Jamaica Gleaner - - FEA­TURE -

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.


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