Success Stories

Leo Cousins and Vincent Hill are engineers by profession who have mined success in the Jamaican hills. They are the owners of Lydford Mining, a multi-million dollar operation located in St. Ann, the birth parish of Reggae legend Bob Marley.

The mining and processing operation is an investor’s dream with full order books for limestone products, zero debt and extensive reserves of high grade limestone. Their tale of success is one of vision and perseverance.

Established in 1991 as a limited liability company, Lydford Mining weathered the early storm when local bauxite companies declined to pick up their merchandise. The resilient team eventually managed to land the US-based J.M. Huber Corporation, with its subsidiary Huber Engineered Materials, as their first customer. With that initial single order of whiting grade limestone, the company charted upward in an aggressive growth spurt that continues today.

Lydford Mining currently exports 120,000 tonnes of high purity limestone, 100,000 tonnes of industrial grade and 2,000 tonnes of ground material each year.  In addition to J.M. Huber, the company’s client list also includes the US-based Mississippi Lime Company and Chilean company Electroandina.

Lydford Mining also sells its limestone to local manufacturers who use it in processing fertilizers, animal feed, fillers for plastics and paints and many other industrial products. Before the company commenced operations, all these products were imported at twice the cost in most cases.

The company’s staff complement has grown from six in 1991 to 60 in 2014, and the rental of 25 trucks and six pieces of mining equipment has created additional employment for at least 30 workers.

Through the years, the resourceful team of Cousins and Hill has invested significantly in state-of-the-art technology – a move that has kept productivity at optimal levels. They are currently in the process of expanding their high-tech lab, which is used to analyse and test processed material.

With their sights set on a larger share of the world market, where there is demand for food and medical/pharmaceutical grade limestone, Cousins and Hill are currently working on securing a US$4 million investment to bring this goal to fruition. According to Cousins, the future plans to increase output of the higher profit-yielding, value-added limestone products are predicated on the quality of Jamaican limestone and the enabling business climate.

“After all, without quality, we wouldn’t exist…With its numerous viable investment possibilities, economic and political stability, Jamaica is both a reliable and dynamic quality brand,” says Cousins.

JAMPRO launched the pilot of the Export Max programme in 2011 to assist small to medium sized enterprises with growing their export sales. The recently launched ExportMax II promises to do the same, with the addition of a corporate mentorship programme and an added focus on capacity building.

For more information on Export Max I & II and other export programmes, click here .

 

Nestled in the green hills of St. Ann, Federal Transformer Manufacturing & ConsultingLimited (FTMCL) is rapidly taking its place as one of Jamaica’s most innovative companies. The brainchild of returning resident Granville Reid, the company was launched in July 2015 after almost two years of research and training of 23 electrical engineers.

The concept for FTMCL was born after identifying a need in the Jamaican space for transformer repairs and maintenance. While working in Canada, Reid recognized that there was no official avenue for Jamaica’s largest power company

– Jamaica Public Service (JPS) – to refurbish transformers. This meant that JPS had to send devices overseas to be serviced at extremely

high costs. Identifying this clear gap in the Jamaican market, he pursued the opportunity, estimating that JPS could save up to 30% in costs if the refurbishing was done locally. Reid saw that not only JPS, but other large industries such as tourism and manufacturing generated their own power and could benefit from this service.

FTMCL came to life with a mandate to manufacture and refurbish transformers of various sizes and voltage output levels in Jamaica. Reid left Canada and returned to Jamaica to execute his idea. He immediately contacted Jamaica’s investment promotion agency, JAMPRO, where he worked with officers to have his business plan developed, and to identify a location to accommodate the factory.

Dr. Karl Reid, finance and administration manager and company secretary for FTMCL, told JAMPRO that the company struggled in the early stages to find financing for this new business concept. However, with JAMPRO’s help, the company received assistance from the EXIM Bank and eventually received financial support from local banks to transition from the developmental to the operational stage.

With funding in hand and the project operational, the company saw immediate success.

FTMCL started by providing services to the hotel industry, and to companies such as

Jamaica Broilers and Wigton Wind Farm Limited.

 

 

 

The FINPYME ExportPlus programme is an initiative of the Inter-American Investment Corporation. The programme provides technical assistance, training and financial support to SMEs in developing countries.

Digital cable and broadband service provider Columbus Communications launched its operations in Jamaica under the Flow brand in 2006 and, to date, has saturated roughly 50 per cent of the market with a customer base of over half a million subscribers. They have so far invested US$250 million in local development, which represents roughly 25 per cent of the company's total outlay inside the Caribbean region.

The company’s confidence in Jamaica is reflected in its decision to invest US$40 million annually over the next four years on its operations in Jamaica as part of its aggressive development geared at strengthening its foothold in major centres across the island. Flow Jamaica currently employs about 600 persons, while engaging another 200 as outside contractors.

Since entering the local market, the company has driven commercial internet prices down by as much as 98 per cent and residential prices by 76 per cent. This has contributed to Jamaica being recognised as a more competitive jurisdiction for investors in a range of services that require competitively priced broadband capacity.

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