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honey bun to invest US$250,000 on solar project

Published:Wednesday | January 6, 2016 | 1:00 AMSteven Jackson
Solar panels at Honey Bun plant in Kingston.

The Kingston-based bakery Honey Bun Limited is planning to spend US$250,000 to invest in its own 100-kilowatt solar-energy system at its factory in Kingston with the objective of increasing efficiency.

The project is expected to save the company, funded and run by the Chong family, up to 30 per cent on its electricity bill. The company's strategy is to stagger the solar project over five stages with the first completed in December.

"Honey Bun strives to be more efficient while considering the impact we have on our environment. To that end, we aim to reduce our carbon footprint through Jamaica's natural solar energy," according to Chief Operating Officer Daniel Chong.

The company started installing solar panels on the roof of the factory since September 2015, Chong said. In the first phase,

24 kilowatts of inter-connected self-consumption photovoltaic power was installed. This will run concurrently with power supplied by the Jamaica Public Service, in order to increase energy output while lowering cost, he added. The precise timeline for the remaining stages remains undetermined.

"This will be concurrent with the expected build-out of factory space for increased output capacity," Honey Bun said in response to Wednesday Business queries.

The project is expected to lower the $36 million spent in its 2015 financial year ($38.8 million in 2014) on an expense-line item termed rates, taxes, telephone, fuel and electricity.

Honey Bun's property, plant and equipment, fair valued at $278 million, remains its largest asset which drives the electricity spend. Honey Bun acquired two properties in the company's financial year ending September 2014. The acquisitions resulted in $145 million worth of additions to its property, plant and equipment during the 2014 financial year.

The company reportedly bought a 20,000-square foot property that joins its existing operations on Retirement Crescent to another piece it bought in October 2014. Its three properties combined are contiguous at numbers 22, 24 and 26 Retirement Crescent. The properties total some 1.3 acres or 57,000 square feet.

Honey Bun earned $69.9 million in profit from $885 million in sales for its September 2015 year end, compared with $22 million the previous year.

The company manufactures and distributes baked products to the local and export markets. It was listed on the junior market of the Jamaica Stock Exchange in June 2011. The profit rise contributed to the company's stock jumping from $1.71 to $6.18 over 52 weeks.

steven.jackson@gleanerjm.com