portfolio were offloaded as a more radical overhaul became necessary to achieve profitability.
Among the many businesses sold were Facey Commodity, Homelectix, Shoppers Fair, Butterkist, Universal Stores, P.A Benjamin, Serge Island Dairies and Farms, Tropicair, air-conditioning and engineering firm CAC, Redimix and Northern Aggregates. Sigma merged with Manufacturers Merchant Bank and the Prime Life insurance portfolio was sold to Guardian Life. The result was that by about 2004-2005, the group was essentially debt-free with British Caribbean Insurance Company (BCIC), West Indies Home Contractors (WIHCON), WIHCON Properties and CGM Gallagher, the regional brokerage business which had merged with a Barbadian firm, remaining in the scaled-down group.
Since then, the group has remained relatively debt-free and is profitable, with the turning point for profits coming in 2002. “We certainly became significantly more profitable with the five or six companies than we were with the 30 companies. We have engaged in a number of new businesses more recently and we established some investment criteria in terms of foreign exchange earnings and global potential for employment creation in Jamaica,” the ICD Group head noted.
“The leaner ICD Group developed pension business Prime Asset Management Limited and we went into the business process outsourcing (BPO) industry with the acquisition of Advantage Communication of Canada. A lot of the business was migrated to Jamaica using the competitive advantages of Jamaica as a near-shore BPO destination.”
Joseph M. Matalon during a recent Gleaner interview.
GROUP RELATIVELY DEBT-FREE