Thursday 19 September, 2019

Seprod aims to push flour, cornmeal exports with new mill

Seprod CEO Richard Pandohie.

Seprod CEO Richard Pandohie.

Manufacturing company Seprod aims to push regional exports of flour and cornmeal from its flour mill, which is expected to be constructed in two years.

Chairman Paul B Scott revealed that the company will begin constructing the mill later this year, through a partnership with American shipping company Seaboard, which has 50 per cent stake in Jamaica Grain and Cereals.

“Seaborad are our partners in Jamaica Grain, we are looking to develop all our products throughout our portfolio to go into all the markets,” Scott said.

In announcing the plans to construct the flour mill to investors, Scott shared that the level of capital investments that Seprod has made cannot be sustained by the local markets.

“The market we are looking to address isn’t just Jamaica, but the Caribbean. What we are really doing at Seprod is not to be a manufacturer of commodity products that runs a factory and pushes it and uses price as a factor to deliver sales,” Scott said.

Seprod AGM

Seprod isn’t new to the corn business, which it had successfully done for decades but had aced strong competition from Belize.

“We really needed to re-tool that business. So we redesigned that business as a whole, we took it and looked at how we can make it better, make it sustainable to take advantage of the opportunities, Scott told shareholders at the company’s annual general meeting.

Both Scott and Seprod CEO Richard Pandohie were mum on the cost of the investment, only to say “it’s significant.”

“It’s a considerable amount of money… at the end of the day for us to develop and grow as a country, people need to make serious investments,” Scott said.

He added: “At the end of the day to build a brand new milling facility. It’s a lot of money, its serious money but it’s reflective of how serious Sepord is in investing in Jamaica.

Moreover, the chairman isn’t promising below market pricing for its flour and cornmeal locally.

“While price is a very important component to anything that we are selling, it cannot be the driver,” Scott added.

And of course, Seprod will also use the products from the mill to supply other segments of its business like its biscuit facility.

The company is also bullish on improving distribution of its products, as such it is currently evaluating whether to acquire a company or build one from scratch, according to Pandhoie.

“We have been strongly manufacturing but at the end of the day we have to get to consumers in the most cost effective way, so we continue to look at opportunities,” he said, adding that company is in the evaluation stage.

“We are moving quickly and we are putting together proposals to get to the board with a view to make a decision by year end,” the CEO said.


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