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Seprod to double exports in three years, eyeing Central America

Manufacturing and distribution company Seprod Limited has set an export target of at least 30 per cent of all goods that it manufactures, including its own products and third-party brands, by 2025.

The company is essentially seeking to double the volume of goods it sells overseas in three years, from the current 15 per cent.

CEO Richard Pandohie says at first blush the target may seem aggressive, but that the company has so far managed to grow exports from less than two per cent of total manufacturing output to 15 per cent over the last seven years.

He rationalised that the company had both the brands and the capacity to achieve the three-year goal.

“Firstly, the brands that we own, like Serge, Supligen and Betty, we can find new markets for them and expand their reach in additional markets. The other big element is the co-manufacturing and production, where we do third-party brands and produce for them,” Pandohie told the Financial Gleaner on the sidelines of Seprod’s annual general meeting.

He said the COVID-19 pandemic was in some ways a blessing for Seprod and regional manufacturers, in that nearshoring opportunities are now available.

“A lot of companies that, before, would not have looked in our direction are now looking here because of quicker lead time and lower shipping costs,” he said.

Pandohie estimates that 40 to 50 per cent of the projected growth will come from co-manufacturing efforts, and the rest from an expansion of the footprint of Seprod’s brands. He adds that a number of the brands normally imported subsidiary AS Bryden will mean more business for Seprod, since the company has the capacity to produce those goods.

AS Bryden & Sons of Trinidad & Tobago is Seprod’s most recent acquisition, which Pandohie described on Monday as the company’s “biggest move yet” that’s expected to double Seprod’s revenue base and give it “a critical footprint in Barbados, Guyana and Trinidad & Tobago,” he told Seprod’s shareholders.

On an annual basis, Seprod’s sales climbed close to $44 billion last year.

For the second quarter ended June 2022, Seprod Group achieved revenues of $16 billion, an increase of $5.75 billion, or 56 per cent, over the corresponding period in 2021. Prior to the April-June period, sales were averaging $11 billion per quarter.

Net profit for the second quarter totalled $984 million, up 49 per cent, the company reported. Seprod attributed the revenue growth to “the contribution of the Bryden Group for the month of June, robust export growth, improved product mix, improved production of fresh milk at the dairy farms, launch of new snack line, and price increases”.

Speaking to shareholders, Pandohie said he wants the trend to continue.

Seprod is already looking within the region for new markets, amid its new export thrust.

“Our team based in the Dominican Republic has been working to enter the Central American and other Hispanic markets, and I am pleased to announce that we will start shipping products during October this year to new countries, such as Guatemala,” Pandohie said.

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