On Friday, Emera showed a profit attributable to shareholders of $241.1 million ($1.97 per share) on revenue of $2.06 billion for all of 2011. That compares to a profit of $190.7 million ($1.65 per share) on revenue of $1.6 billion in fiscal 2010.
The company credits gains earned by Caribbean subsidiary Light & Power Holdings Ltd. for helping achieve impressive profits, but there is no denying Nova Scotia Power is the big earner for Emera. According to figures, the regulated provincial power monopoly contributed more that half the profit earned by the parent in 2011.
We now have the ridiculous situation enduring in harsh economic conditions where the parent company of the Barbados Light and Power (BL&P) has earned record profits of 241 million for 2010. The business theory indoctrinates that private enterprise is established for the primary reason to create value for the shareholder. Who can fault Emera for the enviable position it finds itself. However the following statement in the report that “The company credits gains earned by Caribbean subsidiary Light & Power Holdings Ltd. for helping achieve impressive profits.” should be of of interest to Barbadians. More particular it should be of interest to the beast we refer to as the Fair Trading Commission (FTC).
On the flipside the other utility in Barbados, Cable & Wireless (LIME)which has pillaged the Caribbean market for years is currently locked in a wage dispute with the Barbados Workers Union (BWU). It is interesting to observe how the Barbados private sector has sided with LIME. If BU reads the matter correctly the wage dispute covers the period 2006 to 2009. This is significant because it straddles a period in Barbados often described as ‘times of plenty’’. Why the company would would seek to hide behind the current conditions to justify its offer is opportunistic. Yes BWU’s offer maybe considered as aggressive, yes the BWU still habours some bad memories of LIME sending home employees and relocating services to a call centre in St. Lucia. However LIME is a company which enjoyed significant profits in the 2006 to 2009 period and the workers should benefit from the financial performance.
Any sympathy which LIME would want to benefit from is offset by the reputed large salaries and bonuses paid to senior staff. Here is another company which the FTC allowed to run rampant in our market at the expense of Barbadian consumers. Of interest to Barbadians is the FTC is currently reviewing the Price Cap Plan for 2008, to run from 10 February to 9 March 2011. Barbadian consumers can only hope that the FTC begins to assert its role in the process where Barbadians consumers feel that their interest is being safeguarded by the regulator.
Next Barbadians have been told the Barbados Water Authority is being ‘readied’ to fall under the oversight of the FTC. God help consumers in Barbados when this happens.