Wed | Nov 29, 2023

Wisynco adding two new beverage lines for export push

Published:Friday | November 11, 2022 | 6:15 AMNeville Graham - Business Reporter

The installation of two new beverage lines by Wisynco Group Limited will boost production by at least 35 per cent, according to Chairman William Mahfood.

The drinks manufacturer plans to increase its capacity to meet the growing demand in local and export markets.

Speaking on the sidelines of an official factory tour on Wednesday, Mahfood told the Financial Gleaner that Wisynco has already paid out just over US$4 million, or about $600 million, for equipment that’s to be shipped to Jamaica by June 2023, the end of its financial year. The spend amounts to around a third of the overall project cost.

The tour of the company’s facilities at White Marl and Lakes Pen in St Catherine was part of the Jamaica Manufacturers and Exporters Association, JMEA, 75th anniversary commemorative tours of member companies.

Senior management at Wisynco hosted Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Senator Aubyn Hill, along with representatives from the JMEA. Mahfood noted that all the company’s four beverage lines are running at maximum capacity, and are working overtime to keep up with demand.

“We need that expansion to give us that room to produce optimally. The capacity that we have is almost at its limits, and that improvement will just have to come soon,” he said.

The two new beverage lines are expected to cost about $1.8 billion overall. The company will put in 50,000 square feet of additional space to the east of the 360,000-square- foot Lakes Pen facility to accommodate the incoming machines. The company also operates a 170,000-square-foot plant at White Marl, for a total of 530,000 square feet of factory and warehouse space. Wisynco also leases a 26,000- square-foot warehouse facility in Hague, Trelawny, along with temporary storage facilities in St Catherine and Clarendon.

In addition to the new beverage lines, according to Mahfood, the company will be installing a new energy-generation plant, aiming to reap even more savings following on the cogeneration plant it installed in 2019. That installation uses LNG to supply 2MW of power, along with heat, to run some manufacturing processes. It has cut the company’s energy bill in half, Mahfood said.

Wisynco Group is a manufacturer of beverages as well as food utensils, but it also distributes around 140 local and foreign consumer brands under contract, encompassing around 4,000 products.

The company is striving to grow the proportion of revenue it earns from foreign sales to various Caribbean markets, as well as the United Kingdom and North America.

Export Manager Stephen Dawkins told the Financial Gleaner that exports account for about three per cent of total revenue, but the ratio climbs to about 10 per cent when only manufactured goods are factored.

The company wants to double the latter ratio over the next two years.

The company has been touting progress on its export thrust in recent times, including in its newly released first-quarter earnings report.

“We are encouraged by the increased demand for our products in all channels, including exports, which were up 10 per cent over the same quarter of the prior year. The supply chain challenges continued into this quarter, however, we are seeing improvements,” the company said in a release accompanying its financials.

The company’s July-September first quarter produced sales revenue of $11.9 billion, which Wisynco said was the highest in its history. It reflected a 30 per cent gain relevant to the $9.2 billion of sales recorded in the corresponding first quarter of 2021.

Profit for the period also rose 34 per cent to around $1.3 billion, up from $967 million.