BICO eyes export
The Barbados Ice Cream Company (BICO) Limited is examining the possibility of exporting some of its products to other islands.
Newly appointed general manager Jo-anne Pooler made the disclosure yesterday, saying that in an effort to safeguard against any possible fall-off in local sales, given the current economic climate, the company was currently “looking at the export market”.
“We haven’t exported any products since the fire but we appreciate that there is a market out there for our products . . . . So we will be looking at that as a way to counteract any decline we may have here,” informed Pooler.
“We have actually started some discussions in St Vincent. It is a small customer but it is a good place to start. What we are going to do is to go back and see where the best markets were for us in the past and see what opportunities we have there.”
She did not say what products would be exported.
Pooler said the company, despite recording an increase in prot for the financial year ending September 30, 2013, continued to have “a tough time”.
Meanwhile, executive chairman Edwin Thirlwell told reporters there were no immediate plans for manufacturing the ice cream products in
He said the company was not about to pump the needed $5 million into completing its state-of- the-art Harbour Road, St Michael factory, so it could manufacture its ice cream here again because there was very little confidence.
Pooler and Thirlwell were responding to questions from reporters during a media conference to discuss the company’s annual report for the period ending September 30, 2013.
Besides ice cream, BICO sells frozen desserts, novelties and breads. It also has a cold storage component.
The 112-year-old company, which is also a distributor, started sourcing its ice cream from other countries after a fire crippled its manufacturing operations in August 2009. The ice cream products are currently manufactured in Trinidad, the Dominica Republic, Suriname and Cuba, while other products are sourced from Canada. The Magnum brand is sourced out of Europe.
“So we are sitting quite comfortably at the moment. We have four sources of products all in the region. All of them are no duties payable because it is [sourced] within CARICOM. So we are saying if we can’t source it here we ought to source it in CARICOM and it is working,” said Thirlwell.
“The factory is built but we have to put inside $2.5 million worth of stainless steel equipment and we have to put in another $2.5 million worth of HACCP [hazard analysis and critical control points] finishes,” said Thirlwell.
He said, however: “There is no confidence at a time like this to put out $5 million, when as we have already agreed, the future is uncertain.”