Business

Purity profit increases more than four times

Sunday, March 23, 2014    

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CONSOLIDATED Bakeries more than quadrupled its bottom line in 2013, its first full year as a publicly listed company.

The company, which trades as Purity and is behind the Purity and Miss Birdie brands of baked products, reported profit before tax of $33.1 million for the year ending December 31, 2013, compared to $7.4 million the year pior. Purity listed on the Jamaica Stock Exchange Junior Market in November 2012, after raising some $100 million via an initial public offer (IPO). The proceeds of the IPO improved its working capital and operational processes. Given a tax break from going public, the company didn't report any corporate tax during the period under review.

Purity, which is headed by Anthony Chang, grew annual revenues by 42 per cent to $672.9 million in 2013. The company had said during the year that sales increase represented real growth in volumes across key items -- which include bread, buns and baked snacks -- and were primarily a result of activities in distribution and market programmes.

The company's gross margin percentage moved up to 35 per cent from 34 per cent in 2012.

Purity currently gets the bulk of its business from the Jamaican market. The company exports on a seasonal basis -- during the Easter period when it sells to diaspora markets US, UK and Canada -- but has declared its intention to export more regularly going forward.

Total operating expenses were $199.3 million or 30 per cent higher during the period under review compared to the year prior. Chief among the reason for the increase in expenses during 2013 was the movement of the exchange rate, the company has said. The Jamaican dollar depreciated against its US counterpart by 14 per cent last year.

Administrative and other expenses increased by 24 per cent to $123 million while selling and distribution costs jumped by 43 per cent to $76.3 million.

Purity was incorporated in 1957 following the consolidation of three existing bakeries: Valentine Bakery, owned by the Chang family; Powell's Bakery, owned by the Powell family; and Huntington Bakery, owned by the Seivright family.

In 1972, the Chang family members acquired the shares of the Powell and Seivright families and since then, have owned and operated the company.

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