The head office of Miami Freight and Shipping Company

FOLLOWING its most successful year on record with consolidated revenue of $25.02 million across 10 countries and territories, Jamaica Producers Group Limited (JP) has acquired Miami Freight and Shipping Company (MFSC) through its UK subsidiary JP Shipping Services Limited.

Since disposing of a 22.1 per cent stake in SAJE Logistics Infrastructure Limited in 2020, JP has been on an acquisition spree as it acquired UK-based Geest Line Limited (GLL), Spanish-based Co Beverage Lab SL, and Dominican-based Grupo Alaska.

JP is a publicly listed company on the Jamaica Stock Exchange (JSE) involved in food and drink (F&D) and logistics and infrastructure (L&I) businesses. Its major subsidiaries also include JSE listed company Kingston Wharves Limited, JP Tropical Group Limited, A L Hoogesteger Fresh Specialist B V, and Tortuga International Holdings Limited.

JP Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Hall said, “In adding a North American spoke, this acquisition marks an important expansion of JP's diversified logistics and shipping platform that connects the world's major markets to the Caribbean.”

According to annual reports obtained from sunbiz.org, Hall joined the board of MFSC between 2021 and early 2022. JP Chairman Charles H Johnston is the chairman of MFSC's board, while JP director Alan Buckland joined recently following David Johnston's departure from the board. Juliana Keene is another director who also serves as the vice-president of MFSC with attorney-at-law Louis Stinson Jr being the final board member.

MFSC has been engaged in the freight handling, logistics, and shipping business for more than 40 years with more than 20 years spent shipping to Jamaica and 11 other territories in the Caribbean. The company's services include on-site packaging and crating, cargo consolidation, nationwide cargo pickup, and shipping of specialised cargo such as cars, trucks, excavators and machinery. Its offices are located at Suite 6 on 10125 NW 116 Way, Medley, Florida. Its Jamaican agent is Jamaica Freight and Shipping Company Limited which is lead by Anna Hamilton and chaired by Charles Johnston.

Though the acquisition price for MFSC hasn't been disclosed, it is expected that the acquisition will add to the bottom line of JP as seen in 2021. An example of this is with JP's 50 per cent interest in Geest, which it paid $138.57 million for while the subsidiary's share of profit in 2021 amounted to $292.51 million. Despite the valuations not being known for its other associates, including Tortuga Cayman Limited, JP's share of loss amounted to $17.12 million relative to $913.84 million in revenue.

Commenting on JP's strategy for business development in logistics through the recent acquisition, JP Chief Commercial Officer Maya Walrond said, “We see clear opportunities for growth in commercial cargo handling, e-commerce shipping, and export facilitation. JP is looking forward to growing in tandem with our customers, partners, and suppliers, all of whom can look forward to the continuation of excellent service from the Miami Freight and Shipping team led by Juliana Keene.”

JP's net profit attributable to shareholders declined by 15 per cent to $1.84 million in 2021 relative to 2020, which had a gain on disposal of SAJE amounting to $1.87 billion. On a normalized basis, JP's profit attributable to shareholders rose by 523 per cent on a year over year basis.

JP's F&D division saw a 470 per cent rise in its segment result to $575.39 million, while its L&I division saw its result grow by 49 per cent to $4.38 billion. Hall expects the introduction of new snacks to improve the division's sales by double digits on top of the $14.75 billion earned in 2021.

The company's stock price remains down three per cent year to date at $21.44.

An aerial photo of Port Miami
Chief executive officer of JPJeffrey Hall
BY DAVID ROSE Observer business writer davidr@jamaicaobserver.com

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