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Salada doubles earnings despite lagging exports

Published:Friday | December 9, 2016 | 12:00 AM

Salada Foods Jamaica Limited, producers of Mountain Peak instant coffee, doubled its annual profit despite a reduction in export sales.

The company made $69 million at year ending September, up from $31.6 million.

Sales grew based on sustained joint marketing initiatives with its distributor, rebranding of its flagship Jamaica Mountain Peak product, and the launch of a new low-caffeine instant coffee, the company said.

It resulted in total sales at $761 million, up from $660 million a year earlier. Export sales, however, dipped to $129 million. Exports accounted for 17 per cent of total sales, compared to 22.8 per cent in 2015.

"This was impacted by underperformance in the New York market as formers distributors sold their remaining inventory," said Salada's directors.

The group's profitability continued to be impacted by the losses in two subsidiary companies, Mountain Peak Food Processors (MPFP) and Pimora Company Limited.

The company executed a rights issue in the third quarter to provide $50 million working capital to reposition and market the Roberts brand. Under the transaction, Salada's ownership in Mountain Peak Food Processors went from 80 per cent to 99.8 per cent, while its holdings in Pimora kept level at 70 per cent.

In August, the company appointed Dianna Blake Bennett as acting general manager, following the resignation of Jerome Miles, who joined another manufacturer. Blake Bennett was previously the commercial and corporate affairs manager at Salada. Her plans include growing annual revenues beyond the $1-billion mark in her first year.

Blake Bennett was not available for comment, but she previously said opportunities exist to grow exports within the Caribbean region, as well as the United States, Canada and United Kingdom. She acknowledged that it was a shift from growth in China, which was targeted in some of Salada's export efforts in recent years.