December 2, 2020

Dolphin Cove reports ‘fairly good’ year [in Jamaica]

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BreakfastandEconomyD2010101From The Gleaner

Dolphin Cove Limited is negotiating the purchase of land in St Lucia and has applied for a permit to set up another marine park.

The company is also exploring possibilities in Aruba in continuation of its regional expansion drive, but as yet has taken no concrete steps to set up business there.

Dolphin Cove’s Turks and Caicos ambitions, where the marine attraction is facing blowback from animal-rights activists and others in the tourism sector, is still in its planning phase and awaiting approval for construction, said Chairman and CEO Stafford Burrowes.

Dolphin Cove is coming off a year in which business was “fairly good” and profits grew by about 23 per cent. Burrowes said he expects even better performance this year.

“Our long-term plan is to have at least three parks outside of Jamaica in three years. We are now in one, so by the end of 2014 we expect to do at least two so that we are still on track,” Burrowes told Wednesday Business.

“There is a limit to grow revenues in Jamaica, so it is necessary for us to look at other territories to continue growth,” he said.

Dolphin Cove has been in business for 11 years, starting with its flagship marine park in Ocho Rios.

“We have the technology and experience to look after dolphins, a proven formula that has worked over the last 11 years, and we have the dolphins and market contacts which will enable us to grow and continue our long-term expansion,” said Burrowes.

The company also has a presence in the Cayman Islands, Too Cool Limited, which Burrowes said is not as successful as he would like, but that efforts continue to make it more profitable.

Dolphin Cove group made net profit of J$250.8 million for the financial year ended December 2012, up from J$204.5 million the previous year.

The Ocho Rios attraction contributed 72 per cent to revenues and 69 per cent to net profit.

The figures for Too Cool were not disaggregated but would have been captured under the operating segment ‘Other’, whose profit contribution amounted to J$2.9 million – a turnaround from a net loss of J$3.8 million in the 2011 period.

Group profit in 2012 was propelled by higher revenues, which climbed by almost 16 per cent to J$1.29 billion. Burrowes said he hopes to repeat top-line performance this year.

“The year ended fairly good and we are looking forward to a reasonable year ahead,” he said.

“Most of our business depends on business from the United States, and with the continued recovery we are looking to get a good supply of customers from United States and Canada. So, we are not complaining, and expect to maintain or better our performance going forward,” he said.

Dolphin Cove closed FY 2012 with balance sheet assets of J$1.4 billion and cash of J$26 million. Its capital expenditures amounted to J$104 million, double the J$50 million spent the previous year.

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Note:  Dolphin Cove in Cayman has been at the centre of controversy in relation to stingrays that normally spend their time at the Cayman Sandbar and Stingray City being held in captivity at the aquarium. Four tagged rays were found at the Aquarium in September 2012 by a local vet and Dolphin Cove was forced to hand them over to Department of Environment (DoE) officials. The rays were returned to the Sandbar.

Six other untagged rays at the facility still remain even after DoE Director Gina Ebanks-Petrie said that the dolphin facility had also been asked to release them. Even though the rays that were not tagged she told Dolphin Cove they were likely to be from the local population that frequents the Sandbar. However, the owners had not responded to that request and appeared reluctant to let the rays go. They still remain there.

A new law, however, will be coming before the Legislative Assembly very soon that will prohibit the captivity of stingrays.

It remains to be seen, however, if the facility will return the stingrays to the DoE.

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