Tameka Gordon, Business Reporter
Poultry company Jamaica Broilers Group Limited (JBG) has entered into an agreement to acquire local producer and processor of smoked meats, Hamilton's Smoke House, in a move to strengthen its presence in the processed-meats segment.
The terms of the deal were not disclosed.
The acquisition will solidify the company's position as "a more complete supplier" of meat products, as well as improve the range of products the group currently offers, says Ian Parsard, senior vice-president of operations and finance.
And it gives the poultry company more solid footing in the pork market.
"This move means a number of things, among them the coming together of two locally grown companies and brands which are known for exceptional quality products," Parsard told the Financial Gleaner.
On the heels of its J$300-million investment to construct a new processing plant at Spring Village, St Catherine, aimed at relocating its Further Processing Facility from Content, Parsard said the new acquisition will allow JBG to "move forward even more" and will complement the operations of the group, since Hamilton's products "almost completes our line".
It's the second acquisition announced by Broilers this summer. The company is in the process of closing the purchase of an unnamed American egg producer.
Hamilton's Smoke House began operation in 2000 on the dream of its late cofounder, Alex Hamilton, and has supplied a wide variety of deli meats and specialised sausages.
Christopher Hamilton, the founder's son, declined comment on the company's capacity but said it produces 23 products under three lines - hams, sausages and deli meats.
The products are supplied to hotels, grocery outlets, caterers and quick service restaurants, he said. Hamilton is not in the export market.
Jamaica Broilers is hoping to use its new acquisition to take away market share from imported processed meat and meat products.
"Hamilton's products can stand up to the products that are imported, so an improved distribution capacity will no doubt result in replacing imports in a market where local products can, indeed, be supplied to meet our need," said Parsard.
With no immediate plans to rebrand the acquired entity, Parsard expects the Hamilton name and Broilers "established distribution infrastructure" to result in deeper market penetration.
"The brand is strong and customers identify with it," he said.
The deal further marks an extension for the poultry powerhouse into the processed pork market, having only done "very small quantities" in the past.
Its main poultry rival, CB Group, is well ensconced in the pork market.
With the existence of what Parsard describes as a surplus of pork on the local market, some of that excess can be absorbed through Broilers expansion in the processed-meats segment.
"Our company works closely with over 8,000 farmers across a variety of sectors so if we can use more Jamaica-produced pork from our pig farmers, that should help to ease the current glut and will also serve to reinforced our continued support of the local farming community," he said, reiterating the long echoed call to consume more local products in order to reduce the country's food import bill.
The expanded Best Dressed Further Processing Facility is yet another significant investment by Jamaica Broilers in the manufacturing industry, which Parsard previously noted is as an indication of the company's support for the Government's efforts to save foreign currency through increased local food production.
The Hamilton's Smoke House acquisition is subject to closure within 45 days of the agreement which was reached on August 20. The acquisition price will remain confidential until then, Parsard said.