The Trinidad & Tobago-based distribution company HADCO Group has acquired the Barbados-headquartered Caribbean LED Lighting.
Making the announcement at Caribbean LED’s Lower Estate, St Michael location on Monday, Chief Executive Officer Gerard Borely, said majority ownership of the company shifted to HADCO, after Founder and Chairman Jim Reid decided to sell his 70 per cent stake.
“The business has grown from strength to strength under Jim’s leadership. I joined the company in 2014 as CEO and co-shareholder. Over that period Jim has been slowly letting go the reigns for me to take over the ship and run it and continue the expansion drive,” said Borely.
“Jim, after being here with the company for some time has decided to move on and he is retiring from the company. He has effectively handed over stewardship from the governance role, to Robert, John and Joseph Hadad from Trinidad and Tobago who run the HADCO Group – three brothers who started the business 26 years ago and built it into a successful conglomerate in Trinidad,” he announced.
The company, which boasts of exporting more than it imports, also has an operation in St Lucia, and has major contracts across the region with a number of businesses including Unicomer (Courts) and CIBC FirstCaribbean.
Caribbean LED, an energy efficiency lighting manufacturer, started operations here in 2011 and quickly outgrew its location and had to double its floor space in 2013, hiring about 30 people. The company exports to 18 countries and currently employs about 50 full-time workers and produces just over 1,000 bulbs per day.
Some of the company’s latest achievements included a US$5 million contract with the Antigua and Barbuda government to replace some 40,000 streetlights over a six-month period, as well as contracts in Suriname.
Borely said business in 2018 has been the most profitable for Caribbean LED, due mainly to the Antigua contract.
“Local sales have been down from two years ago and I think that is something that is felt throughout the economy. What has really helped us is the export push that we started about 6 years ago. So we are now seeing the fruits of that labour,” he said.
Group CEO of the HADCO Group John Hadad said he was excited about being in Barbados with this venture.
“After being in business for 26 years mainly in Trinidad, for the last few years we have been trying to spread our tentacles outside Trinidad and be present in other territories in terms of growing the business and earning business. We have done so in the US in the last three years. We do have an office in Honduras and now we are proud to say we have a business unit, as part of the group, in Barbados,” said Hadad.
The HADCO Group, established in 1992, comprises five main divisions – food and beverage, wine and spirits, electrical and lighting, manufacturing and recycling and logistics and services – and employs over 1,000 people across its operations.
Hadad gave the assurance that there would be no changes to the local team, pointing out that the intention now was to continue to grow the operations.
“We intend to run the business here in Barbados through the eyes of the team on the ground. They have been doing a tremendous job. They have a very strong footprint here in Barbados and the rest of the Caribbean in the utility business. That presents a great opportunity for us at HADCO,” he said.
“We see a lot of upside. We see Barbados as a wonderful opportunity now in terms of a lot of the changes that are taking place. We think over the next few years we will see some significant growth here. In the Barbadian market alone we expect Caribbean LED’s piece of the pie to grow,” he added.
Caribbean LED is currently in negotiations with a utility company for a major contract to provide over 24,000 streetlights, and this should be rolled out in the next year.
The company is also working on contracts with Central America for over 100,000 streetlights, to be carried out through partnership with the HADCO operations in Honduras.