High River, Alberta – The Western Investment Company of Canada Limited (“WICC” or “Western”) (TSXV:WI) announces that it has filed its Q4 / year end financial statements and MD&A on SEDAR.
WICC CEO Scott Tannas provided the following commentary:
“The past year was a battle. It seemed every day brought new challenges and required skills and endurance beyond any previous measure. I’m pleased to report that WICC and its portfolio companies have come through intact and are ramping up for a strong 2021. While our 2020 year end results show a net loss of $3.615 million, the majority of this is a non – cash write down of goodwill taken during the turbulent and uncertain days at the onset of the pandemic. With that difficult period behind us, our team is focused on achieving a record year for sales and net income in 2021.
– The pace of growth at Fortress Insurance continued in Q4, more than doubling the insurance premiums realized in Q3. Our early 2021 sales continue to mount at a similar rate. Our little insurance company continues to grow its policies and premiums with a network of strong western Canadian broker partners. In addition, Fortress recently added a new partnership with a global reinsurer that will further fuel growth in the coming months. The insurance market in Canada continues to provide favourable opportunities for nimble, innovative companies like Fortress.
– The team at GlassMasters finished 2020 with a very strong result, increasing EBITDA and net income substantially over 2019 levels despite the difficult retail environment. Roger Tulk and his team are carrying that momentum into 2021, and are already engaged in the busy spring and summer season. Our first location in Regina, Saskatchewan opened in February and early results are positive. The focus continues to be on growing same store sales, managing margins and optimizing inventory. GlassMasters is poised for a record year, with pent up demand from 2020 adding to their continuing efforts to increase market share.
– As we described in previous updates, Ocean Sales continues to endure a significant reduction in revenue as their exhibition and tradeshow operations await the removal of restrictions on large public events. As that day draws closer, the team is ready to get back into the rhythm of summer and fall fairs and tradeshows. Happily, there have been some bright spots for the company. New online sales channels provided vital cashflow in 2020 and brought a whole new future opportunity to light. Necessity is the mother of invention, and Ocean Sales dealt with adversity by finding new ways to survive in 2020 that will help them thrive in 2021 and beyond. In addition to online sales, their long standing partnership with a big box retailer gained momentum in Q4 and achieved significant sales growth in the early stages of this year.
– Sales at Foothills Creamery finished up 7% over 2019. However the mix of business was heavily skewed to retail butter sales, which together with other temporary factors created a 25% drop in our 2020 margins. In Q4 and into early 2021 we worked to provide Foothills with extra resources, including hiring a seasoned CEO, to make sure that we properly rebalance the business mix and get profit margins back to normal in 2021. Retail ice cream sales are an area of focus for the coming year, in addition to the spring and summer push to grow product sales to shops in tourist towns where our ice cream is sold by the scoop.
– The resident vaccination program is complete in our Golden Health Care seniors homes. This company added to its already stellar reputation by its successful record of protecting their residents from COVID-19 through the pandemic. Zero point five percent infection rate and 100% recovery of residents in their care. A remarkable and heartwarming story of excellence in care for Saskatchewan seniors continues. Despite added costs for PPE and other required items, Golden Healthcare continued to provide steady returns to shareholders.
We see signs of economic recovery within all our business segments. That said, we know risks remain. We will continue to focus our efforts on making sure that our portfolio of companies continue to accelerate sales and earnings throughout 2021. We remain confident in our resources and abilities to meet the challenges, and opportunities, ahead.”
About The Western Investment Company of Canada
Western is a unique publicly traded, private equity company founded by a group of successful Western Canadian business people, and dedicated to building and maintaining ownership in successful Western Canadian companies, and helping them to grow. The company’s shares are traded on the TSX Venture Exchange under the symbol WI. For more information on the company, please visit its website at www.winv.ca.
The Western Investment Company of Canada Limited
President and Chief Executive Officer
This news release may contain certain forward-looking information and statements, including without limitation, statements pertaining to future plans, acquisitions, financings and earnings. Statements containing the words: ‘believes’, ‘intends’, ‘expects’, ‘plans’, ‘seeks’ and ‘anticipates’ and any other words of similar meaning are forward-looking. All statements included herein involve various risks and uncertainties because they relate to future events and circumstances beyond Western’s control. There can be no assurance that such information will prove to be accurate, and actual results and future events could differ materially from those anticipated in such information. A description of assumptions used to develop such forward-looking information and a description of risk factors that may cause actual results to differ materially from forward-looking information can be found in Western’s disclosure documents on the SEDAR website at www.sedar.com. Any forward looking statements are made as of the date of this news release and Western does not undertake to update any forward-looking information except in accordance with applicable securities laws.
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