Tue | Sep 22, 2020

Seprod eyes more redundancies in drive to boost productivity

Published:Monday | August 3, 2020 | 12:00 AM
Seprod Limited CEO Richard Pandohie - File photo

Chief executive officer of Seprod Limited Richard Pandohie says there will be more redundancies at the company as it intensifies its drive to improve productivity.

On Friday, 14 positions at the subsidiaries, Belvedere Limited and Serge Island in St Thomas, were made redundant.

“It’s not a headcount reduction. It’s just that we are gradually increasing the qualifications and standards,” said Pandohie, dismissing claims that Friday’s redundancy was linked to recent praedial larceny issues at the locations.

According to the Seprod boss, Friday’s redundancy had long been proposed but was delayed because of the coronavirus.

He said, too, that for 30 years, Jamaica’s productivity has been declining.

“For Jamaica to move forward, we are going to have to improve our productivity, and farming is one of our biggest opportunities to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Pandohie.

He said that  Seprod wants to upgrade the staff quality and qualifications to adapt to technology.

The Seprod boss said that agriculture is an important economic driver and will play an important role in Jamaica’s post-COVID recovery.

“There are a lot of qualified people who have not been given the opportunity, and that’s what we are doing right now,” he said.

For the quarter ending June, Seprod more than doubled its net earnings.

The company also reported double-digit growth in sales following the consolidation of its dairy factories, expanded distribution linked to the acquisition of the Facey Consumer business, and additional exports.

The dairy division got a boost from a manufacturing contract deal to produce a range of milk products on behalf of Nestlé Jamaica Limited.

Group sales in the quarter totalled $9.47 billion, up from $8 billion; expenses dropped from $3 billion to $2.83 billion; and net profit rocketed from $241 million to $568 million.

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