Shareholders in the West Indian Biscuit Company (WIBISCO) are smiling all the way to the bank but most of the glee is in Trinidad and Tobago.
That’s because shares in the Gills Road, Bridgetown biscuit manufacturer are among the highest paying on the local stock exchange, but the biggest beneficiaries are Trinidadians.
In the company’s recently-published audited consolidated financial statements for the year ending August 31, 2007, WIBISCO paid total dividends for the year of $.80 per share which is on par with 2016, making it among the few high-yielding equities on the Barbados Stock Exchange (BSE).
WIBISCO, which was formed in 1850, is however, still to top the whopping $2.05 per share it paid out in 2013.
While the company is yet to declare its total dividends for the 2017 financial year, last year WIBISCO paid $2.4 million in dividends to shareholders.
The bulk of those dividend payments headed to Port-of-Spain as most of the century-old biscuit company’s shareholders are in Trinidad and Tobago.
The major shareholders in WIBISCO are the Bermudez Group Limited, Bermudez Biscuit Company and Russell Investments Limited.
“The year under review saw an increase in revenues of 4.5 per cent above prior year with profit after tax increasing by 6.4 per cent. This resulted in earnings of 296.4 cents per share compared to 278.6 cents per share in 2016.
“The directors have declared a final dividend of 55 cents per share which brings the total dividend for the year to 80 cents per share,” long-serving chairman David Bynoe said in his report accompanying the financials.
Bynoe told shareholders the company continued to focus on its export markets with revenues from the key area growing by eight per cent this year.
The company’s financial performance improved with retained earnings of $54.4 million up from $47.9 million in 2016 and after tax $10.85 million, up from the $9.48 million of 2016.
At the same time, the WIBISCO chairman sounded a note of caution.
“The immediate outlook for the business is challenging with current economic conditions prevailing in the country as indicated in the recent Standard & Poor’s downgrades of the country.
“We are, however, confident in our ability to satisfy our customers with the help of our very committed employees . . . . The 2017 financial result delivered by the company was an acceptable one and I believe that WIBISCO is well placed to continue to reward its shareholders, staff and customers in the years ahead,” Bynoe noted.
WIBISCO listed on the BSE in 1987 but ended up in the hands of the Bermudez Group in Trinidad when in 1996 Barbados Shipping & Trading sold its 30 per cent stake in WIBISCO to the Bermudez Biscuit Group, and it already had a sizeable share of WIBISCO shares.
The local company over the years has, however, benefited from Bermudez significant regional footprint and multi-million-dollar investments in plant and equipment.