GraceKennedy Ltd.(GK): Merger of Companies

GraceKennedy has announced that, there will be a merger of several of the businesses within its Food Trading operations. Chairman  & CEO Douglas Orane said the decision was part of GraceKennedy’s overall thrust to increase efficiencies and productivity across the Group.

The companies involved in the merger are World Brands Limited, Grace Food Processors (Canning) Ltd., National Processors Ltd and Hi-Lo Food Stores (Jamaica) Limited.

The merger will be achieved by the transfer of all assets & liabilities of the other named companies to Hi Lo Food Stores (Ja.) Ltd. which will be appropriately renamed when the merger is complete.  The scheduled date for completion of the merger is October 31, 2006.

The merged entity will have three (3) divisions:

     Distribution

     Manufacturing

     Retail

Mr. Orane said that all four (4) companies involved in the merger will continue to operate under the new merged entity, through their individual brands.  They will continue to operate from their current locations each with its own General Manager being responsible for the performance of the respective operations.  He added that employees and customers of these companies would see very little, if any, change in the day to day operations.

As part of the merger exercise, companies being merged into the existing entity known as Hi Lo Food Stores (Jamaica) Limited, will be placed in voluntary liquidation solely for the purpose of the reorganization and notices to this effect will be placed in the news media.

During the transition period between the date when the companies are put in liquidation and the merger exercise is completed arrangements will be made to allow for a seamless transition so that the businesses will continue to be operated without any disruption.

Mr. Orane said that, since the beginning of the year, the Food Trading Division has been undergoing changes in its structure in order to streamline its internal processes.  This included a major project in which all the companies were moved onto a single software platform called SAP, one of the world’s most advanced enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems.