Fri | Apr 12, 2024

Sales at Musson-owned PBS hit J$51 billion

Published:Sunday | February 25, 2024 | 12:08 AMSteven Jackson - Senior Business Reporter
Paul ‘PB’ Scott
Paul ‘PB’ Scott

TECHNOLOGY FIRM Productive Business Solutions Limited (PBS), controlled largely by businessman PB Scott, made US$11.4 million (J$1.8 billion) in profit for its full year ending December, or one-third higher than a year earlier.

Management described 2023 as its “best fourth-quarter and full-year financial performance”.

The company continues to benefit from transitioning towards technology services on top of its core distribution of Xerox printing products. This aided in growing its full-year revenue to US$333 million (J$51 billion), or 7.0 per cent higher year-on-year.

The company started in Jamaica in 2001 as a vehicle to acquire Xerox Corporation in Jamaica. Then, three years later, it started a series of acquisitions and entries into Caribbean markets, followed by Miami and Central America.

It now operates in 19 nations and its top money-earning territories are Trinidad & Tobago at 25 per cent of sales, followed by Jamaica 13 per cent, El Salvador 11 per cent, and Barbados, Guatemala, Costa Rica and Nicaragua at 8.0 per cent.

A key driver behind PBS’s 2023 performance has been its success in securing regional contracts, particularly large government contracts; plus the company’s expansion into new markets and acquisitions. For instance, PBS was selected by the Elections Authority in Costa Rica to execute the first electronic vote for upcoming elections. In Guatemala and Honduras, PBS secured contracts to provide “support” to over 100,000 credit and debit card point-of-sale terminals. In El Salvador, PBS secured a government IT contract to provide 140,000 hours of manpower support. And its Colombian subsidiary clinched a technology contract with an undisclosed airline.

Since listing on the Jamaica Stock Exchange (JSE) seven years ago, the company has virtually doubled its sales, up 95 per cent from US$171 million in 2016 to current levels. It came as the company transitioned to IT services alongside trading in its core printers and supplies.

For 2024, the company plans to focus on “solidifying” its position as one of the largest suppliers in the Caribbean and Central America.

During the full year, the company’s core earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortisation (EBITDA) amounted to US$48.3 million, or slightly up from US$46.9 million in 2022.

The business lines across the group include imaging, network communications, professional services, advanced services, information technology and security systems.

Scott is the chairman and CEO of the Musson Group, which ultimately controls 69 per cent of PBS’s ordinary shares via direct and indirect means. That works out to 129.9 million units of the total 186.2 million ordinary shares, according to JSE data.

Scott is also the chairman of PBS but holds no direct shares in PBS.

For the fourth quarter between October to December 2023, PBS achieved revenues totalling US$100 million, marking an increase of 11 per cent over a year ago. The company’s EBITDA for the fourth quarter stood at US$16.8 million, or 33 per cent higher, year-on-year. Also, its profit after topped US$5.9 million, or 40 per cent higher, year-on-year.

The group’s debt totalled some US$144 million, or slightly higher than its capital at US$115 million, at December 2023.

However, that ratio, at 125 per cent, is an improvement from 170 per cent over the past few years.