At the Lasco Distributors Limited’s (LASD) Annual General Meeting, Mr. Peter Chin, Managing Director, gave us a brief description of the company. He stated that the company is a Marketing and Distribution Company which has a consumer and a pharmaceutical division. He then began to speak on a few financial highlights for the company’s year-end. Below are the highlights expounded on:
- Revenue grew 8.6% over the prior year. This was due to “improvement in key brand sales” while increasing marketing activities.
- Net Profit was $609.7 million, a 15% reduction due to increased expenses.
Mr. Chin stated that the company’s increased expenses was due to increased focus on warehouse expansion and marketing activities. The following are the breakdown in expenses:
- Staff costs up 12%
- Advertising and Promotional expenses up 30% due to the support of new products introduced throughout the year.
- Legal and Professional Fees up 117% due to professional fees relating to the Pfizer case..
- Insurance up 110%
- Office Rent up 31%. This was rectified this year as the completion of the warehouse will mean no more expense will be spent on rent for the company.
Mr. chin also stated that the new facility will enable greater efficiencies in logistics and energy use. During the year, “we have invested over $100 million in upgrading our core business software (Oracle) and implementing our business intelligence platform. The core software upgrade will be completed in the coming year, and will efficiently integrate the company’s front and back office operations. “All of these investments form the foundation needed to drive growth for the company”.
Mr. Chin highlighted that the company is the only distributor which introduces “two new products each year”. He stated that going forward, the company will seek to increase and diversify its range of products to include a wider basket of goods. Increasing the basket of goods should give the distributors a wider variety of goods to sell their customers.
The focus for the coming year will be on Brand Innovation, Brand Building, External Markets and Customer Service. Mr. Chin highlighted the fact that the company will continue to defend its core products which includes Food Drink, LaSoy, Curves, Instant Chocolate and LasMed. “LASD is the market leader in milk-based products and Soy” according to Mr. Chin. The company has also out-sold ‘Swiss Miss’ with its introduction of Lasco Chocolate Mix, and more recently Instant Oats.
The company expects continued success in the beverages market and continues to take more market share through innovation with the introduction of their third beverage product Idrade. Mr. Chin stressed the importance of brand building and stated that is through this, LASD will be making progress and noted that this will take time to acquire. The company is poised for growth and is making the right steps in increasing its profitability by developing its core products and strategically introducing new products.
Mr. Vincent Chen, Company Secretary, ended the meeting by giving updates on the Pfizer case. He stated that the company believes the judge will provide a favorable response to their demands. He, however reiterated that the decision is based on what the judge thinks is fair, but it must be noted they have already won the case, all that remains is the deliberation on the figure to be offered. He alluded to the fact that results may be released in October and not this week as was previously indicated. Mr. Chen also noted that Pfizer may or may not make another appeal after the decision and vice versa based on the ruling given by the court.