Agile Derrimon Trading survives COVID-19, looks to greater growth


Agile Derrimon Trading survives COVID-19, looks to greater growth

Observer business reporter

Wednesday, August 05, 2020

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Food and distribution company Derrimon Trading said that through its timed and quick response to the COVID-19 pandemic the company was able to withstand the diminishing effects of the virus and take advantage of new opportunities.

Speaking at last week's edition of a virtual third staging of the Mayberry Investors forum, Derrick Cotterell, chairman and chief executive officer (CEO) of Derrimon told host and Mayberry's CEO, Gary Peart, that it was the company's dynamic nature of being agile and scalable that allowed it to successfully navigate the difficulties of the pandemic.

“We've been closely watching the COVID-19 situation as far back as January. We have many suppliers and associates on that side of the world, so we were very aware of the developments in that region. We were also aware that this would likely become a pandemic.

“By the time COVID-19 hit the shores of Jamaica, we were prepared to take the necessary steps— making drastic but effective changes to business operations, such as designating special night shifts for select staff members. We were also uniquely positioned to respond online because we have had shop [Sampars is the retail arm of the business] for 10 years now. We have had to do a lot of changes in our logistics and ramp up very quickly, but the company is designed to be agile, so we managed to deal with the expectations of customers,” he said.

In further lamenting on the agility of his company's business model, the CEO also spoke about the company's initiative to capitalise on an emerging demand and make sudden and crucial moves towards developing its own special brand of hand sanitisers.

“One of the things we try to do as a company is to be agile. We recognised early on that there was a shortage of hand sanitisers. Luckily we had the base ingredients and so with a little alteration, we had the product ready. We've been supplying the general public, as well as police officers and hospitals, Cotterell said in relating these accomplishments.

He said that with the consistent pattern of consumption and the growing demand for food items, even during the pandemic, he expects the food manufacturing sector to remain unchanged, hence the need to maintain output.

The company, based on its continued performance, has been thriving in spite of the pandemic, so much so that it embarked on a massive endeavour to aid Jamaicans in need, distributing care packages to as many as 200,000 people across the island since April 2020.

Cotterell said that like many other businesses, Derrimon Trading, despite its impeccable response to the pandemic, will however remain vigilant in its search for new investments and opportunities to further grow revenues.

“A few such opportunities have presented themselves since COVID-19. We have taken advantage of some and there are others that we have in store for the near future”, Cottrell shared, noting diversification as a major part of the company's risk profile.

“We believe that we should not be too reliant on any one part of the business, which is why we are always looking for opportunities,” he added.

The food and distribution company in its unaudited financial report for the three-month period ended March 31 reported group revenues of $3.32 billion, a 5.5 per cent increase or $173.21 million more than that of the comparative period last year.

After tax net profits for the period totalled $98.82 millio, representing an increase of $24.83 million or 33.6 per cent more than that previously acquired.

Chairman of Mayberry, Christopher Berry, in his round up of top stocks also listed Derrimon Trading among Supreme Ventures Limited and General Accident Insurance Limited (GenAc) as some of the top-performing stocks to watch post COVID-19 and into the foreseeable future.

“Derrimon Trading has a really fantastic, hands-on team when it comes to getting the job done. Also, unbeknownst to many, they have in the past and continue to play a gargantuan role in the importing and distribution of rice in Jamaica,” Berry said in his rationale for the company as a top pick.

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