With over 20 companies under their wing, the Weatherhead group intends to pursue investing on a wider scale in and outside Barbados – but it won’t be within the next year or two.
Group chairman Bernie Weatherhead told BARBADOS BUSINESS AUTHORITY last week, “We are going to continue to pursue investing on a broad scale both here and overseas, especially in the tourism part of our operations.
“Overseas suppliers will regularly raise the question, how many islands are you in? We therefore cannot sit on one island today and try to operate in companies such as rental care, destination management service operations, retail travel and insurance.
“We will continue to look at expansion in the Caribbean and beyond,” he emphasized.
However, the company chairman who recently purchased CLICO General Insurance and is leasing the Savannah Beach and Time Out hotels, said he would not be expanding for the next year or two.
“We are in a consolidation mode to strengthen the expansion that we have just gone through by putting controls and direction in place.
“We have strengthened our head office operations in financial, human resources, sales and marketing so as to pursue the development of these additional businesses,” he explained.
When asked about his interest in the Almond Group, Weatherhead said, “I made an offer on Almond Beach Club last year but have since withdrawn it for one reason: that as a group, we are incapable of taking on any additional investments at this point in time.”
“I have had numerous discussions with Broad Span of Florida, the company handling the Almond deal, and I made an offer because I felt I could have made Almond Beach Club successful.
“However, the challenges of Savannah Beach Hotel, Time Out and Sun General Insurance have put a lot of weight on our management structure and our capability to meet deadlines. From a physical viewpoint, taking on Almond would have been too much for us,” Weatherhead disclosed.
“We will continue to grow the group once the opportunity arises because of the structure of the group. Our management and staff form a good team. Bernie Weatherhead is not the only driving force behind his group.”
He said his management team and staff often come to him with concepts of expansion.
“More often it is a case of existing companies seeking my investment,” Weatherhead said.
He added he could not “at this stage disclose” what his next business venture would be, but “one thing is sure: you just cannot put your money in a bank and leave it there. You have to invest it.”
In addition to owning Going Places Travel agency, with 23 offices in nine countries, the Weatherhead Group of companies comprises the Sugar Cane Club Hotel & Spa, Worthing Court Hotel, Drive-A-Matic car rental, Tropical Weddings Barbados, SunTours Barbados, Savannah Beach Hotel, Time Out Hotel, I-Mart convenient store and pharmacy, Adventureland, Frangipani Art Gallery, Texaco Star Mart in Holetown, Island Safari, Refinery Limited, and Sun General Insurance.
The group employs over 500.