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iCreate Reports YTD Profit, Despite Contraction in Revenues Published: 23 December 2021

  • Owing to an increase in other income and lower admin and other expenses, iCreate reported a profit of $3.87Mn for the nine months ended September 30, 2021, versus a net loss of $2.26Mn in the previous corresponding period. 
  • The company was able to grow other income to $3.07Mn from $0.68Mn, which contributed to the improved fourth quarter. Also supporting the net profit performance was a decline in the company’s cost of sales (34.0%) and admin and other expenses (46.0%) as iCreate continues to benefit from its initiatives that include a re-alignment of the company’s cost structure. 
  • However, revenues contracted (32.5%) as the company was unable to conduct physical and hands-on training, which accounts for 60% of revenues, as it did in the past. Nevertheless, iCreate continues to find new ways to generate revenues, with the video production division delivering 27.9% of total revenues. iCreate’s video production division is newly launched and the company expects to continue to see growth in the division going into 2022 as the number of Internet-only platforms, such as streaming services, is likely to increase given high demand due to ongoing restrictions on gathering. 
  • iCreate’s stock price has appreciated by 45.8% since the start of the year and closed Wednesday’s trading session at $0.86 per share.

 (Sources: iCreate Financials & NCBCM Research)

JBG’s Net Profit Falls YoY, But the US Segment Grows Published: 23 December 2021

  • Given an increase in the cost of sales and indirect costs, JBG’s net profit declined by 14.7% to $882.14Mn (EPS: $0.88) for the six months ended October 30, 2021. Cost of sales grew 41.8% YoY, owing to increased input costs, which was partially mitigated by significant growth in the US business. JBG’s bottom line was also adversely impacted by growth in distribution cost (10.9%) and admin & general expenses (20.6%). 
  • The falloff in net profit was tempered by an increase in revenues (35.0%). The Jamaica Operations reported a 13.0% decline due to increased grain prices and international shipping costs, which increased production costs, all of which were not passed on to its customers. The US Operations reported a 71.0% increase in the segment results, primarily driven by the increased production and sales of the Best Dressed Chicken line of products. The operations have also seen an increase in the sales of feed and fertile eggs, reflecting the growth in the US economy. 
  • The operations in Haiti also showed improved results, with a segment loss of $8.6Mn, down from a prior year loss of $38.7Mn. However, revenues fell by 29%, as Haiti continues to experience economic and political instability, which continues to impact the operations in that country. 
  • JBG’s stock price has appreciated by 1.6% since the start of the year and closed Wednesday’s trading session at $29.94 per share. At this price the stock currently trades at a P/E of 24.3x which is above the main market distribution and manufacturing sector average of 15.9x.

 (Source: JBG Financials & NCBCM Research)

IDB to close the year with nearly $20Bn in new financing for Latin America, Caribbean Published: 23 December 2021

  • The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and its private-sector arm, IDB Invest, expect to close 2021 with $19.5Bn in new financing for Latin America and the Caribbean, as the agencies helped countries recover from the pandemic and usher in an era of sustainable and inclusive growth. 
  • The financing is the second-highest annual total in the history of the IDB and IDB Invest. It helps countries invest in priorities ranging from COVID-19-era healthcare and digitalisation to climate-change action, supply chains and education. 
  • The funding is also aimed at reducing gender inequality, expand entrepreneurial ecosystems, and empower small and mid-size companies, which account for over two-thirds of the Region’s jobs. 
  • The combination of IDB loan approvals ($14Bn) and expected IDB Invest financial commitments ($5.5Bn) and private-sector mobilisations ($2.8Bn) totalled $22.3Bn. Latin America and the Caribbean are the regions that were hit the hardest by the pandemic. Home to about 8% of the world’s population, it accounts for almost a third of all COVID-19 deaths – over 1.5 million people. The region also continues to face high inequality and serious economic and social challenges, the bank noted.

 (Source: IDB)

Barbados’ feed prices go up; meat prices to follow Published: 23 December 2021

  • Barbadians could be paying more for meat from early next year, after the island’s lone animal feed manufacturer, Pinnacle Feeds Limited, increased prices on Monday. 
  • The hike came as price support from the Government to help keep costs down expired. However, Director of Roberts Manufacturing and Pinnacle Feeds Jason Sambrano said the increase would not affect meat prices this Christmas.  
  • In a statement on Monday, he said the temporary support given to the livestock industry had helped delay the feed price adjustment that is required due to the continued elevated price of grains on the world market. 
  • “The price adjustment will now take effect from Monday 20th December 2021, with the subsequent meat price adjustment to follow in early 2022,” Sambrano said. “We are grateful for the work done by both the Minister and the team at the Ministry of Agriculture to ensure Barbadians are spared an adjustment during the Christmas Season.” 
  • Barbados is already faced with a relatively high inflation rate (5.6% point-to-point for November 2021, up from 1.3% in December 2020) due to labour shortages, the rise in gas prices, the ongoing logistics challenges and the continued pile up in some main shipping corridors, resulting in a slowdown in border crossing. These factors, along with the rise in feed and meat prices could continue to put upward pressure on inflation over the short term.

 (Source: Barbados Today & NCBCM Research Team)

Pfizer Covid-19 Pill Receives Emergency Use Authorization From FDA Published: 23 December 2021

  • Pfizer on Wednesday received emergency use authorization for its Covid-19 pill Paxlovid to treat mild-to-moderate coronavirus disease in adults and patients of at least 12 years of age. 
  • “Today’s authorization introduces the first treatment for COVID-19 that is in the form of a pill that is taken orally,  a major step forward in the fight against this global pandemic,” said Patrizia Cavazzoni, M.D., director of the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. 
  • “This authorization provides a new tool to combat COVID-19 at a crucial time in the pandemic as new variants emerge and promises to make antiviral treatment more accessible to patients who are at high risk for progression to severe COVID-19.” 
  • Paxlovid was shown to significantly reduced the risk of COVID-19 related hospitalization or death by 88% compared to placebo among patients treated within five days of symptom onset and who didn't receive COVID-19 therapeutic monoclonal antibody treatment.

 

(Source: Investing.com)

U.S. consumer confidence perks up; economy poised for stronger 2021 finish Published: 23 December 2021

  • The Conference Board's consumer confidence index increased to a reading of 115.8 this month from an upwardly revised 111.9 in November. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast the index rising to 110.8 from the previously reported reading of 109.5 
  • U.S. consumer confidence improved further in December, suggesting the economy would continue to expand in 2022 despite a resurgence in COVID-19 infections and reduced fiscal stimulus. 
  • The survey from the Conference Board on Wednesday showed more consumers planned to buy a house and big-ticket items such as motor vehicles and major household appliances as well as go on vacation over the next six months. Inflation concerns eased a bit and households remained upbeat about the labour market.

 

(Source: Reuters)

Lumber Reports Robust YoY Net Profit Published: 22 December 2021

  • Lumber Depot Ltd. reported a 62.3% increase in net profit to $107.20Mn (EPS: $0.15) for the six months ended October 31, 2021 aided by a significant expansion in “Other Income”, modest topline growth (8.6%) and a reduction in admin and other expenses (3.1%). Continued growth seen in the construction sector supported revenue growth of 8.6%. Of note, other income jumped from $0.73Mn to $9.21Mn. 
  • Despite the strong performance, the company was not immune to the ongoing supply chain challenges as this resulted in an increase in the cost for construction inputs. Consequently cost of goods sold increased by 4.0%. Increases in finance cost (+10.2%) and finance income (-57.6%) also weighed on earnings. 
  • That being said, revenues and profits for the three-month period ended October 31, 2021, were directly affected by the lock-down period effected during the late summer as it resulted in 17 lost sales days during the quarter. It also caused unprecedented disruptions to the construction planning and work cycle. Despite this, the earnings result was resilient. 
  • Management believes that curfews, travel restrictions and new workplace rules have presented additional risks to its supply chain, strained consumer and business confidence, and have resulted in increased volatility in commodity prices, exchange rates and some borrowing costs in the short term. However, management is confident that its team has the capacity to navigate these challenges. 
  • Lumber Depot’s stock price has appreciated by 108.4% since the start of the year and closed Tuesday’s trading session at $3.21 per share. At this price the stock currently trades at a P/E of 11.5x, which is below the junior market distribution sector average of 16.0x.

(Sources: Lumber Depot Financials, NCBCM Research)

KPREIT Acquires Second Property on Spanish Town Road Published: 22 December 2021

  • KPREIT, on December 17, 2021, completed the acquisition of an approximately 2.7-acre property on Spanish Town Road with approximately 23,000 sqft of warehouse and office space to be leased. The property was acquired for a consideration of J$215.0Mn. 
  • This marks KPREIT’s second property acquisition on Spanish Town Road, a main thoroughfare for the industry and commerce in Jamaica. It also marks the Group’s fourth acquisition for 2021. The thrust remains to acquire more properties in the industrial and warehousing space, against the background of growth in the e-commerce and logistics businesses over the last few years. 
  • Additionally, on December 17, the Group disposed of the last unit held in the Loft II Condominiums in Miami, Florida. During the fourth quarter of 2021, a total of three (3) condo units at the Loft II were sold for a total consideration of US$888,000. The Miami Realtors Association reported that median sales prices for condos and townhouses in Miami-Dade and Broward counties increased by 22.0% and 21.0%, respectively, year on year (YoY) as at October 2021. 
  • For the nine months ended September 30, 2021, KPREIT reported a 50% YoY increase in rental revenue to US$2.2Mn, while net profit amounted to approximately US$1.4Mn in 2021 versus a profit of US$70,154 in the prior year. A continuation in this trend of acquiring new property, particularly as the company seems to be strategically repositioning its real estate portfolio from residential to industrial real estate, will support this increasing trend in revenue and earnings, especially in the face of rising demand for industrial real estate.

(Sources: JSE News & NCBCM Research)

Trade with Commonwealth countries increased to US$ 2,108Mn in 2021 Published: 22 December 2021

  • The president of the Dominican Republic’s Commonwealth Countries Roundtable, Fernando González Nicolás, said that in 2021 local trade with the 54 countries that make up the Commonwealth increased to US$2.108 billion. 
  • González Nicolás added that the exchange increased by 11% compared to the 1,904 million dollars achieved in 2020. He stressed that bilateral trade relations with these nations were balanced and healthy for both parties because the volumes of exports were very similar to imports. In 2021, Dom Rep exported to the Commonwealth countries $1,044Mn, while it imported from a total of 1,063 million dollars from these Common Wealth countries. 
  • The main destinations for exports of Dominican products to these nations were, in the first place, India with a total of $665Mn this year; followed by Great Britain, with $80Mn; Jamaica, $77Mn; Canada, with $49 Mn; and in fifth place, Trinidad and Tobago, with $34Mn.  
  • González Nicolás projects that, for 2022, exports to Commonwealth countries and investments from these countries to the Dominican Republic will continue to increase.

 

(Source: Dominican Today)

Approximately €7.56M Approved by EU to Support Guyana Published: 22 December 2021

  • According to the Caribbean Community’s (CARICOM) Business News Aggregation service, the European Union (EU) has approved the allocation of €7.56 million (equivalent to G$1.8 Bn) to Guyana, as part of its Budget Support Programme. 
  • Last Tuesday, a joint press conference was conducted where President Irfaan Ali clarified that the grant fund represents the “final tranche of payments under a multi-year programme” valued at €30 million. CARICOM clarified that the funding support came into being after Guyana lost Europe as one of its preferential markets for sugar. 
  • During the press conference, the EU Ambassador, Fernando Ponz Cantó pointed out that the grant funds are fostered through the EU’s national treasury, and this contribution is a validation of the EU’s confidence and trust in the PPP/C government. 
  • Previously, the funds from EU’s Budget Support Programme for Guyana were allocated toward housing, climate adaptation, improved infrastructure, and repairing the country’s sea defences. This was evident in a similar Budget Support Programme last year, where the EU disbursed G$ 19.8 billion for Guyana.

 

(Source: Kaieteur News)