June 17, 2020
The Company’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Mr. John Mahfood, indicated that, “JAMT, being a food manufacturer, was fortunately considered an essential service during the periods of shut down.” Notably, Mr. Mahfood stated that, “because of the type of products, herbal teas, there was a significant increase in export orders thereby benefitting from this pandemic.” However, he added that, “in Jamaica, the spending power has decreased as such Jamaicans are only buying necessities when they go to the supermarkets.” As a result, the Company’s performance was impacted at the CEO noted, “for the six months ended March 31, 2020, fortunes were reversed due to the stock market as the Company experienced a net loss of $456.32 million relative to a net profit of $116.12 million due mainly to the unrealized losses.”
Alternatively, Mr. Mahfood provided some insights on the corporate developments that were undertaken in 2019 to date. In 2019, the Group added one more investment property to its portfolio, which appreciated strongly during 2019. In addition, the Company acquired all the outstanding loan capital of BCF not already owned at a significant discount to its face value. The Group’s portfolio of listed investments more than doubled in size during 2019, arising from market appreciation and the purchase of new investments at QWI. The increase in inventories during the year relates to H Mahfood’s Manor Park real estate project under development at a value of $146 million at September.
With respect to the Group’s investment properties, Portview Manor housing project was completed with Portview Manor houses 18 Super Studios averaging 650 sq. ft. and boasts majestic harbour and mountain vistas. Sixteen of the houses have been sold, and income is expected to come in the next 4-5 months.
Mr. John Mahfood stated that “profits are up so far for the 2020 financial year and is expected to continue.” Mr. Mahfood highlighted that “there continues to be a drive for exports. Two months ago, JAMT products were distributed in 500 public supermarkets in the United States.” Mr. Mahfood also stated that to date, “QWI has experienced small profits which is expected to slightly offset the unrealized losses.” Mr. John Jackson also stated that the US market investments, despite the fall, are now showing positive gains. While the local investments are expected to go up in July.”
Charles Barrett, Marketing and Food Safety Manager, highlighted the following:
1.) Launch of tea infusions under the premium brand “Caribbean Dreams Select”
- Apricot Passion Fruit
- Chocolate Mint Truffles
- Lychie Ginger
- Pineapple Coconut
2.) In 2020, the Company introduced “Tetley Super Teas” which is blended with vitamins. In fact, within a couple of weeks of launching, the Super Teas were out of stock. Thus, the product is expected to continue to do well.
3.) The packaging of a number of the Company’s Caribbean Dreams herbal teas such as Premium Blend, Earl Grey, Orange Pekoe, Pure Green tea, Chamomile were redesigned in order to improve visual appeal to consumers. Some renovations include lively colours and packaging in individual envelops. This is expected to increase volume and expand channels to which JAMT distributes its products. This is also expected to launch at the beginning of 2021.
Jamaican Teas’ CEO highlighted the following plans for 2020:
- In the investment arena, QWI has already applied most of the IPO proceeds received in October 2019 towards the acquisition of additional quoted equities in Jamaica and the USA, and has also reduced its short-term borrowings.
- JAMT expects about $80 million from the sale of the investment properties in Portview Manor.
- Continue to accelerate domestic tea sales growth and export business for the 2020 financial year. Exports are expected to exceed 2019’s performance.
- Monitor the available opportunities for the real estate and financial investments
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