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Jamaica Producers confirms sale of Mavis Bank coffee business

Published:Sunday | September 18, 2016 | 12:00 AMSteven Jackson

Jamaica Producers Group Limited (JPG) announced that it has formally entered into an agreement to transfer its shares in Mavis Bank Coffee Factory Limited to Specialty Coffee Investments Company Limited (SCI), a company connected to Michael Lee-Chin.

It confirms a Gleaner Business report on Wednesday that a deal was in the making.

"SCI is acquiring the shares in Mavis Bank from both JP Tropical Group Limited, a subsidiary of JP, and Scotts Preserves Limited, a subsidiary of Pan-Jamaican Investment Trust Limited, who each own 50 per cent of the company," stated a JPG release on the transaction.

The directors of SCI, according to Companies Office of Jamaica records, include Lee-Chin, a Canadian/Jamaican businessman and investor, and Mark McIntosh, the chief executive officer of Wallenford Coffee Company. Lee-Chin is already invested in the coffee sector through AIC International, which acquired Wallenford Coffee Company in 2013.

SCI's sole shareholder is listed as Wallenford Limited, based in Barbados.

"We believe that the selling price will result in an excellent return for shareholders," JPG managing director Jeffrey Hall said in an interview with Gleaner Business.

The sale price for Mavis Bank remains undisclosed but will eventually be accounted for in the financials of JPG and Pan-Jam, both of which are publicly traded companies.

"As shareholders, we felt strongly that the buyer must have a demonstrable commitment to the growth and development of Jamaica and the coffee industry. We are satisfied and believe we found the right buyer," Hall said.

JPG and Pan-Jam invested "J$243 million for 100 per cent of Mavis Bank Coffee Factory Limited in October 2011", according to statements on the deal.

"We each invested half of that amount," Hall said.

There has been no further investment by the shareholders since the acquisition, management indicated. The returns to JPG and Pan-Jam over the five-year period were said to have exceeded their initial investment at the time of purchase of the business.

Mavis Bank was a loss-maker when it was acquired by JPG and Pan-Jam "but recorded operating profits in every year since the acquisition, with record profits recorded in the last financial year", stated the release from JPG.

The coffee factory has been operating in the Blue Mountains for over 90 years and has long-standing trading relationships in Asia, Europe, and North America. It also produces the market-leading Jablum brand of Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee.

This story was first published online on Thursday at: