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Lasco Financial grows telecom division to 12 locations

Published:Thursday | August 4, 2016 | 12:00 AMSteven Jackson
Jacinth Hall-Tracey, managing director of Lasco Financial Services Limited.

Lasco Financial Services Limited (LFL) grew its phone sales division to a dozen locations during the first six months of launching the service, which contributed to the company nearly doubling the LFL staff count.

The company introduced its 'telecoms' arm mainly to capitalise on the growth of the smartphones markets as the devices became more affordable. LFL also operates a cambio, money transfer, bill payment and loans services, employing 69 staff overall up to March, the end of its financial year.

"At half-year, we began the roll-out of the business loans division and the phone distribution through select agent locations islandwide. The fast-paced roll-out of 12 phone distribution locations and five business loans locations caused a near-doubling of our staff complement," said LFL in its financial report.

Lasco Financial, headed by Jacinth Hall-Tracey, posted $203.4 million in annual after-tax profit, up 6.4 per cent over the year. The quick build out of the telecoms unit increased LFL's expenses. Overall, the company spent $126 million or 24 per cent more than the year before.

"These increases were directly related to our expansion strategy as necessary costs which should help to yield greater returns in the future," said Lasco Financial, adding that additional expenses were incurred for advertising support for the phone distribution segment and continued marketing activities to support the brand in key diaspora corridors.

Total revenue for the March 2016 year end increased 22 per cent to $870 million.

LFL now holds $1.1 billion in total assets. Its capital bases expanded to $995 million from $812 million a year earlier.

"For the 2015-16 financial year, our staff complement was impacted significantly as the company expanded into new markets, creating value for our committed shareholders. Business loans accounted for over 33 per cent of the increase, while telecoms accounted for just over 25 per cent. The remainder was shared among the support departments of accounts, human resources, compliance, marketing, and remittance - a growth rate of 76 per cent year-to-date, which aggregates to 69 employees on record," the company said.

The junior market company resumed paying income taxes last year - its bill for the financial year was $17.59 million. The 100 per cent waiver it had for five years has been reduced to a 50 cent waiver on corporate taxes for another five years, in line with incentives granted to companies listed on the junior market of the Jamaica Stock Exchange.