Manufacturing and distribution company Seprod Limited is now preparing for the roll-out of new products and full occupancy of its distribution campus in a push to deliver more growth this year, even as the company looks to make a full turnaround from past misfortunes.
Though managing director and chief executive officer (CEO) of the Seprod Group Richard Pandohie said the company is still recovering from a fire which gutted its Facey Commodity warehouse as well as other setbacks associated with the novel coronavirus pandemic such as supply chain disruptions, he is very optimistic and excited about the financial performance of the company going forward.
"As the year progresses, the roll-out of our regional expansion plan will become more evident as we expand our portfolio offerings through new product representation and also via manufacturing in our facilities.
"We have begun operating from our new distribution campus since December 2022. There are still some residual third-party warehouses being used, but we will exit all of these by the end of first quarter. While the upgrading of our margarine facility has been seriously challenged by COVID-induced supply chain issues, which has resulted in longer times to procure equipment from Europe and in getting technicians on the ground to do installation and commissioning, consequently impacting the supply of key brands such as Gold Seal… the project's closure is imminent and our consumers will soon not only have adequate supply of their favourite brands, but will also get a portfolio of new products," he recently told the Jamaica Observer.
Shedding light on some of the products expected to come to market this year, Pandohie pointed to plant-based beverages including almond milk among a "range of other exciting products" that are to be launched regionally by April.
"We will be producing some of the products under our own brands but a significant amount will also be co-packed for other companies. The main markets being targeted will be the Caribbean via our regional distribution platform, the USA and Latin America, especially the Central American countries," he said to the Business Observer.
"We will also drive higher productivity through our entire system, expand exports [which grew 22 per cent last year] and continue to look for great talent to populate the organisation," he added.
Bolstered by the contributions of its Trinidad-based AS Bryden (ASB) acquisition, the company last year saw earnings surge above 300 per cent to total $3.8 billion, almost doubling that of 2021. This was also a th case for revenues which grew to approximately $80 billion at the end of the 12 months in 2022 or $35.8 billion more than that of the previous year.
"The extraordinary uptick in revenue, profit, etc, were primarily driven by the addition of AS Bryden to the consolidated results post-the June 2022 acquisition. The ASB acquisition has gone well… It is still a work in progress but, so far, all stakeholders have given the first six months positive review[s]," Pandohie commented.
He said that with about 54 per cent of ASB's over-1,500 strong staff members having already taken up on an offer to own shares in the company, the future is definitely shaping up to be one that is bright and promising. This, even as the company looks to double down on truly tapping into real synergies from all sides of the business.
"After the unprecedented challenges that we experienced over the last two to three years, including a pandemic, supply chain disruptions and the fire at Facey, it is fair to say that we see a far more positive environment. As an organisation we have therefore become more agile and responsive to future challenges," Pandohie said.