Thu | Sep 20, 2018

GraceKennedy sets $100b revenue target, to develop innovation lab

Published:Sunday | March 11, 2018 | 12:00 AM
Don Wehby, Group CEO of GraceKennedy Limited.

 

GraceKennedy Limited will continue its strategy of acquisitions, according to Group CEO Don Wehby, who says the purchases made over the past five years have proved profitable for the group.

At an investors briefing on Thursday, Wehby indicated that the food and financial services conglomerate aims to hit $100 billion in annual revenue before 2020, a plan that includes growth in its overseas markets.

He also announced that GraceKennedy's future plans include the creation of an innovation lab at its corporate headquarters.

GraceKennedy's most recent acquisitions were inside Jamaica - a one-third stake in Gray's Pepper and 100 per cent of Consumer Brands Limited. Wehby said the company has its eyes on prospects in Trinidad and Guyana.

The food and financial services company has 50 subsidiaries in the Caribbean, the United States, United Kingdom, Europe, Canada, and Africa.

In 2017, most portfolios experienced growth. The exceptions were insurance, which was flat, and money services, which was down due to the closure of 10 stores. Wehby said the stores have since reopened after a due diligence exercise.

GraceKennedy made $92 billion in revenue last year and $4.77 billion in net profit. Chief Financial Officer Frank James reported that revenue was up in all areas, except for the UK, where results were dragged down 1.5 per cent by a fall-off in sales of Nurishment.

Since year end, Wehby said the UK operation had introduced a sugar-free version of the drink, resulting in a 19 per cent spike in sales, which he hoped would be sustained.

As to new projects that the conglomerate has in the works, Wehby said the innovation lab under consideration would be akin to the one run by Google Inc.

August is targeted for the roll-out of a mobile app for financial services, covering banking, insurance and money services; while money transfers via Western Union online is a work in progress but would soon be ready for launch, Wehby added.

avia.collinder@gleanerjm.com