Fuelled by the continued rebound of tourism and upticks in the demand for its courier and private charter services, luxury bus company Knutsford Express Services Limited, at the end of its nine-month period in February, saw revenues climb to $1.3 billion — 65 per cent above the previous year's period and $167 million more than that earned for the full year in 2022.
Revenue for the three months also increased 55.3 per cent over the corresponding quarter, moving from $301 million to $467.8 million in February.
"Our daily schedule and wide opening hours helped customers to travel as frequently as they desire and also to send packages to as many people in 19 different locations.
"Our customers have responded and we are delighted that we can report $68.2 million in net profit—an 84.7 per cent increase over the $37 million booked in the comparative third quarter of last year and $211.3 million year-to-date, up from $45.5 million in last year's comparative period," the company's directors said in a recent report to shareholders.
CEO of Knutsford Express Oliver Townsend, commenting on the company's latest performance in an interview with the Jamaica Observer on Monday, said that he was very satisfied with the results, anticipating even better ones at the close of the financial year coming up in May.
"We're delighted and very encouraged by what has been happening for our business so far this year, especially as travel along with a number of things continue to bounce back locally. We're happy that we are growing clientèle as we continue to expand our service in taking passengers around the island and airports and also to move their valuable packages around," he told the Business Observer.
"This year so far has been doing very well and we believe it will end strongly. We have some enhancements coming in the next year, more specifically related to the roll-out of some new units, about two-three double deckers [two storey buses] that will be added to the passenger side of our business, of which we are now finalising the details," Townsend also said, noting that in going forward the plan was to ramp up its services across the island.
"As we build out our services at existing locations, we don't see ourselves going into another location just yet. However, when the coastal road is finished — the one that loops from Kingston, through St Thomas back to Portland — we can finally add a location in St Thomas to complete our service across the 14 parishes," he added.
The company, through its now fully occupied Drax Hall Business Centre and location in St Ann which comprises some 16 shops subletted to restaurants, medical and sanitation facilities and a water shop among others, also contributed to a 24 per cent growth in assets. This saw total assets moving to $1.6 billion for the period while earnings per share improved to $0.13, up from $0.08 during the same period last year.
Now focused on completing its digital transformation agenda, Townsend said the aim is to strengthen the company's capability to allow for easier bookings, check-ins and use of its online systems by customers.
"I think we have a good platform and foundation to launch from, we've already started the process with work well underway," he stated.
Following the discontinuation of its overseas operations in Florida, he said the company also remains on the lookout for meaningful opportunities in new markets.
"We always have an eye on overseas ventures and we continue to evaluate them from time to time, and while there is nothing pending at this time, we continue to examine new opportunities even as we try to finish up a number of things locally," Townsend said.