Everything Fresh transitions to hard currency market in Bahamas

Everything Fresh Jamaica Limited is now fully operational in the Bahamas the company reported today, October 27, 2020.

The company, hard-hit by the closure of Jamaica’s hotel sector due to the coronavirus earlier this year, said the transfer of 60 per cent of Everything Fresh Bahamas to listed company Everything Fresh Jamaica Limited is complete.

Further, it noted business for the company in The Bahamas is growing exponentially, although specifics were not shared in the letter issued to the Jamaica Stock Exchange (JSE).

The Bahamas is a hard currency territory. The US dollar is of equal value with the Bahamian dollar. US currency is accepted for all transactions and can be used with Bahamian currency.

In Jamaica, the Jamaican dollar is currently valued at J$146 to one US dollar, having depreciated significantly since the start of 2020.

The letter to stock holders from Everything Fresh said, “Consistent with our vision when Everything Fresh completed its IPO, the company has sought to replicate its operations and its success in other islands of the Caribbean.

“In early 2019, with the approval of the Board, the company began to explore a transaction that could satisfy this critical diversification role.

“Now with the completion of the transfer of a sixty per cent stake of Everything Fresh Bahamas Limited to the parent company Everything Fresh Jamaica Limited, the listed company takes this opportunity to update all shareholders.”

The letter stated that Everything Fresh Bahamas Limited is focused on supplying food products to supermarkets and the retail trade in the Bahamas.

Additionally, it said the new company “has realised remarkable growth from a standing start, propelled by a knowledgeable and logistics savvy Jamaican and Bahamian staff.”

The USDA Foreign Agricultural Service, which researches trade indicates, that the Bahamas is the second largest market for US consumer-oriented products in the Caribbean.

The chain of islands sources over 70 per cent of its consumer-ready products from the United States, “creating an environment of opportunity for US suppliers of retail products in practically all product categories,” the USDA agricultural site said.

Total imports of consumer-oriented products amounted to US$310 million in 2018, with the United States capturing about 76 per cent, or US$237 million of this market segment.

By today’s exchange rate, the market in the Bahamas is valued at J$45.26 billion.

The letter from Everything Fresh stated, “Despite the challenges of the COVID epidemic, we expect to see it (Everything Fresh Bahamas) continue to deliver value to the market  and grow further in the near term.

Sales for the Jamaican company for the second quarter ended June 30, 2020, were $83.9 million, down from $520.5 million at June 2019.

This was due, directors said, to the COVID-19 pandemic as well as the company’s decision to discontinue special pork cuts.

However, it continued beef burgers and pork sausages.

Net losses for June quarter 2020 were $56.3 million compared to losses of $28.8 million at June 2019.

Managing Director Courtney Pullen noted in the June report that sales to supermarkets and retail in Jamaica were trending up, compared to 2019.

The company has expressed its intention to diversity into this new space, as opposed to a previous concentration on the hotel sector, in the main.