Western Investment Company Confirms Strong Growth at Fortress Insurance, Sees Stability Returning to Other Portfolio Companies as It Files Q1 Statements

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High River, Alberta–(Newsfile Corp. – May 31, 2021) – The Western Investment Company of Canada Limited (TSXV: WI) (“WICC” or “Western”) announces that it has filed its Q1 Financial Statements and MD&A on SEDAR.

In a message to shareholders, WICC CEO Scott Tannas provided the following commentary:

“I’m pleased to report that we are steadily emerging from the carnage of the past year. Ours are a uniquely western accumulation of seasonal businesses so a modest Q1 net loss is a normal feature for Western. We are on course in Q2 and Q3 to achieve our 2021 year end goal to exceed all previous years’ results.”

Portfolio Report

– The pace of growth at Fortress Insurance continues to accelerate, with Gross Written Premiums in the quarter up 550% over the prior year. The trailing 12 month claims ratio is 44%, a reflection of the high quality of business we are attracting. Early reports show that Fortress’ momentum has carried into Q2. With the recent addition of a new line of business, CEO Shafeen Mawani reports that revenue in April was a monthly record high for the company.

– At GlassMasters, Roger Tulk and his team performed well, growing sales, and preparing for the busy summer season for windshield repair and replacement. In March, GlassMasters opened its first retail location in Regina, SK, and early sales there have far exceeded budget. The Regina team is actively opening commercial accounts and working to serve the consumer market. Despite early concerns about supply chain delays in China, auto glass inventory shipments arrived as scheduled, and in time for the intense sales and service months that are now underway across Glassmasters.

Ocean Sales delivered a nice surprise in Q1 with a contribution to our investment income for the first time in almost two years. This despite sales at half of their pre-pandemic pace, and with their core public events business still shuttered. We continue to be inspired by how hard the Ocean Sales team members have worked to fortify the company. As we get closer to the resumption of large public events, Ocean will be back fully operational with their line up of consumer household products at fairs and home shows, online and in-store with their big box retail partner.

– We spent a lot of time over the past six months working with management to make improvements at Foothills Creamery. The pandemic revealed a problem with one pound retail butter pricing that was previously masked by higher margins in other dairy products. Throughout 2020 our margins dropped significantly as retail butter sales to consumers blossomed, while sales dropped for other products affected by the pandemic restrictions. Due to some fixed term contracts, this pricing problem has taken some time to correct, and the team at Foothills is now in the final stages of completing this urgent project. We are very much looking forward to a more typical mix of product sales coupled with a better discipline for butter pricing in the coming months of 2021. Throughout Q1, the Foothills plant in Calgary was busy building ice cream inventory in advance of what is expected to be a strong summer season for shops in tourist towns where our ice cream is sold by the scoop. A consumer awareness survey completed in February confirmed the strength of Foothills brand in the minds of western Canadians, while highlighting several opportunities to grow the business.

Golden Health Care delivered elevated net income compared to the same quarter last year, and reported strong occupancy in their seniors care homes. Their record of 100% patient recovery through the pandemic continues to stand as a remarkable achievement.

Outlook

Like most businesses, getting Western “back to normal” cannot happen soon enough. We are ready to thrive in a fully-open economy, and working hard to achieve our operational and financial goals for 2021. Shareholders should watch for efforts to highlight the value of our diverse portfolio so the market sees the intrinsic share value of Western. Western will be issuing progress reports in the coming weeks.

About The Western Investment Company of Canada Limited

Western is a unique publicly traded, private equity company founded by a group of successful Western Canadian businesspeople, and dedicated to building and maintaining ownership in successful Western Canadian companies, and helping them to grow. Western’s shares are traded on the TSX Venture Exchange under the symbol WI.

For more information on Western, please visit its website at www.winv.ca.

CONTACT INFORMATION – The Western Investment Company of Canada Limited

Scott Tannas President and Chief Executive Officer (403) 652-2663 stannas@winv.ca

Advisory

This news release may contain certain forward-looking information and statements, including without limitation, statements pertaining to future plans, acquisitions, financings and returns. 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.

Neither the TSX Venture Exchange nor its Regulation Services Provider (as that term is defined in the policies of the TSX Venture Exchange) accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release.

To view the source version of this press release, please visit https://www.newsfilecorp.com/release/85948