While classifying the first quarter of this year as a period of great uncertainty, GraceKennedy (GK) Group yesterday reported that results for the period have been the highest in recent times.
“For the three months ended March 31, 2020, the group achieved revenues of $28.85 billion, an 11.3 per cent increase or $2.93 billion over the corresponding period of 2019,” the group said in a news release.
“Profit before tax for the period was $1.99 billion, a 50.6 per cent increase over the corresponding period of 2019. Net profit after tax for the period was $1.45 billion, an increase of 42.8 per cent or $435 million over the prior year period, while net profit attributable to stockholders was $1.32 billion, 46.9 per cent, or $421 million higher.
“The group and its Grace and Staff Foundation have also increased support of those in under-resourced communities with the provision of food products and toiletries.”– GraceKenendy Group
“Profit before other income was $1.28 billion, 44.7 per cent or $396 million higher than that of the 2019 corresponding period, indicating an improved operating margin. Earnings per stock unit for the period was $1.33,” the group added.
Group Chief Financial Officer Andrew Messado announced a dividend of $0.25 per share or approximately $248 million payable on June 15, 2020, the release said.
While highlighting the company’s financial performance, GraceKennedy Group CEO Don Wehby spoke to the company’s focus on its corporate social responsibility over the last couple of months in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Our financial performance is important, but so is GK’s ‘we care’ ethos. There is great need as a result of this pandemic, and where we can we have been playing our part in assisting in the countries and communities in which GK operates,” he said.
In Jamaica, contributions have included a donation of $10 million towards the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica’s initiative to purchase ventilators for the island’s hospitals, and the provision of a 3-D printer from the GK Group’s STEM Centre to assist with the production of face shields for the protection of the nation’s health care workers.
“Through the GraceKennedy Foundation’s ‘Feed the Future Initiative’, the group has also been providing food packages to students who have not been able to leave The University of the West Indies, Mona, and the University of Technology, Jamaica campuses. The group and its Grace and Staff Foundation have also increased support of those in under-resourced communities with the provision of food products and toiletries. We are committed to continuing our support for our communities,” the company stated.
In terms of the company’s financial performance for the quarter, Wehby acknowledged that while GraceKennedy and other companies will be heavily impacted by COVID-19, “GraceKennedy, being a diversified group, has so far been able to manage the impact of the system-wide risk of the COVID-19 pandemic on our group’s performance. As we navigate this period of great uncertainty we continue to adjust our structure to be nimble and agile.”
He added that GraceKennedy’s status as a provider of essential services — manufacturing, distribution, retailing of food products, remittance, banking and other financial services — has enabled the group to keep its operations open.