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Vistaprint tech centre budgeted at US$15m

Published:Sunday | August 21, 2011 | 12:00 AM
An aerial view of Montego Bay Freezone, the centre of Jamaica's call centre industry. Vistaprint will in 2012 give up rented space inside the free zone and develop its own tech centre on 12 acres of Barnett lands acquired for the purpose. - file

Steven Jackson, Business Reporter

American technology company Vistaprint plans to start construction next year on its US$14.8 million (J$1.27 billion) call centre in Montego Bay.

The development will represent up to 20 per cent of the group's total capital expenditure in 2012, estimated at between US$75 million and US$90 million.

The new facility will be located on land purchased by the group.

"We own a 12-acre site in Montego Bay, Jamaica, on which we expect to construct a new 92,000 square-foot building for a customer service, sales, and design support centre which will replace the leased spaces in Jamaica," said Vista in its newly released annual financial results.

Vistaprint, which is listed on the technology-laden Nasdaq exchange, offers printed marketing materials, promotional products, and marketing services such as copywriting, design, websites, and postcard mailing. Calls to its Mangrove Way, Montego Bay, offices went unanswered.

Two years ago, then industry minister Karl Samuda had estimated the Vistaprint investment at US$25 million, or about J$2 billion, at a press conference, and said it would support the doubling of the company's local workforce to 800 by 2015.

The local operations currently rent 30,000 square feet of space in the Montego Bay Free Zone. Its lease expires in May 2012, according to the financial disclosure.

Vistaprint acquired the 12 acres at Fairfield on the north-western tip of the city in 2009 from Mark Kerr-Jarrett's Barnett Estate Limited. The land forms part of the technology park that Kerr-Jarrett is in the process of developing.

The Vistaprint call centre will be designed by American architects Kingsland Scott Bauer Associates, which operates from Pittsburgh.

Vistaprint Jamaica, run by General Manager Roger Williams, handles more than 700,000 orders via phone and email per quarter for clients such as OfficeMax, Viking Direct, and FedEx.

Vistaprint is the first company to have bought space in the US$352 million technology park. The development, which is called Barnett Tech Park, is located on 100 acres of former sugar cane lands at Fairfield.

Kerr-Jarrett said the park would be developed in two phases, with phase one comprising 48 acres of land.

Vistaprint earned US$82.1 million in net income for its full year ending June 2011, up 21 per cent year on year, while revenues grew by a similar percentage to US$817 million.

The company employs about 2,600 people globally, operates 23 localised websites, and ships to more than 122 countries around the world.

steven.jackson@gleanerjm.com