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New owners for Jamaica Livestock Association complex

Published:Wednesday | January 27, 2016 | 1:00 AMTameka Gordon

Phillip and Sandra Martin of WAK Investments are the new owners of the Jamaica Livestock Association (JLA) complex in Kingston, a deal the Rainford family confirmed was struck last year.

The over 70-year-old JLA has been liquidating assests amid losses.

Last July, the company sold out its stock, including garden, farm and plumbing supplies, office furniture, among others, through an auction handled by CD Alexander Company Realty. Then the company said it was scaling down.

Titles Office records show that a deal for the company's Marcus Garvey Drive headquarters was struck with WAK Investments, around the same time, for $294.8 million. The Martins were not reached for comment.

Earlier this month, Jamaica Broilers announced its reopening of the Cumberland Hatchery, once operated by JLA, under a lease arrangement.

JLA was established in 1942 as the main provider of agricultural support and services to farmers in Jamaica and offers a wide range of products, including animal feed, animal health care, day-old chicks, agricultural chemicals, herbicides, pesticides, hardware items and farm and garden supplies.

However, over the years, it dumped some of its holdings to pump cash into the ailing business.

Between 2010 and 2011, the company sold its Kingston-based animal-feed factory and wharf as well as land and buildings at Fustic Road, Montego Bay, and land in Savanna-la-Mar, Westmoreland.

At the time, JLA said it would use the cash to pay down debt and inject fresh working capital into the loss-making entity.

JLA's last publicly available financial records indicate that the company had accumulated losses of $341 million, was almost out of cash and had no working capital. Once listed on the Jamaica Stock Exchange, JLA's 7.5% preference shares were delisted in December 2012 after trading was suspended in the stock some six months before.

The company was averaging annual sales of around $600 million at delisting and had $362 million of fixed assets on its balance sheet.

The Rainfords declined to comment on what assets are left to sell and whether JLA would be wound up.

tameka.gordon@gleanerjm.com