WITCO’s headquarters in Champs Fleur

Kyron Regis

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The West Indian Tobacco Company Ltd (Witco) has recorded a profit after tax of $105 million for the three months ended 31 March, 2020. This represents a $4.9 million or 4.9 per cent increase over the same period in 2019.

WIitco’s Profit before Taxation of $150.9 million also represented an increase of $5.8 million or 3.97 per cent over the corresponding period in 2019.

In the release of the company’s financial statements, Witco chairman Anthony E Phillip said the impact of COVID-19 on the business would not be brief.

Phillip explained: “The Company remains cognisant of the fact that this unprecedented period would have lasting effects on our operations and distribution. However, we remain confident in our resilience to weather this storm.”

As a result of the global pandemic, Phillip said Witco implemented and continued to engage several initiatives to safeguard the health and safety of its employees and key stakeholders.

Further to the advent of the “stay at home” period, the chairman also highlighted that the Company has been in complete compliance with all regulations and fully supports the efforts of the Government of T&T to manage and reduce the impact of the pandemic.

However, during the “stay-at-home” period, Witco noted that its manufacturing operations had ceased. This has resulted in the company’s inability to supply products to British American Tobacco (it’s parent company), Contract Markets and the depletion of local and Caricom stock levels.

Considering the current uncertainty of the full impact of COVID-19 on Witco’s business, its Board took a decision not to pay a 1st interim dividend for the three months ended March 31.

Witco, alongside Nu Iron and Trinidad Cement Ltd (TCL), has been allowed to resume operations for the first phase of opening the economy. Witco also recently installed a new managing mirector, Laurent Meffre.

The company has had challenges in the past with illicit trade penetrating the market, and thereby increasing competition. Nevertheless the company emerged with successive periods of profits.

As at March, 31 2020, the company’s assets stood at $784million.