Keisha Hill, Gleaner Writer
Carreras Limited is the leading marketer and distributor of cigarettes and tobacco related products in Jamaica. The company has local and international ownership with Jamaican shareholders owning approximately 49.6 per cent of the company. British American Tobacco (BAT), holds majority interest in the company.
Carreras Limited is celebrating 50 years in Jamaica and has had a rich history. From as early as the 1930s Carreras United Kingdom (UK) had been selling some of its cigarette brands in Jamaica. In the late 1950s to the early 1960s, those cigarettes were distributed by Bonitto Brothers.
In 1962 Carreras of Jamaica was registered, "to carry on business as tobacco and cigar merchants and importers of and dealers in tobacco, cigars, cigarettes, snuff, matchlights, pipes and any other articles required by or useful to smokers ..." In 1963, the company was the first Jamaican company to establish a manufacturing plant in post-independent Jamaica.
According to managing director, Richard Pandohie they proudly celebrate their achievements and being a part of the dynamic business landscape in Jamaica. "We proudly celebrate our achievements as a team and take great pride in our participation in Jamaica's development over the years," Pandohie said.
Reputation for quality
Since Independence in 1962, Carreras has built a reputation for producing high-quality cigarette brands to meet the diverse tastes of its consumers. From 1975 to 1994, Carreras diversified its operations to own: Agricultural Products of Jamaica, Carreras Development Limited, Carreras Exports Limited, Cigarette Company of Jamaica, Graphic Arts Limited, Island Bottlers, Jamaica Flexographic Limited, Jamaica Graphic and Printing Supplies Limited, Rothmans of Pall Mall (Jamaica) Limited, Sans Souci Hotel and the Jamaica Biscuit Company.
Return to tobacco
In the 1990s, the company aggressively began the divestment of its non-tobacco business as part of a strategy to return to its core tobacco business, ending in 2005 with the sale of Sans Souci Hotel. In June 1999, BAT merged with Rothmans International and acquired controlling interest in Carreras Limited.
"As a team we remain committed to striving for the exceptional results that Carreras Limited has become known for more than the 50 years. We will continue to provide high-quality products and services for our consumers while ensuring that we work together to deliver the expected results to our stakeholders," Pandohie said.
The company currently markets and distributes four brands - Craven "A", Matterhorn, Dunhill and Rothmans. Over the past decade, the company has been aggressively changing its business strategy which has resulted in the divestment of its non-core businesses and concentrating on its tobacco operations. This has also led to a change in the focus of the company's corporate social investments.
In 2006, the company undertook a Corporate Responsibility Review, whereby it held dialogue with all its key stakeholders within the society to understand their expectations of Carreras as a company operating in a highly controversial industry.
Already plans are in high gear for this momentous occasion in the life of Carreras Jamaica Limited. Mark the following dates in your calendars.
Sunday, September 2:
Ecumenical service in Spanish Town, St Catherine, where all staff will be invited to participate.
Monday, September 3:
Official press launch of Carreras 50 week of activities.
Tuesday, September 4
Cultural extravaganza in Spanish Town, St Catherine, the community in which the company has operated over these 50 years. This event will feature performances by: the National Dance Theatre Company, Movements Dance Theatre Company, Ashe, various mento bands, Saint International and performances from groups in the community of Spanish Town. This will be a partnership with the Jamaica 50 Committee.
Wednesday, September 5
Carreras 50 Scholarship Awards and Carreras 50th Anniversary Gala. The company will award 50 students with scholarships and bursaries valued up to $200,000 each. Students will range from community colleges, teachers' colleges, universities, the Edna Manley College for the Visual and Performing Arts and the Jamaica Constabulary Force.
Thursday, September 6
Carreras 50th Annual General Meeting. Here a special 50th Anniversary Edition of the Annual Report will be given out to all our shareholders.
Friday, September 7
Special trade visit. Carreras leadership will interact with the trade in a customer-focused engagement to recognise long-standing trade partners.
Saturday, September 8
Stakeholders cocktail & lyme will lead into the weekend of celebrations (to be announced).