Fri | Sep 21, 2018

New cigarette manufacturer launched In Jamaica

Published:Friday | November 4, 2016 | 12:00 AMTameka Gordon

Nostic Agricultural & Manufacturing Limited, the first manufacturing outfit to emanate from the GulfRay Special Economic Zone in Spanish Town, St Catherine, says it has already secured contracts to export 120 containers of cigarettes to global clients.

Its markets extend to the United States, Panama, the Eastern Caribbean, Canada and Dubai, the company said at its launch on Friday.

Nostic's market entry will plug a decade-old vacuum in local cigarette manufacturing created when Carreras Limited locked down its production plant in St Catherine to focus solely on distribution of brands owned by its UK-based parent company.

What's more, Nostic plans to eke out "at minimum, a 15 per cent market share within the first two years of its operation", creating another competitor for Carreras, executive director of business development, Sophia Harris-Lau told Gleaner Business.

The fledgling company formed in 2015 plans to pump $1.4 billion into its operations in the first year to set up its factory, greenhouses, plant nurseries, and to acquire tractors and other vehicles, among other things.

It expects to hire a minimum of 7,000 skilled workers, with at least 5,000 taken on initially.

"The jobs and revenue spin-offs from the year one investment (will) only facilitate greater subsequent years' investments," the company said.

Nostic plans to cultivate some 1,500 acres of tobacco to feed the manufacture of cigarettes, nutraceutical products, cosmetics, cigars, and cannabis products.

"We will also offer, in the near future, additional local cigarette brands, herbal products, and smoking accessories such as wraps, cigars and a wide range of herbal products," Managing Director Martin Scot said at the unveiling of the company on Friday in New Kingston.

Network of farmers

Production will also be fed by a network of contract farmers spread across the island, according to Scott, who says farms now exist in Clarendon, St Thomas, and other parishes.

The company expects to have 4,500 contracts with individual cultivators "to maintain the land and manage the quality of the harvest", it said.

Nostic will also provide supporting infrastructure, mini-plants, irrigation systems, equipment, trucks and "other necessary elements to jump-start and facilitate the operations," it said.

"The overall business model of Nostic includes being actively engaged in testing, research, and development of tobacco and herbal derivatives, among other products," Scott said.

Nostic's own cigarette lines include five brands, namely, Capital, Coptic Gold, Rockaway, Blaxstar, and D&J Royal for local and international markets,

"D&J is our special brand of cigarettes ... ," Scott said.