ANSA McAL Group Chairman and Chief Executive – Mr. A. Norman Sabga (centre) with new directors Mr. Bernard Dulal-Whiteway (right) and former Finance Minister Larry Howai, who were elected on Thursday 03rd June, 2016 at ANSA McAL’s Annual General Meeting at TATIL Building, Port of Spain. PHOTO: Marcus Gonzales.
Former Finance Minister Larry Howai is one of two new directors elected to the board of ANSA McAL. The other is recently retired president of Republic Financial Holdings Limited David-Dulal-Whiteway.
They were elected by a unanimous show of hands at the group’s annual general meeting on Thursday 03rd June, 2016 at Tatil Building, Port-of-Spain.
In an interview after the meeting, Howai said it was an honour to serve on a board was prestigious as ANSA McAL’s and he was impressed by the brand strength. He said that was the factor that influenced his decision to accept the invitation by Group Chairman and Chief Executive to join the board.
“The group has some big plans for the future. I am glad to be able to contribute to the plans that they have and to contribute to the continuing growth of the group,” he said.
Howai, who was also a director of Beacon Insurance, said he had stepped down from that position because “there is a financial subsidiary in the group.”
In his report to shareholders, Sabga said the group is meeting its foreign exchange demands and has not defaulted on any of its payments to suppliers. He added that the shortage of US currency has not “retarded” the group in any way.
Sabga disagreed with a shareholder who said that Barbadians do not like Trinidad companies. He said the group feels very welcome in Barbados and has been invested there for 65 years. He added that lower oil prices and a pickup in tourism arrivals have contributed to higher revenues for the group in Barbados.
Asked whether the group would be laying off employees, Sabga said ANSA McAL has been introducing new technology, which has meant excess jobs in some areas.
“We’ve been investing very heavily in plant and equipment and when you do that you improve efficiencies and when you do that you take people out of the operations. You end up with better paying jobs but less jobs,” he said.
The executive said the group had decided not to fill the role of chief operations officer (COO) which was vacated last year by Gerry Brooks. Sabga said at this stage, there was no need for a COO because the group is being managed by sector heads.
He also announced that the group is expected to have two acquisitions completed within 45 days but did not give details, saying only that one company is located in the US and the other company in T&T, earning US currency.
The ANSA McAL Group of Companies reported profit before tax of $1.163 billion for the period ended December 31, 2015. Group Finance Director Aneal Maharaj said revenues increased by two per cent, while operating profit increased by 10 per cent from $1,080 million in 2014 to $1,184 million in 2015. Dividend per share increased by eight per cent from $1.30 in 2014 to $1.40 in 2015.
The company also improved its liquidity position, reporting $1.4 million in 2015 compared to $1.6 million the previous year.
For the first quarter of 2016, Maharaj said trends are showing a sharp contraction in consumer spending but he is confident the group is resilient enough to withstand challenges in the external environment.
Business Section – A17
Story By: Nadaleen Singh