Thu | Nov 23, 2017

US distributor now among top 10 shareholders in Jamaican Teas

Published:Friday | July 28, 2017 | 12:00 AMNeville Graham
John Mahfood, CEO of Jamaican Teas Limited.

United States distributor Iberia Foods is now among the top 10 shareholders of Jamaican Teas, a company listed on the junior market of the Jamaica Stock Exchange, having bought just over eight million shares in the local company last month.

At least two investors bought more than 10 million Jamaican Teas shares during the period, the largest block of just over seven million changing hands on June 23.

Contacted for comment, Chief Executive Officer of Jamaican Teas John Mahfood confirmed that investment of Iberia Foods, a distributor for Jamaican Teas, saying that he regards the move as a vote of confidence from a vital partner.

"Our distributor out of the northeast United States bought just over eight million shares, so he is now in the top 10 list of shareholders," Mahfood told the Financial Gleaner.

Bloomberg.com lists Iberia Foods Inc as a producer and distributor of food products. It covers a wide range, including grains, condiments, rice, meats, products from the sea, pantries, granos, frozen products, jars, flour, panelas, sweets, pasta, beverages, and third-party products, according to Bloomberg.

The company is based in Brooklyn, New York, with locations also in Miami, Orlando and Atlanta, as well as in Springfield, Massachusetts. Iberia Foods operates as a subsidiary of Brooklyn Bottling Group and serves supermarkets, club stores, wholesalers and distributors in the United States east coast. Iberia Foods, Inc was formerly known as Joseph Victori & Company.

Mahfood said that Iberia's owner, Eric Miller, has expressed a belief in the future of Jamaican Teas, hence the purchase of the block of shares.

"He told me that he did that because he has faith in the company and wanted to show his interest by making that investment," Mahfood said.

"The number of shares is not huge compared to the amount of issued shares (680 million), but I thought that it shows that he has a lot of faith that the products under his care are going to do very well," he added.

In addition to the Caribbean Dreams line of teas and condiments, Iberia also distributes for several well-known Jamaican brands, including Walkerswood, Excelsior, D&G sodas, Mountain Peak coffee, among others. The Financial Gleaner contacted Iberia Foods, but Miller was unavailable for comment.

neville.graham@gleanerjm.com