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Wallenford's divestment offer still brewing

Thursday, February 07, 2013    

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THERE is still no clear timeline when the Wallenford Coffee Company will be divested as Government reported yesterday that a deal is yet to be finalised between itself and a Michael Lee Chin-led consortium of investors.

"There are demands on one side and we have to make sure that whatever we do is in the interest of the Jamaican people," Minister with responsibility for information Senator Sandrea Falconer told yesterday's weekly Jamaica House Press Briefing.

The company, which is the largest licensed processor of coffee beans, has been on the table for privatisation since June of 2011.

Wallenford Coffee Company, which is being divested by the Development Bank of Jamaica on behalf of the Government of Jamaica, was in the spotlight last month when a British property group claimed that its consortium's offer of US$2 million to acquire the assets was snubbed.

It was unclear how much money the Lee Chin consortium is offering the Government to acquire the Wallenford assets, but negotiations between the two parties have been ongoing since June last year, with the issue of incentives said to be the final hurdle before the offer is signed off by Cabinet.

The coffee company owns approximately 2,430 acres of land, of which 405 acres are under coffee cultivation.

It also operates factory and processing facilities, several farms in the Blue Mountain region, and a pulpery property located on Marcus Garvey Drive in Kingston.

Wallenford was created when the Coffee Industry Board spun off its commercial arm in July 2004.

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