The shortage of foreign exchange has forced L J Williams Ltd to reconsider its investments in Trinidad.
Chairman Krishna Bahadoorsingh, in its financial report for the period ending December 31, 2021, said, “Despite the country’s adequate FX reserves, we have not seen any improvements in its availability.
“The continued shortage of foreign exchange restricts our growth and has resulted in our reconsidering investments in Trinidad for the time being.”
The L J Williams group comprised its distribution division — food and allied, hardware; shipping and brokerage service; manufacturing, as well as Movalite — supplier and installer of commercial glazing and composite panels, and the Home Store.
Despite the hiccups, the company reported a six per cent increase in profit-before-tax for the nine-month period ending December 31, 2021, when compared with the same period in 2020.
Bahadoorsingh said group sales was $122 million, with a $10.8 million profit-before-tax.
He pointed out that the closure of retail stores due to covid19 lockdowns negatively impacted on the group’s performance but it restrategised and expanded its retail reach to customers.
“Whist the group sales are consistent with last year’s performance, sales were lower than budgeted as our retail stores were closed from April 1 to August 16 due to the pandemic-induced lockdown measures. This negatively impacted the Home Store’s contribution to the group.
“Despite the challenges of 2021, the Home Store expanded its retail footprint. We leased another store at C3 Centre in September 2021. This allowed us to increase the product range for the C3 shopper. We also extended the original store by adding a garden centre. On November 24, we opened our fourth store in the Falls at Westmall.”
The company also expanded and acquired Target Retail Inc which will operate the Home Store in Guyana. It was expected to be opened in the last quarter of 2022.
The food and allied, hardware division reported a 11.6 per cent sales increase which was driven by increased exports of Evo-Stik products, he said.
“Local hardware sales were depressed due to a lack of construction activity. However, logistical issues as well as higher raw material and shipping costs are expected to contribute to supplier price increases during 2022.
“Our shipping division sales were flat for the nine-month period. However, we expect an improved performance in 2022 as economies continue to reopen and shipping activity increases.”
L J Williams Ltd said a dividend of eight cents on the preference shares, eight cents on the B shares and eight cents on the A shares will be payable for 2022.