Thu | May 13, 2021

JP consortium to bid on Barbados airport next month

Published:Sunday | March 7, 2021 | 12:10 AM

Jeffrey Hall, managing director of Jamaica Producers Group.
Jeffrey Hall, managing director of Jamaica Producers Group.

Food and logistics conglomerate, Jamaica Producers Group, JP, is going after the concession for Grantley Adams International Airport in Barbados, the tender for which has been delayed. Government technocrats in that country are reassessing the...

Food and logistics conglomerate, Jamaica Producers Group, JP, is going after the concession for Grantley Adams International Airport in Barbados, the tender for which has been delayed.

Government technocrats in that country are reassessing the terms of the concession based on changes to travel arising from the pandemic, but plan to seek bids for Grantley Adams by or before April.

JP Group Managing Director Jeffrey Hall says his company sees Barbados as an attractive place to invest.

JP has had a long-standing interest in entering the airport management business, having tried for the Norman International Airport (NMIA) contract, in partnership with others, when the Government of Jamaica put its second largest airport on the market. The NMIA concession was eventually won by the same Mexican company, Pacific Airport Group, that holds the management contract for Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay.

Barbados is offering a 30-year contract for the operation, financing, development and maintenance of Grantley Adams. Thirteen consortia from around the world were pre-qualified as bidders for the project. The consortium with which Jamaica Producers is aligned contains three other players, led by French company Egis, which operates 17 airports in seven countries, another French company Bouygues Construction Airport Concessions, which focuses on the construction side of airport development; and Eppley Limited, a Jamaican investment company that is part of the Musson Jamaica conglomerate and holds real estate across the region.

Hall said Grantley Adams was just one of the investments Jamaica Producers was looking to make this year from an approximate $10-billion arsenal.

“Our target is to deploy cash in this calendar year. Adams is one area but there were other acquisitions. Hopefully, we can unlock the opportunities, but we are looking for other deals overseas,” he said, adding that JP is looking to do deals in both food and logistics.

JP has done several acquisitions and disposals in the past decade, one of its most consequential being a 42 per cent stake in port company Kingston Wharves Limited.

The conglomerate’s business lines include port terminal operations, logistics, food and juice manufacturing, fruit and crop cultivation, marketing and distribution of fresh produce, land management, and the holding of investments.

Last year, the company recorded a slight dip in revenue by half-billion dollars to $21 billion, but grew profit to $3.7 billion from $2.7 billion, mainly due to its disposal of a 22 per cent stake in property management company SAJE Logistics Infrastructure Limited in a deal valued at $1.9 billion. The group still holds a 9.5 per cent stake through subsidiary Kingston Wharves.

JP’s cash fell from $1.4 billion to $1.1 billion at year ending December 2020. However, its current assets, which contain cash and investment securities, amount to $13.5 billion, of which Hall said roughly $10 billion is quickly convertible to cash.

steven.jackson@gleanerjm.com