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KFC restaurant corner of Broadway and Independence Square, Port-of-Spain.

Prestige Holdings continues to be negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic as in the fiscal year 2021, revenue decreased by 21 per cent to $712 million from $897 million and this resulted in a Loss After Tax of $28.3 million.

According to the company’s Consolidated Audited Results for the 12 months ended November 30, 2021 this loss included a non-cash accounting adjustment for IFRS 16 of $6.1 million before tax.

“During the period, our group generated $51 million in operating cash flow and ended the year with $55 million in cash. Our net debt to equity remained strong at 13:87 (excluding the effect of IFRS 16), and at year end we operated 129 restaurants with three new restaurant openings, two closures and no remodels or relocations during the period,” Chairman Christian Mouttet said in a statement.

He also noted that all of the company’s brands were negatively impacted by COVID restrictions, though some more severely due to a higher dependence on in-house dining.

“Apart from the period in which our industry was completely closed, management adapted quickly and decisively to the new restricted operating environment. Throughout the year, we continued to make considerable headway in driving our digital, delivery and drive-thru channels and we are building a robust platform to drive further growth in these areas,” he explained.

Further, Mouttet said rising commodity, transport and energy costs globally have impacted all industries and in particular, the food industry.

“At Prestige, we have worked closely with our long-standing local and foreign suppliers as well as developed new supply chain and operating initiatives to minimize the impact of these increases to our business and our customers,” he added.

Noting that the company’s financial year 2021 was also the second year of the pandemic, Mouttet said like the previous financial year, COVID has had a significant impact on the industry and business, and by extension operating results.

“Throughout all of 2021, the restaurant industry was severely hindered by various Government mandated operating restrictions which included limitations on in-house dining and opening hours, the complete closure of all restaurants for 80 days and safe zone operating requirements that are currently in place,” Mouttet explained.

He added that while these restrictions negatively impacted operations and earnings, the company’s focus throughout the year, as it was in 2020, was to protect the health and well-being of its employees and customers, minimize the financial impact severe disruptions would have on its business and identify opportunities and implement changes that would benefit business in the long term.

“I am pleased with the efforts and progress that the management has made in each of these areas, which has made our group more adaptive and responsive to our customers and to a dynamic business environment,” Mouttet added.

Looking forward, he said the unpredictability of the pandemic and its effects on the industry in the last two years has made it difficult, if not “unwise” to make forward looking statements with any level of accuracy.

Additionally, Mouttet said he expects to continue to be challenged by rising and volatile food and material costs in the new financial year.

“However, given the trend in the last quarter of 2021, the clear signal from our Government to keep the Trinidad and Tobago economy open and the strength and resilience of our brands and our people, we expect improved results in 2022 and beyond,” he added.