Dear Fellow Shareholders,
I’m writing to provide you with an update on our Company, as we navigate this difficult time.
The executive team at WICC is actively engaged in making sure that all our investee companies have the resources they need to manage through the COVID 19 crisis. We became involved early and extensively at all levels of planning and execution to ensure that our companies were meeting their unique challenges. To date, we have been successful in putting plans in place that we believe will allow all our companies to emerge from this crisis intact.
GlassMasters remains open for business in their locations and with their extensive mobile service fleet. The workforce has been temporarily reduced to fit the volume of current sales activity and are on standby for recall and ramp up as business normalizes.
After a very encouraging start to the year, Ocean Sales has suffered a significant reduction in revenue since the COVID crisis. Not surprising given their business model is all about demonstrating and selling their consumer products at shows, exhibitions and public events and also with high consumer traffic partner retailers. They have the resources to hunker down, invest more time in their online sales channel – which is gaining traction – and prepare for the relaxation of current restrictions around public gatherings and will be ready to resume their operations when the time comes.
Foothills Creamery remains in high production mode producing ice cream and butter for consumers who are baking and cooking at home more than usual and feeding their cooped-up kids generous servings of ice cream.
Golden Health Care facilities are taking all possible precautions to protect their residents while maintaining steady occupancy levels. This company has significant cash reserves to meet any future challenge.
Fortress Insurance is busy growing – adding new customers and premiums every month. The equity component of the investment portfolio at Fortress has been impacted by the market but mitigated by our 75% allocation to fixed-income investments which have performed well. We expect our equity investments will recover over time, and will not affect our ability to do business now.
The events of the past month have been challenging to say the least. But we have met those challenges by working with confidence and creativity to help our partners and management teams get repositioned to succeed.
The sharing of the burden brought about by COVID has been inspiring. Over the past month, we have witnessed tremendous offers of support for our companies by customers, suppliers, bankers and all levels of government. We are humbled by the resilience and loyalty of the employees of our companies, including those who have been temporarily laid off while we work to secure their jobs for the future. We are determined to deliver a successful outcome for all stakeholders.
Given our current and anticipated future environment, we believe The Western Investment Company of Canada has sufficient liquidity to meet its obligations and support our investee companies through this crisis and beyond. We will continue to provide updates as time and circumstances require.
On behalf of the Board, I thank all shareholders for your continued trust and support and wish you and your family good health through the coming weeks and months.
President and Chief Executive Officer