Wisynco Group Limited (WGL), as a result of an equity investment by its parent company, Wisynco Group (Caribbean) Limited (WGCL), has negotiated a five year exclusive distribution agreement with Worthy Park Estate Limited (WPEL) for the distribution of WPEL’s spirits and sugar.
Chairman of Wisynco Group Limited, William Mahfood considers the agreement a win-win situation.
“We expect an annual revenue increase of approximately two billion dollars once we take over the distribution of both the sugar and spirits portfolios. Additionally in 2019, Worthy Park will introduce new retail packaging for sugar. We [Wisynco] will be handling distribution, sales, trade marketing, and advising on product innovation while Worthy Park will handle manufacturing and consumer marketing. We are confident in their products, as they are producers of the highest quality sugar and we are aiming to get their [WPEL] brands to every shop in the island. This partnership will present no risks to current profits and can only add benefit to our investors.”
The 30 percent acquisition by WGCL, positions Wisynco as one of the largest agro distributors in the island as they continue to invest in the Jamaican economy and increase their footprint and support of local manufacturing and agriculture. This is also evidenced by WGL’s investment in Trade Winds Citrus (Tru Juice) which equated to a 50 percent stake in that company.
Mr. Mahfood also addressed the Government’s current campaign which is promoting the reduction of sugar intake, as it relates to obesity; and why this did not discourage Wisynco’s decision to support the local sugar industry.
“We reject the claim that sugar causes obesity. Sugar is safe and is consumed by people around the world every day in a wide range of food and beverages. Sugar contains calories. Eating and drinking too many calories, including from sugar, can contribute to weight gain and obesity. The key to a balanced lifestyle is to consume a variety of food and beverages in moderation and to exercise. It’s important to us to make sure that consumers have a choice to help them manage their diet. Worthy Park and Wisynco will ensure to provide consumers with clear product details on packaging and multiple pack size options so people can choose what makes sense for them and their families. We encourage individuals to educate themselves about their own health and relationship to sugar,” asserts Mahfood.
Though there are talks of a current crisis looming within the local sugar industry, mainly due to high operating costs causing the price of the commodity to be high when compared to others on the international market, and industry regulatory policies, Worthy Park stands strong as a privately owned sugar factory making annual profits. Worthy Park has been the number one producer in volume for the past two years with a share of 30 percent of total production.
Co-Managing Director and Distillery Manager of Worthy Park Estate, Gordon Clarke, pointed out Wisynco’s stellar reputation as one of the Caribbean’s largest food and beverage distributors, as just a one of the reasons behind appointing the company as an exclusive local distributor.
“With Wisynco’s proven track record as both a manufacturer and distributor, we had no hesitation to offer them part ownership in our company and the opportunity to distribute our products locally,” explained Clarke.
Wisynco’s expansive distribution centre has 360,000 square feet of dry goods warehouse; operates 300 contracted and 60 company-owned trucks, and boasts a sales force of over 700 team members. The company’s success can also be attributed to their product innovation, customer-centric approach to the market, eco sustainability initiatives, strategic partnerships, and the implementation of a state of the art automated inventory and order picking system.
Prior to the new agreement, Worthy Park’s sugar was distributed through Jamaica Cane Products Sales Limited. Meanwhile, Select Brands was responsible for distributing 15 percent of WPEL’s volume of spirits, leaving a significant amount (85 percent) for them to manage independently. This presented high associated costs and led WPEL to seek more cost-effective alternatives which would allow them to focus on new product innovation.
Sharing another factor behind the agreement, Clarke outlined manufacturing as the core business and that sugar cane cultivation has continued unabated at Worthy Park since 1720. The first ever record of rum production was in 1741, years before any other existing distillery in Jamaica.
“Worthy Park has excelled in agriculture and agro processing. So much so that we have long been the most efficient cane farmers and sugar factory in Jamaica for at least the last 50 years. It is also a fact that for the past two crops we were the highest volume producer of sugar in Jamaica and we produced 30 percent of the island’s production.”
Worthy Park Estate Limited currently distributes 60 percent of its sugar and 80 percent of its rum within the local market. Their line of spirits includes its premier liqueur Worthy Park Single Estate Reserve and Rum-Bar brands which include rums (Silver, Gold, Rum Cream, and Rum,) and vodkas (Vodka Classic and Vodka Green Apple). The branded line of spirits was introduced to the market over 10 years ago.
Wisynco will commence the distribution of WPEL’s spirits on November 1, 2018 and sugar on January 1, 2019 – at the start of the new sugar crop.