Kremi to target hotel sector post-COVID-19 recovery

Caribbean Cream Limited, the makers of Kremi ice cream, in a push to further drive sales for the company, recently expressed its intention to tap into the hotel market segment in the aftermath of the novel coronavirus pandemic and as soon as the badly affected tourism sector begins to recover.

Christopher Clarke, managing director and chief executive officer (CEO) of Kremi, said that while their main customers were individuals and entrepreneurs, the addition of larger segments such as the hotel sector will definitely have a positive impact on revenues for the company which has enjoyed growing market shares in the last few years.

“Hotels are among those that we are going to target for sure once COVID passes. We’ve been doing schools at little, but it’s a lot trickier as we have the fudgies that goes to the schools and we don’t want to interrupt their sales,” he said in responding to questions at this week’s Mayberry Investors forum.

The addition of its latest depot in Ocho Rios, a popular tourist destination, is also expected to help the company in effectively expanding its reach in that market. Clarke said that already the location, along with the previous May Pen depot, was yielding some good results for the company.

He said that while some plans for export and entry into other areas such as non-dairy products fell among long-term objectives, the company in the meantime would be ramping up its expansion in other areas.

“Where we expect immediate growth in the near future is the expansion of our product line. We introduced the icicles about a year ago, they’re doing well and we’re happy with it. The next thing we will introduce is the fudge, [however], this has been delayed by COVID-19,” he added.

Among a number of operational efficiencies implemented, including a shared services arrangement with its largest shareholder, Scoops Unlimited, the ice cream and frozen novelties producer said it has been able to lessen administrative costs along with some other expenses for the company.

The managing director and CEO also said that a recent signing of contracts with New Fortress Energy will further help the company to reduce its electricity cost by some 20-40 per cent, which he believe will have significant impacts for the profitability of the company, which has so far seen an almost 100 per cent increase in profits.

Through a retooling exercise across depots, Kremi will be utilising a liquefied natural gas-fuelled combined heat and power (CHP) plant to cut energy costs as well as lessen its carbon footprint.

“The installation of our combined heat and power plant is on track, there has been some delays due to COVID restrictions, but we are happy with the progress. We’re going to use the heat from the plant to offset our Petcom bills as we pasteurise the mix for the ice cream and reduce our overall energy,” Clarke said, adding that “we will also be looking at the chiller in the future to offset energy cost with cooling.”

The company, which continues to see remarkable growth for its nine-month period ended November 30, 2020, saw an eight per cent growth in sales which amounted to $1.3 billion in revenues. Net profits for the period also climbed to $85 million and assets totalled $1.2 billion.

Clarke, in his outlook for this year, said that he was anticipating the continuation of positive growth, noting that, “as more people get the vaccine, we expect global demand for our materials to go up, for example, milk powder, which might drive up commodity price and affect us, but as far as it concerns demand – we expect it to be more of the same going forward.”