BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, JUNE 2nd, 2016 (PRESS SEC) – As of September 30th, 2015, S.L. Horsford & Co. Ltd. saw the highest sales reported in the history of the company. S.L. Horsford and Co. Ltd. and its subsidiary companies (“the Group”) also performed better in 2015 than they did between 2011 and 2014, as reflected in income before tax, profits retained, shareholders’ equity, dividends paid, and total assets.
This is a clear indicator of the robust economy that Prime Minister Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris lauded on Monday at his press conference.
The Directors recommended giving a total annual dividend of $0.18 per share, totaling $5,426,717, for the year ending September 30th, 2015. The total annual dividend for 2014 was $0.15 per share, totaling $4,522,264. In 2013, it stood at $0.12 per share, totaling $3,617,812.
In 2012, the total annual dividend was $0.08 per share, totaling $2,411,874. That year,Mr. W. Anthony Kelsick, Chairman and Managing Director, wrote: “The results for 2012 have been very disappointing as the economies of St. Kitts and Nevis continued their decline, which has resulted in the Group recording a significant further decline in their profitability.” The Group had negative retained profits in 2012.
Mr. W. Anthony Kelsick continued in his Chairman’s Report for 2012: “The economy, already in decline for the past 5 years, continued its decline even further in 2012. The result of this, along with the effects of VAT and increased electricity costs, caused further contraction on the ability of the residents of St. Kitts and Nevis to spend.”
This stands in stark contrast to 2015, which netted record sales for the Group. After having expressed his disappointment in 2012, the Chairman now notes with a hint of pride that, “During 2015 extensive renovations were done to both furniture store locations in St. Kitts…No decline in sales of furniture and appliances was experienced in spite of the disruptions caused by these renovation activities.”
Mr. W. Anthony Kelsick also notes in the 2015 Annual Report, which is titled Enhancing The Nation’s Lifestyle, that, “The outlook for 2016 is for similar results as experienced in 2015 as economic growth is expected to continue on its current path.”
Indeed, on April 18th, 2016 – four days after S.L. Horsford & Co. Ltd.’s 25th Annual General Meeting – the Governor of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) said that St. Kitts and Nevis was “in a good spot” during a meeting at Government Headquarters with the Cabinet of Ministers.
Governor Timothy Antoine said that GDP growth as at December 2015 in St. Kitts and Nevis was 6.64% compared to 2.62% in the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU). The ECCB’s GDP growth target is 5%, meaning that St. Kitts and Nevis not only performed above average last year, but also above target levels. Also, as at December 2015, St. Kitts and Nevis’ debt-to-GDP ratio stood at 61.64% compared to 76.04% for the eight-member ECCU as a whole. Moreover, growth in private sector credit rose to 3.17% in St. Kitts and Nevis, but registered a decline of 6.1% throughout the ECCU last year. “This probably explains partly why you are the fastest growing country in the OECS,” Mr. Antoine told Prime Minister Harris and his Cabinet.
The 2015 Annual Report for S.L. Horsford & Co. Ltd. shows that the company and its subsidiaries predominantly fund their assets through equity instead of debt. “The group’s solvency continues to be strong with a debt to equity ratio of 0.288:1 and a debt to total assets of 0.198:1,” according to the Chairman’s Report.
The Chairman’s Report for 2015 also says, “Turnover or group sales for 2015 was $157,118,254 versus $143,222,069 for 2014, an improvement of $13,896,185 or 9.7%. This was the highest sales reported in the history of the company. This improvement, which reflects the continued growth in our economies, was experienced in all our primary operations on both St. Kitts and Nevis. Gross profit increased by $4,385,179 or 13.57% to $36,700,230. Other Income increased by $604,358 to $8,966,794, resulting in a net increase in Total Income of $4,989,537 or 12.27% to $45,667,024…Profits before Results of Associated companies increased by $2,764,409 or 33.47% to $11,023,220.”