Jamaica Teas mulls transition to Jamaica Stock Exchange main market

Jamaica Teas mulls transition to Jamaica Stock Exchange main market

Business reporter

Friday, November 20, 2020

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Following a rapid growth in its business despite the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Jamaica Teas Limited has said that it is contemplating a possible graduation from the junior market to the main market of the Jamaica Stock Exchange (JSE).

The retail, manufacturing, real estate and investment company, which was listed in 2010 has already enjoyed 10 years on the junior market, said that this step may become relevant as the company seeks to ramp up its expansion plans.

When asked about a possible timeline for this transition Chief Executive Officer (CEO) John Mahfood said that it could be anytime soon. “We are considering that now, it's just a matter of time— probably next year we'll go to the main market. Once you've exhausted your tax benefit there is not much other benefit of being on the junior market,” he said while speaking at a Mayberry Investors forum on Wednesda November 18).

The CEO further said that considerations were also ongoing as to whether to list the manufacturing arm of the company separately when it decides to graduate to the main market of the JSE.

The company, which recently disclosed plans to expand its plant facilities due to rising demand along with growing sales and exports in its local and overseas markets, said that the main focus of this expansion plan stemmed from heightened demand for some of its latest products such as soups and packaged seasonings.

“We have a contract with an overseas company to do a packaged seasoning for them, which, when we put all the machinery in place, will be a US$1-million business. Our soups are growing at a rapid rate so we now have to dedicate a lot more space to this area as well as the increased production of teas,” Mahfood said.

He further said that the company, which currently enjoys some 60-65 per cent in exports— growing by about 20 per cent per year, could also in the future tap into other lucrative markets such Europe and Ghana following proper research and necessary investments.

“There are some other areas that we believe like Panama or Costa Rica within the region where we can [also] make some in roads,” he added.

Mahfood, who has invested a lot of time and effort into pushing the company towards its current success, also expressed optimism for continued growth of the business in the pandemic's aftermath.

“We hope that as people have become more exposed to our products and being able to buy them more easily because they are buying them online that they will continue to use the products. We know that more people are buying our products and we hope that the taste of the product will stay with them and that there will be a retention of a lot of that growth,” he said.

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