St. Kitts – Nevis Economy Helps S.L. Horsfords’ Growth

Basseterre, Saint Kitts – Nevis
March 13, 2008 (CUOPM)

Another local company is reporting significant improvement in both sales and profitability ““ a sign that the St. Kitts and Nevis economy is moving in the right direction.

Less than a month after the National Bank Group of Companies reported a net profit of EC$81 million in 2007, S.L. Horsford and Company Limited and its Subsidiary Companies disclosed group sales increased nearly EC$13 million and group profit before tax by EC$2.6 million.

Company Chairman, Mr. Anthony Kelsick in his report said Group Sales increased by EC$12,938,803 or 10.90 percent to EC$131,633,983 and Group Profit before taxation by EC$2,697,540 or 35.63 percent to EC$10,269,324.

He added that on an after tax basis, profit increased by EC$1,884,436 or 42.7 percent and earning per share was 21 cents in 2007 as against 15 cents in 2006.

“Once again this improvement was experienced by most of our operations in St. Kitts and Nevis, which was as a result of the continuing strong economy in our country, mainly driven by the construction and tourism sectors,” said Mr. Kelsick.

The S.L. Horsford and Company Chairman reported to his shareholders that there were improvements in the building materials and hardware department, furniture and appliances and both food sectors.

“The automotive, gasoline, retail and insurance sectors performed satisfactorily with performances similar in 2006. There were however decreases in the performance of the shipping and car rental sectors,” Mr. Kelsick reported.

He also said that Gross Profit percentages continue to improve with the focused attention of property inventory management practices and increases in operating expenses were kept within acceptable levels and these were largely effected by increases in salary and wages as well as fuel and electricity costs.

Mr. Kelsick also reported that the Share of Profit of Associated Companies increased by EC$1,550,982 to EC$4,349,717.

“The income tax expense also reflected a more favourable rate of 38.67 percent versus the rate of 41.72 percent in 2006. There is still, however, a need to reduce the effective corporate tax rates to the levels experienced in other areas of the region,” he added.

Mr. Kelsick said that the outlook for 2008 and beyond is encouraging in spite of the uncertainty of the economic climate in the United States.

“This expectation is as a result of the major tourism projects being undertaken in both islands,” said Mr. Kelsick, who is serving his first year as Chairman of the S. L. Horsford and Company.

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