Wallenford deal for Cabinet review by year end

Published: Wednesday | November 21, 2012 Comments 0

Donovan Stanberry, permanent secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, says the offer on the table for state-owned Wallenford, the largest coffee concern locally, will be reviewed by Cabinet before yearend.

"It is almost ready for Cabinet," Stanberry said Monday, noting that the negotiations were virtually over.

Wallenford is being acquired by Michael Lee Chin's Portland holdings Inc.

The Ministry said earlier this year that Portland's offer was the only acceptable bid received for the coffee operation, whose assets were initially packaged into 10 bundles, including farmlands, factories, pulpery, roasting and packaging plant, other buildings and trademarks.

The sale is being handled by the Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ) through agents PricewaterhouseCoopers.

The coffee company owns approximately 2,430 acres of land, of which 405 acres are under coffee cultivation. It operates factory and processing facilities, several farms in the Blue Mountain region, and a pulpery property located on Marcus Garvey Drive in Kingston.

Wallenford was created when the Coffee Industry Board spun off its commercial arm in July 2004.

DBJ's preliminary information guide states that Wallenford's annual operating revenues for the last six years have averaged US$8.7 million. Finance ministry disclosures indicate that the company has been making annual losses, which have accumulated to an estimated J$1.6 billion as at July 2011.

business@gleanerjm.com

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