NORBROOK Equity Partners and Jamaica Producers Group on Monday October 18 announced that their joint venture company, Grupo Frontera has acquired the assets and operations of Grupo Alaska, described as the largest ice and water company in the Dominican Republic (DR).
The acquisition is the first for Grupo Frontera – a 50/50 holding company established by Norbrook and JP to acquire what the companies say are well-positioned companies in the Spanish-speaking Caribbean and Central America.
The acquisition cost was not shared. Khary Robinson, executive chairman of Norbrook, told the Jamaica Observer, “We are not able to disclose the acquisition price due to confidentiality constraints, however, we acquired approximately US$20 million of manufacturing and distribution assets in the transaction. This includes two large properties with multiple wells; over 150,000 square feet of manufacturing, warehousing and cold storage facilities; manufacturing equipment for both ice and water; a fleet of over 140 trucks and over 7,000 freezers, merchandisers, and water racks.”
Jeffrey Hall, CEO of JP, told the Business Observer that Jamaica Producers has operated in the manufacturing of consumer goods in the Dominican Republic for 15 years.
“The DR market is the largest market for consumer goods in the Caribbean. This acquisition is in line with our goal to expand in that market, he commented.
He also noted, “The Geest Line, a shipping line that is another JP company, is a leading shipper of refrigerated cargo from the DR to Europe.”
In a press advisory, the companies said Grupo Alaska is the leading ice company in the Dominican Republic with two core brands – Hielo Alaska and Hielo Crystal.
The company manufactures and distributes ice for the Bavaro, Romana and Santo Domingo markets through a network of two factories and its merchandisers. It has two manufacturing sites in Santo Domingo and Bavaro and employs approximately 400 people on the island.
The company, it was noted, distributes its products to over 15,000 retail and commercial customers across the island, with their main products being ice, five-gallon water and small format water (16oz and 1.5l).
Khary Robinson noted in the joint release, “We are extremely excited about our partnership with Jamaica Producers as we have always had a high regard for their team and our shared passion for successfully acquiring and nurturing companies into market leaders.”
He added, “We believe that, by leveraging our joint resources, skill sets and relationships, we will successfully build a meaningful group of companies in the Spanish Caribbean. Alaska is the first such company and is extremely well positioned to evolve into a market-leading food and beverage business in the Dominican Republic.”
Robinson said in the advisory that Alaska's ice distribution network is approximately seven times that of Pure National – Norbrook's ice company in Jamaica that operates the brands Happy Ice and Pure National Ice.
The company sells water in various formats under the brands Alaska and Pura. In addition to its own brands, Alaska also packages water for various third-party customers – from the Marriott Hotels to the Bon chain of ice cream stores.
Jeffrey Hall, CEO of Jamaica Producers, told the Business Observer, “JP's largest business by revenues is the manufacturing of fresh juice in Europe. JP has significant experience in the manufacturing of beverages.” In the company release, he commented, “This partnership with Norbrook, and the acquisition of Alaska, is another step in JP's strategy to continue to strengthen and expand our investment portfolio in Caribbean food, logistics and infrastructure. We have been resident in the Dominican Republic for years as a manufacturer but the Alaska platform deepens our penetration in the local retail market. We believe this partnership and platform will increase the efficiency in which we commercialise opportunities in key markets in the region,”
The companies say Alaska will be spearheaded by Enrique Noboa (formerly of Mercasid and Phillip Morris) and Daniel Batista (formerly of Kimberly-Clark and Argico) who have been named CEO and CFO of Grupo Alaska, respectively.
The joint venture is aiming to transform Alaska into a “more successful manufacturer and distributor of food and beverage products”.
Alaska's new CEO, Enrique Noboa, said “Alaska has been a well known family business for four decades, with a respected brand, a strong team and efficient infrastructure. With these core ingredients, our goal is to deliver exponential growth and profitability by building the company into a market leader in various consumer product categories.”
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