Tue | Jul 27, 2021

Kremi adding cold storage capacity

Published:Wednesday | July 21, 2021 | 12:07 AM
A serving of Kremi ice cream.
A serving of Kremi ice cream.

Ice cream maker Caribbean Cream Limited is constructing a larger cold room with blast freezers on property adjoining its current complex at South Camp Road in Kingston, paving the way for the company to store more inventory.

The development, which includes a security post and access point to the main complex, comes amid robust business for the ice cream company, which trades as Kremi, notwithstanding the pandemic.

“While demand for our products is very strong, we are cognisant of the impact a general level of price increase can have on our business. We, however, continue to assess and improve our infrastructure and reach out to our customers in this time of uncertainty,” said Chairman and CEO Christopher Clarke in a statement accompanying Kremi’s first-quarter financial results.

He did not respond to requests for comment on the new investment in the cold storage facility, which is being developed on property recently acquired by the company.

Over the past five years, Kremi has constructed a warehouse to allow for more storage of raw materials, increased its factory floor space by 50 per cent, and also expanded the capacity of its cold room and blast freezer, leading to the growth of the business.

More recently, Kremi invested $65 million in a new production line for frozen novelties, used for making its own line of icicles. Additionally, it’s investing US$2 million in the installation of a combined heat and power plant at its head office to reduce its energy bill.

The ice cream maker doubled earnings for its May first quarter to $54 million from $27 million, and continued on its revenue growth streak with quarterly sales of $548 million, 28 per cent above the similar period of 2020.

Kremi’s ability to manufacture ice cream locally allowed it to weather the pandemic, but last quarter, found itself in similar supply constraints like its competitors, due to higher costs of raw materials and increasing difficulties in importing the novelties it distributes.

“The company has taken the initiative to engage key suppliers, whose supply chains and prices are being affected by the ongoing pandemic,” Clarke said of the company’s efforts to address the problem.

Kremi earnings were tempered by additional costs, including a new depot opened in Ocho Rios, St Ann. Operating expenses rose 35 per cent in the period, but the company still doubled its profits.

karena.bennett@gleanerjm.com