Sunday, April 21, 2024

NSRL chill for BICO


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While Barbadians continue to gobble up ice cream, the dreaded National Social Responsibility Levy (NSRL) continues to bite into the profits of BICO.

According to the local company’s executive chairman Edwin Thirlwell, while BICO showed modest growth for the first month of the year, the NSRL was negatively impacting business.

During a press conference at the company’s Harbour Industrial Park headquarters yesterday, Thirlwell said Barbadians love for the frozen treat had resulted in BICO reporting increased sales for January.

He revealed that following a “flat performance” in 2017, revenue for the month of January had showed a modest one per cent increase over the same period last year.

“Fortunately, people are still buying BICO ice creams and for that we are grateful. We have shown a one per cent increase over January last year and while we don’t like to blow our own trumpets, that is a significant feat in the current circumstances,” Thirlwell said.

“We are very fortunate we have several bites of the cherry with the businesses we have . . . and while we see ups and downs, fortunately for us when one goes down the other goes up. All in all, we are probably doing better than most people would expect in the current circumstances.”

Surprisingly, he said despite Magnum being one of BICO’s more expensive products it had proved to be one of its bestsellers.

“It’s a little ironic in these difficult times that one of the areas showing the strongest performance is the most expensive item; the $7 Magnum.

“But all of the products are selling good in the current circumstances. Even the Tropical Delight, which we brought in in anticipation that there would be a rocky road ahead and which is a lower priced product. We have positioned ourselves to actually have something for everybody,” he said.

But Thirlwell said the NSRL as well as the two per cent tax on foreign transactions which came into effect last June had proved worrisome.

He said despite the company’s encouraging performance, the NSRL had resulted in a dent in profits.

“We did a calculation with the NSRL and we actually found that the ramifications were not clear. In actual fact, what has happened is that it has affected us in more ways than we at first envisioned,” Thirlwell pointed out.

“The direct thing you see is one thing, but it’s all the other ways that gets you. So as much as we have saved money in other ways such as with the solar power, we have actually seen it gone out on the other end.”

Additionally, Thirlwell said that the company’s share price was up 60 per cent from 2017. (RB)


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