GraceKennedy to push for overseas profits

(Jamaica Gleaner) Grace Kennedy Group CEO Don Wehby said the conglomerate intends to earn a half of its profit from outside of Jamaica as it moves to become a global consumer group within the next eight years.

Don Wehby

According to Wehby, the plan is for the Jamaican company to have its renowned Grace brand sold on three continents as it forms strategic alliances with international partners. “Our focus going forward with the global consumer group is to expand food outside of the region and financial services within the region,” Wehby told reporters and editors at the Observer Monday Exchange at the newspaper’s head offices in Kingston yesterday.

Wehby said the plan is to achieve 50 per cent of profit outside of Jamaica, instead of the current 20 per cent, by 2020.

“In terms of profitability, where we believe we are going to expand is outside of Jamaica, and we are not saying that our focus is not going to be Jamaica, but we believe the rate of growth is going to be faster outside than inside,” he explained further.

GraceKennedy’s food trading revenue for the first nine months of last year was just under J$30 billion.

The company, which is celebrating 90 years of operation this month, comprises 60 subsidiaries and associated companies located across the Caribbean, North and Central America and the United Kingdom, and spans the areas of food processing and distribution, banking and finance, and insurance and remittance.

According to Wehby, one of the first big steps taken towards becoming a global consumer group was a US$50-million investment in a United Kingdom-based company WT Foods, that has since been renamed GK UK, which now exports Grace products to Germany.

Additionally, Grace Kennedy’s popular Tropical Rhythms drinks, which are manufactured here in Jamaica, are exported to Ghana in West Africa, where, according to Wehby, they are in very high demand.

“The point is, if we are going to become a global consumer group exporting to all these continents we have to commit to investing in manufacturing in Jamaica because that has to be the base, because without consistent and quality supplies we could have a problem,” Wehby said

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