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Paramount earnings overcoming pandemic

Published:Friday | January 21, 2022 | 12:07 AM
Hugh Graham, managing director of Paramount Trading Jamaica Limited.
Hugh Graham, managing director of Paramount Trading Jamaica Limited.

Paramount Trading Jamaica grew revenue by 31 per cent in the second quarter ending November 2021, to $401 million, which narrowly missed the level of inflows in the pre-pandemic period by $7 million.

Its quarterly profits, however, outpaced the pre-pandemic returns.

The company had turned to non-traditional areas such as soaps and hand sanitisers to keep revenue afloat, but for second quarter 2021 the company is reporting that its food division figured heavily in its revenue boost.

Managing Director Hugh Graham says the reopening of schools and other institutions drove demand for Paramount’s products.

“As an example, baking powder by itself doesn’t mean anything, but if you’re making more bread and people are consuming more crackers, then those who make those things will be calling on us; so there will be more need for baking powder,” he said.

The cornstarch, maltodextrins, preservatives, colourings and other inputs manufactured at Paramount’s Kingston factory are sold in bulk to the food industry, but Graham declined to comment on the segment’s contribution to revenue. He noted, however, that among the five divisions – food, construction, oils and lubricants, transportation and sanitation – the food division was the star performer.

The boost in revenue served up a fatter bottom line, with profit for the quarter growing nearly sevenfold to $28.6 million from $4.5 million in the comparative 2020 period, and also outperformed the pre-pandemic period’s $26 million out-turn.

For the six-month period ending November 2021, Paramount made $47 million off revenue of $770.5 million.

As for its flagship oils and lubricants division, Graham said the performance of that unit “could be better”.

Sales from the lubricants blending plant are still sluggish, especially with the fallout from the bauxite/alumina market, most recently due to fire at the Jamalco complex in Clarendon.

“It’s not bad but it’s not good. We’re still struggling a bit there and we want to bring the numbers back up,” he said.