Sun | Feb 5, 2023

Paramount sets ‘eight in four’ goal to quadruple sales

Published:Wednesday | November 30, 2022 | 12:06 AM

Paramount Trading Jamaica, PTL, set a new record for annual sales revenue this year and followed up with its best ever turnover in a quarter for the three-month period ending August. Now the lubricants trading and chemical manufacturing company...

Paramount Trading Jamaica, PTL, set a new record for annual sales revenue this year and followed up with its best ever turnover in a quarter for the three-month period ending August.

Now the lubricants trading and chemical manufacturing company founded by Hugh Graham has set a goal to quadruple revenue in four years.

“We are looking at growing our top line to four times in four years. Using the tagline ‘Eight in Four’, we want to move total revenue, which is about $2 billion per year, to $8 billion in four years,” Paramount Managing Director & CEO Graham told the Financial Gleaner.

The plan, which was announced to PTL shareholders on the weekend was formulated at a management retreat in August.

Paramount’s annual sales slipped to $1.4 billion in 2021 but resurged to a new high of $1.72 billion at year ending May 2022. The revenue of $595 million subsequently generated by the company is the June-August quarter marked the first time since listing on the junior market of the Jamaica Stock Exchange a decade ago that Paramount has scored above half-billion in sales in a three-month period.

Graham is banking on the trend continuing to hit the $8 billion target by 2026.

Paramount has no big spending plans behind the initiative but intends to leverage existing technological aids, put unused capacity into production, and double down on efficient output, that is, getting maximum products out the door and into the hands of its customers and consumers at least cost.

The company also continues to scout for new talent to help drive the operation.

“We have an ERP system but people were afraid of it, so everybody was using everything else but the ERP system. The company had expended US$154,000 to acquire the system and another US$3,000 per month for maintenance but we weren’t using it,” he said.

ERP, or enterprise resource planning, is software that is used to manage the day-to-day business of a company. It helps manage through integration of elements of the business, such as accounting, human resources, procurement, customer relationships or CRM, supply chain, manufacturing, engineering, maintenance, projects and others.

DIGITISATION

To orient the company and staff towards digitisation, Dr Jacqueline Leckie-Johnson was given the dual title of chief financial officer and chief digital strategist when she was brought on board on July to replace long-time CFO Junior Levine.

Leckie-Johnson told PTL shareholders at the company’s annual general meeting on the weekend that digital technology could help the company better understand the customers it serves.

“Step one is to have the whole company using this system and when we are doing that, we will have the data on our clients and giving us improved customer touch-points,” she said.

At a practical level, she said that through the use of the system, invoicing times had been reduced from 1-2 hours to 10-20 minutes, which has positive implications for productivity.

Amid the record August first quarter revenue, which climbed 61 per cent year on year, profit increased fourfold from $19 million to $84 million.

Graham reported that the company had derived gains from its trading activity, but now wanted to further exploit its manufacturing potential.

The company operates a lubes blending plant that it built, and a beach plant that it acquired from Seprod.

Paramount supplies about 60 per cent of the market for household and industrial strength bleach, and also blends low-sodium baking powder.

“With all of that investment in manufacturing, we weren’t focusing on growing those segments properly, allowing them to develop for the benefit of the company,” Graham said.

The company also white-labels for a number of companies, that is, it manufactures products for clients under contract, for example, it blends and bottles lubricants for petroleum marketing company Fesco, and supplies food manufacturing additives for bakeries, hotels and restaurants.

Graham noted that an important lesson from the COVID-19 pandemic was that in a time of country lockdowns and supply challenges, it is good to have manufacturing capacity to alleviate shortages.

neville.graham@gleanerjm.com