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Sagicor Financial Corporation is flourishing while Barbados and other Caribbean economies battle fiscal and debt problems.
Group chief operating officer Ravi Rambarran yesterday reported that last year Sagicor recorded its best overall performance since 2008. The good financial outcome has continued into 2018.
Last year Sagicor earned a US$115.3 million profit, compared with US$109.3 million in 2016. In the first quarter ended March 31, its net income was US$38.9 million. It earned US$27 million in the same period in 2017.
Rambarran and group president and chief executive officer Dodridge Miller said Sagicor’s hard work, including reducing reliance on its Caribbean home market, was key to the performance.
Rambarran also said Sagicor was performing well in Barbados despite the economic and fiscal difficulties the island was encountering.
“In all key financial metrics there has been a marked improvement. It’s our best performance since 2008 and the onset of the global financial crisis,” he said during a teleconference with Trinidad and Tobago and Barbados media.
“We continue to maintain solvency standards significantly above required levels and we have maintained our international ratings from [Standard and Poor’s] and AM Best despite ratings downgrades in Barbados, Trinidad and Jamaica.”
Regarding the company’s Barbados performance, he said: “Barbados actually performed in line with expectations. Our brand is so strong in Barbados that our top line (revenue) continues to grow and the business is profitable, so Barbados continues to make a contribution to the group.”
Barbados at 14 per cent
Miller said about 14 per cent of Sagicor’s business was in Barbados. Jamaica accounts for 32 per cent, the United States 24 per cent and Trinidad and Tobago between 11 and 15 per cent.
Sagicor plans to reduce its reliance on Jamaica and increase its business in the US, a market where the economy is performing well.
Rambarran said their performance in the region last year was noteworthy considering that all Caribbean countries had low economic growth, except Trinidad, which had a decline.
He also said Barbados and its neighbours had unsustainable fiscal deficits and debt stocks, and were trying to manage through various combinations of tax increases, cuts in public expenditure and engaging in fiscal austerity.
This was on top of social problems such as unemployment and crime which continued to pose substantial challenges for the region. (SC)