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Stocks and Securities Limited on Hope Road in St Andrew, Jamaica (File photo)

Ja’s SSL Venture Capital to wind up sole operating segment due to COVID-19

Stocks and Securities Limited on Hope Road in St Andrew, Jamaica (File photo)

The management of SSL Venture Capital Group Limited  has indicated that, following a strategic review of the distribution segment and the severe impact on the business brought on by the pandemic, the board and majority shareholder of SSLVC have decided to shutter the operations of subsidiary Bar Central Limited.

That operation closed effective December 31, 2020. 

“It is anticipated that the process for winding up the company will be completed as soon as possible. Shareholders will be updated as the process unfolds,” SSLVC Chairman Zachary Harding outlined in remarks attached to the company’s latest financials.

Zachary Harding, chief executive officer, SSL Venture Capital Jamaica Limited (File photo)

He added: “It is our intention to ensure that our shareholders be made whole on their investments.” 

Consolidation and improvement

SSLVC in the last year reduced its holdings to one active and one inactive. As at December 2020,  the company held a 75 per cent stake in Bar Central  Limited (active distribution segment) and a 51 per cent stake in Muse 360 (inactive marketing segment).

As a result, the company saw improved revenues of JM$36.6 million for the second quarter ended December 31, 2020. This reflects a 52 per cent improvement over the corresponding period of 2019. However, the company continued recording a loss due to the impact of COVID-19, the chairman outlined.

Zachary Harding, chief executive officer, SSL Venture Capital Jamaica Limited (File photo)

“However, notwithstanding this improvement, the lingering effects of the COVID-19 pandemic continue to severely impact performance, especially on the bar and entertainment sectors, major revenue earners for the group, with losses before taxes coming in at [JM]$39.7M for the quarter ending 31st December 2020 compared with $76.3M for the
same period in 2019,” Harding wrote.

The company recorded revenues of JM$19.3 million compared to JM$95.3 million for the same period in 2019. 

Nevertheless,  2019 revenue figures included JM$41.3 million for the Data Analytics segment, an investment which SSLVC exited in March 2020, and for which comparative purposes would not be in the 2020 figures. 

Overall, for 2020, revenues suffered a decline of JM$76.0 million or 79.75 per cent. 

“The group has been able to realise savings from rigorous cost management initiatives and efficiency improvements”

— Zachary Harding, chairman, Stocks and Securities Limited Venture Capital

Cost savings

The group’s administrative and operational expenses stopped at JM$35.9  million, in addition to the finance-related costs of JM$4.1 million, bringing overall expenses to JM$40.0 million. 

Management noted that this demonstrated an improvement of JM$46.7 million when compared to the prior year’s figure of JM$86.7 million. 

“The group has been able to realise savings from rigorous cost management initiatives and efficiency improvements,” Harding pointed out.

Total assets of the group stood at JM$113.8 million for the six months ending December 31, 2020, with shareholders’ equity at a negative JM$237.9 million. 

Total liabilities increased to JM$380.3 million from the prior year’s figure of JM$370M million. 

Loss per stock unit for the six months remained unchanged at ($0.09) per share.