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CPJ hyping solar power amid expansion

Published:Wednesday | December 20, 2023 | 12:05 AM

Caribbean Producers Jamaica Limited, CPJ, will commission an additional 1,000 kilowatts of solar power that is costing US$1 million to install and is due for commissioning at the company’s main base in Montego Bay early in the new year.

Thomas Tyler, executive co-chairman and co-founder, says the existing 700-kilowatt solar system was installed pre-COVID and has paid for itself several times over. All the power is used in-house, with none sold to the grid.

“There is very good ROI (return on investment) on solar because of our need for electrical capacity,” said Tyler. “US$1 million is being spent on that project.”

It is expected to reduce energy costs by more than 35 per cent.

The solar plant is one of several investments being undertaken by the company. The other projects are budgeted at US$8 million, the co-chairman said.

One of the projects, the expansion of manufacturing plants and other operational areas, is reported to be at an advanced stage.

Caribbean Producers is a purveyor of wines and spirits whose main market is the hotel sector. However, in recent years, the company has been growing both its manufacturing footprint as a processor of meats, as well as its retail arm, known as CPJ Market.

“CPJ is preparing for the unprecedented expansion in the number of available hotel rooms; some of which are already in the advanced stages of development. We are also positioning ourselves for greater reach in the retail sector,” CPJ said in its earnings report for the September quarter.

On the retail front, its plan to open a new store in St Lucia is close to execution.

The expansion of the manufacturing plant related to meats is costing more than US$3 million. It’s intended to increase capacity to meet demand from hospitality and retail clientèle.

For the financial year ended June 2023, group revenue was US$142.58 million, a 19 per cent jump over 2022.

For the first quarter ending September, CPJ’s operating revenues rose to US$34.22 million from US$33.06 million, an increase of 3.5 per cent year-on-year; while profit declined by US$490,000 to US$1.23 million.

Directors said that revenue improvement during the quarter was driven by the introduction of new product lines, along with the continued development of existing sales channels, including online business.

“The solar system project should be commissioned soon and will bring additional benefits and cost savings,” the company directors said.

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