Friday, 28 October 2022 13:07

Jamaica Broilers doubling down on USA

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Jamaica Broilers Group Limited (JBG) is planning on increasing its investments in its US operations as it plans to expand its poultry processing plant in South Carolina, United States of America.

The poultry and animal feed distributor has seen rapid growth from its US operations which currently produces chicken from The Best Dressed Chicken Inc in South Carolina and fertile eggs from International Poultry Breeders LLC in Norman Park, Georgia. It acquired the poultry processing plant in September 2019 from Gentry's Poultry Company Inc and has seen a rapid increase in demand for chickens processed.

As a result, JBG will be deploying around US$20 million to the expansion of the facility to boost its production capacity again.

"We're going to be expanding that plant up in South Carolina. We're on a very intensive capital programme building out the United States and I think that's where we're very laser-focused. When we bought the operations, we did roughly 150,000 birds a week and we're significantly past that now. I think when we look at South Carolina, this expansion is going to continue making our US investments relevant to the size of the company. We will be growing even more so in the near future," said JBG President and Chief Executive Officer Chistopher Levy at the company's virtual annual general meeting on Wednesday.

Its USA operations contributed 39 per cent of the $75.72 billion in revenue in 2022 and 34 per cent of the $7.26 billion in operating profit.

Despite having to contend with the novel coronavirus pandemic, The Best Dressed Chicken brand is available in over 20 states with the group intending to make it a national brand. The group also has mills and hatcheries in different US states. JBG had considered an acquisition of Simply Essentials Poultry Plant in Iowa in 2021, but it didn't materialise during the final stages. JBG's first quarter up to July 30 showed that it earned $9.21 billion in revenue of which $814 million was made in its US subsidiary. This is more than double the comparative 2019 figures with the total asset base standing at $37.69 billion.

"The brand is gaining recognition, traction and quite frankly shareholders, it's amazing what I'd call the brand equity that's building. The ability to grow and seize opportunities in the United States is quite frankly beyond our imagination at this point," Levy added.

Despite volumes sold for chicken hitting parity for 2019 versus the 2022 financial year, Levy confirmed that the Jamaican operation has surpassed its pre-pandemic volumes in the first quarter. JBG's revenue from its Jamaican operation surpassed $13.69 billion for the first quarter with the segment result at $1.88 billion. Levy also mentioned the fact that the company's exports grew 60 per cent year-over-year for the 2022 financial year which is driven on the company's no antibiotic stance.