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Sweet River shares suspended on JSE

Business reporter

Wednesday, March 06, 2019

Meat processor, Sweet River Abattoir and Supplies Company Ltd had its shares suspended on Monday, March 4, after failing to satisfy five junior market rules.

The Jamaica Stock Exchange (JSE) published a statement on Monday, advising shareholders that the ordinary shares of Sweet River were suspended because the company has failed to satisfy JSE Junior Market ongoing requirement on financial reporting and timely disclosure.

“There were two documentations that we did not provide on time. They were provided yesterday so we were 24 hours late,” managing director of the company, Valdence Gifford told the Jamaica Observer.

The late publication also placed Sweet River in breach of JSE's Junior Market rule appendix two, part four — related to published annual reports and audited financial statements; part five, requiring timely disclosure; and junior market rules related to admission agreements, the Regulatory Market Oversight Division of the JSE has advised.

In reassuring shareholders that a repeat of this will never happen, Gifford told the Business Observer that the company will be reinstated tomorrow.

“All the documents are now in, so Sweet River will be re-listed at the next trading date. It would be re-listed tomorrow [Wednesday] if it wasn't a public holiday, so it will be done on Thursday,” he said.

Aside from massive losses the company has posted year over year, Sweet River has had its documents delayed twice per year since 2015, a year after the company listed on the junior market.

Its last published delay was in June 2018, when Sweet River advised that due to circumstances beyond its control, the audited financials due on June 30, 2018 would be delayed for one month.

The meat processor further stated then that its financials would be filed and published on or before July 31, 2018, but on August 8 the company filed another statement advising that its audited statements would be delayed by a further two weeks.

At the time, Sweet River reasoned that the delay stemmed from its auditors refusing to proceed without confirmation from business partners.

For the month of December, Sweet River managed to produce a profit of $700,000, signalling a turnaround after several months of losses during the financial year. Unfortunately, the positive performance of December was not enough for the quarter to be profitable.

Sweet River ended the quarter with a decline of 13.5 per cent in sales — $63.9 million versus $73.9 million. Net losses jumped to -$12.4 million, 175.5 per cent above losses of -$4.5 million Sweet River posted in December 2017.