GraceKennedy (GK) yesterday reported a third-quarter profit of j$57.4 billion, an increase of 15.5% or j$7.7 billion over the corresponding period last year.
Stating that the figures represented unaudited results for the group for the nine months ending September 30, 2014, the local conglomerate said net profit attributable to owners of the company increased by j$406.3 million or 20.5%, compared to the same period last year.
“It has been a challenging period, but we are really proud of what we have achieved,” GraceKennedy Group CEO Don Wehby was quoted in a company news release.
He pointed to the company’s acquisition of the business and assets of La Fe Foods Inc — which has its operations in New Jersey, Florida, and North Carolina — in July, as well as the acquisition of an additional 50 per cent of the shares in EC Global Insurance Company Limited, a St Lucian firm (making GK majority shareholders) in September, as two outstanding highlights.
“The La Fe acquisition has the potential to significantly expand our North American business with our own distribution, manufacturing and brand-building capabilities in that market,” Wehby said. “As majority shareholder of EC Global, we are excited about the prospects that this business provides for our continued expansion in the region.”
Wehby, the news release said, was quick to emphasise that even with those significant developments, the company remains extremely focused on the ‘fortress’ of GK — its domestic business.
The company also reported that GraceKennedy Foods (GK Foods) recorded 21 per cent growth in revenue over the corresponding period last year, saying that the performance was boosted by the La Fe acquisition as well as the continued strong performance of business in Europe and the United Kingdom.
“While revenue performance improved, profits were impacted by the depreciation of the Jamaican dollar, resulting in lower margins,” the company said. “Several new products were developed and launched in Jamaica and Canada specifically, and the domestic segment continues to focus on several projects to enhance efficiency, capability and profitability.”
Grace Agro Processors (GAP), the company added, now produces twice its normal output of pepper mash from the GK processing plant in Hounslow, St. Elizabeth, and supplies not only the local market, but exports to markets in the United Kingdom, Switzerland and St Lucia.