Business

PA Benjamin looks to LatAm, Ghana

BY KARENA BENNETT
Business reporter
bennettk@jamaicaobserver.com

Friday, November 03, 2017

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Local manufacturer PA Benjamin is aggressively targeting Latin America and Ghana as the newest markets to boost export sales.

The 138-year-old company, which has established a reputation over the years as supplier of quality pharmaceuticals, personal care, flavourings and colourings — particularly Benjamins vanilla — plans on doubling export sales by 2020 and is eyeing the two markets as part of the revenue potential.

Today, Benjamins export sales account for 33 per cent of its total sales. The brands are marketed in more than 20 countries including the United States, Canada and United Kingdom as well as the Caribbean.

Director Christopher Powell, in a round-table interview with the Jamaica Observer, said increasing export sales to 60 per cent will make the already self-sufficient earner of foreign exchange a more resilient local manufacturer, positively impacting the economy through job creation as well as its support of local farmers.

Still, the expansion of its footprint is seen as the start of great things to come for the company.

“We are targeting Latin America because we found that we have a strong market in Belize which, although being in Caricom, the demographic is very Latin. We have a few from Guatemala and many Mexicans that are buying our vanilla and our cough medicine, so we believe that there is opportunity for us in Latin America and we've also been looking at Ghana for quite a while,” Powell told the Caribbean Business Report.

He added that it's difficult to state definitively when the company will enter the new markets as it is dependent on the regulation of the countries and finding a distributor. Nonetheless, Powell is adamant that the company will reach the export target it set three years ago.

Benjamins' core products include vanilla, rubbing alcohol and olive oil, which have been a part of Jamaican households both locally and overseas. According to the company, emphasis has been placed on the export potential for Benjamins products, with greater effort being directed at streamlining the distribution and marketing efforts of distributors in the overseas markets.

The privately owned company, established in 1879, has gone through a series of acquisitions, the most recent being the buy-out from the ICD Group in 2000.

Over the years, the manufacturer has won a number of awards from the Jamaica Manufacturers' Association, and this year walked away with four awards in the categories of champion medium exporter; quality and standards; buy Jamaica, which focuses on quantity of raw material and labour that is purchased and used; and the product group award for chemicals, cosmetics and pharmaceutical products.

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