Business

Lasco beefs up staff as liquid production comes on-line

Sunday, February 02, 2014    

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LASCO Manufacturing Limited (LML) beefed up staff for the start- up of its liquid production factory last year and is now gearing up for testing.

The manufacturing arm, which produces soy-based products and packages milk-based goods, aims to facilitate a series of new products and create 250 jobs.

"We continue to make progress toward completing our new production facilities at the White Marl location," said Eileen Chin, managing director of the company in its financial statements. "This expansion involves substantial business expenses and a gestation period before revenue begins to accrue."

Lascelles Chin, chairman of the Lasco affiliated companies, revealed plans to double profits in three years during an annual general meeting last year. The completion and integration of the $2.1 billion factory, which will facilitate new lower-priced products, forms the other part of the strategy.

LML's net profit for the three months which ended December 31, 2013, was $132.5 million down from $158.7 million during the comparative quarter in the prior year, while operating expenses jumped by 45 per cent, up from $77 million during the corresponding period in 2012 to $111.7 million during the quarter under review, mainly as a result of additional staff.

Revenue for the quarter under review soared to $1 billion, up from $869 million in the comparative period in 2012.

At the same time, sister company, Lasco Distributors Limited (LDL) saw net profit increase marginally by three per cent, moving from $107.8 million during the corresponding period in 2012 to $110.89 million during the quarter under review.

Other operating income for the distributor of pharmaceutical products and consumer goods almost doubled, moving from $8.9 million during the third quarter in the prior year to $17 million during the period under review. Revenue was $2.3 billion for the three months which ended December 31, 2013, up from $2 billion year over year.

But the devaluation of the Jamaican dollar continues to affect LML's bottom line. Consequently, the company has put a greater focus on its export market, which is expected to increase sales volume.

"We continue seeking solutions that, by design, benefit our business and achieve outcomes that are sustainable and scalable," said Eileen Chin.

Lasco Distributors commenced the distribution of Salada Foods Jamaica's products last year and is now the exclusive distributor of the portfolio that includes coffee and ginger products.

"For the coming year, there will be great focus on improving the sales, merchandising and promotion of the Salada portfolio," said Peter Chin, managing director of Lasco Distributors.

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