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PanJam sells shares in Walkerswood holding company

Investment holding and property conglomerate PanJam Investment Limited sold its 33.3 per cent stake in New Castle, which holds the Walkerswood sauce brand, after receiving an offer.

Neither the value of the transaction nor the purchaser was disclosed.

New Castle manufactures and distributes jerk sauces and seasonings, and other condiments, under the brands Walkerswood, Busha Browne and Jamaica Joe.

“The terms of the transaction do not permit us to disclose the other parties or figures involved,” said PanJam CEO Joanna Banks.

New Castle is controlled by the Garbutt family, but neither Ian Garbutt nor his son Sean Garbutt responded immediately to requests for comment.

PanJam earned $265 million as its share of profit from the one-third stake in New Castle in 2021. It implies that New Castle would have turned a profit of $795 million that year.

The returns from the sauce maker surpassed the $193 million that PanJam earned in 2020. Banks noted in a press release that the sauce company is expected to continue its growth trajectory.

Google trend data shows that Walkerswood was the most searched name in a small basket of popular Jamaica sauce brands, eclipsing Grace Foods, Spur Tree and affiliated brand Busha Browne, respectively.

Banks said the disposal, which occurred on December 21, was not associated with PanJam’s pending merger with Jamaica Producers Group.

“The sale had nothing to do with our partnership with JP. PanJam is an investment holding company, and at the price offered to us for our shares in New Castle, our investment objectives were met,” she said.

She also said there were no more disposals planned.

On December 22, shareholders in PanJam and Jamaica Producers separately voted to approve resolutions to merge both entities into a $112-billion conglomerate. The next step will see the transfer of JP’s operational assets into a new entity called JP Global Holdings, the ownership of which will be swapped with Pan Jamaica Group in exchange for a 34.5 per cent stake for Jamaica Producers in the newly merged entity.

PanJam plans to issue 561.56 million in new shares to JP before March 30 as part of the deal.

On January 6, the ownership of one million PanJam shares changed hands in a transaction worth $60 million, but said that trade was unrelated to the merger deal.

“No shares related to the transaction have crossed the floor,” she added.

JP will continue to operate independently but as an investment holding company for its 34.5 per cent stake in the merged group. Both companies will remain listed on the Jamaica Stock Exchange.

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