The LAB’s profit takes a downward plunge
LIMNERS and Bards Limited (The LAB) is grappling with financial challenges as revenues take a hit, declining by 16.4 per cent. Profits, on the other hand, fell 60 per cent.
The recently released audited financial statements for the year ended October 31, 2023 reveal The LAB’s strategic response to combat these losses, focusing on diversifying income streams by engaging new clients, introducing new service lines, and expanding into emerging markets.
Outlined in the statement are key initiatives to address the financial downturn, including trolley advertising, the acquisition of additional international productions, the pursuit of non-Jamaican projects, and a concentrated effort on content licensing. Currently, The LAB is in the process of developing three commercially viable content projects for licensing, with expectations for them to enter production by the second quarter of 2024. Despite efforts to obtain details about these plans, the Jamaica Observer‘s attempts to reach out to Kimala Bennett, managing director at The Lab, were unsuccessful up to press time.
The LAB’s financial statement attributes the revenue decline to changing customer advertising spending patterns within the broader context of macroeconomic conditions. The revenue composition includes $672.9 million from media, $296.0 million from production, and $155.7 million from agencies. Gross profit for the financial year plummeted to $388.9 million, down 18 per cent compared to the corresponding period (FYE 2022). Net profit faced a severe decline, reaching $57.3 million, down 60.2 per cent relative to the comparable period (FYE 2022), primarily due to lower revenues and higher administrative expenses.
Administrative expenses surged by $22.8 million compared to the previous year, driven by investments in talent to meet future demands, computer software licences, and depreciation and amortisation costs. The consolidated performance also reflects a $2.3-million loss recorded by Scope Caribbean in its second year of operation, actively exploring alternative revenue streams.
Despite the challenging financial landscape, however, The LAB maintains a strong balance sheet and a healthy cash position. The company’s asset base grew as it reinvested in the business through the acquisition of state-of-the-art equipment, upgrades to film studio facilities, and team retraining. The consolidated balance sheet reports total assets increasing by $25.5 million, or 2.9 per cent to $917.5 million compared to $892 million in the corresponding period. Current assets amount to $741.5 million, with a $20.3 million increase over the prior year, primarily due to a 5.3 per cent rise in receivables.
“Management continues to maintain tight monitoring and control over receivables. Cash and cash equivalent increased by $6.3 million over the corresponding period last year,” states the report.