A section of the Jamaica Broilers Group poultry processing plant at its Haiti operations. The company said despite the turmoil affecting Haiti in the aftermath of the July 7 assasination of its president, it will not pull out of the country, but will instead scale back its operation.
Jamaica Broilers not pulling out of Haiti but will scale back operations

The Jamaica Broilers Group (JBG) has announced that it will be scaling back the level of investment made in its Haitian subsidiary.

However, the Jamaican agricultural conglomerate has no plans at this time to pull out of the problem-plagued Caribbean State, which is currently undergoing political turmoil, particularly since its president, Jovenel Moïse, was assassinated on July 7.

In scaling back on its investment in its Haitian operations, JBG cited the main reasons for this course of action as being the current political tension, which has seen street protests among other social instability and the inability to generate consistent sales. In fact JBG Haiti has experienced a run of quarterly losses over the past two years.

However, for the 2021 financial year ended on May 2, 2021, the Haitian market, which is dynamic and fluid, reported a 14 per cent increase in revenues from the corresponding period in 2020, which can be used as sufficient evidence not to pull out at this time.

JBG Chairman Robert Levy advised shareholders at the annual general meeting last week that during the 2021 financial year, the company reported strong performances in both the US & local markets, with special commendations made to the Wholesale segment of revenues.

This segment grew by 10 per cent on a year-over-year basis, along with the Value-Added segment, which consists of their ready-to-eat products namely, chicken nuggets and breaded chicken wings. Overall, the value-added segment saw growth in the region of 16 per cent.

Levy spoke about the rise in the cost of raw materials, which is becoming a cause for concern for JBG's operations. He cited the increase in the cost of animal feed, shipping fees, and energy costs as main reasons for customers seeing slight increases in prices.

The JBG chairman pointed out that the company could not absorb these high costs. However, in spite of the challenges, Levy remains adamant JBG is still in a strong financial position.

Despite the economic environment resulting from the onset of the novel coronavirus pandemic, JBG proudly boasted about its $25-million investment in the local agri-industry through the Hi-Pro growing initiative. That investment saw JBG gifting 78 tonnes of feed, 20,000 chicks, and 900 start-up kits.

The overall health of the company remains good, with a 2 per cent increase in total revenues for the financial year ended May 2, 2021. Revenues climbed to $56.95 billion from $55.75 billion in 2020, which translated to a 76 per cent increase in net profit for a total of $2.40 billion – up from $1.36 billion in 2020.

For the first quarter, JBG reported total revenues of $17.61 billion, a 40 per cent increase on the $12.58 billion reported in 2020 which resulted in a net profit of $275.48 million – down from the 2020 posting of $382.64 million.

JBG reiterated their commitment to producing high-quality hormone and antibiotic free meat, supporting local small farmers through their 'grow strong' initiative, and generating online sales.

BY DURRANT PATE Observer business writer

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