Jamaican Teas Limited (JAMT) is eyeing non-English speaking countries in the region for its exports.
"The increase in sales in Trinidad and the US has given us a big boost to go into the French and Spanish islands in the Caribbean," said John Mahfood, chief executive officer of JAMT.
The maker of Tetley Tea is considering those markets where, like in Jamaica, herbal teas are commonly used.
Export sales increased by 59 per cent, from $45 million during the three months ended June 30, 2012, to $72 million during this review quarter.
Consequently, revenue from foreign markets accounted for 28 per cent of total sales for the quarter under review, which stood at $255 million, an increase of 18 per cent over the third quarter 2012.
"Our products are gaining acceptance and we are getting into the large supermarkets in the US," said Mahfood. "We spend a lot on marketing in those areas."
Domestic sales fell marginally by three per cent to $66 million during the quarter under review, down from $68 million during the comparative period last year.
However, JAMT's profit soared to $28.4 million during the three months ended June 2013, an increase of 70 per cent of the $16.7 million posted in the comparative period last year.
Even then, the company expects to see greater operational efficiencies when it relocates to its new factory by year end.
The tea maker finalised the acquisition of a 200,000 square feet factory on Bell Road, which allows for additional machinery, storage, new lines and finished goods.
The property, which was previously owned by Comet Match Factory, is about 35 per cent larger than the Norman Road facility that JAMT currently works from.
"It's a bigger factory and is more efficient, whereas where are now has a number of different buildings," the CEO told the Business Observer.
It has already pumped $110 million into the new factory.
A customer loyalty card promotion at the three supermarkets it runs — in Kingston, Savanna-La-Mar and Montego Bay — helped boost sales in the company's retail division.
Retail sales performed favourably, contributing $116 million in revenues during the three months ended June 2013 — 14 per cent more than the $102 million it made during the corresponding period.
Completion of the sales for its real estate development at Kingsway should take place by September when the revenue from the sale is expected to be booked, the company said.
H Mahfood & Sons Limited, subsidiary of JAMT, which is in the business of rental and development of residential properties is finalising the purchase of Orchid Estates in Yallahs, St Thomas for housing development for 72 two bed room single family homes.
Twenty-nine units are being redeveloped — the roofs, bathrooms, kitchens of damaged properties will be repaired — and will be made available by next March.
Construction of 42 units should commence in the first quarter of 2014 and is expected to become available during the latter part of 2014.
JAMT recently announced plans to issue $200 million of corporate bonds with attractive features for the investor including the fact that interest will be paid monthly and will be traded on the Jamaica Stock Exchange.
The funds will be used to pay off more expensive debt and assist with funding our next real estate development.