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A Jamaica Producers' corporate office building in Kingston, Jamaica (Photo courtesy of JP)

Jamaica Producers winning in Europe

A Jamaica Producers' corporate office building in Kingston, Jamaica (Photo courtesy of JP)

Jamaica Producers Group Limited in its first-quarter report indicated that A.L. Hoogesteger Fresh Specialist B.V. (Hoogesteger), its juice manufacturer in Belgium, continues to be the market leader in fresh juice in northern Europe, serving as a co-packer of juice for major supermarket and food-service entities in the Netherlands, Belgium, Scandinavia, and Switzerland. 

Hoogesteger has become the largest contributor to the revenues and profits of the group’s Food and Drink (F&D) Division, management noted in their first-quarter report. 

Hoogesteger’s manufacturing plant (Photo: www.hoogesteger.nl)

The division’s year-to-date revenues of JM$3.3 billion, covering the first quarter ended 3 April 2021, are up 9 per cent relative to the prior year.

 This compares to inflows from the Logistics and Infrastructure Division that grew only three per cent over this first quarter to JM$2.1 billion.

Increasing market share in Europe

In the Netherlands, the company’s products are found in Bidfood, Hanos, Sligro, Horeca Service Kennemerland, Q van der Meij, and Kweker.

In 2008, JP exited the production of juice in the United Kingdom. Thereafter it invested in the Netherlands-based company, which was that country’s leading fresh juice and smoothie manufacturer.

“We expect trading conditions to improve as lockdowns and other restrictions associated with the pandemic are eased in the second half of 2021”

JP’s purchase of Hoogesteger Fresh Specialist B.V. means that the company now has the largest fresh juice company in Europe. The position was further cemented when JP invested significantly in technology that allowed the company to introduce cold press and extend the shelf life of fresh fruit juices without losing the flavour.

As a result, the company expanded its juice line into Germany and Scandinavia.

F&D challenges

The F&D Division, of which Hoogester is a part, comprises portfolio subsidiaries that are engaged in farming, food processing, distribution, and retail of food and drink. 

Hoogesteger’s line of fresh juice products (Photo: zzumomas.com)

The division has production facilities in Europe and the Caribbean and operates a distribution centre in the United States. Our range of specialty food and drink products includes fresh juices, tropical snacks, fresh fruit, and Caribbean rum-based confectionery and baked goods.

For the first quarter 2021,  management said the F&D division continued to experience significant challenges to food sales in travel retail, food service and convenience channels. 

However, this was offset by increased sales of consumer staples to supermarkets as well as specialty foods through e-commerce and gifting segments serving the United States. 

Chief Executive Officer, Jamaica Producers Jeffrey hall (File photo)

Challenges posed by the pandemic have also been  offset by growth in volumes sold to mainstream supermarkets that generally specialise in consumer staples.

Improved revenues

Management commented in the company’s annual report, “We expect trading conditions to improve as lockdowns and other restrictions associated with the pandemic are eased in the second half of 2021.”

JP’s other division, Logistics and Infrastructure, generated 2021 year-to-date profit before finance cost and taxation of JM$708 million, a three per cent reduction over the prior year.

A docked Geest Line cargo ship. Geest Line is one of the companies comprising part of the Jamaica Producers’ Logistics and Infrastructure Division (Photo: Lloyd’s List)

For the first quarter ended 3 April 2021, management said that although JP’s results continue to be affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, the business experienced improved operating performance relative to the 2020 first quarter.

Net profit attributable to shareholders of the group amounted to JM$256 million, an increase of 17 per cent over the comparable period in 2020. 

First-quarter revenues also improved, by six per cent, relative to the 2020 first quarter.

JP’s consolidated equity now stands at JM$31.5 billion, of which cash, short-term investments and securities purchased under resale agreements now amount to JM$9.4 billion. 

Total equity attributable to JP shareholders now amounts to JM$16.3 billion, an increase of 16 per cent over the preceding 12-month period.