Food manufacturer and distributor Seprod has gained a toehold in Central America and will begin shipping products to Guatemala in October.
Seprod’s entry into the Hispanic market forms part of its strategic objective to increase export sales by accelerating growth in North America and the Caribbean, even as it explores European markets.
It has set a target to double exports every three years.
“This is not a stretch target, this is our base expectation, and it is comprised of our own brands and brands that we co-manufacture for other companies,” said Seprod CEO Richard Pandohie.
According to Pandohie, the growth trajectory is in line with the reopening of more countries as the threat of the coronavirus eases and Seprod’s growth rate over the past few years.
Addressing the company’s annual general meeting on Monday, Pandohie said Seprod has seen its exports grow from less than two per cent of its total manufacturing base to 15 per cent over the last four years.
To coincide with this growth trajectory, Seprod is looking to create products that can cross over to non-Caribbean consumers.
An example of this is sorrel.
“This drink is almost exclusively consumed at Christmas in the Caribbean, but it is a staple beverage in many Latin American countries throughout the year,” Pandohie said.
To this end, Seprod has produced “Delite Flor de Jamaica” to target the Latin American diaspora, which Pandohie said is almost eight times the size of the Caribbean diaspora.
Seprod also indicated that it would collaborate with various stakeholders to bring new products, new practices, and new consumer experiences to its markets.
Seprod’s revenues for 2021 totalled $43.8 billion, a 16 per cent increase over the comparative year. The improved performance was due to price adjustments and volume mix.
Meanwhile, the normalised trading operating profit margin was eight per cent, decreasing from 10 per cent in 2020.
Operating profit for 2021 totalled $3.5 billion, compared to $4.6 billion in the previous year. The 2020 amount includes a one-off gain of $762 million from the sale of a property.
Seprod said the decrease in normalised operating profit margin was due to the partial cost absorption as it tried to cushion the rising input cost to consumers and the impact of a massive fire on the distribution business.
“The results for 2021, regardless of external events and a one-off internal traumatic incident, were solid despite not having the positive profit growth trajectory of previous years,” Pandohie said.
Seprod has undertaken some major initiatives; built a state-of-the-art milling facility, bought Nestle factory and consolidated the two dairy operations, bought Supligen and Betty brands globally, and bought Facey Commodity, food and pharmaceutical distribution business, that acquisition doubled Seprod’s revenue base.
It recently acquired AS Brydens and Sons, which again doubles the revenue base and gives the company a critical footprint in Barbados, Guyana and Trinidad & Tobago.