Analysis and News

Equity Highlight: The West Indian Biscuit Company Limited

BY GEOCAP's Contributor: Matthew Gaul

The West Indian Biscuit Company (WIBISCO) Limited is a subsidiary of Trinidad and Tobago’s Bermudez Group based in Bridgetown, Barbados. It is one of the oldest commercial bakeries to be established in the Caribbean with its roots dating back to 1850. It is widely considered one of the most successful manufacturing giants of high quality biscuits in the Caribbean and currently exports to over 20 markets with Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, and New York being the top-three locations for exports.

The company trades on the Barbados Stock Exchange. WIBISCO thrives on an organisational culture focused on innovation and a continuous drive for excellence whilst building on an export culture. The company continues to successfully introduce new techniques and equipment to increase efficiencies and output in response to the fast-paced ever changing global marketplace. This is evident since the company won the Caribbean Exporter of the year award in 2016.

The company has been making noticeable improvements in a plethora of financial indicators. According to WIBISCO’s 2020 Annual Report, in 2014, the company’s share price was ten dollars (10 BBD). The share price has grown to thirty-one dollars (31 BBD) in 2020, a share price appreciation of 210% (WIBISCO Annual Report 2020). Additionally, earnings per share (EPS) has increased from 194 cents in 2014 to 342 cents in 2020. This represents a 76% increase for shareholders since 2014. The company’s net income has drastically improved as well moving from five million, nine hundred thousand dollars (5,900,000 BBD) to ten million, three hundred thousand dollars (10,300,000 BBD) in 2020. Since 2014, the company has consistently distributed dividends to its shareholders moving from 55 cents per share to 200 cents per share in 2020 (WIBISCO Annual Report 2020). The increasing profitability of the company can be attributed to the company’s vision to continue expanding its product offerings, investment in technology to reduce inefficiencies and operational costs, strong brand awareness and export market penetration.

The effects of COVID-19 on businesses have seen the cessation of some companies or the reduction in business hours for others. This has resulted in increased levels of unemployment and underemployment for persons, resulting in reduced disposable income for consumers. WIBISCO did not escape the financial impact of this pandemic. Notwithstanding the aforementioned, the company was able to keep costs within control and ended the year with a net income of $10.3 million versus a prior year’s performance of $9.9 million.

Despite the prevailing economic circumstances, WIBISCO is poised to continue experiencing growth in profitability. Although the company may not offer a variety of brands compared to its competitors, the company prides itself on the unique taste of its products.  The company’s flagship ‘Shirley’ biscuit is described as a “Caribbean classic” and is said to be low in sugar compared to other cookies and candies on the international market. Moreover, WIBISCO offers products in their current export markets, suitable for different target consumers such as children, young adults, and elders.

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