GraceKennedy acquires Unibev to strengthen beverage sector
GraceKennedy Limited (GK) has officially acquired Unibev Limited, a prominent local beverage manufacturing company. The strategic move not only strengthens GK’s position in the Jamaican spring water market but also opens the door to a host of opportunities in the broader beverage sector.
With Unibev’s integration into the GK portfolio, the company now operates six manufacturing facilities in Jamaica, which are involved in the entire beverage production process, covering everything from sourcing raw materials to packaging. The move signifies a calculated effort to bolster GK’s presence in the beverage sector.
“The acquisition of Unibev represents a pivotal move in GK’s pursuit of our 2030 vision, especially as it relates to advancing our presence within the growing Jamaican spring water market. We are strategically building upon our previous investments in this sector, such as our acquisition of the 876 Water brand and our increased stake in Catherine’s Peak, to fortify our supply chain and bolster this vital segment of our business,” said Don Wehby, group CEO of GK, as he underscores the strategic nature of the acquisition.
GK acquired the 876 spring water brand from Unibev and Bliss Limited in 2021. GK also became majority owner of the Catherine’s Peak Spring Water brand in February this year, after increasing its stake in Catherine’s Peak Bottling Company Limited, from 35 per cent to 70 per cent. This acquisition is expected to pave the way for exploring new beverage product lines and alternative packaging solutions.
“We are actively capitalising on opportunities to grow our beverage brands. Beyond the advantages for our spring water business, this acquisition aligns seamlessly with our manufacturing transformation strategic plan, aimed at strengthening our competitive edge and positioning GK as a regional leader in food and beverage manufacturing,” said Frank James, CEO of GK Foods.
GK Group had laid out its vision 2030 plan to become the number one Caribbean brand in the world with 70 per cent of its revenues and profits earned outside of Jamaica. In addition, the company has targeted earning US$2.1 billion in revenues and US$250 million in profit before tax by 2030.
The acquisition of Unibev has the potential to reshape GK’s presence in the Jamaican beverage industry. It signifies GK’s commitment to growth and innovation and the strategic positioning of the company in the regional market.
Unibev’s manufacturing facility is located in Spring Garden, Portland, and includes a Blue Mountain spring water source. It is International Bottled Water Association (IBWA)-certified. The cost to acquire the company was not disclosed.