My fellow Shareholders, it is my privilege and distinct pleasure to welcome you to our Company’s Fifty-Fifth Annual General Meeting and to present on behalf of the Board of Directors, the Annual Report for the period ended 30th September 2010.
My fellow shareholders, we meet at a time of increasing tensions and continuing uncertainty over many issues across the world. One gets the impression that no geographical space or territory is free of this problem which causes the question to be asked “What has changed since we last met?” In an age in which science and technology drives the way of the world forward and little which is constructive and helpful can be accomplished without the help of computers and information technology, the world woke up one morning to discover that governments and organisations and in fact individuals, were held to ransom by the same technology in the form of the Wikileaks saga. Gone are the days when anything including one’s thoughts can be considered as being sacred and private. And as if being caught in an embarrassing situation was not bad enough, the threat of war loomed in the Korean Peninsula, bringing with it images of the cold war and an age we all thought had ended. The continuing nuclear standoff between Iran and the first world which already had nuclear capacity and between Iran and its neighbours which includes Israel, keeps the Middle East on the verge of conflict and unbearable tensions. The war of ideology and cultures fought in the name of religion keeps Afghanistan and the Arab world in constant tension with the West and closer to home, the stagnation in Haiti continues to be a source of great concern for the rest of the Caricom area. At home, continuing industrial unrest continues to hamper the progress of one of the economy’s main pillars and the nation appears to be caught once again in the vice of criminal activity.
As we stand or sit and wonder about what has happened, the temptation to ask the question “What has changed since we last met?” looms large in our consciousness. My fellow shareholders, most of us will remember the words of the Poet Alexander Pope in his work “An Essay on Man” - “Hope springs eternal in the human heart”.
That fellow shareholders, has been our focus and modus operandi over the past year. It would have been so easy to slip into the habit of blaming others for our inability to be successful. Within our Company, we would rather look to the future with that sense of hope and expectation that tomorrow will always be better.
My fellow shareholders, it was Benjamin Disraeli, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (1874-1880) who said:
“The secret of success in life is for a man to be ready for his opportunity when it comes”.
The Honourable Prime Minister’s statement reaches out to us across time with the unspoken yet real challenge contained in his words -
“What is anyone’s understanding of being ready when opportunity comes knocking?”
Our theme for the new financial year “A New Blend of Success”, speaks eloquently to this issue of being ready when opportunity knocks.
My fellow shareholders there are some persons who place much trust and belief in that highly questionable commodity called “luck”. There are some whose daily existence is directed by what their horoscope says will happen to them, while there are others who depend on the advice of persons whose claim to fame is their ability to see into the future. Whilst recognising that our world is made up of persons with differing points of view and opinions, our Company, Banks DIH Limited, and its future, is motivated and guided by principles which are based on rational thought and facts arising from the realities which face us at that moment in time. What this simply means my fellow shareholders, is the recognition that no one individual has all of the answers to all of life’s issues which face us on a daily basis. There is the need to bring together the best human, technical and financial resources available to achieve the desired goal. There is recognition of the need to assemble the right blend of elements to produce the required success. When the modern Banks DIH Limited was created some fifty-five years ago out of the merger between Bank Breweries Limited and D’Aguiar Bros Limited, this venture was established on the foundation of tried and proven business principles blended with an entrepreneurial spirit and motivated by a desire to be successful. There was no accommodation with the uncertainties and changing fortunes of luck and chance. Our Company’s historical records tell us that framed into that original concept, was a well thought out combination of many components and skill sets as can be seen in the sound construction methods which supported the innovative architectural concept and designs as is evidenced in the unique Rotunda landmark. There was the sourcing and acquisition of then “state of the art” equipment and the recruiting of the required technical expertise to support the production process to produce that “Thirst Quenching” Brewery Fresh “Banks Beer”. There was also the introduction of the novel concept of public ownership and the issuing of shares for the very first time as a mechanism for capital generation. Into that exciting blend of components, was added innovative Human Resources Management tools and systems and the then unheard idea of Profit Sharing and benefits for employees. Recognition was also given to the value and importance of the customer to ensure the success of the new venture, and of the need for our involvement in the life of the communities within which we operate.
What is noteworthy over the past fifty-five years as we have journeyed through the best of times and the worst of times is the Company’s capacity to sustain what was started way back then. Sustainability as someone once said, is a notion of discipline suggesting that humankind must be conscious and motivated to ensure that as we satisfy present needs, we do not compromise the ability of those who come after us, to meet theirs. The keyword my fellow shareholders, is discipline. As with any journey, the one which our Company is embarked on, requires us to look ahead rather than back. We are conscious of the depth of sensitivity and concern for the future which was demonstrated by those who came before us, to ensure that what was being created, will stand the test of time and prove to be a lasting legacy. The success which was achieved as a result of that first courageous leap of faith to follow a dream that a Brewery can be built and be successfully operated in spite of advice to the contrary, speaks volumes of one man’s vision of what is possible. And it’s possible when the right combination of elements can come together to produce that result. We spoke earlier of global tensions and insecurity. Will peace and freedom become a reality as a result of wishful thinking and vain hopes? Peace and freedom will be a reality when the right blend of elements come together to produce that reality. This understanding is not dissimilar to the experience we have had as a Company. The fact that we can be here at this time in spite of what appeared to be at times insurmountable odds facing us, speaks well of the talent and ability which was and continues to be assembled - “The Right Blend” in a manner of speaking to produce this success which we celebrate at this time.
My fellow shareholders I wish to recognise at this time, an integral part of the right blend of elements which are in place within the Organisation, the General Workers’ Union and its contribution to a stable industrial climate. My fellow shareholders, one gets the impression that the nation’s industrial climate is presently under siege with an abundance of ill-will, rancour, intemperate language and mistrust. Little that is useful and beneficial to both management and employees will be accomplished unless trust is regained and the lines of communication re-established. I wish to thank the General Workers’ Union for all that they have done over the period under review to maintain that sense of balance and trust which is so necessary in times of much uncertainty, to maintain a stable work force and keep the Company profitable.
Fellow shareholders, the economic environment remained very challenging during 2010 even though Global economies that were affected by the financial crisis began to show signs of recovery with varying degrees of success. While the performance of these economies and the financial crisis impacted Guyana’s economy, the effects were not as adverse as anticipated.
The economies of the developed world are expected to continue their gradual emergence from their recessions, but risk and uncertainties still prevail thus the short term prognosis for the global economy, which will depend on financial stability and appropriate stimulus policies, remain uncertain.
In spite of the above, the Guyana economy is expected to remain relatively stable, as it is anticipated that the Government will continue to focus on the development and rehabilitation of the country’s infrastructure and the development of new housing settlements, thus stimulating growth in the local economy.
REVENUE & RESULTS
The Group’s thirty party revenue increased from $15.994 billion to $18.292 billion, an increase of $2.298 billion or 14%.
The profit before tax for the Group was $3.081 billion compared to $2.345 billion in 2009, an increase of $736.0 million or 31%.
The Profit after Tax for the Group attributable to shareholders was $1.602 billion reflecting a 25% increase or $316.0 million on the results of 2009.
Citizens Bank Guyana Inc., a 51% owned subsidiary of the Company, achieved $535.0 million after tax profit compared to $391.0 million achieved in 2009.
Banks DIH’s Gross Revenue and Services for the year ended 30th September 2010 were $16.371 billion compared to $14.226 billion in 2009. This reflects an increase of $2.145 billion or 15%. Profit generated before taxation was $2.226 billion, as compared to $1.838 billion in 2009, an increase of $388 million or 21%. Corporation Taxes increased by $148.0 million. Net profit after taxes and before dividends amounted to $1.362 billion. Adding Citizens Bank’s contribution of Net Profit to the Group’s results, the Group’s Net Profit increased by $316 million to $1.602 billion. This net profit reflects an increase of 25% over the previous year.
Sales and Services net of Consumption/Excise taxes amounted to $14.392 billion against $12.507 billion in 2009, reflecting an increase of $1.835 billion or 14%.
Our four Branches which are strategically located in growing population centres and areas of economic activity, also contributed to the achievement of these noteworthy results. The Berbice Branch achieved an increase of 39% of physical sales, while the Linden, Bartica and Essequibo Branches achieved an increase of 13.2%, 23.7% and 25.10% respectively.
Export sales were $305.5 million or US$1.52 million. In 2009 sales were $288.8 million or US$1.4 million, an increase of $16.7 million or 5.8%. Export sales realised a profit of $13.2 million in 2010. The company is now exporting its products to twenty-two countries and was recognised for this achievement by the Guyana Manufacturing Association.
During the year under review, the Company continued its programme to optimise its manufacturing processes to improve production and quality, and the distribution of its beverage and food products. This is evidenced in the acquisition and installation of a new Krones Bottle Washer for our Beer Bottling Plant and new equipment for food preparation at our Restaurants.
In 2010, the Group’s spending on capital works amounted to $1,635 billion, which mainly comprised the following:
1. Equipment for the Restaurants to enhance the Quality and Food preparation - $21.0 million.
2. Expenditure to date on the Waste Water Treatment Plant - $125.0 million.
My fellow shareholders at this time under the broad umbrella of Quality Assurance and Management, I would like to update you on the progress made thus far with the construction of our Waste Water Treatment Plant. This project was completed at the end of December 2010 and was handed over to the Management of the Soft Drink Plant in keeping with our contractual obligations to the Coca Cola Company and our Company’s commitment to maintaining Environmental Safety and Protection.
Additionally, I will advise that work has been started on the drilling of a new Well at Thirst Park. The previous Well which was being drilled failed. The total cost will be $90 million.
4. Krones Bottle Washer - Cost $550.0 million.
5. Acquisition of Five Gallon Water Bottling Plant - Cost $20.0 m.
6. Acquisition of Homogenizer - Ice Cream Production: Cost $16.0 m.
7. Acquisition of Computer Equipment - Cost $55.0 million.
8. Acquisition of Commercial Fleet - Cost $65.0 million.
9. Acquisition of Merchandising Equipment - Cost $18.0 million.
Fellow Shareholders, our Plant and Machinery Replacement policy will be continued in 2011 and beyond with a view of utilising current technology to improve efficiencies and better respond to increasing demand for our products.
The capital spending authorised for 2011 is $3.181 billion, of which $1.972 billion is Contracted for. The major expenditure will be:
1. Soft Drinks Production Plant
The Soft Drinks Glass Line will be de-commissioned and a new ‘State of the Art’ Krones Soft Drink Plant valued $1.324 billion will be installed.
This ‘State of the Art’ Bottling Plant is a turn-key operation which includes from the blowing of Pre-forms to Shrink Wrapping. The acquisition of this Plant will improve the present production capability of 270,000 cases per month in a 24-hour shift to 375,000 cases per month in a single shift, and also improve the efficiency of the production. Also, there will be reduction in the use of water, materials and product losses.
Proposed Capital Expenditure of $259.2 million for the Brewery to increases its efficiencies.
• Acquisition of a Malt Handling System - $91.0 million.
• Upgrade and Automation of the Brewhouse - $95.0 million.
3. Rum Plant
• Acquisition of a Bulk Bottle Depalletizer and Carbon Filtration Column at a capital cost of $30m to facilitate the production of R1 Vodka.
4. Acquisition of Co2 Plant: replacing of Compressor, Dryer and Liquefier - $98.0 m.
8. Vehicle Workshop
The Vehicle Workshop plans to spend $154.2 m on the purchase of vehicles.
9. Management Information System
Expenditure planned is $31.0 m.
The funding for the total Capital Expenditure will be from the Company’s Cash Reserves and Borrowing from the Commercial Banks.
The Board of Directors declared a first interim dividend of $0.14 per share, which was paid on 17th May 2010, a second interim dividend of $0.14 per share, which was paid on 18 October 2010 and now recommends a final dividend of $0.22 per share payable on 24th January 2011. The total dividend for the year is $0.50 per share with the overall cost being $500.0 million. Fellow shareholders, six years ago the Board of Directors made a commitment that one of the Company’s goals or targets was to pay $0.50 per share. Today with your approval, we would have achieved that goal at a cost of $500 million to be paid to our shareholders. Remember fellow shareholders, that local dividends are tax free to shareholders.
The Company’s shares were traded on the local Stock Exchange at September 30, 2010 for $11.80 per share in comparison to $9.50 per share at September 30, 2009, an increase of $2.30 per share or 24%. The share price is no doubt indicative of Investors’ confidence in the Company’s performance, both now and in the future.
Earnings per Share
Earnings per share increased from $1.29 per share to $1.60 per share.
The sum of $1.602 billion has been transferred as profit retained resulting in the reserves at the end of the year amounting to $14.9 billion.
CITIZENS BANK GUYANA INC.
Performance of the Bank
I am pleased to report that profit after taxation for Citizens Bank Guyana Inc. increased by 36.8% from $390.8 million to $534.8 million. Contributing to this performance were increases in our loans and investment portfolios and a reduction in expenses.
During 2010, the bank recorded significant growth in loans, investments, deposits, total assets and revenue.
Net income for the year ended September 30, 2010 was $1.5 billion compared to $1.3 billion the prior year, an increase of 13.9% and Profit before Taxation was $887.5 million in 2010 compared to $542.8 million for the previous year, an increase of 63.5%.
During 2010 the Bank’s shares were traded on the local stock exchange at an average price of $45.00 per share, up from $18.00 per share, an increase of $27.00 per share or 150%. The share price is also indicative of investors’ confidence in the Bank’s performance.
The local banking environment is characterised by increased competition and our initiatives will be focused on building on our strengths and addressing those areas of our operations that require improvements.
During 2011 Citizens Bank will continue its focus on Risk Management; the containment of expenses; the development of new products and to provide quality service to our customers and stakeholders utilising the available opportunities as these present themselves.
The expansion of our branch network is critical to our growth, and to this end, subject to the approval of the Bank of Guyana, Citizens Bank will establish two branches during fiscal 2011. One of the branches will be located in Linden and work has already started.
The initiatives outlined above will ensure that our bank meets the ever expanding financial needs of our valued customers making Citizens Bank one of the industry’s leading financial services providers. We look forward to another successful year at Citizens Bank.
QUALITY ASSURANCE MANAGEMENT
My fellow shareholders, you will recall over previous years of our Annual General Meetings, and at other opportune moments, we have advised of the value and increasing importance of our Central Audit Laboratory and the Quality Assurance Systems which this Company is in the process of implementing for all of our Manufacturing Plants and Allied Service Departments. This process my fellow shareholders assumes an even greater sense of urgency and importance as our Company looks to securing additional markets outside of Guyana. Our assurance of capturing those markets is to convince those who have an interest in purchasing goods and services from us, that we are a reliable producer of quality goods. We cannot sing our own praises and tell others of how good we may think we are. It becomes necessary to invite a neutral third party, a Referee, to investigate our systems and processes and to review the performance of the staff involved in the manufacturing, distribution and services departments that they are competent in the discharge of their functions which lead to the production, distribution and sale of quality products. To this end, our Company has taken the decision that the entire Company must be ISO Certified by the end of 2012. This fellow shareholders, is no easy task but achievable if everyone signs on and commits to the process to achieving this goal.
My fellow shareholders, it was the Chinese Philosopher Lao-Tzu who said “A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step”. It is my distinct pleasure my fellow shareholders to advise that our Company has taken that first step towards ISO accreditation for the entire Company. In November 2010, the Dairy achieved ISO 22000-2005 Certification after successfully completing a rigorous Phase Π audit process. This successful venture was as a result of the efforts of the Committee which spearheaded the process working in tandem with the staff of the Dairy, the Environmental Department, Materials Handling, Sales and Buildings and Engineering Departments. In fact fellow shareholders it will not be too far off of the mark to say that all of us in various ways were involved but I would like to identify for commendation, the Executive responsible for our Central Audit Lab and Quality Assurance, Mrs Seeranie Ramnauth. Seeranie assumed ownership of this certification process and successfully, but not without sleepless nights and long days, managed the process which required not only the transformation of the Dairy and Novelty Plant, but also a change of attitudes and habits which probably was the hardest of all that was required. My fellow shareholders, it is this acceptance of ownership by everyone, of the processes required to sustain the momentum needed to keep our Company vibrant and successful which will make the difference between being “the Pacesetter” leading the field, or an “also-ran” chasing the pack. I will thank the staff of the Central Audit Laboratory and the Environmental Department for their contribution in achieving this goal.
RECOGNITION FOR THE COMPANY: AWARDS AND NEW PRODUCTS
My fellow shareholders you will agree from your own life’s experiences that being recognised for some good thing that we have done, gives us a feeling, that’s hard to put into words. What’s even better, some may argue, is public recognition even though some of us tend to shy away from any type of publicity. During the period under review, our Company has been recognised for our efforts in the production of quality products and growth in sales within the Region. We wish to congratulate and encourage all those whose efforts and expertise contributed to this success.
1. At the Monde Selection Awards for 2010, Banks Premium Beer was awarded a Gold Medal.
2. For outstanding growth in the sales of Guinness in Latin America and the Caribbean, Diageo NorthLAC presented an award to the Company at the recent Diageo Annual Conference held in Amsterdam, Holland.
3. The Company has received an Award for Exports. The citation reads “His Excellency President of Guyana Award for Export Achievement”.
“For recording significant growth in Export Sales in excess of 20% and for achieving diversification in Export Markets which now reaches a level of over 21 countries”.
4. The Company was in receipt of the 100% Coca Cola Award for Quality of Product and Packaging on several occasions during 2010.
Additionally fellow shareholders, during the period under review, further evidence of the wisdom of having the right blend of human, technical and financial skills in place was evidenced in the number of new products which were launched.
1. From our Brewery, Banks Lite joined the trilogy of Beers.
2. Our Rum Factory produced another quality product - R1 Vodka.
3. Demico House re-engineered the product we know as “Demico Chicken” and re-established their presence in the market. The result has been a healthy incremental growth in sales and customer acceptance.
4. Over the period, the 12 oz Icee Soft Drink was introduced into the market and gained acceptance.
5. Trisco benefited from the re-introduction of the Government’s Schools Feeding Programme.
Fellow shareholders, over the period since we last met, the Company has been able to maintain a generally stable work environment, in spite of the challenges which faced us. This in large measure is as a result of the cordial industrial relations we have had with the General Workers’ Union and the high level of responsible leadership which has been displayed. The recruitment of suitable persons into the work force continues to be a challenging experience. Migration into the wider Caricom area and North America continues unabated in spite of the serious challenges posed by several factors of which the current economic crisis is but one of them. To counter this haemorrhaging of our human resource base and skill sets, we continue to train new and existing employees. Additionally, we continue our Annual Apprenticeship Programme securing our intake from the technical and vocational schools in the three counties.
Our Scholarship Programme continues, facilitating qualified employees to read for Undergraduate Degrees, Post Graduate Programmes and Professional Qualifications. There are six employees currently enrolled in the areas of Mechanical Engineering, Chemistry and Accountancy (ACCA) Studies and Marketing. The Company has also sponsored a Sports Scholarship and the awardee is currently reading for a Degree in Communication at the University of Guyana.
Additionally fellow shareholders, we have attempted within our Company to recognise those employees who have committed themselves to the Company and have remained with us through the good and difficult times. At the Annual General Meeting, we recognised thirty-nine employees who have completed twenty and twenty-five years respectively, of service to the Company and will utilise this opportunity to thank them for their commitment and loyalty. There is also our 20 Year Club which recognises employees who have completed 20 years of service. This club currently has a membership of 156 persons, having inducted an additional 30 employees during November 2010.
2011 AND BEYOND
My fellow shareholders, the future can be considered from one of two perspectives. Firstly the future can be seen as a scary and frightening place to be in the light of the present reality. As was said previously, there is very little which appears to be held as sacred and inviolable any longer, and such a situation can result in a state of paralysis as the fear or uncertainty which can accompany any decision making process is translated into doing nothing at all. The Wikileaks saga has created a new global paradigm and can only result in even more secrecy, lack of consultation and suspicion of anything and everything. The future can also be considered as a place of opportunities which are presented to be utilised after careful consideration and reflections to make better whichever place in which we live or reside or the lives of others with whom we interact each and every day. My fellow shareholders, I will share with you, a statement which I came across recently. This sign was placed in our Head Office as a motivation for those who work there.
“No dreams come true until you wake up and go to work”.
Some fifty-five years ago, those who took on the challenge of creating this legacy which we have inherited, made a decision to wake up and go to work. Ours is the responsibility to care for this bequest and to ensure that it is transmitted pure and unsullied in a manner similar to the way in which it was handed over to us.
My fellow shareholders, earlier on, we spoke of the issue of sustainability. What is it that we individually and collectively have to do to ensure that what was started some fifty-five years ago and maintained over the years, will be able to be continued into the future? As anyone contemplates his or her future or for that matter the future of an organisation or a country, what’s accomplished is not determined as was said by luck or chance or one’s horoscope, but rather a vision of what can be achieved within a given time frame, and within the circumstances existing at that time. My fellow shareholders, what do you think is required to take our Company to the next level? Perhaps a good place to start will be the consideration of the global environment within which we operate. If we are to believe what is reported and from our own experiences, it appears to be a situation of uncertainty with little that is good, wholesome or uplifting to encourage us. So does it mean that we must accept this negativity and go with the flow as current thinking dictates? My fellow shareholders, within recent memory, an Acronym came into popular usage to describe those situations and conditions which some persons are not prepared to accept or to compromise with which will bring them down to the level which others are prepared to accept. That Acronym is ‘NIMBY’. It stands for “Not In My Back Yard” and clearly stands as an indication when said, that you are not prepared to accept or tolerate anything or situation or person into your personal space or life or circumstances which will pull you or the organisation down to a level which compromises the capacity of the organisation to be successful and to succeed. And for the purposes of this conversation, fellow shareholder, I will include families - our family.
So we say “Not in My Back Yard” and that we have little or no tolerance for
o Bad attitudes
o A lack of commitment to what our Company stands for.
o Anyone who is employed here who does not consider the Company as a part of their future life.
o Waste in any form.
o A lack of commitment to established Quality Standards.
o Behaviour and Conduct which bring the Company into disrepute.
o Actions intended to harm the well being of the Company, its employees and its shareholders.
o Financial indiscipline, and
o Indiscipline of any sort
Fellow shareholders, we may not be able to influence or change situations outside of our control, but all of the above stated negative issues which will affect the future well being of our Company we can control because they are caused by what we do or fail to do. There must be zero tolerance for anything which will affect the sustainability of our Company.
My fellow shareholders, as we consider the future let us for a moment reflect on the circumstances facing some of our sister manufacturing Companies and Corporations and the uncertainties facing their capacity to generate income, maintain their work force and plan for the future. Some of those Companies are well-established, reputable organisations which have been affected either by the global financial crisis, poor planning or human resources issues arising out of uncertainties over many things. So fellow shareholders, as we contemplate the future let us be cautious of any sense of arrogance or entitlement which success can create. Along with our understanding to utilise the technology of the 21st Century to move our Company forward, let us re-commit to the old fashioned values of hard work and dedication and commitment.
It might appear to some persons that the year 2015 is quite a way off and some might argue that the current uncertainties will prevent us from looking that far down the road. My fellow shareholders, when we spoke previously of sustainability and a vision of what will be the structure and composition of our Company going into the future, this is what I was referring to when the statement “taking the Company to the next level” meant. In recognition of the fact that we co-exist in a world of rapidly changing methods, technology and sciences, it is imperative that we have a Human Resource structure in place to cope with and to respond to those demands. Fellow shareholders, I am reminded of the slogan used by the United Negro College Fund:
“A mind is a terrible thing to waste”.
I will urge everyone and especially our younger staff members and shareholders to heed the unspoken challenge which the statement presents to you. Prepare yourselves for the future which is closer than you think. Those educational requirements and skill sets needed for the future, are applicable to every aspect of the Company’s operations and not just to Engineering and technology.
As we reflect on our response to the challenges of having a trained, educated work force in place, we will also be required to respond to the Sales, Marketing and Distribution challenges which will arise as a result of the changing landscape across the country. New Housing areas and Commercial and Industrial Developments will need to be identified and serviced. Our Pre-Selling System will be required to deliver a greater response to the challenges posed.
Within the understanding of the definition of a “Third World” country, the reality is that there is no such equipment or Plant and Machinery which is manufactured for the third world. We will have to respond to the reality that at some point in the near future, our Production Plants and Processes will be automated in keeping with the available technology and to support the response for an increased demand.
It is generally accepted that Companies and organisations can grow in different ways. Our Company is a part of a group of companies which will be required to respond to the challenge of growth and development. Our Sister Company, Citizen’s Bank, has considered the shift in population centres and the creation of new housing areas, and has responded with the creation of new branches and an active support of the programme to make low income mortgages available.
My fellow shareholders, there is an old saying “Experience teaches wisdom”. Recent challenges posed to our Rum Sales in Trinidad and a past experience with a supplier of Ethanol or Spirits, says to us that we will have to consider as a part of our vision for the future, the acquisition of a Distillery to circumvent the possibility of our future growth being dictated by a third party.
Additionally my fellow shareholders, we consider Exports to be integral to our future growth and development. The efforts to place our Rum products into the emerging Rum markets in Europe, have met with success and we anticipate further growth as the Brand awareness increases. The continuing demand for Banks Beer, XM Rums and our Icee Products in North America and the Caribbean will be addressed in the new year as we attempt to resolve some existing hurdles which have only served to restrict rather than support our exports.
Fellow shareholders, closer to home, our Demico House operations will be the subject of continuing review and reconfiguration, as we move into the future. The existing format and structure has served the Company well over the years, but we have to examine its relevance and contribution to the Company’s future needs. And as we consider and reflect on all of the above issues, it will be necessary to make a determination on the strengths and deficiencies of the systems which were implemented some two years ago to support the Company’s vision of the future. Portfolios were exchanged and individuals shifted to new areas of endeavour to provide exposure and to increase awareness of the required skills and competences to support the functions within those Departments. We are of the view that generally the programme achieved the desired result but there is the need for further strengthening and capacity building which will be addressed in the new year.
My fellow shareholders, it was Nelson Mandela who once said:
“It always seems impossible until it is done”.
Those words of wisdom from the Elder Statesmen sum up the direction we will have to take as a Company as we contemplate our future. Yes there will be difficulties and obstacles to be overcome. Yes we will encounter frustrations and delays and the road will not always be smooth but keep remembering that it always seems impossible until it is done. The advantage we have is that we have available within the Company, the right blend of what’s needed to achieve success. All that’s needed is for us to recognise each other’s strengths and provide the necessary mutual support, encouragement and enthusiasm to achieve the desired result. 2011 holds the promise that our Company can continue to be successful provided that we do not falter or give into attitudes and behaviours which will produce failure.
My fellow shareholders, there is a fine line between failure and success. Failure doesn’t mean that I am a failure, but it does mean that I have not yet succeeded. Failure does not mean that I have accomplished nothing. It does mean that I have learnt something. Failure doesn’t mean that I have been a fool, but it does mean that I had enough faith to try new things. Failure doesn’t mean that I’m inferior, but means that I’m not perfect. Failure doesn’t mean that I should give up, but it means that I should try harder and be smarter. Failure doesn’t mean that I will never make it, but it does mean that I need more patience. The only people who never fail are those who never try. In the Good Book, Proverbs 26, verse 12 says “Do you see a man wise in his own eyes”. There is more hope for a fool than for that man”.
My fellow shareholders, there is much that we have shared today which hopefully you will take with you as we journey together over the days and weeks ahead I will urge you to remember the wisdom contained in the statement that - success is really about being ready when your opportunity comes and that rather than being paralysed by indecision, remember that the longest journey begins with just the first step. I urge you to remember the Acronym “NIMBY”: “Not in My Back Yard” as we all say no to any person, situation, attitude or behaviour which will pull the Company and ourselves down to a level which compromises this Company’s capacity and ability to be successful. An in conclusion fellow shareholders, remember the wisdom of Nelson Mandela’s words when he said: “It always seem impossible until it is done”
My fellow shareholders permit me on my own behalf, on behalf of the Board of Directors and the employees to extend to you, your families and loved ones, a Healthy, Productive and Fulfilling 2011. May the Promise which the future holds, bless you with every good thing.