Jamaican conglomerate GraceKennedy Group has realised record revenues of JA$67.3 billion (TT$39.5 million) for 2013. This represents a JA$5.9 billion increase or 9.6 per cent over the previous year.
This is the first time the group has exceed revenues by more than JA$5 billion, group chief executive Don Wehby said Thursday.
This revenue increase was accompanied by a JA$973 million or 23.7 per cent increase in pre-tax profits.
Wehby said he was satisfied by the group’s performance in what he described as a “challenging economic climate”.
Profits before tax amounted to JA$5.075 billion, and the company paid JA$1.28 billion in taxes.
Despite the significant increase in pre-tax profits, 2013 net profits were flat when compared to 2012 due to a one-off change in the company’s deferred income tax in 2012, he said.
Wehby also noted the added impact of the National and Private Debt Exchange programmes in which the company participated, which led to a one-time loss of $293 million in the income statement arising from the exchange of instruments.
The company had a live audio online stream media briefing in Jamaica on Thursday featuring Wehby and several of GraceKennedy’s top executives.
Wehby acknowledged Jamaica’s difficult economic situation, and said he was encouraged that the country had passed the first three International Monetary Fund “tests” but cautioned the against too much optimism, encouraging the government to meet its targets.
He said the all sectors besides insurance had seen increased performance, and international markets were also strong, especially the UK.
The company has also expanded into Ghana over the last year, he said.
High energy costs in Jamaica are having constricting impact on GraceKennedy’s desire to increase its manufacturing capabilities, chief executive of GraceKennedy Foods, Michael Rangling added.
Energy in Jamaica costs US$0.30 per kilowatt/hour, compared to US$0.06 in Trinidad and Tobago.
“If we were able to lower costs to US$0.10 or US$0.15 per kilowatt/hour we could significantly increase our capacity,” he said.