Knutsford Express Services Limited will host other businesses at its new Drax Hall outlet in St Ann, said CEO Oliver Townsend.
Townsend, in the company’s annual report, said “Our diversification efforts have been bearing fruit with our Drax Hall Commercial Centre development already delivering in phase one of our new Knutsford Express Super Terminal, with the phase two well under way with over 20,000 square feet of commercial space ideally located logistically for commercial entities.’
The company’s debt to equity ratio rose with investments in Drax Hall and development and in other subsidiaries.
The acquisition of new business initiatives and opportunities was financed by unsecured corporate bonds, the report indicates.
Drawdowns of J$200 million were used for new business, land purchases and construction of the new Knutsford Express Super Terminal building in Drax Hall.
Phase 2 of the Drax Hall is two acres of development and will comprise over 23,000 square feet of commercial/ logistics space.
The development is expected to be completed in 2021.
Meanwhile, Townsend also indicated that Knutsford has been getting a new inflow of customers from its newest terminals in Spanish Town and May Pen.
He said, “The existence of relatively new stations in Spanish Town (Angels) and May Pen allowed us to appeal to a wider cross-section of customers geographically which helped in this period where there would be a natural general pull-back with several persons staying home and not traveling at this time.”
The CEO pointed out that while the nine-month pre-COVID revenue reached a record $927 million, which was 9.9 per cent higher than the previous corresponding period, the financial year was “substantially upended by the topical COVID-19 virus which has impacted the entire world but more so enterprises related to travel.”
However, revenue declined by 10.9 per cent to $1.021 Billion from $1.146 billion a year earlier.
In response to the virus, the company implemented measures to ensure the safety of customers and staff, “including all those recommended by the Ministry of Health and Wellness in addition to other world leading ones in our industry with the procurement and installation of air purifiers in our fleet of coaches,” Townsend asserted.
Additionally, there was the installation of check-in kiosks which allow customers who have already purchased their ticket, the easy option of checking themselves in without having to go to the ticketing counter, permitted the rationalisation of manpower costs.
The company has also equipped all coaches with air purifiers and pursued routine sanitising.
During the period of April 12 – May 31, management also resorted to minimum operations. However, the precipitous fall in passenger travel contributed significantly to the reduction in net profit.
The impact of the pandemic, therefore and specifically over the fourth quarter had the effect of slashing net profit after tax by 82 per cent to $33.6 million, compared to $188 million the year before.