Ready for next century GK anticipates fourfold growth in coming years
From left: KarenWalker, accountspayable managerof GK Foods Centralfinance unit andlong-servingemployee, sharesin a cake-cutttingexercise with GroupCEO Don Wehby tocommemorate thecompany's 100-year anniversary onFebruary 14.

BASKING in the celebrations of its 100th year, food and financial services conglomerate GraceKennedy (GK) said that as it looks to take on another century the company will continue to seek after greater growth as it expands products and services and builds on its strategy to become a global consumer group.

A jubilant Don Wehby, GK's group chief executive officer, taking a break from festivities to speak with the Jamaica Observer on Monday, said that the company's main focus over the next few years is to further drive profitability, declaring also that the best is yet to come as it charts new horizons for growth.

“We have created a 2030 vision which sees our revenues growing by about four times – this currently stands at about US$800 million and our projection is to move it to US$2.5 billion by 2030,” he told the Business Observer.

“The growth is going to come from further geographic expansions in our major food markets across USA, Canada and the United Kingdom —and, of course, acquisitions will also play a key strategic role in helping us to get to this very ambitious number,” Wehby further added.

Through the strategically crafted mergers and acquisitions (M&A) department, which Wehby said was currently very active, the conglomerate is also looking to bolster profits and revenues beyond the local market .

“I am working on a project now to list our company on an international stock exchange. This will see us having 70 per cent of our profits and revenues outside Jamaica and as we expand internationally.

“We have quite a number of acquisitions remaining in the pipeline, not just locally but in the USA, Canada, the Caribbean and the UK. We are also moving to expand our financial services business to the English-speaking Caribbean and we have a number of projects being worked on in that regard,” Wehby stated.

Having also significantly ramped up its digital transformation agenda since the novel coronavirus pandemic, the CEO said that this was now embedded as a part of core group operations which he expects to get even stronger as the company moves forward.

GraceKennedy, founded on February 14, 1922, commenced operations as a small trading establishment which, throughout the 100 years, has provided employment to hundreds across borders, and has cemented itself as a prominent brand in households locally and internationally. Expanding its portfolio to become one of the largest corporate players, the group conducts its business through a diversified range of subsidiaries driven by operations across some 50 countries globally.

With market capitalisation of over $100 billion, the blue chip company was last year ranked among the top best-performing stocks on the Jamaica Stock Exchange (JSE) with stock prices trading little above $100. Up to the nine-month period ended last September the group turned $95.7 billion in revenues, $20 billion shy of the $115.4 billion it generated for the full 2020 pandemic-plagued financial year, a year it also secured its best performance on record.

“As we celebrate, we will not forget our past as we look to the future that we will be shaping for the company. We will continue to deliver in our core values of honesty, integrity and trust as our bond. I want to thank Jamaicans here and all over the world who are our loyal supporters, and as we celebrate this great occasion of being 100 years I would like to say that the best is yet to come. We have a great team in place and a great board of directors and I'm very optimistic that when we meet again, that the GK group of companies will be world renowned in terms of our food and financial services,” Wehby said during a cake-cutting exercise held to commemorate the milestone anniversary.

GK headquarters located on Harbour Street in downtown Kingston.The $3.2-billion building was opened in May 2019 after some twoand a half years of construction
WEHBY...we have created a 2030 vision which sees our revenuesgrowing by about four times, this currently stands at about US$800million and our projection is to move it to US$2.5 billion by 2030
BY KELLARAY MILES Business reporter

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