Business

Everything Fresh in expansion mode

Internal expansion already on the way

BY DURRANT PATE
Observer Writer

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

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Having acquired controlling interest in meat processing and packaging plant Meat Experts in January this year, Everything Fresh Ltd has identified other strategic expansion locally and regionally.

Everything Fresh, a premier importer and distributor of fruits, vegetables, dairy and other food products, has declared that it is now in expansion mode, having gone public last year promising to grow the company.

The company is not identifying those entities it is pursuing discussions for strategic alliance or acquisitions. However, Everything Fresh Chairman, Gregory Pullen admitted “the company is pursuing new business opportunities, by targeting the acquisition of Jamaican and Caribbean food service entities to fast-track local and regional expansion.”

Everything Fresh imports and distributes various high-demand food products to include dairy products, delicatessen meats, assorted dry and canned goods, fruits, vegetables, seafood and meats from foreign markets and distributes them locally to various supermarkets and hotels from its 78 Marcus Garvey Drive, Kingston 11 head office.

Everything Fresh, which was establishment in August 2003, has become a major supplier to the hotel sector, as well as to supermarkets and other retail outlets. Among the major hotel brands that the company supplies are Fiesta, Secrets, Iberostar, Bahia, Royalton, Couples, and Jewels.

BRIGHT FUTURE AHEAD

In its just released 2018/2019 annual report to shareholders, the directors painted a rosy picture of the future, particularly, as it regards expansion.

The directors highlighted, “there may be other strategic acquisitions on the horizon, as we review further opportunities for revenue growth and revenue stream diversification”.

With the acquisition of Meat Experts, based in Bog Walk, St Catherine, Everything Fresh has undergone internal expansion, which has seen it now offering a myriad of new meat products for bulk and retail customers.

The acquisition has resulted in greater access to increased cold storage/lowered expenses through shared back office operations, which include management, administration, logistics, sales team, and more.

The company has also upgraded its electrical power system to increase efficiency and lower electrical bills, installed a new modern diesel storage and dispensation facility at Marcus Garvey Drive to lower its vehicular fuel bills, expanded its cold storage space and upgraded its freezer equipment.

“As we look ahead, we anticipate further increases in cold storage space and additional investment in logistics resources. We will continue to seek out opportunities to supply goods and services to new hotels as well as those presently under expansion,” the directors reported.

Pullen noted that these numerous expansion exercises and infrastructure upgrades were very costly but were essential to outfit the company with the capacity to manage an anticipated larger operation.

During the 2018/2019 financial year, sales grew to a record $1.88 billion or approximately $72 million more than the previous year.

Roughly 90 per cent of revenues came from all-inclusive hotels and the future looks good given that the hotel sector remains poised for more growth with new hotels and the upgrading and expansion of existing ones.

The Everything Fresh Chairman explained that the growth in the hotel sector has resulted in “numerous enquiries regarding increasing contracted quantities of existing goods and the provision of new lines. The demand side of the business is set to grow and we have taken steps to ensure that we have the added capacity on the supply side to support these larger volumes.”

In addition Everything Fresh has strengthened its offering in the bulk market by expanding on the beef cuts and hamburger lines, by adding pork cuts and sausage lines. For the retail market, the company has added a range of beef and pork products.

COMPANY'S SUCCESS

Everything Fresh prides itself not only on procuring quality goods for distribution to its customers, but in living up to its name, which quite simply means that everything, every product or good, is delivered fresh.

Further, the company continues to have a very good relationship with its suppliers and customers.

The directors believe that the company is providing its customers with an unparalleled level of courteous service.

Team

With an employee base of 25 persons, Everything Fresh prides itself on having a 'family-like' corporate culture, which is evidenced by the high-retention rate of its team, with over 75% of team members having been employed to the company from commencement of its operations and the remainder having been employed for over five to seven years.

In the true meaning of family, no one member plays the single role but wears many hat required by the company on a day-to-day basis to ensure the smooth running of the operation, greatly contributing to the success of the business.

Everything Fresh was listed on the Jamaica Stock Exchange in June last year with the company raising $364.8 million net of expenses in its initial public offering, which was closed on May 24 last year and was oversubscribed. The company listed at $2.50 in June 2018 and the stock traded as high as $2.63 during the year.

The company closed trading yesterday at $1.35, down $0.05.


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