I am pleased to report Group profit before tax (PBT) growth of 5% to $1,017 million ($968 million – 2017) whilst revenues were up 2% to $6.39 billion ($6.24 billion – 2017). Earnings per share (EPS) improved by 12% to $3.54 ($3.15 – 2017) with net assets growing by 3% to $8.1 billion ($7.9 billion – 2017).
These results were however impacted by the occurrence of natural disasters in Trinidad and Tobago including a 6.9 earthquake and severe flooding in October which gave rise to gross claims on our General Insurance Company of $20 million. In addition, there were $42 million in one-time impairments related to the Barbados economy and its debt restructuring. The ANSA McAL Group believes that the measures taken by the Barbados Government are necessary and we remain confident that this country is a good place to invest. Excluding these effects, PBT grew by 11% over the prior year.
Strong earnings growth came from two segments – the Manufacturing, Packaging and Beverage segment, which grew by 12%, and Automotive, Trading and Distribution which grew by 42%. This growth offset the declines in the Financial Services Sector, which decreased by 15% mainly due to the impairments, discussed above, while Media, Retail, Services & Parent company declined by 14% due mainly to the contraction of corporate media spending. Our overseas subsidiaries have improved over the prior year.
We are confident of our growth trajectory and on our ability to execute. Based on this your Directors have approved a final dividend of $1.50 per share ($1.20 – 2017) which will be paid on 6th June, 2019. This together with the interim dividend of $0.30 per share ($0.30 –2017) brings the total dividend to $1.80 per share ($1.50 per share – 2017). This represents a total dividend increase of 20% and a cash payout of over $300 million or 43% of Group after tax profits.
Your Directors have fixed 21st May 2019 as the Record Date for payment of the final dividend. The register of members will be closed on 23rd to 24th May 2019, both days inclusive.
A. NORMAN SABGA
By Order of the Board