Thursday 26 November, 2020

Kaya plans local, regional expansion

CEO and Founder, Balram Vaswani (left), accepts a parting gift from Senior Vice President, Investment Banking, Mayberry Investments Limited, Dan Theoc, at the weekly Virtual Investor Forum.

CEO and Founder, Balram Vaswani (left), accepts a parting gift from Senior Vice President, Investment Banking, Mayberry Investments Limited, Dan Theoc, at the weekly Virtual Investor Forum.

Cannabis company Kaya Group is looking to expand its footprint into three new parishes between now and March 2021, despite the fallout that COVID-19 has had on tourism which currently stands as one of the largest main business segments for the company.

CEO and Founder, Balram ‘Bali’ Vaswani has announced that the company is looking to set up shop in Montego Bay, St James; Port Antonio, Portland; and Portmore, St Catherine “within the ‘coming months”, to make it six parishes that the company does business in.

Since building out its business from a partnership with the University of Technology back in 2017, Kaya first opened its flagship location in Ocho Rios, St Ann; before expanding to Falmouth, Trelawny and then Kingston last year.

Even as the company looks to set up more shops in Jamaica, Vaswani has his eyes on the regional market given new cannabis laws passed in countries like St Vincent, St Lucia, Bahamas and Barbados.

Kaya Group has also recently announced that they will be making the transition into Uruguay; another move that bodes well for the expansion of the company.

“With the strength, we have now, you can expect a regional outlay over the next year or two,” he said. Vaswani was a guest speaker of Mayberry Investments Limited’s weekly Virtual Investor Forum held on Wednesday, November 11.

But while its tackles buildout plans in Jamaica and licensing agreements regionally, Kaya is going after market share in the Cayman Islands, after recently securing the first commercial license, allowing them to export to the Cayman Islands.

Exportation plans to the Cayman Islands were, however, brought to a halt with the outbreak of COVID-19.

“Sadly, the pandemic hit at the time it did because we had obtained that license in February, then Cayman had their shutdown in March,” said Vaswani.

Outside of temporarily dampening plans for export to the Cayman Islands, sales from Kaya’s local business also trended down 80 per cent as a result of restrictions put in place to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

The cannabis company has since managed to retrieve 65 per cent of its business with the government’s decision to reopen the borders back in June.

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