Wed | Jun 29, 2022

GK Investments becomes third-largest owner in Spur Tree

Published:Wednesday | April 27, 2022 | 12:07 AM

GK Investments has increased its stake in spicemaker Spur Tree Spices Jamaica Limited to 9.84 per cent, making it the third largest shareholder as at the end of March.

The acquisition also nearly doubles GK’s stake in the company, which listed in on the stock market in January.

The top two owners remain director Harrinarine Jagnarine with 34.32 per cent and CEO Albert Bailey with 16.76 per cent. But GK has now leapfrogged Anand James, whose holdings at last disclosure was over seven per cent.

Over the month of March, Spur Tree directors sold just over 77 million of their shares in the company, while GK Investments, a subsidiary of food and financial services group GraceKennedy Limited, bought up 56.9 million units.

The transfer of shares closed on March 30, when the SPURTREE stock closed at $3.78. The company listed on the junior market of the Jamaica Stock Exchange in January following an IPO brokered by GK Investments. It then held 5.1 per cent interest in Spur Tree.

GK Investments has not disclosed the price paid for the additional 56.9 million shares, but based on SPURTREE’s closing price on March 30, the value of the investment was then $60.68 million.

The stock closed at $3.80 on Tuesday, still trailing its March-high of $4.28.

Steven Whittingham, deputy CEO of GraceKennedy Financial Group Limited, who has direct oversight of GK Investments, cited their productive partnership with the spicemaker over four years as the reason for deepening their investment in the company.

“We have observed Spur Tree Spices principals, their values, and the strength of their brand, particularly during the economic downturn triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Whittingham.

“Their resilience throughout this challenging time has inspired even deeper confidence in their growth trajectory,” he said.

GraceKennedy’s food division also manufactures spices amid a wide range of products.

As to whether the increased stake in Spur Tree would lead to other partnerships with the conglomerate, Vice-President of Investor Relations at GK Capital, Ryan Strachan, said: “I think that time will tell, but we are not a position to speak to that right now.”

karena.bennett@gleanerjm.com