In releasing the unaudited results of its stockholders' report for the nine months ended September 30, the GraceKennedy Group Chief Executive Officer Don Wehby, is reporting a five per cent increase in revenues for the period. The group achieved revenues of $46.1 billion, a 5.2 per cent or $2.3 billion increase over the corresponding period of 2011. However, net profit attributable to owners of the company declined by $123.6 million or 6.4 per cent compared to the corresponding period of 2011, moving from $1,921.3 million to $1,797.7 million.
Group Chief Financial Officer Frank James advised that the board of directors at its meeting on November 8, declared a dividend of 70 cents per stock unit. He pointed out, "This brings the dividends so far this year to $2 per share compared to $1.50 per share in 2011, a 331/3 per cent increase. This reflects our commitment to improving shareholder return."
The group CEO revealed that while GraceKennedy Foods recorded growth in sales as well as improved margins, resulting in increased profitability, those profits were impacted by rising electricity and transportation costs. GraceKennedy Foods also widened its product offerings to better fit consumers' budgets given the challenging economic environment.
With regard to international business, distribution in North America was expanded, with the establishment of additional channels particularly on the West Coast. There was also an expansion of the depth of Caribbean brand offerings. Additional manufacturing lines for sauces were set up to increase the company's capacity to serve customers. GraceKennedy also fully acquired the operations of GK (Belize) Limited, an important acquisition for the strategy for expansion into Central and South America.
Wehby disclosed that Grace-Kennedy's Financial Group had mixed results in its banking and investment segment. Grace-Kennedy Money Services continued to perform well, with both revenues and pre-tax profits growing over prior year. The cambio line continued its solid performance mainly due to growth in commercial business. In August, remittance locations in Montego Bay were temporarily closed to facilitate new security procedures.
In speaking to the company's performance this quarter, Wehby said, "We are operating in a difficult environment. However, we believe the fundamentals of our growth strategy will improve shareholders value. We have also developed specific short-term measures to ensure that we show improved performance. These include cost reduction and operational efficiency, working capital management and cash generation, an appropriate pricing strategy and better margin management. Our GraceKennedy team members have been working extremely hard to ensure that our targets are met and I am truly appreciative of their efforts."