On June 17, Jamaica Producers Group Limited (JP) hosted an in-person annual general meeting (AGM) at the Terra Nova All-Suite Hotel, following on last year’s fully virtual AGM due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
JP is a multi-national portfolio of businesses that are centred around two primary segments – Food and Drink and Logistics and Infrastructure.
Within these segments, JP’s portfolio encompasses investments in a diverse range of geographies, markets and business lines.
Group CEO, Jeffrey Hall was clear to note that “JP is proudly Jamaican, but we are global in our outlook. This is a perspective that is steeped in our history but is never more relevant than today”.
During the year the Group acquired two additional businesses to add to their Food and Drink portfolio. On September 1, 2021, JP completed an investment that resulted in a 50 per cent stake in a Spanish juice manufacturer – CoBeverage Labs S.L., and on October 16, 2021, JP, through its 50 per cent joint venture intermediate holding company, Grupo Frontera Limited, completed an investment in Grupo Alaska S.A., an ice and water manufacturing and distribution business in the Dominican Republic.
Geest Line, a shipping line that has operated services linking the Caribbean and Europe for more than 60 years, was acquired by JP and its joint venture partner, Sealines Holdings N.V., a member of the Seatrade group of companies, in April, 2021.
Both shareholders own 50 per cent of the issued share capital of Geest Line, which operates five vessels on a weekly service linking the UK, The Netherlands, the Eastern Caribbean, Colombia and the Dominican Republic. In the nine months since acquisition, Geest Line has made a significant contribution to JP’s net profit.
In Q1 2022, JP acquired the South Florida-based Miami Freight & Shipping Company, adding a North American platform to JP’s diversified logistics and shipping business, connecting the world’s major markets to the Caribbean.
“JP acquired major interests in four businesses in the last 12 months with our most recent acquisitions cutting across our logistics and infrastructure and food and drink business platforms and includes businesses in Europe, the US and the Caribbean. We have demonstrated that this strategy of bold diverse acquisitions is working, with profit growth of over 50 per cent this year,” Hall shared.
JP’s overall financial position, represented by the value of JP’s shareholders’ equity in the Group Balance Sheet at December 31, 2021, has shown considerable strengthening during 2021, with JP’s shareholders’ equity increasing by 11 per cent. This continued the strengthening seen in 2020 despite the impact of the pandemic. Between the unaudited Q1 2020 balance sheet and the audited FY 2021 balance sheet, a period so far approximating to that covered by the COVID-19 pandemic, JP has grown its shareholders’ equity by 27 per cent from $14.1 billion to $18.0 billion.
At December 31, 2021, JP’s net worth reflected a book value of $17.10 per stock unit after exclusion of those stock units held by the Group’s ESOP.
“The 2021 performance of Jamaica Producers Group was strong. JP’s overall financial results reflected a recovery from the challenges associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. Importantly, the results also demonstrate that the Group has emerged from the crisis with an even stronger and more resilient multinational business portfolio,” shared Group Chairman Charles Johnston.
Group CEO Jeffrey Hall also shared plans of future developments in and around JP’s land holdings in St Mary.
“We also recently announced a commitment to development in and around the JP estate in St Mary. JP owns over 3,500 acres of land in St Mary and this project will initially focus on farming and re-forestation as well as community support and engagement. In 2023, the project will include select planned low density residential and commercial real estate development.”
In many ways, 2021 was a transformational year for JP. The Group extended its portfolio to new geographical areas and widened its exposure in the core Food and Drink and Logistics and Infrastructure markets. At the same time its existing businesses completed or commenced new commercial and operational investments and introduced new innovations in its product and service lines. Many of these investments are part of multi-year investment programmes that the Group expects to deliver improved returns for 2022 and beyond.