Wed | Apr 1, 2020

P.A. Benjamin eyes April for opening of expanded factory space

Published:Sunday | February 16, 2020 | 12:22 AM
Workers bottle Benjamins products on the factory floor at P.A. Benjamin Manufacturing Company in Kingston in this 2010 file photo. The company expects to commission new operating space in April 2020 as it positions to grow exports.
Workers bottle Benjamins products on the factory floor at P.A. Benjamin Manufacturing Company in Kingston in this 2010 file photo. The company expects to commission new operating space in April 2020 as it positions to grow exports.

P.A. Benjamin’s half-billion-dollar expansion of its downtown Kingston complex is expected to be completed in April.

The manufacturer of consumer items sold under the Benjamins brand last year acquired a section of John’s Lane, which sits behind its East Street complex, to facilitate the doubling of P.A. Benjamin’s factory space to roughly 52,000 square feet.

“We will speak more on the development when we open, which is in two months,” director of P.A. Benjamin, Christopher Powell, told the Financial Gleaner.

P.A. Benjamin has been in business for the past 138 years and today produces over 100 products, including a pharmaceuticals line, personal care, cough and cold, infant care, flavourings and colourings, savouries, laundry and household-cleaning products, and bath and body care products.

The ongoing expansion is partially aimed at allowing the company more warehousing capacity amid plans to double its export revenue, and to bring the testing of all its products in-house. The company says on its website The Benjamins products are distributed in more than 20 markets.

Powell is also focused on the roll-out of new products, including a line of castor oil products, and an increase in the company’s current production numbers to capture new markets such as Latin America and Ghana through exports of its vanilla, rubbing alcohol, olive oil and cough medicine.

History

P.A. Benjamin Manufacturing Company Limited – originally called ‘Benjamins Jamaica Healing Oil Factory’ – was founded by Percival Austin Benjamin in 1879. As noted in the history on its website, Benjamins was later purchased by the firm Cecil B. Facey after its founder’s death in 1932. Thirty years later, both P.A. Benjamin and Cecil B. Facey were incorporated into the ICD Group.

The business changed ownership again in year 2000 when it was purchased from ICD. Companies Office of Jamaica records list Errol Powell as chairman and owner through EGLP Limited, and names Errol Powell, Christopher Powell, Stacy-Ann Powell, Patrick Scott and Dennis Chang as directors.

karena.bennett@gleanerjm.com