CEO of bakery and confectionery Honey Bun Ltd Michelle Chong indicates that in 2017 the company will pursue new export opportunities in a bid to increase hard currency earnings.
“We have several plans to increase sales in new markets where there are opportunities in order to increase our foreign exchange earnings,” Chong said in the annual report released on January 11.
“Our export plans remain a priority. Exports this year (ended September 2016) increased by 22 per cent over prior year. The rum cakes were once again sold this year in ASDA in the UK,” she noted.
The manufacturer has attracted the attention of investors who were rewarded with a 600 per cent increase in value over the course of its financial year ended September 2016.
The Junior market-listed firm has been the top performer in its category on the Jamaica Stock Exchange (JSE). The price of shares increased from 86 cents on September 30, 2015 (the June 2016 stock split is treated as having taken place in 2015) to $6 on 30 September 2016, representing an increase of more than six times the base price.
Company earnings, year over the year, doubled to $149 million, from $1.19 billion in revenue.
The market has watched while the company invested in technology, acquired additional commercial property for expansion, and implemented strategies to improve efficiency. In October of 2016, the board approved the build-out of a warehouse at a budgeted cost of $74 million and the construction of an underground water tank at a budgeted cost of $20 million.
Chong noted in the annual report the first phase of a solar project has been completed and the company has also made investments in the reduction of effluent by updating sanitation practices to use less chemicals.
Additionally, during the year, more than $100-million worth of capital was reinvested in the form of assets including vehicles to increase distribution and bakery equipment to improve capacity and efficiency.
Honey Bun also became the first HACCP-certified bakery in Jamaica, certified by SGS International in March 2016.
The net book value of the company increased by 22 per cent over the year, closing at $503 million dollars, up from $411 million in the prior year.