BOJ forex auction clears at J$131.36

Bank of Jamaica sold US$30 million that it auctioned on Wednesday, September 20, to eligible Authorised Dealers and Cambios, at an average of rate of J$131.36 to one US dollar.
The central bank received 42 bids totaling $62.6 million of which 17 were successful, in its B-FXITT Standard Intervention Tool. The highest bid rate was $131.80 to purchase US$3 million, with the lowest being $121.28 to buy US$1 million.
At the auction, last week Wednesday, a total 45 bids amounting to US$60.9 million chased, the $20 million Bank of Jamaica offered for sale, resulting in an average rate of $131 to buy the US dollar on offer. The auction’s highest bid then was $131.10 to purchase US$2.3 million.

Sharp resigns from Scotia

Jackie Sharp has resigned from Scotia Group word reaching IC has confirmed.
Sharp who took over from Bruce Bowen in 2013 handed in her resignation today the sources said. the resignation brings to her employment to the group to 20 years.
Sharp initially joined the group in the Insurance segment and rose to top slot in that company before becoming the chief finance person within the group based on what insiders say was her outstanding achievement in the Insurance arm.
Her replacement is David Noel a Jamaican who was seconded to Canada some years ago and was sent off to Barbados to head that operation of the group ahead of higher position whenever that arose. In 2016, he moved back to Jamaica as Sharp’s second in command.
Bank of Nova Scotia, a subsidiary of Scotia Group is Jamaica’s second largest commercial bank in Jamaica.
The change comes at a time when Scotia Group’s profits are at the highest levels in the history of the group with the shares trading on the Jamaica Stock Exchange at record levels and the price closing at an all-time high of $55 on Tuesday.
The change comes at an interesting time, with the Jamaican economy expected to move into a stronger growth period in the years ahead. Inflation and interest rates are expected to remain low, while growth in a number of sectors is expected to pick up. Increased activities in areas such as tourism, certain agricultural items, example poultry, dairy farming, business outsourcing (BPO) and construction should provide a basis for increased banking activity from which Scotia should be able to benefit from.

JSE AJI breaks 290,000 points

Helped by a jump of $2.99 in the price of Scotia Group shares in the early morning session on Tuesday to reach a record $54.99, the All Jamaica Composite Index is up to record levels, breaking through the critical resistance of 290,000 points.
The move today have lifted the gains in All Jamaica by an impressive 38 percent for year to date. If the market continues to hold above the 290,000 points mark, it could be setting up for a huge rally ahead with no major resistance levels in sight for sometime to come.
The market index sits just above the resistance level, having exceeded the level at 10.30 earlier in trading today before Scotia Group price fell back to $51.60, after trading just 2,384 shares for the day so far.
At 10:30am, the All Jamaica Composite Index rose 2,173.29 points to 290,234.60, the JSE Market Index rose 1,980.12 points to 264,436.58 and the JSE US dollar market index remained at 198.22 and the Junior Market lost 4.13 points to 3,071.28.

JSE AJI index flirts with 280,000 points

Jamaica Stock Exchange main market indices surged sharply by the mid-day to come within a shade of a new resistance level of 280,000 point on the all Jamaica index.
By Mid-day the All Jamaica Composite Index hit a new all-time high of 279,335.69, after surging a huge 6,471.87 points at 11:50 but by mid-day it was up 5,527.76 to 278,391.58. The JSE Market Index jumped 5,896.61 points to a record 254,506.45 and at mid-day it was up 5,036.42 to 253,646.26 and the Combined index leaped 5,738.73 points to 268,155.40 at 11:50 and by mid-day it rose 5,041.53 to 267,458.20. The Junior Market index rose 37.30 points to 3,145.49 at mid-day.

Barita in takeover talks

Barita closed at $6.85 on Thursday.

Well known brokerage house, Barita Investments is currently in discussion for the sale of majority shareholdings in the Company.
A release from the company to the Jamaica Stock Exchange on Thursday advised that the Company has received an offer to acquire the majority shares and that the offer is under consideration by the Company’s Board of Directors and that discussions continue, pending the preparation and conclusion of definitive agreements.
The 76 percent majority shareholder with 339,975,664 shares and chairman, Rita Humphries-Lewin who started the company from the 1970s, is currently in her 80’s and close to retirement, making the offer opportune for her.
The offer comes at an interesting time just after Proven Investments closed their rights issue that raised US$16,547,873 (J$2.1 billion) resulting from the sale of an additional 68,949,472 ordinary shares. Barita could be a good fit for them as well as others within the sector, especially with an established Unit Trust portfolio. In the past investors were of the view that Barita could make a good fit for Mayberry Investments. Information glean suggest that they are not one of the arties showing an interest just now. Victoria Mutual Group has just started a Unit Trust schemes but the cost of a start up is high until it gets to a critical mass, Jamaica National has no unit trust portfolio and just started in the stockbrokerage business. Barita would make a great fit for them but it is unsure that their Chairman, Oliver Clarke would want to sanction that move at this time.

VMBS seems to be an interested party.

Barita has 445.877 million shares issued with a market capitalization of just over $3 billion, a simple majority holding would cost just over $1.5 billion at current price, assuming a price higher than the current one would result in a higher sum. The amount of capital raised by Proven would translate to $10 per share for a simple majority in Barita. IC projects earnings for the current year at 90 cents. With the listed investments banks trading at PEs around 11 times, 2017 earnings, a reasonable value of $10 per share seems probable. With the company having unrealized gains not showing in the normal profit, a price around $10 should be attractive to both buyers and sellers at this time. An investor with cash would want to get as much of the shares of the majority owner, but with a mandatory offer having to be made to minority shareholders, they may want to go for a smaller amount initially with 65 to 70 percent looking viable. NCB Group have been on expansion run as well and the combination of NCB Capital Markets and Barita could create synergies. NCB group owns all of the investment arm making a merger with Barita down the road very viable.
Barita is primarily involved in stockbroking, Unit Trust management and repo business. The Unit Trust business that is poised to grow rapidly in a low interest rate environment, would be a big attraction for Proven who currently have no such business within their portfolio.

Inflation rate drops in May

Inflation in Jamaica after rising 0.4 percent in January and March and 0.3 percent in April has now fallen to just 0.1 percent for May this year, half of the 0.2 percent rise in February.
The increase for May brings the year to date 1.4 percent and the fiscal year-to-date to 0.4 percent. The inflation rate over the last twelve months rose to 4.6 percent. With the price of oil on the world market slipping recently, a low level of inflation can be expected for some time to come and could result in the year over year rate declining form the above level.
According to Statistical Institute of Jamaica the inflation for May is due to an increase of 0.1 percent in the index for the heaviest weighted division, Food, Non-Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco. Within this division the group Food rose by 0.1 percent while other notable increases were recorded in the following divisions: Transport 0.2 percent, Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco 1.6 percent and Restaurants and Accommodation Services 0.3 percent. The upward movement in the index was tempered by a 0.2 percent fall in the division Housing, Water, Electricity, Gas and Other Fuels due to lower rates for electricity, water and sewage.

Main Event flat profit before tax

Main Event Entertainment that went public with an IPO in January this year is reporting flat profit before tax and slightly lower net profit after tax of $3.3 million. Profit before tax for the year to October ended at $59.8 million com-pared to $60.3 million in 2015.
Profit after tax came in at $56.5 million versus $60 million in 2015, the out turn is lower than the $60 million the internal figures to September last year that was included in the prospectus showed. The net profit translates to earnings per share of just 23.5 cents with 240 million shares applicable at the date of the financials.
Return on average equity amounted to a strong 41 percent, with shareholders’ equity at the end of the period being $242 million.
The results emanated from a 9.5 percent rising in revenues to $1.13 billion, the growth was slowed b y a big drop in revenues from Digital Signage. With gross profit climbing 13 percent to $429 million. Expenses rose by 15.7 percent to $354 million. Revenue during the year was generated mostly by Entertainment promotion activities of $854.7 million in 2016 from $742.7 million in 2015. Audio and film contributed $189.5 million compared to $140 in 2015 and Digital signage of $88 million versus $151 million in 2015. The auditors signed off on their report on the 5th of June, an indication that all was not well with the financial reporting.
Main Event went public at $2 in January and now trades on the Junior Market of the Jamaica Stock Exchange at $6.50.

Juniors up 44 points to record close

The Junior Market of the Jamaica Stock Exchange ended trading at yet another record closing high with a big gain of 43.64 points, with an increase of 1.36 percent to 3,247.20 points on Wednesday. The market surged over 72 points to a record close on Tuesday.
Key Insurance traded at a 52 weeks’ high of $3.95 while Jamaican Teas was in good demand and ended as the market leader with over 500,000 shares.

Junior Market jumps sharply to new record

The Junior Market of the Jamaica Stock Exchange traded up more than 129 points after midday on Tuesday.
The market index hit a new intraday record high of 3,261.11 points with Lasco Manufacturing trading at a new high of $6.25 with over 4 million shares trading and Lasco Distributors trading up to $7.30 with 569,000 shares. The Junior Market index has since slipped back to 3,212.92, up 81.29 for the day at 12:30 but the All Jamaica Composite index dropped 3,016.25 points to 248,857.65.

Sagicor caught in JSE ownership restriction

Sagicor Group JSE ownership exceeded 10% restriction..

Two blocks amounting to 35.2 million Jamaica Stock Exchange shares were traded in the local exchange morning session, one day after the exchange advised Sagicor Group that they were in breach of Article 48 of the Articles of Incorporation of the Company.
The article sets a 10 percent limitation for ownership by any one shareholder. The restriction is meant to prevent anyone shareholder from dominating management of the company. The prospectus when the company sold ordinary shares to the public in June 2103 stated: Ordinary Shares – Special Provisions to Prevent Unacceptable Control Situations. Article 48 of the Articles of Incorporation of the Company contains provisions that are designed to prevent any Shareholder (including a Member Dealer) from holding Shares above the “Prescribed Percentage”, being over 10 percent of the issued share capital of the Company. If the voting power of any person (either alone or together with others) is more than the Prescribed Percentage, the Articles deem that an unacceptable control situation exists. In those circumstances, the same Article also deems that any Shares above the Prescribed Percentage are default shares that no longer carry rights to vote at general meetings of the Company. The Company has a power to give notice to the holder to dispose of any default shares, failing which the Company may dispose of them.
On March 3, a total of 35.3 million units of Jamaica Stock Exchange shares were trading through the market.