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Seprod to operate Bybrook condensary

Published:Wednesday | February 3, 2016 | 12:00 AMTameka Gordon
Chief Executive Officer of Seprod, Richard Pandohie

Seprod Limited has landed the contract to operate the former NestlÈ Jamaica condensary in Bybrook, St Catherine. It took over the operations on Monday, February 1.

Musson Group acquired NestlÈ Jamaica's dairy operations through its wholly owned subsidiary, Musson International Dairies Limited, last November. Musson Jamaica is a primary shareholder in Seprod.

Seprod will manufacture Betty condensed milk and Supligen food-drink brands, said Chief Executive Officer Richard Pandohie. The company will also add a line of lactose-free products to its dairy portfolio.

"There is a high level of lactose intolerance in the country and the portfolio doesn't have that in it," said Pandohie.

The new product line should hit the market by the end of June, he said, while heralding a wider revamping of the company's milk-based lines.

"We are doing a complete revamping of the portfolio. We are gradually taking the milk powder out of our products. We continue to improve all our products to include more real milk in all of them," said the Seprod boss at last week's launch of the 'Drink Real Milk' campaign aimed at increasing local milk production and consumption. "We are moving from a milk company to a dairy company - that is our drive."

Seprod's dairy operations fall under subsidiary Serge Island.

The overhaul of popular Seprod brands such as Monster Milk, which is now a combination of milk and milk powder, is also in the works.

"Everything will be real milk. We expect to have this by the end of the second quarter to tie in with lactose-free products," Pandohie said.

Since 2015, Seprod has pumped around $400 million into upgrades of its own dairy facilities, with another $450 million budgeted for 2016, Pandohie said.

"We are placing $150 million in our farms, $200 in the factory, and $100 million in related quality issues." The non-dairy line falls under the $100 million component of the investment programme.

The Betty condensed milk and Supligen operations are projected to add around $2 billion per year to Seprod's revenue.

"The key for us is investing in small farmers. The idea is that the more small farmers you have, the more efficient the dairy system," Pandohie said.

"The plant was an excellent facility. We have the synergy with Serge, so the idea is to improve the utilisation of that plant," he said.