Mahfoods buy 50% of WIHCON

Published: Wednesday | May 16, 2012 Comments 0
Peter Melhado, chairman, WIHCON.
Peter Melhado, chairman, WIHCON.

Avia Collinder, Business Writer

Peter Melhado, chairman of West Indies Home Contractors Limited (WIHCON), and Robert Taylor, director of Alf Investments Limited, have announced a cash and land deal in which Alf has secured a 50 per cent stake in the privately owned construction company.

The land is treated as equity under the deal.

Alf Investments is a property-management and real estate-development company owned by Mark and Ricky Mahfood.

The partnership talks were initiated 12 months ago, Melhado said.

He said the deal was not a merger of operations, but is best described as a joint venture.

The two companies will retain their separate identities, Melhado told Wednesday Business; nor have the companies created a separate vehicle for the partnership.

"Alf has invested in WIHCON by contributing land and cash and now owns 50 per cent of WIHCON," Melhado said Tuesday.

Strength and flexibility

He said that as a private company, the value of the deal and other financial information would not be divulged, but noted that Alf has approximately 1,000 acres of developable land in ideal locations.

"Alf is an experienced developer in higher-end homes and office solutions, and WIHCON is an expert in the affordable-home segment and general contracting ... . the combination gives us strength and flexibility across the sector," said Melhado.

"We view this as very important, given the difficult economy and competition for the consumer's dollar."

WIHCON is a leader in housing developments in Jamaica and counts itself as the first to construct a housing development in Jamaica - the Mona Heights project; as well as the first to pursue a project that delivered 10,000 houses in a single development in the Caribbean.

Melhado said in a release posted on the 54-year-old company's website that the agreement with Alf that will see the two parties partnering on housing developments in the main urban centres of Kingston, Spanish Town and Montego Bay.

"The vehicle for this venture will be WIHCON, a well-known builder of homes and large infrastructure projects in Jamaica and the wider Caribbean. As part of the transaction, the joint venture will acquire substantial tracts of prime lands, including shovel-ready projects such as Graham Heights in St Andrew," the release stated.

Ongoing projects

Projects being done by the partners include Meadows of Irwin in Montego Bay with 600 units of varying size; Somerset Homes in Graham Heights comprising three- and four-bedroom town houses. Another development, Bermonde in Greater Portmore, which comprises 240 super studios, is in the pipeline but still requires planning approvals, while an upcoming project in Spanish Town, near Whitewater, will deliver 600 units.

WIHCON also pursues commercial projects and is currently completing the 100,000-square foot call centre for Vistaprint in Montego Bay.

WIHCON is a subsidiary of the Matalon-family ICD Group Limited. The company says it has built more than 40,000 homes in its five-decade history.

The joint-venture partners plan to launch the 'WIHCON Premium' brand, "which will engrave the company's middle- and upper-market residential and commercial developments."

Alf Investments was incorporated in 1992. Its projects include the Trade Centre on Red Hills Road, Woodlands on Shortwood Road, and Marketplace on Constant Spring Road in Kingston.

business@gleanerjm.com

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