The growth outlook for the region is both uncertain and challenging. In a recent report, the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean projected that the region will maintain the recovery that began in the second half of 2009 following the international economic crisis and will grow by 4.7% as a result of internal demand. The Caribbean region specifically will experience a mere 1.9% growth however. It continues to suffer from a long and protracted recession and recovery remains constrained by high debt levels and weak tourism flows because economic recovery in advanced economies has been slower than expected. The key challenge lies in consolidating public finances while lowering our dependence on tourism and strengthening our competitiveness with countries with lower debt burdens. We at GEL are of the view that global and regional recovery will be gradual in the short-term especially with the European Union in turmoil, and recovery in the United States of America below expectation.
For the financial year ended September 30, 2011, revenue increased by 8.1% over the prior year to $949.3 million, generating a Gross Profit of $317.9 million, up 8.5% over last year. Gross Profit as a percentage of sales stood at 33.5%, similar to the 2010 percentage, and was achieved in an environment of continuously rising input costs. Selling, marketing and administrative expenses totalled $280.3 million, an increase of 10.7% over 2010. These expenses represent 29.5% of revenue compared to 28.8% in the prior year, but if, for comparative purposes, this year's corporate acquisitions as well as the one-time charge of $2.1 million arising from the introduction of the Occupational Pension Benefits Act in Barbados are eliminated, the percentages are similar year on year.
In an environment characterised by higher energy and input costs, increased competition in the market place and depressed consumer demand, profit from operations before other (losses)/gains stood at $40.8 million, a decrease of 5.3% from last year.
Other (losses)/gains moved from a net gain in 2010 of $10.8 million to a net loss this year of $27.8 million, a change of $38.6 million. This large variance resulted mainly from three material write-offs during the last quarter of our financial year: 1) a write-off of $9.7 million ($4.9 million after non-controlling interests) relating to a short-term investment held by a subsidiary in our Catering & Ground Handling Division; 2) a provision of $14.0 million in accordance with International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) for the impairment of goodwill purchased in two of our St. Lucian subsidiaries in our Import, Distribution and Marketing Division, whose performance did not meet projections set at the time of their acquisition in 2008; and 3) a full write-off of $14.3 million in accordance with IFRS requirements of the carrying value of our investments in two hotels in Barbados and St. Lucia, as a result of their continued poor performance. Taking the above adjustments into consideration, profit from operations was $12.9 million, a decline of 76.0% below last year.
Finance costs totalled $11.8 million, a reduction of $0.6 million for the year, reflecting net repayment of long-term bank loans in a period of relatively stable interest rates. Our share of income from associated companies declined by 54.6% from last year to $4.7 million, due to a reduction in income from our insurance associate, Sagicor General Insurance Inc., which was negatively affected by an above-normal property loss ratio, due to the impact of Hurricane Tomas in October 2010. The Group recorded a net loss after tax of $5.3 million compared to a net profit of $39.4 million in the prior year. After deducting non-controlling interests of $5.2 million, net loss for the twelve months attributable to equity holders of the Group totalled $10.5 million, as compared to a net profit of $27.5 million in 2010. As a result of the foregoing, our basic loss per share this year is 17.6 cents compared to an earnings per share of 46.1 cents last year. The major one-off adjustments mentioned above represent 58.6 cents earnings per share and are unlikely to recur in the future. Our share price on the Barbados Stock Exchange closed at $6.00 at year-end compared to $5.89 in the prior year.
The Directors declared a dividend of 12 cents per common share on the issued and outstanding shares of the Company for the year ended September 30, 2011. This compares to a dividend of 18 cents per common share paid to shareholders for the preceding year. An interim dividend of 6 cents having been paid on August 31, 2011, the Board declared a final dividend of 6 cents per share on December 13, 2011. The final dividend will be paid on February 29, 2012.
We wish to take this opportunity to thank our shareholders, customers, suppliers and the Group’s management and staff for their continued support, confidence and dedicated service during these uncertain times, which have been marked by worldwide debilitating recessionary economic conditions, lack of vibrancy of stock markets and dampened investor activity.