsiders of $21.5 billion, up 17.5 percent from $18.3 billion in 2023 and net segment income of $7 billion in 2024, up 23 percent versus $5.7 billion in 2023. Payment Services delivered a solid 85 percent rise in revenues to $17.2 billion in 2024 with a net position of $4.5 billion in the 2024 half year up from $9.3 billion in revenues in 2023, with net results of $3.4 billion, before internally allocated costs.
Corporate and Commercial banking had a 7 percent growth in revenues to $8 billion and net segment results of $4 billion compared with revenues of $7.5 billion in 2023 as net results surged sharply over $1.18 billion in 2023. Treasury and Correspondent banking generated revenues of $11.77 billion up from $10.58 billion with a net position of $6.9 billion in 2024 compared with $5 billion. Wealth, Asset Management and Investment Banking generated a 38 percent growth in revenues of $14.85 billion and a net position of just $1.17 billion in 2024, with revenues of $10.7 billion in 2023 and net results of $3.5 billion. Life and Health Insurance and Pension Fund management produced a 32 percent increase in revenues to $58.58 billion in 2024 as net results surged to $15.5 billion compared with revenues of $44.4 billion in 2023 with net segment results of $5.76 billion while General Insurance accounted for revenues of $37.7 billion, up 27 percent over 2023 and net results of $3 billion compared with 2023, with revenues of $29.7 billion and profit of $4.3 billion.

NCB declared a dividend of 50 cents to be paid in June.

Loans grew moderately by 6 percent from $595 billion in March 2023 to $633 billion in 2024 while investment securities moved by 9 percent from $763 billion to $833 billion this year. Customer deposits grew 6 percent to $755 billion. Shareholders’ equity ended the period at 160 billion, up from $138 billion at the end of March 2023. Earnings per share for NCB Financial grew from $1.39 to $2.36 for the quarter and from $1.99 in the 2023 half year to $3.68. ICInsider.com projects earnings for the full year to September at $8.50 with a PE of 7.5 well below the market average of 12.6 at the last traded price of $64 on Friday. NCB is selling at a premium to Scotia Group with a lower PE of 6 times 2024 earnings and pays a dividend that provides a much better yield of 4 percent versus 3 percent for NCB. With NCB relative overvaluation compared with its nearest competitor, the current APO is going to provide added supply of shares on the market that is likely pressure the stock price for some time.
Shareholders on record on May 27 are set to receive a dividend of 50 cents per share payable on June 10.

Share buy back & dividend at Kingston Properties

Kingston Properties (KPREIT) plans to repurchase up to one half of one percent or 4.42 million shares in issue for up to two years to commence in the later part of May this year. 
According to the release, “the Board of Directors sees this use of capital as an opportunity to enhance shareholder value through the purchase, from time to time, of undervalued shares”.
The repurchase of the shares will be done using the Company’s cash flows and will be conducted on the open market through the Company’s stockbrokers. A fixed price for the repurchase will not be set but will be the market price at the time of the repurchase. In keeping with the requirements of the Companies Act of Jamaica, within 30 days of the dates of the repurchase of shares, Kingston Properties will advise its shareholders of the details of the shares purchased.
The company has 884 million issued shares that were last traded at $8.10 on the Main Market of the Jamaica Stock Exchange with a PE of 10 times last year’s earnings and a book value of $8.40.
A total of 7.5 million shares were traded over the past twelve months for a daily average of 30,000 units.
The company has also declared a dividend of 0.0566 US cents per share, payable on June 5 to shareholders on record at May 17 with the ex-dividend date of May 16, 2024.
The company reported a profit of US$4.65 million in 2023 an increase over 2022 with US$3.8 million from operating revenues of US$4 million in 2023 and US$3.5 million in 2022. Profit was boosted by gains from revaluation and gain on sale of properties of US$3 million in 2023 and US$2.4 million in 2022.

Transjamaican heads for twice a year dividend?

TransJamaican Highway Board of Directors approved an interim dividend payment of 9.43 cents per share that will be paid on April 24, 2024, to shareholders on record as at the close of business on April 3, 2024, with the ex-dividend date is April 2, 2024.
This is the first time since the listing of the shares in 2020, that an interim dividend is paid so early in the year, suggesting that the company is moving to a twice a year pay out. The dividend is just over half of the 18.66 cents that was paid in September last year, as the only payment in 2023. Combined the two dividends resulted in a yield of just over 20 percent based on the stock price of $1.36 in March last year. In addition, the stock price jumped 148 percent over the twelve months.
In discussion with a senior officer of the company, ICInsider.com could not get confirmation if the payment to come is an official move by the company to make dividend payments twice per year, but the recent move sends a clear message of twice a year payment.
What ICInsider.com gleaned is that they are still in discussion with the government to establish the terms of agreement for the Mandeville leg of the highway.

60% hike in Scotia Group dividend

 

Scotia Group Falmouth branch

Scotia Group reports a net profit of $3.13 billion for the quarter ending January 2024, down 7 percent from $3.37 billion in January 2023, as credit loss provisions more than doubled to more than $1 billion from $510 million in 2023, with the loan portfolio increasing by 17.4 percent, with a $41 billion addition over the last twelve months to $278 billion and up from $269 billion at the end of October 2023.
According to Management, “Our core loan book continues to perform well with mortgages increasing year over year by 24 percent, consumer loans by 12 percent, credit cards by 12 percent and commercial loans by 17 percent”.
Earnings per share for the quarter ended at $1 and resulted in the dividend payment returning to the bottom of the payout range of 40 to 50 percent, with the Scotia Group’s Board of Directors approving a 60 percent increase in the dividend to 40 cents per stock unit in respect of the first quarter, to be paid on April 17, to stockholders on record as at March 26, up from 25 cents in 2023.

Profit doubles at the NCB Group

NCB Financial reported profits attributable to the groups’ shareholders of $3 billion, more than twice the $1.4 billion for the 2022 December quarter, with earnings per share of $1.32 versus just 60 cents in 2022. Total comprehensive income ended at $6.2 billion for the latest quarter versus $24 billion in the December 2022 quarter.
ICInsider.com projection is for earnings of $8.50 per share in 2024.
Net revenues from banking and investment activities rose to $19.5 billion from $18.8 billion in 2022 and insurance activities delivered net revenues of $14.9 billion compared to $9.5 billion in the prior year. Net operating revenues amount to $34.5 billion compared to $26.9 billion in 2022.
Staff costs ticked slightly higher to $13.6 billion from $13.1 billion in the prior year but depreciation charges more than doubled from $1.2 billion in 2022 to $2.4 billion, while other expenses rose from $8.2 billion to $9.6 billion in 2023.
Importantly, credit impairment losses fell from $1.17 billion in 2022 to $ 877 million in the December 2023 quarter.
Loans advanced to customers rose just under 5 percent to $621 billion from $592 billion in the prior year and up 1.3 percent over September at $613 billion, a development that is going to be a drag on earnings in the near term.
The stock climbed to $69.75 in early morning trading on Friday, up from $65.05 at the close on Thursday.
Shareholders’ Equity ended the period at $160 billion up from $133 billion at the end of December 2022. The company’s directors are meeting on February 16 to consider a dividend payment.

Top 5 JSE dividend paying stocks now


Companies with earnings that are consistently growing are usually the best dividend paying stocks to invest in if income is a prime objective. They will have more room to make increased dividend payments in the future.
Investors looking for the best dividend paying stocks on the Jamaica Stock Exchange should take the above factors into consideration. It is also a good factor to consider when buying stocks that are likely to increase in value over time.
On the Jamaica Stock Exchange, the Main Market, Carreras is the king of dividend payment with a yield of 11 percent based on the latest stock price of $8 in 2023, followed by Transjamaican Highway and at 7 percent, Scotia Group at 5 percent based on the last dividend paid of 40 cents and annualised, at a then stock price of $34. What is interesting about Scotia is the traditional metric is for the company to pay between 40 to 50 percent of profits.
Scotia historically pays just above 40 percent of profit, but that seems to have been interrupted as a result of the negative impact that flowed from the Covid 9 economic dislocation. The company reported earnings of $5.54 and that would suggest an annual dividend of $2.20 which would translate to a dividend yield of 6.7 percent with 2024 likely to be higher.
The Junior Market has two stocks with attractive yields Dolphin Cove and MailPac at 7 percent each. The payout for MailPac represent a full years’ profit.
Yields may have dipped in some cases but that does not change the longer term prospects.

Q3 profit climbs 18% at GraceKennedy

Profit after tax climbed 17.7 percent to $1.77 billion for the September quarter this year, compared to $1.5 billion over the same period in 2022 at GraceKennedy, from a 13.5 percent rise in revenues to $39.55 billion, up from $4.85 billion in 2022. Profit before tax for the third quarter rose 15.7 percent to $2.62 billion from $2.27 billion as Revenues climbed 13.5 percent to $39.56 billion from $34.85 billion.
For the first nine months of the year, revenues rose 9.7 percent to $117.8 billion, over the $107 billion earned for the nine months to September 2022. Profit before tax reached $8.8 billion, up 14 percent from $7.7 billion and net profit after tax attributable to shareholders of the group rose 14.2 percent to $6.4 billion from $5.6 billion.
The profit translates to earnings per share for the third quarter of $1.79 and $6.02 for the nine months, compared to $1.52 and $5.23 in 2022, respectively.
Earnings per share for the full year ending in December should hit the $8 market, with a PE ratio of 9 based on Thursday’s last traded price of $71.50.
“GK’s food business demonstrated b performance, with notable growth in revenue and profitability for the period. GraceKennedy Financial Group also delivered a positive performance, driven by b top-line growth” Gordon Shirley, chairman and Don Wehby, Chief Executive Officer stated in their commentary on the results.
The company will pay a dividend of 65 cents per stock unit on December 15 totalling approximately $643 million. This is the fourth and final dividend payment by GK for 2023, bringing GK’s year-to-date total dividend payout to $2.15 billion.

Group Chief Executive Officer, Don Wehby.

Direct and operating expenses rose from $33.2 billion in the September 2022 quarter to $37.57 billion, for the year to date it moved from $101.93 billion to $111.7 billion. The group incurred impairment loss on financial assets in the quarter of $100 million compared to $96 million in the previous year and for the year to date, $233 million versus $230 million in 2022. Other income delivered $856 million to profit in the third quarter up from $752 million in 2022 for the similar period, and for the year to date $2.76 billion versus $2.36 billion in the prior year.
Interest income from non-financial services amounted to $161 million in the September quarter down slightly from $169 million in the 2022 third quarter and for the year to date $474 million up from $424 million for the nine months to September 2022. Interest expense rose to $415 million in the latest quarter from $276 million in 2022 and for the nine months, $1.2 billion up from $919 million in 2022. Associated companies contributed $115 million in the September quarter, virtually flat with $114 million in the previous year and $638 million in September 2023 versus $539 million last year.
The group’s lending activity saw loans advanced to customers rising 12.6 percent to $40 billion at the end of September this year while investment securities climbed to $51.6 billion from $36.96 billion at the end of September 2022. Receivables climbed quite sharply by 35 percent from $19.5 billion at the end of September 2022 to $26.3 billion well ahead of the increase in revenues. On the liability side, deposits grew 23 percent to $61 billion from $49.6 billion at the end of September 2022. Loans received by the group amounted to $30.4 billion a slight increase from the $29.5 million at the end of September 2022. Shareholders’ equity ended the period at $77.8 billion, up from $69.7 billion at the end of September 2022.
In commenting on the results, Gordon Shirley Chairman and Don Wehby in a jointly signed report stated “GK food business demonstrated b performance in the first nine months of 2023 with notable growth in both revenues and pretax profit. Our Jamaican food division achieved commendable results.”

Grace Kennedy products

“The manufacturing business also delivered improved results over the previous year. Hilo Food Stores continue to display robust performance in 2023 powered by increased sales. Our international food business experience improved performance in comparison to the same period last year. But growth in revenue and profitability was achieved by GK Foods USA and Grace Foods UK, while Belize and Grace LACA also saw growth. Our La Fe and Grace brands experienced significant growth in the US market, Grace Foods Canada continues to work at overcoming operational challenges and inflationary pressures in that market.”
“The Financial Group delivered positive performance driven by b top line growth. Our insurance segment sustained growth throughout the period.”
First Global Bank delivered improved results over the prior year aided by increased lending. Remittance services suffered a slight dip in revenues and profit and is partnering with Courts to locate the Western Union outlets in their stores. Bill Express also experienced growth in the period.
Based on the above PE ratio that is much lower than the market average of 13 the stock is undervalued measured by net book value that is the price is less than two times book which is low, with several of its peer trading at a much higher valuation based on net book value. Grace’s main problem is that it is a very liquid stock as there is no dominant shareholder controlling a near majority

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