Business Un-Usual in 2014
Businesses making the headlines in 2014
This year was particularly tough for business in Dominica as the economy continued to underperform. No other institution felt the squeeze more than the National Commercial Bank (NCB).
"Despite registering an increase in most income categories, we are far from satisfied with our net results, given that we ended the year with a $6.2 million loss," Michael Bird, the NBD Managing Director, stated in the bank's 2013 Annual.
Probably unrelated to the red ink, Bird flew away quietly; he was replaced by Ellingworth Edwards in the CEO's chair.
Biting a bit
Sometime in 2014 Dominicans were told that Bitcoin is to introduce virtual currency here next year; the Ministry of Finance has been silent so far.
"Like all coins bitcoin has two sides: bitcoin is something positive for Dominica; bitcoin is toxic, avoid it. But bitcoin is not a real coin; it is internet money and it is coming to Dominica on March 14, 2015 at 9.26 am", the Sun wrote.
McKenzie become first female manager of DOMLEC
While other businesses were struggling to exist, the Dominica Electricity Services (DOMLEC) somehow increased its profits in 2014.
"Profit before tax for the year ended December 31, 2013 stood at EC$12.70 million, compared to EC$11.81 million declared in 2012. Taxes for the year amounted to EC$3.86 million resulting in net profit after taxes of EC$8.84 million, an increase of 7.8%, compared to EC$8.20 million in 2012," the company's annual report stated. Meanwhile, after a short stint as acting manager of the Dominica Electricity Services (DOMLEC), the company entrusted the entity's fate to the hands of Bertilia LeBlanc-McKenzie, the first female manager of the company.
As you may recall, in May 2014 former manager of DOMELC Collin Cover stepped down to take up the position of general manager of the Grenada Electricity Services (GRENLEC).
Speaking at her first press conference as manager on September 16 2014, McKenzie said she felt "honored" to be selected as the general manager for DOMLEC.
FashCash introduces FastCash Bizloan
In 2014 Fast Cash began providing financing to businesses wanting cash fast.
"Today with the launch of our new product, FastCash Biz, we are offering the latest installment to our product offering - in direct response to demand from the micro and small business owner. In order words the self-employed businessman/businesswoman," said Michael Archibald, the chief operations officer of FashCash at a launching ceremony at the Fort Young Hotel on Thursday.
Archibald added: "This product, in traditional FastCash fashion, is unsecured but it is priced based on the risk of the business. We lend to the principal director of the company .The company must be in business for two years or more and we use the financial dynamics of the business to determine risk and ability to repay.
Rubis launches new brand in Dominica
In 2014 Rubis West Indies Limited announced the launch of its new brand, Rubis, to Dominica.
"With a fresh new look at the service stations, a new line of lubricants — Total and a brand new fuel additive, Ultra Tec, Rubis has launched with a bang," the company said in a press statement.
The new Rubis stations were located at Portsmouth Motors; A C Shillingford Service Station; Castle Comfort Service Station; Jimmit Service Station; Marigot Service Station and Calibishie Service Station.
Augustine: NCCU grows despite challenges
Despite a slow economy and stiffer competition, the National Cooperative Credit Union (NCCU) reported significant growth in 2013, board chairman Michael Augustine wrote in the Board of Directors report.
Augustine said that the NCCU had "yet another commendable year's performance in which there was growth in many critical areas despite the increasing challenges to minimize cost, reduce delinquency to a minimum and grow revenue".
The surplus for the period in review was $2,693,256 before other comprehensive income, reflecting a 37.56% increase over 2012". Augustine said the NCCU membership in 2012 totalled 36,261 and grew to 37,573 in 2013 an increase of 1,312 (3.62%).
Sir Dwight: Too many banks
Sir Dwight Venner, Governor of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank said the large number of small banks and credit unions around the region are not sustainable.
"The fragmented state of the financial sector which comprises 40 commercial banks, 61 credit unions, and 161 insurance entities, for a population of approximately 600,000, is not appropriate for the sustainability of the sector and poses significant risks," said Sir Dwight as he presented the 2013 Economic Review of the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union. "Therefore a systematic process of amalgamation and consolidation is necessary to reduce and mitigate the risks and increase the viability of the firms in this sector".