Sugar firm Banah plans 300 jobs, new Miami headquarters
By Scott Blake
Miami sugar company Banah International Group Inc. is expanding its operations and plans to hire an additional 300 people next year.
Banah anticipates needing more space and employees as the company continues to push into the US retail market, Banah CEO Diego Leiva told Miami Today.
"The US market has a deficit of sugar at this point," Mr. Leiva said, "and we're bringing in new product."
Banah plans to hire 300 people in 2012 in jobs ranging from executive posts paying about $250,000 a year to management position paying $50,000 to $60,000 a year to lower-level jobs paying $10 to $12 an hour.
Banah is negotiating to move into a 150,000-square-foot warehouse near Miami International Airport that also would become the company's new headquarters. Its current headquarters is on Coral Way in Miami.
Last week, Banah completed expansion of its warehouse in Doral to 32,000 square feet from 10,000.
The company moved into the Doral warehouse in August. The warehouse is in the Miami Free Trade Zone, which allows Banah to store sugar and sugar products there free of duties until they are shipped into the US retail market.
The company needed more space after winning a contract to become one of several sugar suppliers to retail giant Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Mr. Leiva said.
The company soon will hire 15 additional employees at the expanded Doral warehouse, which currently has a staff of 30 and will continue to operate after the larger airport warehouse opens, Mr. Leiva said.
The 20 people who work at Banah's Coral Way headquarters, which opened in 2009, will eventually move to the airport warehouse, he said.
In addition to Wal-Mart, Banah is seeking contracts with several retail chains including CVS Caremark, Publix Super Markets Inc. and Winn-Dixie Stores Inc.
Banah, meanwhile, is seeking an agreement with Florida East Coast Railway to use the rail system to ship its sugar products to locations in the northern and western US.
In addition to Mr. Leiva, Banah is headed by Alexander Perez, the company's chairman and president.
The company has two packaging plants in South Florida and has partnerships with sugar mills in Brazil, Colombia, Guatemala, Honduras and Paraguay.
The company offers raw sugar, extra fine white sugar, powdered white sugar, organic granulated sugar and brown turbinado sugar. The company also makes liquid sugar, a sugar extracted from Banah's organic sugar cane, and flavored sugar, such as vanilla and hazelnut.
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