GK investing heavily in digital transformation

November 23, 2021

“In an economy like ours, we are pleased with the $9.7 billion growth in revenues,” stated GraceKennedy’s CEO, Don Wehby. GraceKennedy Group (GK) revenues for the nine months ended September 30, 2021 increased by 11.2% or $9.7 billion. Whereas, net profit closed the period at $6.2 billion (2020: $4.9 billion), reflecting a 26.3% or $1.3 billion year over year growth.

According to Mr. Wehby, the Company’s stock performance improved with a 58.4% growth since December 2020, this was compared to a 1.7% growth for the JSE Main Market Index.

GraceKennedy’s Business Highlights:

  • 876 Spring Water
    • GraceKennedy acquired the 876 Spring Water brand on April 23, 2021
  • Scotia Insurance Caribbean Limited (SIECL) Acquisition
    • GraceKennedy acquired 100% of Scotia Insurance Caribbean Limited (SIECL) on July 31, 2021, which has been rebranded to GK Life Insurance Eastern Caribbean Limited (GK Life), Mr. Wehby noted, “we had our first board meeting in November, and I had asked the management to look out for additional opportunities such as acquisition of life insurance companies in the Caribbean.”
  • GK Weather Protect
    • GK General Insurance Company Limited (GKGI) launched its latest policy innovation, GK Weather Protect. This product, designed in conjunction with Jamaica’s Ministry of Agriculture, offers wind, rain and drought insurance for Jamaican farmers and fishers. Mr. Webhy believes that sustainable growth in Jamaica will come from Agriculture, particularly Agri-Processing, “something I feel very strongly about and that is how we going to reduce our high import bill for food product that is averaging about US$1 billion.”
  • First Global Bank (FGB) Agency Banking
    • FGB continues to expand its banking agency network to 14, with three new Money Link locations in rural Jamaica: Highgate – St. Mary, Albert Town – Trelawny and Whitehouse, Westmoreland. The target is to have at least 20 in the near term, as per Mr. Webhy.


Financial Services Division Highlights:

  • Money Services showing revenue and profit growth over prior year:
    • GK Money Services, which operates our remittance business showed increases in revenue and profit over prior year in its main markets – Jamaica, Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago. Digital transactions exceed prior year by 117%.
  • Insurance showing revenue and profit growth over prior year:
    • Key Insurance turned around the business to profitability, showing profit compared to losses prior to GK’s acquisition. GKGI continues to perform well over prior year.
  • Banking & Investment showing revenue growth over prior year:
    • FGB, our commercial bank recorded increase in revenue over 2020 attributed to an increased focus on its payments business and its online banking platform.


Food Division Highlights:

  • Domestic Foods showed growth in revenues and profit over prior year:
    • Grace foods and services (distributor of Grace–owned brands) is having an exceptional year with significant increases in revenue and profit with our key productions (Corn Beef, Mackerel, Tropical Rhythms) doing very well
    • Continued to launch new products: Mixed Berries Food Drink, Dried Yellow Split Peas and Dried Seasonings (Ginger Turmeric and Cayenne)
  • International Foods continue to show strong revenue and profit growth over prior year:
    • Our US business has been having its best year with operating profits increasing by 29%. In the UK, we launched our Irie Eats Meal Kit in August, and we are looking to its strong performance
    • Launched 9 new products across the US, UK, Canada and our Latin American and Caribbean markets
    • Majesty is doing significant renovation to more than double its capacity for patty production in Florida


Digital Transformation (GK ONE):

  • GraceKennedy’s Digital Factory started in February 2021 and developed a mobile app: GK ONE
  • The GK One App is a digital platform for customers to access GraceKennedy’s most frequently used services
  • They now have 3 products preparing for launch:
    • Digital wallet with a prepaid Visa card backed by FGB
    • Digital remittance product
    • Digital bill payments
  • Digital Transformation Roadmap is in place for 2022 for both the Foods and Financial Services businesses


Digital Transformation (E-commerce):

  • Hi-Lo Food Stores has launched its new online grocery shopping platform: Hi-Lo Online
  • Web-based online shopping is accessible via www.hilofoodstoresja.com.
  • In the USA, the E-commerce business through Instacart grew by 85% over 2020
  • In Canada, E-commerce through Walmart, grew by 100% over 2020


Highlights of GK and the Community #WeCare

  • GraceKennedy Foundation
    • Awarded Scholarships valued at over $24 million to 92 Jamaicans tertiary students for the 2021/22 academic year.
    • Donated laptops valued at $3.7 million to tertiary of GK scholarships
    • Internship and employment opportunities for GK scholars in the digital factory
    • Raised US$2.4 million in project funding aimed at restoring the mangroves and reducing the waste entering the Kingston Habour
  • Grace & Staff Community Development Foundation
    • Provided tuition support for 1,008 high school and tertiary students
    • Donated 213 internet-enabled devices for online learning to Jamaican tertiary students through its GK Cares tools for Schools initiative
    • Held 180 counselling sessions for students and community members
    • STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts & Mathematics) reading initiative launched, using comics to increase awareness of STEM concepts.


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