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Derrimon acquires its first food manufacturing business

Published:Friday | January 21, 2022 | 12:07 AM
Chairman and CEO Derrimon Trading Company Limited, Derrick Cotterell.
Chairman and CEO Derrimon Trading Company Limited, Derrick Cotterell.

D errimon Trading Company has acquired the business and assets of Spicy Hill Farms, a Trelawny-based business that deals in the manufacturing of dried agricultural products, soup and spice mixes.

The new subsidiary will be the first food manufacturing company under the Derrimon group.

“But it may not necessarily change the arrangement we have with existing co-packers,” CEO of Derrimon Trading Derrick Cotterell told the Financial Gleaner.

Derrimon is largely engaged in the distribution of various foreign and local brands, as well as grocery retail through Sampar’s Cash and Carry and Select Grocers in Jamaica, and FoodSaver in New York. The group also owns a flavour manufacturing company, Caribbean Flavours and Fragrances Limited.

Its brands, Delect grocery items, Gentle toilet tissue and Refresh drinking water, are produced under contract packaging arrangements with other manufacturers.

Cotterell’s priority for Spicy Hill Farms, purchased on January 10, is to grow its customer base and expand capacity.

“The factory is Trelawny is about 3,000 square feet. We plan on tripling that with a newly constructed factory at Marcus Garvey Drive, where Derrimon is located,” said Cotterell.

“The acquisition includes a farm in Trelawny which we will continue to operate,” he said.

Spicy Hill Farms currently employs around 20 workers, all of whom Cotterell plans to retain.

Over time, Derrimon Trading will seek to build out the Spicy Hill line of products with some “innovative grocery items” before adding other brands, Cotterell said. Its portfolio of products now includes a ram goat soup mannish water, the Ram-it-Up curry goat booster, granulated scotch bonnet pepper, and dried thyme leaves.

Spicy Hill’s products are already sold through 200 retail outlets nationwide, in addition to major stores in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and the Caribbean.

“Our intention is to keep the brand Spicy Hill Farms because it’s a brand that the diaspora market is familiar with. But we could add other brands. We have a global focus and attention on products for export,” Cotterell said.

Spicy Hill Farms was formed in 2006 by the late politician, Brascoe Lee. The deal to acquire 100 per cent shareholding in Spicy Hill Farms was struck with his grandson, Brandon Lee.

As part of the transition, Lee will oversee the set-up of the new facility, production and introduction of new products to market.

Neither the cost to acquire the business nor the size of the investment to be made in expanding the business, nor Spicy Hill’s expected contribution to group revenue was disclosed.

The Derrimon group, whose businesses also include pallet maker Woodcats, was on track to turn over $16 billion to 17 billion in annual revenue for year ending December 2021, based on the company’s nine-month sales, which amounted surpassed $12 billion.

karena.bennett@gleanerjm.com