Wisynco weigh­ing en­ergy in­vest­ment in so­lar or LNG

Jamaica Gleaner - - BUSINESS - Steven Jack­son Se­nior Busi­ness Re­porter steven.jack­son@glean­erjm.com

BEV­ER­AGE MAKER and dis­trib­u­tor Wisynco Group will de­cide in six months whether to in­vest more in so­lar or de­velop a liq­ue­fied nat­u­ral gas power plant.

An in­ter­nal study will de­ter­mine the cost and the ben­e­fit of each en­ergy source.

“We are look­ing at six months to know the find­ing, whether to go so­lar or LNG,” said Wisynco CEO An­drew Mah­food.

The com­pany al­ready op­er­ates a so­lar plant at its St Cather­ine head of­fice, around 27 per cent of which were de­stroyed by the fire that gut­ted its ware­house fa­cil­ity last year, but the rest are still op­er­at­ing, Mah­food told Gleaner Busi­ness at the com­mis­sion­ing of the Sam Mah­food Dis­tri­bu­tion Cen­tre on Fri­day.

Six years ago, Wisynco con­sid­ered in­vest­ing in a gas-fired power plant but even­tu­ally chose in 2015 to in­vest $200 mil­lion in a one megawatt so­lar plant in­stead. The plant was set to save the com­pany roughly US$1,000 per day.

The group dis­trib­utes Coca-Cola, Red Bull, Ocean Spray and some 110 brands with over 4,000 dif­fer­ent prod­ucts cov­er­ing bev­er­ages, gro­cery and syn­thetic items; and holds food fran­chises for Wendy’s and Domino’s Pizza. It also bot­tles and dis­trib­utes its own pro­pri­etary brands, Wata and Bigga.

The com­mis­sion­ing cer­e­mony at Lakes Pen on Fri­day al­lowed Wisynco to show­case its re­cov­ery from the May 2016 fire and the ex­pan­sions un­der way. The group in­vested US$12 mil­lion to build the new ware­house and will in­vest an­other US$8 mil­lion to add man­u­fac­tur­ing bev­er­age lines con­tigu­ous to the ware­house. The re­build­ing was fi­nanced partly by the in­sur­ance pay­out for the fire as well as bank debt.

The new fa­cil­ity at 360,000 square feet is 100,000 square feet larger than the orig­i­nal ware­house built in 2007,

ac­cord­ing to com­pany notes is­sued at the cer­e­mony.

After the fire, Wisynco tem­po­rar­ily re­lo­cated the bulk of its ware­hous­ing ac­tiv­i­ties to a fa­cil­ity in An­gels, St Cather­ine. Chair­man Wil­liam Mah­food said all 300 jobs were main­tained after the fire.

The new man­u­fac­tur­ing lines and a cold stor­age fa­cil­ity un­der de­vel­op­ment are ex­pected to cre­ate an­other 50-75 jobs at com­mis­sion­ing in four to six months.

Pres­i­dent of the Ja­maica Man­u­fac­tur­ers’

As­so­ci­a­tion Metry Seaga de­scribed the new fa­cil­ity as im­pres­sive, say­ing it would al­low Wisynco to ex­pand its lo­cal and re­gional foot­print.

“It says to all of us in the man­u­fac­tur­ing

sec­tor that we can rise above all ad­ver­si­ties, whether man made, po­lit­i­cal or oth­er­wise,” Seaga said.

IAN ALLEN/PHO­TOG­RA­PHER

An em­ployee checks off stock in­side the new Sam Mah­food Dis­tri­bu­tion Cen­tre launched by Wisynco Group on Fri­day, Septem­ber 13, 2017.

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