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Online Banking Is Now Our Most Used Channel With 39% Of Total Transactions Being Conducted Online And Only 2% Within Our Branches.

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Audrey Tugwell Henry, President and CEO Of Scotia Group Jamaica Has Released The Following Report For The Second Quarter Of Fiscal 2023

Scotia Group reports net income of $7.6 billion for the six months ended April 30, 2023, representing an increase of $4.0 billion or 108.4% over the comparative prior period. Net income for the quarter of $4.2 billion reflected an increase of $788MM or 23% over the previous quarter. The Group’s performance continues to be anchored by solid growth across all our business lines, prudent risk management and efficient management of our operations.

“We remain laser-focused on our strategy, and this has allowed us to maintain momentum across our lines of business supported firmly by our ongoing customer service improvements and digital transformation initiatives” said Audrey Tugwell Henry, President and CEO of Scotia Group Jamaica.

She further commented, “Our customers continue to place their trust in us, evidenced by sustained growth in our deposit book and as we continue to evolve as a full-suite financial services provider. They have also shown increasing interest in our new and innovative products, including those offered by our recently launched subsidiary Scotia General Insurance Agency.”

During the period under review, we have seen increasing interest in our products and services resulting in strong performances across the business. Total deposits increased by 10% ($437.6 billion in 2023 up from J$397.7 billion in 2022) as customers continue to trust us to manage their financial affairs. The Group also
maintained growth in our lending portfolio as we continue to offer competitive products to the market. Total loans during the period increased by 20.3%, up J$42.1 billion compared the respective period in 2022.

The corporate and commercial segment delivered growth of 23% over prior period as our team continued to provide relevant financial solutions, sound relationship management and exemplary services to business customers. There continues to be strong growth in our digital payment solutions for business customers with near universal adoption of our outgoing payment solutions on our propriety channels. We have also seen strong adoption of our eCommerce solutions and enhanced tax payment service introduced during the last two quarters.

The retail banking business also performed well with our flagship Scotia Plan Loans increasing by 12% versus the corresponding period in 2022. We continue to support customers to buy a home with highly competitive interest rates for mortgages. As a result, our mortgage business continues to perform exceptionally with a 31% increase versus the prior period.

Our life insurance business, Scotia Jamaica Life Insurance Company Limited (Scotia Insurance) reported net insurance revenue of $1 billion compared to $136 million in the prior period, reflecting a year over year increase of $894 million. Scotia Insurance will celebrate its 25th anniversary in June and we are proud to have helped thousands of Jamaicans to protect their families and plan for the future with our products. We intend to redouble our efforts to ensure that all our customers are aware of the importance of protection as part of their financial plan.

Scotia Insurance also launched a key enhancement to Scotia CritiCare, our critical illness plan, which now boasts triple the coverage previously offered as we increase our efforts to provide our customers with accessible and affordable coverage for major illnesses.

At Scotia Investments, all our funds continue to perform well with yields beating the respective benchmarks. Our Scotia Premium Short Term Income Fund JMD and Scotia Premium US$ Indexed Fund continue to deliver best-in-class performances ranking in the top two among similar funds. This performance is a testament to our investment management expertise as well as our commitment to deliver the best risk-adjusted returns to our customers.

We must also highlight the successful efforts of our Investment Banking team in raising J$250 million to refinance maturing preference shares for CAC 2000 Limited (Ltd.) – an industry – leading energy and indoor environmental quality solutions provider which services both the commercial and residential sectors.

Our Customer First strategy continues to evolve as we reimagine the customer experience in all areas of our business.

Our Customer First strategy continues to evolve as we reimagine the customer experience in all areas of our business. We continue to leverage ‘The Pulse’, our customer feedback system to ensure that we are actively listening to customers and addressing their concerns. Over the past few months, we have seen marked improvements in customer satisfaction and net promoter scores.

Leveraging our customer insights, we recently launched Scotia Access, a focused relationship strategy for customers with more complex financial needs. This model offers personalized advice and solutions by a dedicated advisor as well as a digital collaboration tool which allows customers to connect on the go in a secure environment through mobile or online banking with their assigned advisor via chat, audio or video conferencing.

In March 2023, we began a major migration exercise of approximately 70,000 customers to accounts better suited for their needs. The migration exercise included customers who now qualify for senior accounts which offer a range of special benefits and reduced fees.

Further upgrades continued across our digital channels with the revamping of our online banking website and the implementation of ‘Breeze’ – a more customer intuitive online web platform with several enhanced functionalities. Online banking is now our most used channel with 39% of total transactions being conducted online and only 2% within our branches.

We continue to advance our Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) agenda through various initiatives. In April 2023, we supported the Jamaica Environment Trust in coastal clean-up efforts with a beach clean-up activity at Sigarny Beach in Kingston. Over 4,100 pounds of garbage were collected and sorted during that event. During the quarter, Scotiabank globally launched a net zero research fund which offered not-for-profit and charitable organizations opportunities to submit proposals for research targeting decarbonization.

Our Social Impact initiatives are ongoing throughout the year. During the quarter, the Group supported Junior Achievement Jamaica through the ‘Scotiabank Road to Success’ financial education programme. Financial literacy sessions were also held in conjunction with project STAR for women in the participating communities in Kingston. The Scotiabank Women Initiative (SWI) continued to support women-led businesses through an education seminar focused on ecommerce. The SWI also launched an entrepreneurial course with Dress for Success Jamaica aimed at helping women from disadvantaged situations to become more economically resilient.

In line with our corporate governance standards, Scotia Group held its Annual General Meeting in March 2023 in a hybrid format. This gave us the opportunity to engage with our shareholders to discuss the performance and direction of the business.

In closing, I would sincerely like to thank all our shareholders for their demonstrated confidence in the Group. I would like to thank our winning team of Scotiabankers for going the extra mile for our customers and delivering another strong performance this quarter, and of course thank you to our customers who continue to make Scotia their financial partner – for every future.”

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Image Plus Consultants Implementing Strategies To Grow Scan Count To Improve Revenue Performance.

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Kisha Anderson CEO Of Image Plus Consultants Limited, Has Released The Following Report And Results For The First Quarter Of The Financial Year Ending February 28, 2025.

Summary Financials

  • Revenues of J$293.46M (YOY decline of J$6.73M or 2.24%)
  • Gross Profit flat at J$190M
  • Profit before Tax of J$31.7M (YOY decline of J$32.46M or 50.63%)
  • 14,528 scans versus 14,793 in prior year
  • EPS of $0.03 cents

 

 

Revenues

Revenues for the first three months of the financial year totalled J$293.46M. This result is J$6.73M or 2.24% below that for the same period in the prior year. There is a direct relationship between scan count and revenue. Total scan count for the first quarter was 265 or 1.8% less than the 14,793 scans completed at the end of the first three months in FY2024. The decline was due to;
1. The reduction in after-hour “On Call” services
2. A slower than anticipated growth in our new modalities of Mammography and MRI
3. A three (3) week downtime of our Ocho Rios CT unit, starting on May 22, 2024, which would have impacted earnings for the last eight (8) days of the quarter.

We continue to implement strategies to grow the scan count of our new modalities so as to improve revenue performance.

Expenses and Profit before Tax

Direct Costs for Q1 FY2025 were $103.46M, representing a decrease of 4.57% or J$4.95M over Q1 FY2024.

Gross Profit Margin for the quarter was 64.75%, a marginal increase when compared to the 63.89% outturn for the same period prior year.

Our Administrative and Other Expenses grew by J$20.19M or 15.31% when compared to the same period in the prior year, reducing our Operating Profit to J$37.96M when compared to the J$59.92M earned in the prior year’s quarter. This resulted in a 7% decline in Operating Profit Margin, demonstrating that we have not yet derived the revenue potential from the new modalities to absorb the growth in these expenses that had to be front-loaded to facilitate the build-out of the new modalities. The team is focused on improving this result.

Consequent to the reduction in revenue and the increase in operating expenses, our Profit Before Tax for this first quarter declined by 50.6% to 31.65M when compared to the same period in prior year.

Balance Sheet Growth

At the end of the first quarter, total assets stood at J$1.62B when compared to the J$1.61B at the end of FY 2024 and J$1.23B for Q1 FY2024. The growth of 31.42% or J$387.8M over Q1 2024 was due to increases in Property Plant and Equipment (“PPE”). As we have previously reported, growth in PPE is due to:
• the acquisition of land at 33 Lady Musgrave Road (“33 LMR”) for the relocated Winchester Road branch and future headquarters of the Company,
• the acquisition of new bio-medical equipment, namely two (2) Ultrasound Units, two (2)
Mammography Units and their accompanying UPS systems,
• the acquisition of one (1) Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) system and its accompanying UPS system and
• the increase in Right of Use Asset associated with the leases for our Ocho Rios and 3a Winchester Road locations.

There has been a year-over-year decrease of J$158.25M or 32.46% in Trade and Other Receivables resulting from capitalization of the prepayments associated with the acquisition of bio-medical equipment. This is offset by the J$33.16M or 12.73% increase in trade receivables from J$260.42M to J$293.58M. Important to note there has been an improvement in the aged receivables portfolio when compared to prior year.

Total equity for Q1 FY2025 decreased by J$5.53M reflecting the net position resulting from the accrual of the dividend J$37.18M to be paid on July 11, 2024.

Total Liabilities grew by J$18.77M to J$552.08M when compared to total liabilities as at the financial year end Feb2024 and by 80.08% or J$245.51M when compared to the prior year’s quarter. This increase results from the increase in Borrowings associated with the acquisition of bio-medical equipment, increased utilization of our bank overdraft and growth in our trade payables.

Outlook for Remainder of FY 2024 and beyond

Having achieved the desired build out of modalities, it is now critical that the IPCL team ensures that we grow revenue from our diversified revenue streams. Our targeted organic profit growth will be dependent on our ability to achieve the desired mix of scans by modality and source (private versus public patients). In growing we remain committed to constantly enhancing our patient experience, maintaining the quality of our reporting and improving our efficiency. We continue to scan the market for any inorganic growth opportunities that would add value to our performance.

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One Academy Solution Contributed Significantly To One On One Educational Services’ Performance For 3rd Quarter But Ended Nine-Month Period With Net Loss Of J$17.3M

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Ricardo Allen, founder and CEO For One On One Educational Services Limited (ONE) Has Released The Following Unaudited Financial Statements For The Third Quarter Ended May 31, 2024

Revenue for the 3rd quarter increased to J$94.9 million, resulting in a 37.8% increase compared to the same period last year. This substantial revenue growth was primarily driven by the expansion of our One Academy solution, as we secured agreements to implement the solution in one hundred high schools across Jamaica. This increase in revenue directly contributed to a significant improvement in the company’s performance for the quarter.

Direct costs for the 3rd quarter amounted to J$16.4 million, reflecting a J$4.6 million increase over the prior year. Despite this rise in costs, the gross profit increased to J$78.5 million, up by 37.5% due to the increased revenue.

The nine-month period also saw a 25.2% increase in direct costs due to an increase in our hosting infrastructure services, crucial for our Business to Government (B2G) division and implementation costs for the One Academy solution.

Administrative and selling expenses for the nine months decreased by J$9.9 million or 6.0%, while the 3rd quarter experienced a 21.8% decrease, reflecting the net benefit from cost-control measures implemented from the second quarter.

A taxation charge of J$7.4 million for the current quarter was due to deferred taxation, resulting in an overall tax charge of J$8.3 million at the end of the nine months.

The quarter ended with a net profit of J$24.2 million, a substantial increase of 520% compared to the J$3.9 million net profit for the 2023 quarter.

The company revenue for the nine months ended 31 May 2024 was J$206.1 million, down from J$222.3 million for the nine months ended May 2023. This decline was primarily due to the completion of some short-term project related contracts. Nevertheless, we have successfully retained our core annual recurring business from existing contracts, some of which have even expanded through new acquisitions.

The company ended the nine-month period with a net loss of J$17.3 million, compared to a net profit of J$21.4 million for the previous year and a reduction in the year to date loss from J$41.4M reported for the six months ended February 2024. Despite this, the significant growth in quarterly revenue and profitability sets a positive trajectory for the future.

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QWI Investments Transitions Into Stocks With Better Short-Term Outlook

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John Jackson Chairman For QWI Investments (QWI) Limited Has Released The Following Report For The Third Quarter Ended June 2024

QWl’s Jamaican investments, representing 65 percent of the Company’s portfolio, produced unrealised gains of $45.1 million (Q3 2023- $99.9 million) and realised losses of $2.6 million in the quarter. The year ago, quarter was strongly influenced by a sharp upturn in the price of our shares in Stationery and Office Supplies ahead of its stock split in 2023. These gains were not repeated this quarter. Accordingly, the 2024 results are based on the performance of companies that appear more sustainable going forward.

For the year to date there was an $84 million improvement in the Jamaican portfolio from unrealised losses of $42 million in 2023 to an unrealised gain this year of $42 million.

During the quarter we transitioned into some stocks with better short-term outlook and disposed of others which we considered to have limited upside potential. We reinvested some of the sales proceeds in stocks considered to have potential for above average growth prospects and utilised the rest to reduce the Company’s borrowings.

The Net Asset Value (NAV) of the Company’s shares increased 2.3 percent from $1.29 in March 2024 to $1.32 at the end of June 2024. In addition to capital gains in our stock holdings we enjoyed unrealised exchange gains of $15.1 million compared with $1.4 million a year ago.

Administration costs decreased to almost $25.3 million for the year to date compared with $28.6 million in 2023 while interest expense decreased from $8.6 million in the year ago quarter to $7.6 million this year reflecting lower borrowings.

Third Quarter Results: Statement of Financial Position

QWI ended the period with equity capital of $1.797 billion up from $1.685 billion in September 2023, boosted by the gains mentioned above.
Total Investments amounted to $2.2 billion, with 65 percent represented by Jamaican listed stocks and the majority of the balance invested in the USA market.

At June 2024, the Company held US$4.8 million in equities listed in the USA and Trinidad and Tobago. The portfolio includes positions in several leading companies involved in information technology, health insurance and housing and construction.

Non-current margin loan borrowings at the end of June 2024 were $149 million while current margin loans secured on the USA portfolio totalled J$55 million.

Our holdings in Access remained steady throughout the period and we expect that as the Company recovers from the COVID-19 fallout, profits during this year will reach levels to spur demand for the stock and drive the value higher.

Year to date, we enjoyed gains in Dolphin, Caribbean Producers, Carib Cement, both Lasco companies, General Accident and Scotia Group.

The Company’s Investment Committee actively monitors the investment portfolio and the markets in which we operate. In the Jamaican market, QWI’s earnings continue to be mixed but the indications from the market are that investors have rewarded companies with healthy profits by driving prices upwards.

We note that local interest rates, particularly for 30-day Bank of Jamaica CDs have decreased from a high of nearly 12 percent in April to under 9 percent currently, with the clearing rate in the BOJ’s 30-day CD auction of 10 July 2024 averaging 9.45 percent. This is encouraging and if sustained should encourage more funds to be invested in the local stock market.

In the USA the outlook for future interest rate cuts has strengthened with the publication of the June 2024 Consumer Price Index (CPI) report which showed a monthly decline in the USA inflation rate.

Strong earnings growth has continued at some companies and there has been strong investor interest in, and demand for, the stocks of companies building out the infrastructure for artificial intelligence applications. This is continuing to present opportunities for investors and QWI has greatly benefitted from some of these trends in its USA portfolio.

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Spur Tree Spices Projected Revenue Growth Negatively Impacted By Raw Material Shortages

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Albert Bailey CEO of Spur Tree Spices Jamaica Limited has released the following report for the first quarter ended March 31, 2024, including the presentation of unaudited financial statements, prepared in accordance with International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS).

Performance Review

Revenue for the quarter moved from $383.6M to $394.5M, an increase of 2.8% over the same quarter for 2023. Projected revenue growth was negatively impacted by raw material shortages experienced in the Agro processing sector since the 2nd quarter of 2023. These shortages impacted the Company’s ability to fulfil customer orders during the quarter.

The Company sustained far higher raw material input costs this quarter, relative to the similar quarter of the previous year due to the impact of raw material shortages. Therefore, Cost of Sales for the quarter rose from $259.5M to $287.6M, an increase of 10.8%.

There are positive signs that raw material supplies are gradually returning to normal levels, and associated costs are also coming down. We expect to see a continued movement in this direction, and a full return to normal raw material prices in the coming months.

The rollout of a wide range of new products to market, that do not use these primary raw material inputs, is a part of the company’s strategic initiatives to reduce the risk and vulnerability associated with this area of our business. The Company’s venture into farming also aligns with our strategy to achieve greater raw material stability and therefore lessen any future negative impact on performance.

Gross Profit for the period was $106.9M, down from $124.2M for the same period in 2024. This represents a 13.9 % decline year over year for the same period. The fall in gross profit resulted from the increase in raw material input costs sustained during the period.

With the initiatives being implemented to reduce costs, and the general downward trend in the price of raw materials inputs, the Company anticipates a full recovery of gross profit margins in the coming quarters.

Administrative Expenses for the 1st quarter was 71.4M, up from $66.8M for the corresponding period in 2023. This is an increase of 6.9%, which is commendable given the current circumstances. This means, administrative expenses as a percentage of revenue ticked up slightly from 17.4 % of sales in the first quarter of 2023, to 18.09% for the similar quarter in 2024.

The company will continue to tightly monitor this area of expenditure while working to get our revenue and gross margin back to targeted levels.

Finance Costs for the 1st quarter were $9.5M, down from $10.4M in 2023. This represents an 8.2% reduction for the quarter.

Net Profit attributable to the owners of the company for the quarter was $31M, down from $47.8M for the same quarter in 2023. While net profit is down compared to the same quarter last year, the company’s profit has improved over the last quarter (4th quarter), in which similar raw material challenges were faced.

The performance for the quarter, while not at the level projected, was commendable given the many challenges faced.

Outlook

The Company’s outlook remains very bright and positive. Spur Tree Spice is strategically positioned for substantial growth and expansion in 2024. The leadership has undertaken several important initiatives to ensure the continued success of the Company as we expand the reach and strength of the brand across all markets.

Some of the initiatives are:

  • Spur Tree Spices Farming Initiative: Raw Materials supplies sourced directly from the farm made a significant contribution to the Company’s ability to fulfil orders during the first quarter. There are currently 13 acres of Scotch Bonnet Pepper under cultivation and 12 acres of West Red Pepper. In addition, there are enough seedlings at our nursery to plant another 18 acres of Scotch Bonnet Pepper in the coming weeks. This will bring the total acreage of pepper under cultivation to 43, with an expected output of over 650,000 lbs. This level of output, supplemented by supplies from our farming partners, will guarantee adequate quantities of pepper for the remainder of 2024. The next phase of the plan is to put into production, other raw material inputs to supplement current supplies from our farming partners.
  • Launch of New Products: Spur Tree Spices has just launched 37 new SKUs across several product lines to include, Dry Seasonings, Fried Chicken Mix, BBQ Sauces, and a range of condiments including dips. Many of these formulations are first to market and based on market research and customer engagement, it is expected that these new items will gain significant traction in all current markets, locally and internationally. Along with these launches, the Company used the opportunity to refresh our brand’s aesthetic to reflect our creativity and to create a compelling brand identity that resonates with both local and global audiences.
  • Additional Upcoming Launches: The company is working to bring to market even more new products by July 2024. These are high demand/high usage items that should have a very positive impact on revenue and profit and generate strong brand response.
  • Improved Ackee Production: Capacity at both Ackee factories is being upgraded to drive production and output of ackee during the next crop which is expected to begin in June 2024. Both entities will be in a much-improved position to maximize its production of ackee moving forward.
  • Diversification of Linstead Market Brand: We are currently working on several new products to be launched under the Linstead Market brand. These items will be introduced to market by August 2024. This will be the first rollout of many items being considered to diversify the offerings under this brand.

We are confident that with these initiatives and others to come, the Company is well on its way to becoming an internationally recognized food brand known for creativity, quality and being ironically Jamaican. The Board of Directors and the Executive Management Team are committed to ensuring the Company remains on track to maximize shareholders’ value while building a strong, sustainable, and profitable brand.

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Strategic Implications of A.S. Bryden & Sons Holdings Limited’s Acquisition of a Stake in Caribbean Producers Jamaica Limited

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A.S. Bryden & Sons Holdings Limited (ASBH), a prominent Trinidad and Tobago-based conglomerate, has recently acquired a 44.8% stake in Caribbean Producers (Jamaica) Limited (CPJ). This strategic move carries significant implications for both companies and the wider Caribbean market.

Expansion and Synergy

ASBH’s acquisition of CPJ represents a strategic expansion of its footprint in the Caribbean. By entering the Jamaican market, ASBH is set to leverage CPJ’s established distribution networks and customer base in Jamaica and St. Lucia, augmenting its regional presence beyond its existing operations in Trinidad, Barbados, and Guyana​​.

Nicholas A. Scott, Director of ASBH, emphasized that this investment aligns with the company’s regional expansion strategy. He noted that ASBH plans to increase its holdings in CPJ with the ultimate goal of gaining control, subject to regulatory disclosures​. This approach suggests a long-term commitment to integrating and scaling CPJ’s operations within ASBH’s broader business model.

Operational and Financial Benefits

For CPJ, this partnership promises enhanced operational capabilities and financial strength. ASBH’s extensive resources and expertise in food and beverage distribution will likely drive efficiencies and innovation within CPJ. The acquisition also provides CPJ with increased access to hard currency earnings, which is crucial for import-driven businesses in the Caribbean region​.

P.B. Scott, Chairman of ASBH, highlighted that this strategic stake would enable ASBH to serve new markets, particularly in the hospitality and restaurant sectors, leveraging CPJ’s strong presence in these industries. The collaboration is expected to generate significant synergies, boosting growth and competitiveness for both companies​​.

“Over the last 30 years, CPJ has become the pre-eminent distributor of food and beverage products to hotels and resorts in Jamaica and beyond because of the talent and dedication of our team and the support of our loyal suppliers and customers. AS Byrden shares our values and culture and has a track record of building and supporting high-performing management teams.” Mark Hart

Market Impact

The acquisition has broader implications for the Caribbean market. By consolidating its position as the largest shareholder of CPJ, ASBH is poised to influence market dynamics, fostering increased competition and potentially driving innovation within the sector. Additionally, ASBH’s listing on the Jamaica Stock Exchange (JSE) underscores its commitment to transparency and regional integration, providing greater opportunities for investors and stakeholders across the Caribbean​.

Leadership

Nicholas Hospedales, who previously led the food and grocery, premium beverage and operations units at ASBH, will be appointed CEO of CPJ. CEO of ASBH Richard Pandohie will be appointed chairman and co-founder of CPJ Tom Tyler will be appointed deputy chairman. He will also serve as a consultant to the company.

Directors Mark Hart and Candace Hart will also retain their roles.

ASBH directors Nicholas Scott, Michael Conyers and David Franco will be appointed as new directors, replacing Christopher Berry, Konrad Berry, Camille Shields, Frank O’Dowd and Mark Hall.

Hart said the two companies will grow significantly through their collaboration. He expected that working together, the two companies would be able to expand their geographic footprint throughout the region.

Seprod Ltd

In 2023, Seprod Ltd, a regional manufacturing and distribution company headquartered in Jamaica, acquired ASBH at $312.7 million, scooping up a 60 per cent share in the company. Seprod said the acquisition would result in a company with combined annual revenues of more than $3.37 billion. ASBH was valued at $267.9 million in 2022 when Seprod sought to acquire it. To fund the transaction, the company used a combination of a loan of $172.4 million and issued preference shares to the tune of TT$140.3 million.

Seprod has been in regional food manufacturing, distribution and agribusiness since the 1940s. Its manufacturing base includes oils and margarine, wheat and corn milling, integrated dairy, biscuits and snacks. It is also a part of the Musson Group of Companies, which is involved in manufacturing, insurance, information technology, logistics and real estate.

In summary, ASBH’s acquisition of a significant stake in CPJ is a strategic maneuver that promises to enhance the operational capabilities, market reach, and financial stability of both companies. This move not only reflects ASBH’s growth ambitions but also signals a transformative shift in the Caribbean’s food and beverage distribution landscape.

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