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Jamaican rum workers snap up Campari shares

Published:Sunday | January 16, 2022 | 12:06 AM

An employee of Appleton Estates addresses a tour group at the complex in St Elizabeth in January 2018. Appleton Estates is operated by J. Wray & Nephew Limited. More than half of the company’s rum workers participated in the Campari Group employee share
An employee of Appleton Estates addresses a tour group at the complex in St Elizabeth in January 2018. Appleton Estates is operated by J. Wray & Nephew Limited. More than half of the company’s rum workers participated in the Campari Group employee share ownership plan offered to global workers in December 2021.
An employee of Appleton Estates addresses a tour group at the complex in St Elizabeth in January 2018. Appleton Estates is operated by J.Wray && Nephew Limited. More than half of the company’s rum workers participated in the Campari Group employee share
An employee of Appleton Estates addresses a tour group at the complex in St Elizabeth in January 2018. Appleton Estates is operated by J.Wray && Nephew Limited. More than half of the company’s rum workers participated in the Campari Group employee share ownership plan offered to global workers in December 2021.
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Jamaican employees emerged as the largest group outside of Italy to grab shares in the international take-up of the Campari Group share plan, proportionate to the size of the workforce. Just over half of all eligible workers at rum subsidiary J....

Jamaican employees emerged as the largest group outside of Italy to grab shares in the international take-up of the Campari Group share plan, proportionate to the size of the workforce.

Just over half of all eligible workers at rum subsidiary J. Wray & Nephew Limited, JWN, accepted the offer from the parent company. The number of units was not ascertained.

“Jamaica had the highest take-up in absolute numbers beyond Italy, where two-thirds of Camparistas bought shares, and was closely followed by the USA, with 50 per cent,” said Jacqueline Cuthbert, senior director of human resources at J Wray & Nephew a subsidiary of Campari Group in response to Financial Gleaner queries on the employee share ownership plans, or ESOP.

Cuthbert also highlighted the take-up rate among Jamaican unionised workers, which registered the “highest” take-up globally, “with a third of participants enrolled”; and that Jamaica’s participation in the Campari ESOP has caught the attention of the group.

JWN was formerly a listed company on the Jamaica Stock Exchange, then known by the name Lascelles deMercado & Company, which was taken private by Campari after it acquired the Jamaican spirits conglomerate for US$415 million in 2012. The flagship company in the Lascelles deMercado line-up was rum subsidiary J. Wray & Nephew Limited, the maker of Wray & Nephew, and Appleton rums, but after the delisting, Campari chose to rebrand the entire group under that name.

The Campari ESOP gave Jamaicans the opportunity to again own a piece of the historic company, albeit indirectly.

“J. Wray & Nephew Limited is proud to report that 50 per cent of eligible employees opted to take up the recent share offer. This take-up is extraordinary given that this is the first year of the plan and demonstrates confidence in the company leadership’s direction, and ability to drive the desired results in the long term,” said Cuthbert.

“We have invested heavily in the education on the concept of shares, how they work, and the performance of our shares over the years, through both traditional and non-traditional mediums to engage our employees and support them in making an informed decision as to whether they should invest or not. We are proud to have a financial-savvy population as we already have 70 per cent of our employees voluntarily topping up their company pension plan.”

Campari’s shares are trading above US$11, giving the global spirits company a market value of US$13 billion. The dividend yield currently stands at about 0.5 per cent per annum.

Campari described the offer as the first of its kind since the shares listed on the Italian stock market 20 years ago. The offer closed in December in the first employee stock ownership plan for Campari to its global workforce.

An employee can choose to contribute up to 5.0 per cent of their monthly pay and have an ‘opportunity window’ once a year to increase or decrease their contribution, the company said. This window also allows employees to join the plan if they have not done so already. Additionally, 55 per cent of the participants opted for the maximum contribution of 5.0 per cent of their salary.

“We, therefore, expect that the number of employees enrolling on the programme will increase incrementally, year on year,” Cuthbert said.

The plan incentivises employees to buy shares as they get matching shares from Campari. Specifically, for every two shares bought by an employee, an additional share will be purchased by the group at no cost to the employee, the company explained. The matching shares are vested for three years and will be given to employees once they do not sell their purchased shares or resign during the vesting period.

business@gleanerjm.com