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Neal and Massy: BSL contributed to profit decline

City Market’s former majority shareholder, Neal and Massy, is attributing part of its$87 million profit decline for the year ended September 30, 2010 to its former Bahamas operations.

The information was revealed in the company’s latest financial report.”The prevailing economic environment throughout the region continues to adversely impact the group,”said a statement in the report from the company’s Chairman Arthur Lok Jack.”Key operating business units experienced reasonable growth, but the results for 2010 were mainly impacted by the disappointing performance of Almond Resorts, and losses on the operations of Bahamas Supermarkets Ltd. and Warrens Motors Inc., which were being held for sale.

“Bahamas Supermarkets Ltd.(BSL)has incurred continued losses over the last several financial years and the board took the decision to dispose of these investments in the last quarter of 2010. Operations of BSL were sold in November 2010,”noted the report.

The company saw its revenue remain steady at$8.3 billion as profit before tax dropped by 12.5 per cent, said Lok Jack. Profit before tax was$605 million in 2010, down from$692 million a year earlier.

Earlier this month, Neal and Massy refuted reports that$12 million was still owed to it by the new principal owners Trans-Island Traders.

“Neal and Massy hereby refutes vehemently the contents of an article,”said a statement sent toGuardian Businesslast week, referring to an earlier report in a local tabloid.”The article indicated that the Finlayson Group owes Neal and Massy$12 million.

“This is absolutely untrue. There was never any conversation with Neal and Massy and the Finlayson Group about the owing of$12 million.”

The response follows an earlierGuardian Businessreport that a legal battle may be on the horizon for City Market, with the company locked out of its Oakes Field store over a lease dispute, forcing it to reposition that location’s 50 employees throughout its other outlets.

It’s a matter emerging out of what new City Market CEO Mark Finlayson-the head of the Trans-Island Traders group-earlier termed a”hefty”rent increase at the aging location.

“Locks have been put on the store[because]the old lease has been terminated,”he said then.”Twenty-one days rent has not been paid, but we’ve been trying to meet with[our landlord]and he has delayed the meetings for the past two weeks.

“Now he wants us to enter into a new lease agreement… with a very hefty increase. But I am not going to be forced into a new lease. As far as I’m concerned we have a legal battle on our hands.”

His landlord Neil Mactaggart collects for both the Oakes Field and Village Road locations, although the agreement for the eastern store still remains in good standing for the time being.

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