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ANSA McAL Barbados records hike in profits

SHAWN CUMBERBATCH, [email protected]

ANSA McAL Barbados records hike in profits

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IT LOST THE BATTLE to buy Banks Holdings Limited and has now put its Trimart Supermarket chain up for sale, but Trinidad conglomerate ANSA McAL remains upbeat about the performance of its several Barbados businesses.

This was made clear by the group’s chairman and chief executive A. Norman Sabga as he reflected on the group’s performance last year.

Giving his report in the company’s 2015 annual report, Sabga said despite continuing challenges with the economy, ANSA McAL Barbados was able to earn “its highest levels of profit since the start of the international financial crisis in 2008”.

“The Barbados macroeconomic situation seemed to stabilise in 2015 with modest growth of 0.5 per cent and no real inflation experienced. This was due to a strong performance by the tourism sector, which grew by five per cent on the back of a 14 per cent increase in arrivals, which translated into unemployment dropping from 12.3 per cent to 11.8 per cent,” he said.

“However, this was dampened by negative growth in all other sectors such as a three per cent drop-off in construction activity, and by a reduction in disposable income as a result of an expansion of the [value added tax] regime and elimination of the few remaining personal income tax deductions.”

Sabga added that “while this resulted in continued pressure on consumer spending and a drop-off in ANSA McAL Barbados’ [revenues] line by 3.2 per cent versus 2014, skilful management of the business resulted in an increase in the company’s gross profit margin by two per cent”.

He added: “Expenses fell by over three per cent. This ensured that profit before tax in 2015 grew by 7.7 per cent over 2014.

“The company’s improved profit performance also ensured that besides being debt-free in Barbados, it was able to repay over $3 million in loans to its Trinidad parent company.”

The chairman expected this “positive trajectory” to “continue in 2016, spurred on by a continued strengthening of the all-important tourism sector, signs of which ANSA McAL is already seeing”.

“With the business on a sound footing, enabled by strong organisational management during the past few years of poor economic performance, the company’s attention can now be focused on growth of the [revenue] to take advantage of an improving environment and increased opportunities in 2016,” he said.

“As the Barbados economy recovers, our business there has also shown great strides and is poised for significant growth in 2016.” (SC)