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Elephant Group gobbles up ICT space in Montego Bay - Factories Corp resolves to add new capacity

Published:Wednesday | January 8, 2014 | 12:00 AM
An aerial view of the Montego Bay Free Zone. - File

 Avia Collinder, Business Reporter

Factories Corp-oration of Jamaica will complete the retrofitting of 20,000 square feet of space in the Montego Bay Free Zone (MBFZ) by March for occupancy by the Elephant Group, whose operation chairman, Clive Fagan, describes it as "the fastest growing business process outsourcing company in Jamaica."

Factories Corp will also press ahead with previously disclosed plans to construct an additional 63,000 sqaure feet of space on lands at the Montego Freeport owned by the Port Authority of Jamaica (PAJ), which is the parent company of Montego Bay Free Zone.

Elephant Group first opened offices in the free zone in February 2013 with 100 employees. The Florida-based company, founded in 1997 by president and CEO Benny Aboud, offers technical support sales, as well as sell products and services for US-based TV, Internet and phone service providers such as AT&T, Comcast, and Time Warner Cable.

Efforts at comment on the status of Elephant's expansion plan were unsuccessful.

Fagan, who is chairman for both MBFZ and Factories Corp, said Monday that Jamaica has suffered a decline in regional market share for ICT/BPO business because of the lack of space.

"The board of directors is determined to resolve the problem in the coming year," he said.

"The PAJ has agreed to extend the strategic alliance that exists with the Factories Corporation of Jamaica to construct a new 63,000-square foot building on vacant land owned by the PAJ in the zone."

The MoBay Free Zone which houses 66 per cent of ICT space in Jamaica is also home to support services for inbound logistics for global companies; however, most of its revenue comes from business process outsourcing.

Fagan said MBFZ earnings amounted to US$107.12 million or 46 per cent of the total ICT/BPO earnings in Jamaica in 2012.

He noted that the free zone which houses 66 per cent of outsourcing companies in Jamaica is the site for two of the Top 10 global outsourcing companies - Xerox and Teleperformance.

Teleperformance is the parent company for AllianceOne Receivables Management Inc, which now has one centre in Montego Bay with 1,300 employees.

Teleperformance services companies in the United States, Canada, and Caribbean markets in the areas of financial services, telecommunications and retail.

Fagan says the free zone has benefited from the ability of clients to choose their own telecommunications provider for broadband and other related services. Previously, they had to utulise the services of Jamaica Digiport International, a subsidiary of LIME Jamaica.

"MBFZ achieved a major milestone in the provision of services to its clients with the breaking of the telecommunications monopoly, paving the way for more flexible options to our contact centres," said Fagan.

Companies involved in export in the free zone saw business decline during the last fiscal year, but overall revenue for MBFZ grew by 30 per cent to J$30 million, while it closed the period with cash of $58 million.