Wed | Dec 12, 2018

Productive Business Solutions seeks acquisitions in Colombia

Published:Wednesday | September 19, 2018 | 12:00 AMSteven Jackson/ Senior Business Reporter
CEO of Productive Business Solutions Limited, Pedro Paris Coronado, makes a presentation on the company at its annual general meeting in Kingston on Tuesday, September 18, 2018.

Productive Business Solutions Limited, PBS, said Tuesday that it expects to make acquisitions in the Colombian market, having become more familiar with how that country does business.

PBS started from scratch in Colombia, having turned down the opportunity to acquire a venture as a springboard into that market. Now it wants to grow through acquisition having gained some comfort in that market, after a year of operating there.

The details of the acquisition targets were not disclosed.

Productive Business CEO Pedro Paris Coronado said the company sees opportunities for both organic and inorganic growth in Colombia.

"So we are studying acquisitions in that market," he said.

Productive Business, which operates in 21 markets in the Americas, distributes Xerox printing products but is also taking on a series of newer ventures aimed at fattening its revenues - namely, body scanners at air and sea ports. Its service segments include offering document solutions, border security, network & IT security solutions, multichannel communication solutions, and smartcard, cash and electronic solutions.

The company is bullish on Colombia due to its size in GDP, which is larger than the other individual markets in which PBS does business. Currently, the bulk of PBS's sales come from Guatemala, Nicaragua, El Salvador and Costa Rica.

"Colombia will become one of our biggest generators of growth for PBS because the market is very big," said Paris following the company's annual general meeting held at the General Accident building in Kingston on Tuesday. Both PBS and General Accident Insurance Company are members of the Musson Jamaica group.

Productive Business made net profit of US$372,000 for its June quarter versus a net loss of US$600,000 a year earlier. Its earnings at half-year totalled US$138,000 compared to a loss of US$150,000 a year earlier.

For its full year ending December 2017, the company made US$171.9 million in sales and posted earnings of US$15.2 million before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation. Those earnings were up from US$13.9 million in the prior year.

While it focuses on core Xerox sales, PBS also expanded into providing scanners in various air and sea ports including in Honduras, Guatemala and Dominican Republic. The company also now provides jetways, the enclosed walkways which passengers take to board planes.

PBS employs 1,800 workers, 25 of whom are employed within the Colombian operation. Paris said that the company chose to build that territory gradually rather than through a mass acquisition initially which could have resulted in attenuating revenues.

"We started Colombia from scratch because we wanted to be careful, to start slowly and then know the outcome rather than through an acquisition and not knowing what we would get," said Paris.

PBS became a public company last year with listings on the USD Market of the Jamaica Stock Exchange and the International Securities Market of the Barbados Stock Exchange.

steven.jackson@gleanerjm.com