Shocking 4 years of Cargo Handlers errors

The number of shares issued by publicly listed companies is very important information for investors to know, but investors would not think so when examining interim financial statements in Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago of some of the companies.
There have been so many occasions one has to search high and low to find it if at all it is reported in the interim numbers. This is such a simple matter and the stock exchanges in the region could cure it easily, by making it one of the items that must be included in quarterly reports. It should be included as a part of the statement of movement in Shareholders’ equity.
The latest shocking reporting is that of Cargo Handlers that shows the number of shares issued as a part of the statement of shareholders’ equity. The oddity is the company reporting only 37.466 million issued shares since 2018 when it increased to more than 374 million units. The Jamaica Stock Exchange website shows them as having 416.25 million shares issued and the audited accounts show that the change took place in 2018 the numbers moving from 37.485 to 374.653 million shares. One wonders why no one discovered this glaring error when the list of top 10 shareholders show four of them having more shares than what they list as issued. The error goes back to 2018 for all of the quarterly reports.
This is such a glaring error and neither the Stock Exchange, the Financial Services Commission the directors of the company or its accounting staff have found out.
Our reporting standards are not up to scratch and some persons in the financial system love to talk about best practices globally.
Take the matter of segment reporting. Some companies report it quarterly and some only annually. Most correctly report the current period and the comparative previous year’s period. Why can’t the JSE insist on some minimum standards for the benefit of investors so they get information consistently? Limners and Bards is the latest company to provide a quarterly report with no segment results yet they report it in the audited report albeit just one year forcing investors to have to go back to the previous year’s report for the comparison. Seems if that is the approach they should just report the current year’s figures and let investors go back to the previous year’s reports for profit and balance sheet information.
The vast majority of listed companies report profit results with direct and indirect costs and gross profit. But others do not. The group shockingly includes GraceKennedy, 138 Student Living, Knutsford Express. It is full time that companies lift the standard of reporting so that investors can get pertinent information to use in their investment decision making. In response to a question put to Don Wehby about the bulking of all cost on the profit statement suggest that they are in compliance with accounting standards, but that is such a lame and shocking excuse from a company of such standing in the country. Seprod produces it, Jamaica Broilers does it and several other listed companies so why not Grace. Are grace directors suggesting that their shareholders are lesser persons than those of other companies? The case of 138 Student Living is shocking when one considers that the Chairman, Ian Parsard is also Group Senior Vice President – Finance & Corporate Planning at Jamaica Broilers.
Communication with investors is a subjective matter but there are some simple matters that it just takes some thinking or consulting to get right.
AMG Packaging is in a class by itself when it comes to poor communication. The company has embarked on a major capital project, but the directors appear to be of the view that minority shareholders are best kept in as much darkness as possible about it. The audited accounts for 2020 are silent on any commitment to the project.
The latest quarterly the only capital spend, is shown as work in progress on the balance sheet in the amount of $57 million, with no comments on the progress, the total commitment and when it is expected to be complete and be in use. Worse there are no comments on its use. It is noted that the purpose has moved from a warehouse to a factory between 2018 and now.
In the 2018 annual report, the Chairman stated that “the Company recently took an option to purchase an adjoining property. If the transaction is completed, the additional space will be used to alleviate some of the space constraints in the existing facility, making operations more efficient.”
In the 2019 annual report “The Company completed the acquisition on the property at 12 Retirement Crescent which will allow us to expand our operations and to better serve our customers.” The company also stated that they “obtained funding from Proven Wealth Limited to assist with the development of 12 Retirement Crescent. The KSAC is in the process of reviewing the architectural drawings for 12 Retirement.”
The 2020 annual report states, “the company plans on utilizing the strong cash and cash equivalents position into developing 12 Retirement Crescent.  The pandemic had caused the development of 12 Retirement Crescent to delay from 2020 to 2021. A contractor has been chosen and the building of an additional 11,370 square feet is set to begin in February 2021.”
In the results to February this year, the only comment made about the development is “that the new steel frame warehouse purchased from China arrived and construction commenced. The financial statement shows WIP at $49 million, with a zero balance in the November quarter.”

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