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Jamaica Producers doubles profit under COVID

Boosted by gains from the sale of shares in a subsidiary, Jamaica Producers Group Limited (JP) reported net profit attributable to shareholders of $1.6 billion for the quarter ended September 30.

Jamaica Producers Group saw revenues of $5.32 billion for the quarter ended September 30, 2020.

This compares to profit of $329.68 million reported for the corresponding third quarter in 2019.

For the nine months ended September 30, the company reported profit of $1.97 billion compared to $958.97 million at September 2019.

Group revenue for the third quarter was $5.32 billion compared to $5.23 billion for the similar period in 2019, while year to date revenue tracked $14.84 billion compared to $15.38 billion at September 2019.
Management said although JP’s results continue to be affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, the business experienced improved operating performance relative to the 2020 second quarter.

The JP Food & Drink division, which includes in farming and food processing, was the largest contributor to the revenues of the Group.

Results were further bolstered by a gain on sale of the 22 per cent interest in SAJE Logistics Infrastructure Limited, a real estate and investment holding company.

Through its holdings in Kingston Wharves Limited, the Group continues to hold 10 per cent of SAJE and the current fair market value of this interest is now reflected on the Group’s balance sheet.

Total company equity now stands at $31.1 billion, which includes cash, short-term investments, securities purchased under resale agreements and the sale proceeds receivable by the Group in connection with the divestment of our direct SAJE interest of $9.3 billion.

Total equity attributable to JP shareholders has increased by 17 per cent since the start of the financial year to $16.2 billion.

The JP Logistics & Infrastructure division accounts for the major share of the Group’s net assets and, in turn, its profits. The division includes Kingston Wharves Limited, and JP Shipping Services Limited which provides logistics and shipping services between the Caribbean and the United Kingdom.

Divisional year-to-date revenues of $5.8 billion were down eight per cent over the prior year, primarily from reduced trading, shipping and consumption as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The L&I Division generated 2020 year-to-date profit before finance cost and taxation of $2.1 billion, a 15 per cent reduction over the prior year.
Management said it anticipates being in a strong position to resume profitable growth as soon as the conditions associated with the pandemic improve.

The JP Food & Drink division is the largest contributor to the revenues of the Group and includes subsidiaries that are engaged in farming, food processing, distribution and retail of food and drink, has production facilities in Europe and the Caribbean, and operates a distribution centre in the United States.

A.L. Hoogesteger Fresh Specialist B.V. is the largest contributor to the revenues and profits of the division whose year-to-date revenues of $9.0 billion at September were flat relative to the prior year.

JP said during the third quarter, the division experienced reduced specialty food sales in travel retail, foodservice and convenience channels but this was offset by increased sales of consumer staples through supermarkets.
 Challenges include significant price increases in key raw material items that have not yet been passed on to customers, management outlined.
JP’s F&D Division generated year-to-date profit before finance cost and taxation of $121 million, compared to $645 million for the comparable period of 2019.

Company Chairman Charles Johnston commented in his remarks, “The COVID-19 pandemic is unprecedented in the scale, reach and immediacy of its impact on society and global commerce.
“The board and management of Jamaica Producers Group Limited continues to closely monitor the effects of the pandemic across our businesses … We view the diversity of our business as a strength. In addition to providing some resilience to our operating income, it also positions us very well to consider new business development and acquisition opportunities in a wide range of markets. This is now a definite part of our strategy.”