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Victoria Mutual Investments’ Q1 2020 A Very Challenging Period Due To Instability Of Local And Global Investment Markets Due To Covid-19 Resulting In Mixed Results – Burchenson

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Rezworth Burchenson, chief executive officer of Victoria Mutual Investments Limited (VMIL), is describing the company’s first quarter of 2020 as a very challenging period for VMIL, due to the instability of the local and global investment markets as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has produced mixed results for the company.

The Group’s performance was adversely impacted by a reduction in net fees, commissions and
gains from investment activities, which was outlined in his report to shareholders in just released unaudited consolidated results for the quarter ended March 31, 2020.

VMIL recorded a consolidated net loss of JA$36.90 million, reflecting a decrease of JA$154.76 million over the corresponding 2019 quarter. Consolidated loss before tax for the three months ended March was JA$88.56 million, representing a reduction of JA$249.25 million when compared with the previous year. Earnings per share for the quarter was -$0.02 (March 31, 2019: $0.08).

Commenting further he noted that consolidated revenue for the three-month period was $268.37 million, reflecting a decrease of $169.67 million when compared with the corresponding period of 2019, highlighting the following:

• Capital Markets fee income was negatively impacted as transactions in execution paused due to the instability and weak forecasts for a Global recovery from COVID-19. Nonetheless, their guidance to corporates reinforces the need for capital to bolster balance sheets, weather the revenue downturn, and provide liquidity to capitalise on opportunities, which will materialise. Management he said was assiduously working on executing transactions in their pipeline while building new deal flows for the remainder of the year.

• Bond Trading performed exceptionally well as the strategies devised generated strong gains during the review period. While bond prices have stabilised in recent weeks, the recent downgrades coupled with projected weak economic data may impact upward price movement and consequently, revenue growth in the next quarter.

• Gains from Investment Activities were negatively impacted by the downturn in the investment markets during the month of March, attributable to the projected economic fallout due to the COVID-19 pandemic. They anticipate a better performance in future reports based on the actions taken.

• The Asset Management business generated robust growth year over year, due to their strong investment performance in 2019, combined with the expansion and improved productivity of the sales team.

• Net Interest Income, despite the challenges of reduced interest rates and bond price volatility, generated growth of 6.21%, when compared to 2019.

He also reported that operating expenses for the period under review totaled $347.81 million, representing an increase of $70.46 million or 25.40% when compared to the prior-year period.

The increase in expenses, he remarked, was primarily attributable to impairment losses on Financial Assets of $40.73M, recognised in the context of current market conditions and may be reversed in upcoming periods based on projections from Expected Credit Loss (ECL) models.

Other expenses relate to people’s development, asset tax, and other support services required to grow the business. Nonetheless, he remarked, the review of their cost structure remains an ongoing exercise.

Total assets increased year over year by $3.14 billion or 14.52% to $24.74 billion as at March 31,
2020, partly attributable to increases of $1.10 billion and $1.21 billion in resale agreements and loans receivable, respectively.

Total liabilities were $21.44 billion as at March 31, 2020, an increase of $3.20 billion or 17.51%
from last year, driven mainly by an increase in repurchase agreement balances and borrowings.

Addressing Victoria Mutual Investments’ capital base, he reported that this continues to be strong with total shareholders’ equity standing at $3.30 billion as at March 31, 2020, decreasing by $60.00 million or 1.74% from $3.36 billion at the end of March 2019. This resulted in a book value per share of $2.20 (2019: $2.24).

This reduction in total equity, he said, was mainly attributable to:
• the year over year decrease of $175.08 million in the investment revaluation reserve, representing revaluation losses on investment securities and equity instruments;
• the net increase of $113.29 million in retained earnings, representing the undistributed portion of our 2019 earnings.

The wholly-owned subsidiary, Victoria Mutual Wealth Management Limited (VM Wealth), a licensed securities dealer, continues to be well capitalised, with a risk-weighted capital adequacy ratio of 14.58%, above the regulatory requirement of 10%. VM Wealth’s capital to total assets ratio of 13.33% as at March 31, 2020 exceeded the regulatory minimum of 6%.

Assets managed on behalf of clients on a non-recourse basis under management agreements grew by $2.92 billion or 11.76%, from $24.84 billion as of March 31, 2019, to $27.76 billion as at the end of the current period. The year over year growth was mainly fueled by strong net inflows of $2.41 billion into the Unit Trust portfolios.

During the review period they launched their first agile lab geared towards delivering more customer-centric solutions, noting that investments in digitising the business have allowed them to respond to clients’ needs during this difficult period. Further digitisation efforts will accelerate in the coming quarters. This initiative will pave the way for a stronger, more resilient, digitised and customer friendly business in the medium term, he reported.

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Blue Power Group Q1 Earnings Affected By Disruptions To Supply Chain And Unprecedented Increases In Raw Material Prices.

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Jeffrey Hall Chairman Blue Power Group Has Released The Following Report For The First Quarter Ended July 31, 2022

Blue Power Group generated revenues of $214 million and earned net profit of $7 million for the first quarter ended July 31, 2022 (the “First Quarter”).

Blue Power delivered outstanding growth in sales volumes and revenues, in line with its plan to develop and diversify the customer base.

Earnings in the First Quarter were affected by disruptions to the supply chain and unprecedented increases in raw material prices, that we expect to normalize during the year.

Revenue Growth

Revenues for Blue Power grew 85% during the First Quarter, relative to the same period in the prior year. We experienced revenue growth in all of our main product categories including our bath soap lines, specialty soaps and our laundry soap business. Revenue growth came from existing and new customers and saw the group gaining market share locally and re-enforcing its reputation as a leading private label manufacturer.

Earnings Performance

Despite the strong overall revenue performance, the Group faced challenges in the First Quarter. Importantly, one-off gains on the sale of investments and foreign exchange gains that formed part of our finance income last year were not repeated in the First Quarter of this year. In addition, our gross margins suffered as a result of dramatic increases in raw materials prices, challenges to the actual availability of products from some of our sources, and a spike in logistics costs (particularly for products originating in Asia).

The market for vegetable oils – a basic input in soap production – was disrupted in the early part of the calendar year due to the war in the Ukraine. Logistics costs were affected by the impact of COVID on the global supply chain. Our key inputs have long lead times for procurement and shipping and although the market has now clearly showed signs of normalizing, our First Quarter margins were adversely affected.

The combined effect of these challenges was a reduction in net profits from $46 million in the prior year first quarter to $7 million this year.

Note should be made that in November 2021, in accordance with accounting standards the accounting for Blue Power Groups investment in Lumber Depot changed from equity accounting to share of associate company. With this change, total comprehensive income stood at $7 million when compared to $69 million in prior year.

Outlook

An important part of our plan for profitable business growth, is our commitment to efficiency and innovation. During the quarter we continued our capital projects to expand our capacity and productivity and to give our manufacturing plant more flexibility in the sources of raw material. We expect to see the results of this investment in the second half of 2023. We also secured the long-term expansion prospects for the business with the acquisition of a two-acre plot of land that is adjacent to our existing facility.

The site includes a building that is suitable for renovation as well as land space with excellent development potential for a purpose-built industrial facility. We
expect to complete our development plan for the property during the course of the year.

The Blue Power Group’s balance sheet, investment portfolio and liquidity remain strong. This has allowed us to increase our inventory levels to manage some of the supply chain disruptions. Our investment in Lumber Depot Limited, which is a significant part of our holdings, performed satisfactorily in the First Quarter.

We continue to be optimistic about the competitive position and growth prospects for our business in Jamaica, as well as the opportunity to develop new export markets. We are also well prepared to diversify the business through opportunistic investments in related businesses and in our real estate.

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Express Catering To Roll-Out New Concepts — Bob Marley One Love, Freshens And Bento Sushi, As Upcoming Winter Season Promises To Be The Biggest Since COVID-19.

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Ian Dear Chief Executive Officer Express Catering Limited has released the following First Quarter 2023 Interim Report To Shareholders of the company for fiscal 2023.

Total passengers accessing the departure lounge of the Sangster International Airport during the Quarter was just below Six Hundred and Twenty-three Thousand or 37.44% higher than the similar period last year, when just over Four Hundred and Thirty-Two Thousand passenger entered the departure lounge.

This produced revenue of US$4.91 million compared to US$3.48 million in the similar period last year. We are very encouraged by the continuous increase over prior year totals and expect this trend to continue for the rest of fiscal 2023.

Net profit for the Quarter returned US$652,841 for an EPS of 0.040 US Cents per share. This is compared to a net profit of US$565,068 and EPS of 0.035 US Cents per share in the similar period in the prior year.

The company continues to be challenged by the increase in input costs due to logistical challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic as well as the ongoing war in Ukraine. We have initiated cost containment measures where possible. Major suppliers have been engaged for longer-term contractual prices for key ingredients as well as exploring more price effective alternatives.

Construction work on the revamped post-security food and beverage lounge at the airport is ongoing. An additional US$298,424 was spent on the project during the Quarter. There was a soft transitioning into the new food court with some Concepts opening in March 2022; work on relocating the other concepts is ongoing. Supply chain issues associated with COVID-19 continue to negatively affect the progress of this project, however, work on the second phase is in progress and is scheduled for completion by the close of calendar 2022.

The upcoming winter season promises to be the biggest since COVID-19. We plan to welcome it with the full roll-out of the rest of Concepts — Bob Marley One Love, Freshens and Bento Sushi.

We remain optimistic about Jamaica’s buoyant tourism stop-over arrivals surpassing 2019 totals.

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New Subsidiary, Scope, Showing Promise For Growth, But Still Negatively Impacting LAB Nine Months Performance To July 2022

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Kimala Bennett Chief Executive Officer for The Limners And Bards Limited has released the following Unaudited Key Performance Highlights for the Nine Months Ended July 31, 2022.

For the period ended July 31, 2022, the Company performed in accordance with budget.

The results of our new subsidiary company, Scope Caribbean Limited (“Scope”), which consists of staff costs and training, are fully integrated into the consolidated accounts. While Scope recorded a $2.5 million loss for the nine months, we have seen greater take-up of the services offered and we expect more clients to come on board. We anticipate profitable returns in the coming year.

Revenue for the nine-months was $1.1 billion, up 18.0% compared to $942.0 million for the corresponding period last year.
The revenue growth is attributable to increases in the company’s core business, media placement (up $94.3 million or 18.7%) and advertising agency (up $57.1 million or 53.1%). Production was flat when compared to prior year.

Gross profit increased by $95.1 million or 33.4% over the corresponding nine – month period in the prior year. Due to tight cost management, gross profit margin was at 34.2% compared to the 30.2% in the prior period.

There was a 1.5% growth in Net profit which increased by $2.1 million to $144.3 million for the nine months compared to $142.1 million in the corresponding period in the prior year. The increase in net profit is attributable to increased revenue and gross profit.

This Group result is impacted by the $2.5 million loss recorded by Scope over this period. The net profit includes Finance income of $2.9 million compared to $20.5 million recorded in the corresponding period of the previous year. For a fair comparison, we exclude Scope and Investment Income and note that the adjusted net profit is $143.9M vs $121.6M, a 18.3% increase over the prior year.

Administration expenses have increased by $70.2 million, or 44.6% in comparison to the previous nine – months period. These increases are primarily attributable to staff costs (as the company builds capacity to adequately meet the future demands), repairs and maintenance of production equipment and depreciation and amortization costs.

The Consolidated balance sheet shows total assets increasing by $165.7 million or 20.0% to $992.7 million compared to $826.9 million in the corresponding period last year.

Current assets increased by $171.3 million primarily because of increases in receivables ($265.5 million). Cash and cash equivalent decreased by $81.5 million mainly due to capital purchases and payment of dividend. The increase in receivables is mainly due to increase in revenue.
We continue to have tight monitoring and controls over the receivables.

Outlook
As we enter the post-COVID era we still continue to observe relevant protocols and our team members continue to be vigilant in order to protect themselves and our clients. Scope is showing promise for growth and we continue to explore all avenues as we place Scope in a position to maximise returns based on the opportunities that arise.

We continue with Our Work from Home program which has proven effective as we continue to minimize exposure of our staff and at the same time maintaining team productivity and engagement.

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Lumber Depot Generates Profits Of $48M On Revenues Of $400M For July 2022 First Quarter .

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Jeffrey Hall Chairman Lumber Depot Limited, Has Released The Following Report On Operations For Quarter Ended July 31, 2022 (The “First Quarter”).

Our annualized return on equity continues to be strong and exceeds 35%. The business is highly cash generative and earned cash from operations of over $70 million in the First Quarter and despite its capital investment programme, has no long‐term debt.

During the First Quarter, our customer base reacted to uncertain economic conditions, including high interest rates and a spike in commodity prices for certain key hardware items. This led to some softening in sales (down 4% relative to the prior year) and some compression in gross margins (20% in the First Quarter, relative to 24% in the first quarter of the prior year). As a result of these factors, First Quarter net profit was down $23 million relative to the prior year.

Lumber Depot operates a full‐service hardware store in Papine that serves the needs of large and small‐ scale building contractors, as well as homeowners doing construction projects, renovations and repairs.

The Lumber Depot business has been in operation for over 20 years and during this time has established a market leading position in the communities we directly serve and a strong reputation for excellent service and good value across the wider corporate area.

Despite the challenges generally associated with the COVID 19 pandemic, higher interest rates, supply chain disruptions, high commodity prices and a spike in logistics costs, Lumber Depot has continued to trade positively and to deliver strong results.

Our strategy is to consistently offer competitive prices on our products and to maintain our service standards and inventory availability while prioritizing the safety of our customers and staff. We have been generally successful with this and in turn this has improved our standing with key customers.

We consider our location in Papine to be an important part of our success. The facility in Papine is now owned by the company. Papine is a vibrant and fast‐growing university community that also serves as a main access point to the St. Andrew hills. Our location is immediately outside the most trafficked part of the community, is purpose built and well established. The plan is to further develop the facility in Papine through continuous investments in our physical space, operating systems, plant and equipment and our service team.

Over the year ahead, we will continue to judiciously manage our cash and inventory levels with a view to paying dividends and improving shareholder returns while allowing the business to seize opportunities for investment and growth that we expect to arise in Jamaica when economic normalcy returns.

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Jamaica Producers Group Delivers Strong Half Year Results Increasing Revenues By 26%

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C.H. Johnston Chairman Jamaica Producers Group Limited Has Released The Following Report For The 26-Week Period Ended July 2, 2022.

For the 26-week period ended July 2, 2022 (the “First Half”), Jamaica Producers Group Limited (“JP”) delivered strong results. JP earned consolidated net profits of $1.6 billion from revenues of $14.4 billion. JP increased revenues by 26% over the prior year, with sales and earnings growth in both our business segments – Logistics & Infrastructure (“L&I”) and Food & Drink (“F&D”). Year-to-date net profit attributable to shareholders was $864 million, an increase of 42% over the prior year.

JP Logistics & Infrastructure
The L&I Division is a diversified, multinational logistics group and accounts for the major share of the Group’s net assets and, in turn, its profits. The Division includes our interests in port terminal operations, warehousing and third-party logistics services (Kingston Wharves Limited), freight consolidation and forwarding (JP Shipping Services and Miami Freight & Shipping) and liner services (Geest Line). The Group’s logistics services all have a Caribbean connection but collectively serve a wide range of global markets.

The L&I Division generated profit before finance cost and taxation for the 2022 First Half of $1.9 billion, a 13% increase over the prior year. Divisional revenues of $5.7 billion were up 24% over the same period in the prior year.

The improved performance reflects our strategy to build a diversified Caribbean logistics platform through business development initiatives, capacity expansion and select acquisitions. Our recently acquired UK-based joint venture shipping line — Geest Line — and US-based freight consolidation business — Miami Freight & Shipping – both contributed to the improved profitability of the Division.

JP Food & Drink
JP’s F&D Division is the largest contributor to the revenues of the Group. The Division earned year-to-date profits before finance cost and taxation for the First Half of $283 million on revenues of $8.6 billion. Earnings increased 72% and revenue increased 27% relative to the prior year. The F&D Division comprises our portfolio of businesses that are engaged in farming, manufacturing, distribution and retail of a wide range of food and drink. The Division has production facilities in Europe (the Netherlands and Spain) and the Caribbean (Jamaica and the Dominican Republic) and operates a distribution centre in the United States.

Our JP Farms business continues to lead in banana and pineapple production in Jamaica. Our range of specialty food and drink products includes fresh juices, tropical snacks, frozen foods, fresh fruit and Caribbean rum-based baked goods. A.L. Hoogesteger Fresh Specialist B.V. (“Hoogesteger”) is the largest contributor to the revenues and profits of the Division. This business is a market leader in fresh juice in Northern Europe and serves as a co-packer of juice for major supermarket and food service entities in the Netherlands, Belgium, Scandinavia and Switzerland.

During the year, the Division experienced material increases in costs associated with raw material commodities, personnel and logistics. These cost increases must be recovered, to the extent possible, through increases in selling prices. The initiative to adjust prices to align with market conditions is now well underway, but during the First Half we experienced some margin compression in the instances where we delayed price increases to balance any uncertainty in demand or limits to consumer confidence. However, the adverse impact of reduced margins was more than offset by the benefit of solid volume growth.

Outlook
Jamaica Producers Group Limited has been organised to generate revenues from a diverse range of business lines and, importantly, a diverse range of markets. Our Food & Drink business includes premium and travel retail products, as well as everyday snacks and basic food items. These businesses are aligned to general consumer trends such as the focus on health, convenience and provenance, and they serve markets as diverse as the Caribbean and Caribbean diaspora, Northern Europe, North America and Caribbean travel retail and hospitality.

Our logistics businesses, also operating in Europe, the USA and the Caribbean, handle a wide range of commodities and service a large number of origin and destination markets. Services provided range from shipping and freight forwarding to stevedoring, terminal operations, cold storage and logistics.

We see the diversity of our business as a strength. We are of the view, however, that inflation, supply chain shocks and disruptions to business confidence arising out of war, health-related restrictions, logistics challenges and adverse macroeconomic conditions all present general business challenges in the short term. Our strategy is to build on our core business capabilities in Food & Drink and Logistics & Infrastructure through active engagement and strategic alignment with key customers, efficiency enhancing capital investment projects and selective acquisitions. Core capital investments in our terminal, cranes and warehousing at Kingston Wharves are designed to expand capacity, gain market share and drive
efficiency in our logistics businesses.

Investment in food grade packaging lines, information technology systems, efficiency and hygiene, and health and safety are all expected to bolster the Food &Drink Division in the months ahead.

Based on our acquisition strategy, we will continue to identify other logistics services that support trade with the Caribbean, and Food & Drink businesses in markets that present definite new growth opportunities for the Group. With shareholders’ equity of $18.4 billion (an increase of 9% relative to the prior year) and cash and investments of $10.9 billion, we believe that the JP Group has the balance sheet strength to support this strategy.

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