The Massy Group is seeking greater fortunes in countries like Guyana and Colombia as it acknowledges company profits are under threat in its main money earners, Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago.
At the end of Massy’s financial year on September 30, 2017, the two key markets registered slight declines, with revenue from Barbados’ operations falling from TT$2.97 billion (BDS $990 million) in 2016 to TT$2.90 billion (BDS $968 million) in 2017.
The Trinidad and Tobago-headquartered company (formally known as Neal & Massy) established its place as a corporate giant in Barbados in 2008 when it acquired Barbados Shipping & Trading, then the island’s largest conglomerate.
Robert Bermudez, the company’s chairman, made it clear Massy would push ahead despite the economic troubles in the twin-island republic and Barbados.
“To meet the challenges ahead, we must be bold, ambitious and decisive. We must think big and execute effectively. I remain confident in the group’s future and expect the group to rebound from the extraordinary circumstances in 2017. While the [Massy Group] must continue to manage the challenges of under-performing economies in Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago, it must also capitalize on the opportunities emerging in Guyana, Colombia and other territories in the region which are presenting attractive investment opportunities,” Bermudez told shareholders.
Chief Executive Officer Gervase Warner reinforced the chairman’s views, stressing that the economic challenges here and in Port of Spain, “coupled with three major hurricanes that hit the region in the 2017 financial year and the sale of Massy Communications, had a deleterious impact on the group’s financial results.
“The diversification of the group and sound performance of many of its core business counterbalanced the external challenges and have kept the group strong.”
On the other hand, Warner said Massy was eyeing other jurisdictions to make up for risks existing in its two leading markets.
“Jamaica, Guyana and the Eastern Caribbean produced double digit growth,” he disclosed.
“Going forward the group will focus its acquisition and investment activities on its core industries in which it has competitive strengths . . . . Diversification to countries with larger and better performing economies will also be a priority for the group,” he added.
In fact, Warner revealed that among the risks facing Massy was the difficulty in obtaining United States currency in both of its main markets over the past two years.
In this regard, he told shareholders, it was only natural that the company would diversity its portfolio of businesses and locations in order to protect itself against foreign currency volatility.
“This will help to diffuse the impact to any potential currency devaluations in the future,” Warner said.
“On a tactical level, we have been working with suppliers and customers to ensure that we minimize our net foreign exchange exposures and that our imported inventory levels are rationalized to focus on those with the highest customer demand and profitability,” he assured.