The financial position of the West Indian Biscuit Company (WIBISCO) is improving but the local manufacturer says it is still focused on containing operational costs.
This was revealed by longstanding WIBISCO chairman C. David Bynoe in recently-published audited financial statements for the period ending August 31. In that filing, the Bridgetown-based manufacturer reported a $3.31 million increase in operating revenue, which moved from $60.94 million in 2019 to $64.29 million for the review period this year.
WIBISCO’s after-tax profit for the year rose to $10.32 million from the $9.94 million recorded in 2019, while the company reported operating expenditure of $53.48 million, an increase on the $52.26 million it reported last year.
In his comments to the financials, Bynoe told shareholders the COVID-19 pandemic had caused major changes to the way business was conducted, not only in Barbados but around the world.
He acknowledged revenues were up 5.4 per cent on the prior year, even in a difficult market.
“This increase was due primarily to the COVID-19 pandemic which saw a significant lift in cracker sales on the local market in the early stages. Domestic sales saw a turnaround over the prior year by 4.6 per cent, while exports registered a 7.5 per cent growth over the same period,” Bynoe reported.
However, WIBISCO shareholders were informed that in recent months there had been a slowdown in sales, not only on the local market but regionally as well.
Bynoe explained: “With what is now an uncertain business landscape, the management of the company will continue its robust cost containment exercise to mitigate against the potential fallout of this global pandemic.”
Despite the challenging market conditions faced by the company, its shareholders have been promised an interim dividend of $0.25 per share. WIBISCO’s board of directors declared a final dividend of $0.75, increasing the total dividend for the year to $1.00 per share.
WIBISCO, a subsidiary of the Bermudez group headquartered in Trinidad and Tobago is one of the oldest established commercial bakeries in the Caribbean, formed in 1910. The company employs approximately 300 persons.