GraceKennedy records historic 2019, as revenues surpass J$100 billion

GraceKennedy Group CEO Don Wehby.

In a year which saw the opening of its new headquarters in downtown Kingston, and the company being named the recipient of the Governor General’s Award by the Jamaica Stock Exchange, the GraceKennedy Group has recorded yet another historic achievement.

The company is reporting revenues of more than J$100 billion for the first time in its 98 year history. It has hit the target three years ahead of the projected date. All business segments recorded increased revenue and profits for 2019 compared to 2018. Revenue for the Group totalled J$103.09 billion, an increase of J$5.55 billion over 2018.

“We are proud of what we were able to accomplish in 2019,” said GraceKennedy Group CEO Don Wehby. He noted that the company has positioned itself for future growth with the on-going implementation of transformational, structural and process improvement initiatives, adding that the company is excited about the road ahead. “We expect 2020 to be a successful year for the company.”

Profit before other income, increased by J$598.5 million to J$3.74 billion, a 19 per cent increase over 2018, indicating an improved operating margin. Profit before tax for 2019 was J$6.13 billion, a decrease of 12 per cent or J$835 million over the prior year, due to non-recurring gains in 2018 of J$1.13 billion from the dissolution of a non-operating subsidiary and an acquisition by an associated company. Excluding these gains, together with the IAS 19 and IFRS 16 expenses noted above, profit before tax for the year 2019 would have been higher than 2018 by J$1.42 billion or 23 per cent.

In outlining issues which adversely impacted its performance, the company noted that in 2019, GraceKennedy Limited incurred IAS 19 post-employment benefit expenses of J$1.22 billion, an increase of J$890 million over the IAS 19 post-employment benefit expenses of J$332 million in 2018.   Excluding this non-cash expense, profit before other income would have shown an increase of 43 per cent. The company was also negatively impacted by the adoption of the new accounting standard on leases, IFRS 16, as well as the volatility in the Jamaican foreign exchange market, particularly in the US dollar exchange rate.

CEO Wehby, in explaining how the company was able to achieve its 2022 target of J$100 billion three years ahead of the projected time, Wehby attributed the success to execution of strategy, balancing continuity with change, driving agility and efficiencies, while keeping GK’s customers at the centre of its strategy. “Our focus for 2019 was on investing in our brands and expanding market share and deploying digital and innovative solutions for our customers.  The Group continued to enhance its enterprise-wide risk management and compliance processes, and drive greater operational efficiencies,” he added.