GraceKennedy to enter Nigeria by year-end

(Jamaica Observer) GraceKennedy is expected to send its first shipment to Nigeria by year-end.

Don Wehby
Don Wehby

The food, financial and money services conglomerate has already established itself in Ghana, and is now in the final stage of lengthy product registration and due-diligence processes in the neighbouring West African country, said Don Wehby, GraceKennedy Group’s chief executive officer.

Though not ruling out French West African countries (the company will continue to research those markets) GraceKennedy will concentrate on the English speaking West African markets, according to Wehby, who said that year- to-date revenue in Ghana has doubled that of the comparative period in 2012.

Consumers in Ghana have a similar taste profile to those in Jamaica. A lot of the focus on that geographic region is also due to the size of the countries and the fast pace of economic growth there.

Over in the US, where GraceKennedy has been promoting its products more to markets outside of those highly populated by its diaspora — such as the Hispanic community, which has welcomed the Grace brand — Wehby is encouraged by the initial results.

“Our coconut water and hot sauces have been especially well received,” he said.

A wholly owned distribution company in Belize provides a foothold in Central America where GraceKennedy plans to explore opportunities.

Coconut water shipments to Mexico, Guatemala and Honduras have commenced, while milk powder is already being exported to the two Central American countries.

“We believe there is strong growth potential in these markets,” Wehby told the Jamaica Observer.

Growth in the international business and the performance of the factories contributed to the increased profitability of the food division.

“Profits for 2013 in our overseas markets are up significantly over 2012, the CEO said.

Sales in the food division for the three months ended June 30, 2013 was 12 per cent higher than the same period last year — up from J$9.7 billion to J$10.9 billion — while pre-tax profit jumped 188 per cent, from J$95.2 million during the three months ended June 30, 2012, to J$274.7 million in the review period.

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