Jamaica’s GraceKennedy Group Acquires La Fe Foods

The Kingston, Jamaica-headquartered GraceKennedy Group announced on July 18 that it has purchased La Fe Foods Inc., a full-service distributor of more than 1,400 Hispanic and Caribbean cuisine products in the northeastern United States that run the gamut from beverages and frozen specialties to spices and seasonings. Its frozen range includes vegetables, fruits, mango pulps and value-added items such as green banana pies (pastels en hoja).

Established in 1968, La Fe Foods’ annual turnover is approximately $80 million. Headquartered in Moonachie, New Jersey, it has additional offices in Miami, Florida, and Raleigh, North Carolina.

“This acquisition represents a major step for us, and will be the platform for the growth of GraceKennedy’s North American operations [doing business as GraceKennedy Foods (USA) LLC] going forward,” said Group CEO Don Wehby.

As a result of the purchase, a number of senior management changes have taken place within the company’s foods division.

GK-logoMichael Ranglin has been appointed to the position of president and chief executive officer of GraceKennedy Foods (USA) LLC, while retaining his substantive position as the ceo of the GK Foods Division. He will be based in New Jersey.

Ryan Mack, who was recently appointed deputy ceo of GK Foods, will assume oversight for Grace Foods and Services and Manufacturing.

Andrea Coy, senior general manager - global category management, will have oversight responsibility for the Hi-Lo Supermarket chain and World Brands.

“While we work to grow the business abroad, please know that our domestic market remains the fortress of our operations,” said Wehby. “We remain more focused than ever on strengthening this critical market, through increased investments and well-devised strategies to ensure growth in market share here.”

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GraceKennedy is regarded as one of the Caribbean's largest and most dynamic corporate entities. The company started in Jamaica in 1922 as a small trading establishment and wharf operator. It has expanded and diversified over the years, changing from a privately owned enterprise to a public company listed on the stock exchanges of Jamaica as well as Trinidad & Tobago.

Today, the GraceKennedy Group comprises a varied network of some 60 subsidiaries and associated companies located across the Caribbean, in North and Central America and the United Kingdom. Its operations span the areas of food processing and distribution, banking and finance, insurance and remittance services, together with an investment in building materials retailing.