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

SSL Venture Capital incurs more losses

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

SSL Venture Capital Group reported that its overall revenues continue to suffer from the heavy impacts of cash flow challenges and the COVID-19 pandemic.

For the three months ending September 30, 2020, the group incurred losses before taxes of JM$23.5 million, compared with JM$25.6 million for the same period last year.

The venture capital company comprises one active company and one inactive company: Bar Central Limited (distribution segment) with a stake of 75 per cent and Muse 360 (Marketing Segment) with a stake of 51 per cent.

Zachary Harding, CEO, and Jeffrey Cobham, group chairman, in their remarks on the quarter’s results, said that despite the crippling effects of COVID-19 on the group’s performance, losses have reduced over year-on-year.

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

The company, which provides support services to its portfolio companies, is a cost centre and relies primarily on revenue growth from portfolio companies to offset the costs at the head office level.

Financial review

Revenues, though, have been underperforming with COVID-19, the directors explained.

The group recorded revenues of JM$18.2 million driven by its distribution segment, a decline of JM$32.7 million when compared to the pre-Covid levels and prior year’s revenue of JM$51.0 million.

“The group is now realising benefits from the financial and operational efficiency improvements implemented in the prior year. It is our hope that this trend will continue”

Included in the prior year’s revenue numbers is JM$28.5 million, which was a contribution from Blue Dot Data Insights, an portfolio company that exited the group in the prior year.

“When this is adjusted for, the group’s revenue for the current year is showing a marginal decline of JM$4.3 million despite the onslaught the pandemic has brought to the distribution segment,” the directors stated,

Administrative and operational expenses totalled JM$20.8 million in addition to the finance-related costs of JM$2.0 million, bringing overall expenses to JM$22.8 million.

Total assets of the group reached JM$122 million, with shareholder’s equity recording a negative outturn of JM$251.3 million.

Total liabilities of JM$374.3 million showed an increase of JM$32.2 million over the prior year’s figure of JM$342.1million.

A possible turnaround?

“The September 2020 results is trending in the right direction despite the challenges brought on by COVID-19,” the directors noted.

“The group is now realising benefits from the financial and operational efficiency improvements implemented in the prior year. It is our hope that this trend will continue,” they concluded.

SSL Ventures has been a listed equity on the Junior Market of the Jamaica Stock Exchange since 2018, following the reverse merger of cash-strapped C2W Music Limited.

A photo from the listing ceremony of SSL Venture Capital Jamaica Limited on the Junior Market of the Jamaica Stock Exchange in 2018. (File photo)

The company subsequently acquired stakes in three start-up ventures, only two of which it retains today. In 2019, it pursued a voluntary suspension of trading in order to restructure its operations