GK taps Unicomer and Lynk to expand remittance services
GraceKennedy Limited (GK) has named Unicomer Jamaica Limited and digital wallet Lynk as two of the latest partnerships through which it will be pushing growth for its remittance business.
At an investor’s briefing back in March, Group CEO Don Wehby had hinted about the looming partnerships, noting that following approvals approximately 50 new Western Union (WU) locations would be added to its islandwide network now spanning some 200 stores.
“In March, GraceKennedy Money Services (GKMS) signed an agreement with Unicomer Jamaica Limited to offer WU services at its retail stores. Subject to regulatory and other approvals, this new venture will ultimately result in 50 WU locations being added across the island with increased customer convenience,” the company’s directors said in a recent report to shareholders.
Unicomer which identifies itself among the region’s leaders in retail and financial services, serves the local market through a number of subsidiaries comprising Courts, Courts Optical, Courts Ready Cash, Lucky Dollar, Ashley Furniture Home Store and Radio Shack.
The remittance segment further strengthened by the partnership with the National Commercial Bank, the digital wallet provider, is to through its Lynk platform offer WU customers more digital options allowing them safer and more convenient ways to collect remittances. Currently awaiting regulatory and other approvals, the launch of this service is anticipated “later this year”.
GK’s remittance business, which it said continues to operate in a highly competitive global environment, during the first quarter period ended March, when it began to gradually recover from the inflationary pressures of 2022, managed to deliver slightly improved out-turns after a number of scaled up marketing efforts, competitive pricing, and other strategic initiatives were engaged to grow the segment’s results. The roll-out of the company’s GK ONE mobile app has also gained considerable traction in the local remittance market since its launch last November.
“Growth was primarily driven by the improved performance of GKMS’ remittance business in Jamaica and Guyana, with strong performances also recorded in the Cayman Islands and The Bahamas,” the directors said in notes attached to the first quarter financial statements.
At the end of the three-month period, the global conglomerate delivered revenues of $39.1 billion, near 8 per cent above the corresponding period of last year. Its food division, which continued to account for the lion’s share of revenues, contributed $31.5 billion of output, followed by the insurance segment with $3.3 billion, banking and investments with $2.3 billion and money services with $2.2 billion. Net profit for the period also climbed 21 per cent to total $2.3 billion.
Commenting on the first quarter performance, Wehby said his company despite the challenges will continue to execute a number of strategic initiatives as it works to combat prevailing headwinds.
“We continue to operate in a challenging economic climate characterised by inflation, higher interest rates, fluctuating foreign currency markets and increased costs. We’ve remained focused on improving efficiencies and service levels, cost controls, margin management, and customer engagement and have also seen some improvement in logistics and freight rates, a trend we expect to continue in the coming months. Overall, this has enhanced our performance, and GK has started the year strong,” he stated.