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Jockeys surge for the finish line during an event at Caymanas Park in St Catherine, Jamaica (File photo)

Caymanas Park closure hits Jamaica’s SVREL hard

Jockeys surge for the finish line during an event at Caymanas Park in St Catherine, Jamaica (File photo)

The three-month closure of Caymanas Park due to COVID-19 has hit Supreme Ventures Racing & Entertainment Limited (SVREL) hard, with the company reporting year-to-date losses of JM$204.3 million. SVREL is the promoter of horse racing in Jamaica.

The information is published in SVREL’s financial report for May 2020, which indicates that the losses are not surprising, considering that the horse racing segment of the Jamaica-based regional gaming company, Supreme Ventures Limited, had been relatively idle with the closure of Caymanas Park, the home of thoroughbred racing in Jamaica.

For the corresponding period, May 2019, the year-to-date losses amounted to JM$129.3 million. The extent of the financial losses is most pronounced in the company’s accumulated deficit, which has grown from JM$540.5 million to JM$754.7 million as at May 2020.

The cost of sales was the biggest drag on SVREL, posting a loss of JM$1.3 billion for the year-to-date as at May 31 this year, which was a marked improvement over the loss of JM2.4 billion for the same period in 2019. Revenue for the period registered an almost 100 per cent decline, moving from JM$2.92 billion in May 2019 to JM$1.53 billion for the period under review.

Jockeys rushing their horses for first-place finish during a Caymanas Park event. (File photo)

Operating expenses, whilst showing major improvements, were still in the negative column at minus JM$384 million coming from minus JM$518 million in May 2019. Losses from operations worsened to JM$159 million for May 2020, coming from the $85 million recorded for the previous year.

Finance costs were relatively stable, inching up by less than JM$1 million to JM$45.3 million. Shareholders’ equity in the company continued to be eroded, currently standing at minus JM$809.1 million, coming from JM$604.7 million in December 2019 and JM$520.1 million in May 2019.

As part of the recovery effort, parent company Supreme Ventures has teamed with Chukka Caribbean Adventures to offer tours at Caymanas Park, which is operated by SVREL. An MOU to this effect was signed earlier this month by both companies, which allows for collaboration on marketing programmes, support in logistics, and development of the tour experience.

Both companies are expected to work together on priority areas to stimulate business growth and generate foreign exchange.

Commenting on the MOU, John Byles, managing partner of Chukka Caribbean Adventures, said the partnership was made easy as Caymanas Park is a world-renowned brand. “What we want to do is package this as a full-day experience for hotels and tourists in the Ocho Rios market, where they get the chance to go to the races, interact with the horses, and make their bets,” he said.

Supreme Ventures Deputy Chairman Ian Levy (Photo: Jampro)

Supreme Ventures Deputy Chairman Ian Levy added that the partnership will go a long way in improving business and generating profits, which will benefit the track workers and shareholders of the companies involved in the venture.

— Durrant Pate