After a four-and-a-half year hiatus, local ice cream company BICO Limited will be exporting again. And St Vincent will be the first stop.
In fact, general manager Jo-anne Pooler said negotiations with a customer in that country concluded earlier this month and the first order will be shipped on Friday.
Since a fire destroyed its Harbour Road Cold Storage plant in August 2009, BICO has not exported. But last month Pooler told Barbados TODAY the company was in discussions with people in other islands to see if it could get the products exported once again.
Giving an update on the progress yesterday, Pooler said while the first shipment to St Vincent was a small one she hoped it was the start of regular exports. In addition, Pooler said the company recently received enquiries from people in Dominica and St Kitts, markets BICO would also be pursuing.
She said the company would also be examining the markets to which it used to export prior to the fire to see if there were avenues to get back into those territories.
At the same time, the company is on a mission to get rid of some old stock. But it is not ice cream. This time it is money in the form of dividends.
Chairman Edwin Thirwell said the 112-year-old company was desperately trying to locate some of the shareholders that it has cheques for, dating back to as far as 2003, totaling between $4,500 and $5,000 in dividends.
For the past ten years the company has been trying to locate some 73 shareholders but has had very little success to date. The last time the company appealed for shareholders, their trustee or estate to come forward was in 2003.
“I believe out of that we only got three people that responded so we are still on a mission to identify shareholders in BICO who have no known address,” said Thirwell.
“A lot of them are held by trustees or estates and we are hoping that relatives or friends would come out of the wood works and say well, we remember that person or their relatives are so and so,” he said.
“Some of them turned out to be people who were [for example] called Brown without an E and we were sending it to Browne with an E or they had an incomplete address. So we did clear up a few people but there are still people out there who are owners of BICO shares that we cannot trace”.