JP bullish on growth despite challenges

May 6, 2022

Recovering well from pandemic-induced fallouts, Jamaica Producers Group (JP) said it is anticipating even stronger growth this year despite continued challenges in the global environment.

“JP prides itself on being prepared. [The period] 2022 will be a challenging year but we see opportunity. The COVID-19 pandemic tested our businesses in 2020 but we returned stronger in 2021. We plan to continue this positive momentum into 2022,” commented Jeffrey Hall, group chief executive officer (CEO), in the company’s recently published annual report.

Mindful of the challenges in economic environment — which Chairman Charles Johnston outlined as including the war in Europe between Russia and Ukraine, along with inflation and the continued disruptions to global trade and supply chains — the group’s diversified portfolio, which spans logistics and infrastructure (L&I) and food and drink (F&D), are believed to be well-positioned and -capitalised to weather these constraints.

“We continue to believe that our strategy of maintaining diverse business lines, a diverse geographic footprint, and a flexible balance sheet will continue to serve our shareholders well,” Johnston stated, adding that in 2022 the group’s business development programme “will continue to boldly emphasise value-based acquisitions and investments in fresh juices, specialty food and drink, and global logistic enterprises”.

The multi-income stream business, in touting its resilience, last year saw revenues grow to $25 billion — 19 per cent more than the $21 billion earned in 2020. This was backed by consolidated profits of $3.8 billion and total assets of $45 billion at the end of December.

“Relative to 2019, a year unaffected by COVID-19, there was a 17 per cent increase. Both operating segments recorded substantial revenue increases on 2020, with F&D recording revenues of $14.8 billion, up 16 per cent on 2020 and 17 per cent on 2019, and L&I reaching revenues of $10.3 billion, up 24 per cent on 2020 and 16 per cent on 2019,” Hall said, noting that almost half of these revenues ($10.6 billion) were driven through its local portfolio following increased activities from its dominant Kingston Wharves subsidiary alongside product sales from JP Snacks, JP Farms, Tortuga and other logistics services provided by its JP Shipping subsidiaries.

Of the larger and remaining revenues extracted from the international markets, Europe accounted for almost $12 billion of sales alongside the $2.5 billion earned from its Caribbean operations. After acquiring a 50 per cent stake in the Barcelona-based juice company CoBeverage Lab SA, the group last year ramped up its presence in the European beverage market supported by a doubling in revenues from its larger Hoogesteger fresh juice business in the Netherlands.

“Revenue growth remains an objective for the group. We believe that all our business lines have the opportunity to grow revenues through either extension of existing products and services to new customers or the addition of new products and services to existing customers.

“We are aware that uncertainty and change are inevitable in doing business, providing risk that needs mitigating, but we believe they also provide opportunity. To this extent our investment programme will continue. We expect this to be both through acquisitions and investments as the group is positioned with a strong balance sheet, strong liquid resources, strong banking relationships and, critically, a strong pool of team members to be able to execute this investment programme in line with the group’s targeted return on investment parameters,” Hall stated.

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