For Immediate Release
Tuesday, March 3, 2015
LASCO Chairman urges private sector to convert challenges to profits
White Marl, St. Catherine; Lascelles Chin, Founder and Executive Chairman of the LASCO Affiliated Companies, urged the private sector to shift focus from difficulties being faced to finding solutions in order to drive economic growth. Speaking at a Mayberry Investment Forum on Wednesday, February 25 at the Knutsford Court Hotel, the LASCO founder revealed impressive growth indicators from the affiliated group to shareholders. He attributed this to the company’s focus on converting challenges in the market into valuable opportunities.
“There is still more that needs to be done to make the private sector the engine of growth for the country. We capitalize on what is available and keep looking for new opportunities in the midst of difficulties. If we keep harping on what policies are needed to stimulate growth in the economy, we lose sight of what is available and what is being introduced and progress eludes us,” he said.
Chin highlighted the depreciating dollar, high energy costs, high taxation and a world economy with fifty percent still in recession as other challenges to doing business, but was quick to note that challenges are not his focus; his efforts are placed on finding solutions. He cited some examples of how companies have capitalized on business opportunities in the face of economic challenges.
“Over the past year, Jamaica has moved up on the index for the ease of doing business; we have experienced that shift. Efforts have been made by governments past and present to facilitate business initiatives, local and foreign. We have made and will contribute to make optimum use of all the facilities for business advancement.
“We capitalized on the many benefits of the Junior Stock Exchange and its expert staff, setting a pace that has motivated others to follow. We optimize the services offered by JAMPRO and its dedicated staff,” he continued.
Statistics from the Jamaica Manufacturers’ Association underscore the challenges being faced by the manufacturing sector, which accounted for about 8.40 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP) in 2013, down from more than 20 percent in the 1980’s.
Notwithstanding, LASCO’s manufacturing arm made a sizable investment of over US$25 million into the expansion of its industrial complex with a new state-of-the-art liquid factory, while LASCO Distributors is planning another JMD$1.2 billion expansion to increase warehouse space. The introduction of the newest product line, iCool beverages, aided LASCO Manufacturing in the achievement of third quarter profits of over $158 million. The developments at both affiliated companies have also resulted in increased employment from 450 to 750 persons.
According to Chin, the key to achieving success is turning challenges into opportunities for exploring new initiatives and strategies for further expansion and innovation.