Sagicor Group Q2 profit up 40%

Sagicor Group & PanJam hit new closing highs.

Sagicor Group is reporting profit attrib8uutabel to shareholders for the June quarter of $3.69 billion up from $2.70 billion in the first quarter this year and 40 percent higher than the $2.64 billion in the 2018 second quarter.
For the six months to June net profit of $6.39 billion attributable to stockholders rose 21 percent over the similar period in 2018. Earnings per share come out at $1.64 per share for the half-year and 95 cents for the quarter.
According to the report accompanying the results, “the current year-to-date results benefited mainly from overall good new business and portfolio growth which were both better than the prior year. The 2018 numbers included large impairment charges on Government of Barbados and other bonds. There were other factors that influenced the outcome for the period, these include, The fluctuating rate of the Jamaican dollar to the US dollar which reached a decline of 5.5 percent in April compared to the rate at December 2018 and by June bounced back to a 2.9 percent decline. The Group picked-up both realized trading gains and unrealized revaluation gains for higher US dollar positions. Appreciation of the Jamaica Stock Exchange main index which grew by 23 percent during the six months period. The Group picked-up good trading gains and increased bond prices on USA stock markets.”
Sagicor Bank enjoyed an excellent period contributing net profits of $1.04 billion for the current period, versus $772 million recorded in 2018, from revenues of $6.36 billion, 18 percent more than the prior year.
The stock traded on the Jamaica Stock Exchange on Tuesday at $58.

Jamaican dollar makes more gains

NCB had the highest net sale of US$ on Friday

The rate of exchange for the United States and Jamaican dollar inched further in favour of the local currency on Friday as dealers sold US$42.2 million at an average rate of $127.99 on Friday, down from an average of 128.126 with the sale of $67 million on Thursday.
On Friday, dealers bought US$37.38 million at an average of $126.74, a decline from $127.38 with the buying of US$61 million on Thursday.
Dealers bought $45,56 million in all currencies on Friday and sold US$50.28 million compared to purchases of US$77.6 million and sale of US$82.5 million on Thursday. Thursday’s trading includes the buying of Can$19.7 million and sale of Can$19.4 million.
Major net sellers of US dollars on Thursday are, Citibank with the purchase of US$160,000 and sale of US$1.65 million, First Global Bank buying US$271,000 and selling US$1.96 million. JMMB Bank ended with the buying of US$839,000 and selling $3.6 million, JN Bank purchased $868,000 and sold $2.48 million, Victoria Mutual Building Society bought $720,000 and sold of $2.45 million but First Caribbean purchased $5.6 million and sold just $1.38 million.
On Friday, Bank of Nova Scotia purchased $9.2 million and sold just $5 million, First Caribbean Bank bought US$813,000 and sold US$1.3 million, JMMB Bank ended buying US$1.87 million and sold $4.8 million, JN Bank purchased $1.16 million with sales of $1.87 million. National Commercial bought US$3.56 million and sold $8.5 million, Sagicor Bank bought $852,000 while selling US$1.99, Victoria Mutual Building Society purchased $693,000 and sold $1.3 million but Citibank purchased US$1.7 million and sold just US$587,000.

J$ revaluation leads to more US$ selloff

On Tuesday dealers purchased US$39.6 million from the public at $127.50 and sold $44.86 million at an average of $128.63 down from $128.93 on Monday.
On Monday, Bank of Nova Scotia bought US$14.27 million and sold $11.68 million on Monday and on Tuesday bought US$5.6 million and sold $10.1 million while National Commercial Bank bought US$8.66 million and sold US$18.95 million on Monday and on Tuesday bought $4.1 million and sold $9.5 million. Sagicor Bank bought US$1.96 million but sold $9.92 million on Monday and on Tuesday purchased $787,000 and sold $1.89 million. JN Bank sold $6 million on Tuesday having bought just $1.6 million and Victoria Mutual Building Society bought US$3.1 million and sold just $347,000.
In foreign exchange trading, dealers in total bought US$56.13 million and sold $73.36 million, representing a net sale of US$17 million on Monday. Purchases of all currencies on Monday amounted to US$60.64 million and selling of $76.95 million and on Tuesday, purchases of all currencies amounted to US$45.44 million and selling of $59.3 million. Including in the trade was the purchase of can$4.68 million and sale of Can$17.16 million.
The sell off of US dollar is unlikely to be coming from stock piling of foreign currency and may be coming from banks selling the currency short hoping to buy back at a lower price in the winter months when the supply is expected to be higher. The financial institutions are also earners of foreign exchange from loans, bonds and fees on foreign currency accounts and would have some of these to sell.

JSE main market highest since October

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The Main Market of the Jamaica Stock Exchange closed higher for the third consecutive day at the close of trading on Tuesday and putting the JSE All Jamaican Composite Index to the highest level since it peaked at 323,606 points in October last year.
The market closed with the JSE All Jamaican Composite Index (AJI) climbing 1,526.21 points to 321,783.85 and the JSE Index adding 1,390.55 points to 293,181.47 as the market continues to flirt with the upper resistance line of a long term channel with technical signals suggesting that it will continue to creep slowly upwards to the 330,000 points level on the AJI where some resistance lies, but it seems poised to break out thereafter sharply upwards. First quarter results for 2018 will be critical for such a break.
Trading on Tuesday closed with 29 securities changing hands, leading to 10 advancing, 9 declining and 10 trading firm, in the main and US dollar markets.

Berger Paints traded most shares with price falling $2.07 to $17.

The securities with the largest price changes include, Berger Paints ending with a loss of $2.07 to $17, following release of audited nine months results showing a reduction in earnings at 81 cents compared to $1.17 for the same period in 2016 but with the 2017 figures being hit by a large sum incurred to provide the directors recommendation to shareholders following the takeover offer for the shares and JMMB Group added $1.49 to end at $26.49.
Main market activity ended with 10,582,771 units valued at $143,248,381 changing hands, versus 4,116,289 units valued at$49,819,783 on Monday. Berger Paints accounted for 2,492,575 units and 23.55 percent of total shares traded followed by Wisynco Group with 2,449,787 units with 23.15 percent of total volume traded and Victoria Mutual Investments with 1,963,833 units or 18.56 percent of the day’s trades and Sagicor Bank 7.75% preference share ended trading with 1,351,850 shares.
Trading results in an average of 391,954 shares valued at $5,305,496 for each security traded, sharply down on the 158,319 shares valued at $1,916,145 on Monday. For the month to date an average of 1,452,362 units with an average value at $16,597,564 traded, compared to 1,819,426 units with an average value at $20,506,358 traded on the previous trading day. In contrast, February closed with average of 213,336 units valued at $3,392,475 for each security traded.
Trading in the US dollar market ended with Productive Business Solution exchanging 5,800 shares at 58 US cents after dropping by 2 cents and Proven Investments concluded trading at 21.1 US cents, down from 21.50 cents with 490,191 units changing hands. The market closed with a total of 495,991 shares with a value of US$106,780 as the market index slipped 3.71 points to 165.85.
IC bid-offer Indicator| At the end of trading, the Investor’s Choice bid-offer indicator reading shows 5 stocks ended with bids higher than their last selling prices and 1 with a lower offer.

For more details of market activities see – JSE adds 4,453 points in 3 days – Tuesday.

NCB customers’ caustic comments

Banks in Jamaica make huge profits in a country with most person’s earnings just allowing them to meet minimum living standards, if not less. In short, banks are not loved as people think they prey on them.
Some responses to IC’s article on NCB Financial‘s first quarter results to December last year was revealing and indicate that the bank has much work to do to appease its customers. The reality is that a visit to banks on a typical day is a journey in frustration for many, even at a time when electronic banking is on the rise.
One major outcry of many in recent times has been that bank charges for some services and the most vexing of all is the charge for dormant accounts. A big part of the problem seems to be that these large financial institutions don’t communicate well with customers and for other they feel that big banks don’t care.
The complaints we had online relate to customer service generally— long waits for service in the banking hall and poor online experience.
We list edited versions of the main comments. “Their customer service is the worst. I’m in NCB Spanish Town from the opening at 8.30, at 10.33 I am still to get through. Any time one comes to NCB just don’t have any other plans for the day.”

Sagicor Bank after more than 6 months have not reversed erroneous charge on credit card account.

Referring to the multi-billion profit, one reader said “none of it is going to customer service… They still have the worst customer service in my opinion, both online or in line.
And yet another said, “that is expected, considering that interests rates on credit cards are 40 percent and interest on savings is 0.4 percent. In order to get that interest rate, the deposit has to be at least $50,000. The same customer complained about waiting. “Customer service is the worst. I waited over an hour recently to speak to a rep. Sad…can’t wait to find another option.”
And yet another had this to say, “it’s a pity that their online banking is so poorly constructed and maintained, that beyond getting a statement, it’s virtually useless. They questioned as to the reason why the Midas Card cannot be used to pay bills online?
Another “they don’t think people have anything to do. The customer service rep moves really slowly and them need more. BNS Spanish is much better when it’s comes to customer service.”
“ I don’t have an account with them and never will from what I heard time and again to be the worst bank” and the last is one from someone who is not a customer, “I don’t have an account with them and I don’t want one.
While the responses are from a few persons, a visit to most banks will confirm that they reflect the concerns of many Jamaicans. Then, the banks will say they want customers to migrate to online banking but if customers are having problems there as well, the problem may be much bigger than the bank results suggest.
The case is told of Sagicor Bank, payment on a credit card was done in July 2017, on time to two accounts. The payment for one was correctly credited but not the other, although both were paid with one cheque. After more than two weeks, the bank credited the account but the late fee was not reversed and up to February of this year, it still has not been reversed after several contacts with the bank about it. It is difficult to understand why the bank, having determined that an error is made by them, doesn’t automatically correct the charges.

Another record close for Jamaican stocks

Rose Hall hotel a  Sagicor Real Estate Fund, property. The stock closed at a new high on Wednesday.

The Main Market of the Jamaica Stock Exchange finished at another new record close of 304,331.28 for the all Jamaica Composite Index on Wednesday. The main and US dollar markets closed with 27 securities changing hands, of which 12 advanced and 5 declined.
In the main activity, Barita Investments closed at $8, with 720 units changing hands, Berger Paints settled 10 cents higher at $11.60, with 72,142 shares, Caribbean Cement finished at $27.50, with 700 units, Carreras settled with a loss of 40 cents at $11.50, with 456,367 stock units, Ciboney Group ended with a loss of 1 cent at $0.18, with 9,835 shares traded. Grace Kennedy ended 50 cents higher at $42.50, with 7,396 units, Jamaica Broilers closed trading 50 cents higher at $18.50, with 18,060 stock units, Jamaica Producers gained 40 cents to end at $16, with 13,000 shares traded, Jamaica Stock Exchange ended trading with a loss of 5 cents at $7.20, with 4,000 units, JMMB Group finished trading at $27, with 180,823 units. Mayberry Investments finished trading 11 cents higher at $4.21, with 200 stock units, 1834 Investments concluded trading 10 cents higher at $1.35, with 3,110 units, PanJam Investment finished 60 cents higher at $38.60, with 485 shares, Portland JSX settled 25 cents higher at $9, with 4,760 units, Radio Jamaica ended trading at $1.15, with 688,353 stock units changing hands. Sagicor Group closed with a loss of $1.50 at $38.50, with 385,734 shares, Sagicor Real Estate Fund closed 75 cents higher at a 52 weeks’ closing high of $14, with 35,500 units, Scotia Group settled $1 higher at $53, trading 35,890 shares, Seprod exchanged 24,500 stock units at $30 nd Supreme Ventures ended trading at $12, with 33,492 stock units. In the main market preference segment, JMMB Group finished trading at $1.15, with 262,000 stock units, Sagicor Bank A preference share traded 1,350 units at $1.05 and the B share saw 9,000 units trading at $1.
In the US dollar market segment, JMMB Group 6% preference share finished at $1.10, with 10,000 shares Productivity Business traded 550 shares at 60 US cents, Proven Investments closed with 483,576 units trading at 23.5 US cents and Sterling Investments traded just 100 shares at a 52 weeks’ high of 12 US cents after rising 1 cent.
Prices of securities trading for the day are those at which the last trade took place.

Sagicor messes up interest charge?

Sag bnk logoSagicor Bank suffered a computer glitch in February, leading to statements for a number of some customers having no interest reflected on them, on balances on which interest was due.
There are no indications that the bank advised their clients about the error, and when it would have been corrected. in March the bank adjusted for the error but made customers no wiser. not only did they correct for the omission for February they compounded it by included the charge with that of March, without any indication for the larger than usual interest charge on the statement.
Interest on US dollar credit cards are 18 percent per annum, or 1.5 percent per month, the March statements show that they in fact charged around 3 percent. Based on the amount outstanding on a specific card the interest rate of 1.5 percent should have resulted in a charge of roughly $52, instead the bank charged $97.46 or what appears on the surface of overcharging of $45.
IC Insider spoke with a Mr. Erwin Lyons a supervisor at the bank who indicated that there was a computer glitch which was not resolved before the February statements, flowing from that the March statements now show the charges for February and March as one sum. Lyons indicates, that the problem affected both local and US dollar based cards. Lyons could not say why no notification was sent to customers about the matter nor why the amounts were not shown separately on the statement, but he did indicate that customers should have been advised about it.

More insider buying at Sagicor

SagicorBuilding280x150Sagicor Group have been enjoying trades by insider on several occasions this year. The group recently advised that a director purchased 249,648 shares between November 27 & December 1, this year.
The last time before this that an insider traded in the company’s stock was in October, when the company advised that an executive Purchased 417,016 shares under the SGJ Executive Long Term Inventive Scheme on October 24, 2014.
The financial group saw a sharp fall in profit in the quarter, from $1.56 billion to $1.1 billion and net profit of $3.84 billion, with $3.79 billion available to stockholders, for the nine months to September, which was 2.5 percent better than in 2013. the decline in profit in the September quarter is due primarily to cost associated with the acquisition of RBC Royal Bank local operation at the end of June this year. With staff reduction, branch closures and amalgamations, the losses in the acquired banking operation should be sharply reduced from that in the September quarter.

Sagicor Group concludes RBC purchase this month

SagicorBuilding280x150RoyalBankJamaicaRBC_Logo279X189Regulatory approval has been granted for the Sagicor Group Jamaica to acquire full control of RBC Royal Bank (Jamaica) and its subsidiary – Securities Jamaica Ltd. Sagicor In a release stated that “ we expect to complete the process of acquisition and transfer of business by the end of June. We will be taking steps to combine the operations of both banks to operate under the Sagicor Bank branch, which will involve rebranding all RBC Jamaica branches to Sagicor Bank branches. Our Teams at Sagicor Bank and RBC Jamaica will be working to ensure a smooth transition for all our new and existing customers. Over the next 12 months, we will be working to integrate our technology platforms so that customers will be able to bank at any of our branch locations”.
RBC Royal Bank (Jamaica) has been incurring large annual losses which led to its parent taking the decision to divest themselves of the local operation making it the second time that the company has exited the local market. In the 1990s Royal Bank of Canada sold out its remaining local interest to Jamaica Mutual life who subsequently sold it to National Commercial Bank.
Sagicor Group earlier in the year confirmed the acquisition of RBC Royal Bank Jamaica’s operations for a price of $9.5 billion with the book value at $9 billion at the end of March.
Pooling Sagicor Bank with that of RBC will create a combined banking group with assets of nearly $76 billion with loans of $38 billion with $28 billion coming from RBC and revenues around $12 billion
This will not be the first time that Sagicor Bank would have entered in merger arrangements having absorbed Manufacturers Merchant bank and Trafalgar Development Bank some years ago.
The RBC operation was been bleeding around $500 million per quarter the book value. For the twelve months to September last year the RBC lost $1.7 billion and $456 million between July and September according to central bank’s data. For the year ending October 2012, RBC reported a loss of $2 billion before tax which was down from $3 billion in 2011. In 2012 loan losses contributed $650 million to the loss and income was inadequate to cover housekeeping expenses. Most likely the NDX in 2013 that cut interest rates would have negatively affected them thus reducing the net interest margin. Royal Bank’s problem apart from heavy loan losses is the fixed operating cost that the income generated cannot match. The Group will embark on cost cutting some of which is expected to flow from branch closure where branches overlap.