Trans Jamaican Highway trades at $1.02

Shares of Trans Jamaican Highway trades at $1.02 after listing this morning. The stock that was sold to the public at $1.41 in February traded 17,804,223 up to $1.39 at 11.18 AM and has fallen 28 percent from the Initial Public Offer in the Jamaican dollar market but far less based on US dollar trading.
Bids in the market to buy are sparse with twenty bids to buy between $1.02 and a low of 50 cents, while sellers are dominant with 600 on the offer to sell from $1.03 upwards.
The public offer attracted 36,062 applicants and was oversubscribed and with a total intake of $25.12 billion.
The public offer attracted 36,062 applicants and was oversubscribed and with an intake of $25.12 billion.
The Concession Company and the Public Sector Employees reserve shares pool were undersubscribed. The excess was transferred to the Registered Pension Funds and E-Tag Reserve Pools. Applicants in the Registered Pension Funds Reserve and E-Tag Reserve Pool were fully allotted based on transfers to the Registered Pension Funds and E-Tag Reserve Pools. Underwriters Reserve Pool was allocated shares on a pro-rata basis as the pool was oversubscribed, with the excess moved to the General Public Pool.
Allocation to the General Public as a result of oversubscription was allocated up to 10,000 shares with applications in excess of 10,000 shares allocated increments of a further 10,000 shares until all shares were allocated.
Trans Jamaica came to the market at a PE ratio of 24 times 2020 earnings. Since the opening of the IPO much has happened in the capital market with prices falling sharply with the spread of the Coronavirus. Importantly, since March traveling around Jamaica has declined and that is expected to affect the revenues for the highway as long as business activity remains low.

Palace Amusement closes cinemas

In the wake of COVID 19 in Jamaica and recent reports of community spread, the management of Palace Amusement Company has taken the decision to close its four cinemas – Carib 5 and Palace Cineplex in Kingston, Sunshine Palace in Portmore and Palace Multiplex in Montego Bay – until further notice.

Carib Cinema, the flagship for Palace Amusement.

This on the heels of increased sanitization measures rolled by the Company this week to help minimize threats to valued patrons and its staff alike.
Marketing Manager, Melanie Graham says that Palace Amusement is now in unchartered territory with the uncertainties of this global pandemic. “We have been watching developments closely and staying tuned to local advisories on the virus since the news of COVID 19 broke earlier this week”, she said. “This has been a challenging week but we have made the difficult decision to close in the best interest of patrons and our employees alike. We will certainly be hard hit on many levels and at this time we are unable to project when we will resume”.
Globally the movie industry is undergoing a sharp downturn due to COVID 19, as producers and film companies continue to pull their pictures.
Among blockbusters which have been rescheduled, are the highly anticipated Fast and Furious 9 now pushed back one year to April 2021, No Time to Die, the new James Bond movie, now set be released in November and Disney’s Mulan and New Mutants which are delayed without any new release dates attached.
The fallout has also hit Alternative Content now shown exclusively at Palace Cineplex, with the Met Opera’s recent announcement of the cancellation of all performances through March 31.
“Palace Amusement wishes to extend heartfelt sympathy to all persons and families affected by COVID 19. We all have to do our part to ensure that we get through this difficult period in the best way possible.” Graham concluded.

GCT drops to 15% in April

Nigel Clarke, Jamaica’s Minister of Finance

The Minister of Finance announced a cut in GCT by 1.5 percentage points to 15 percent, effective April and will results in a loss in revenues of $14 billion as he announced a raft of measures that will result in tax reduction and subsidies for some entities and low-income earners.
The across the board reduction in the GCT tax rate is the first such reduction since the tax was introduced in the early 1990s. The adjustment follows calls by Leader of the PNP’s Peter Phillips for a 2.5 cent point reduction in the tax rate. The government is reducing the asset tax on financial institutions by 50 percent, takes effect in the next fiscal year. The removal will reduce the added cost of providing services by financial institutions to the public and amounts to $3.2 billion in lost revenues.
The SME sector will benefit from a new SME tax credit of $350,000 for 2020 onwards and will cost an estimated $1 billion. They are reducing fees paid for import licenses by Agricultural boards by 50 percent effective April. Reduction in fees paid to Trade Board for import license by 50 percent.

TransJamaican IPO pulled in $25.5B

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Ministry of Finance, Dr. Nigel Clarke in his budget presentation in the Jamaica Parliament stated that the TransJamaican Highway IPO pulled in $25.5 billion from 36,428 applicants.
National Road Operating and Constructing Company (NROCC) that owned all the 12.5 billion ordinary shares that are issued, 8 billion ordinary shares at $1.41 each and they upsize the offer by an additional 2 billion shares.initial
the issue attracted more applications than the 31,000 brought in by Wigton Windfarm. The shares went to the market at a PE ratio of 24 times earnings and will hit the market at a time when the market values have declined sharply since the debut of the IPO in February.

Oil prices plunged

Jamaica and the majority of Caribbean nations got some great news on Sunday, with the price of oil plunging 27 percent to just over US$30 per barrel.

Oil prices fell sharply in 2016 as well

Oil traded over $65 per barrel late 2019 but has fallen to the low US$50 recently. The price opened at US$32.87 and traded as low as $30 on Sunday, Jamaica time. The price is back to where it was in early 2016 when it tumbled from just over US$100 per barrel. According to Market Watch, a USA publication, Asian stock markets plunged Monday after global oil prices nosedived on worries a global economy weakened by a virus outbreak might be awash in too much crude.
Jamaica, a heavy oil user, imports around 20 million barrels per year and could save nearly US$400 million per annum if the price were to stay around these levels. If the price holds, it will result in gasoline price dropping, electricity bills will fall, but the government will collect far less taxes on petroleum.

Worse day for Jamaican Stocks

The Jamaica Stock Exchange suffered it worse day with a fall of 24,224.80 points off the Composite index on Thursday, beating the 14,424.69 points fall on Tuesday when the market closed at 511,165.47.
Main Market stock suffering significant declines include NCB Financial $1.55, Caribbean Cement $2, PanJam Investments $2.01, Scotia Group $2, Sygnus Credit $3.30 and Wisynco off $2.45.
The Junior Market that has been under pressure some months and fell 99.62 points on Wednesday dropped another 102.35 points on Thursday, to close at 2,656.41. Junior Market stocks that suffered the greatest losses that to Thursday’s sharp fall include Access Financial down $2.11, Blue Power off 56 cents, Cargo Handlers with a loss of 96 cents Express Catering falling 46 cents, General Accident down 80 cents, Knutsford Express off by 65 cents and Stationery and Office Supplies down 75 cents.

Caribbean Assurance oversubscribed

Caribbean Assurance Brokers Initial Public Offer of shares to the public closed shortly after opening on Tuesday, February 18, with the issue oversubscribed, Mayberry Investments, brokers for the issue announced.
Caribbean Assurance Brokers offered 52.5 million ordinary shares at the price of $1.91 per share to the general public and selected group of subscribers.  Mayberry will advise Applicants of the preliminary basis of allotment of the shares by Friday, February 21, under the Junior Market Rules of the Jamaica Stock Exchange (“JSE”). The Company has made an application to list the shares on the Junior Market of the JSE.
The stock is attractively priced and is likely to surge sharply after the issue opens for trading.

Sweet River delisted from Junior Market

Sweet River Abattoir and Supplies became the first Junior Market company to have its shares delisted from the Junior Market of the Jamaica Stock Exchange.
The delisting is effective on Monday, February 10, 2020. According to the Jamaica Stock Exchange, “the delisting is in accordance with Junior Market Rule 505 (14) (a) (i) and the Company’s failure to remedy Board Level and financial requirements breaches.
Sweet River was listed in2014 and the shares were undersubscribed, leaving the company short of critical working capital to function properly, as it embarked on building out a new abattoir. The targeted in the IPO was to raise $180 million from the sale of 46.6 million shares to the public, but subscribers only applied for approximately 30.6 million shares amounting to $118 million. Recently, the company’s land and buildings were auctioned off and acquired by the purchaser for far less than the more than $300 million they are recorded on the books.
Sweat River ran up losses of $124 million up to June 2019, according to the last interim report the company released to the JSE and had a net worth of just $19 million.

Caribbean Assurance IPO details out

Caribbean Assurance Brokers are offering just 52.5 million ordinary shares for sale at the subscription price of $1.91 with a minuscule amount allocated for the general public.
The offer includes 44.36 million units for Reserved Share Applicants, including 5.25 million for Mayberry Investments’ clients with just 8.14 million units available to the general public.
Earnings for the past three years to 2018 have been almost flat, but results to September 2019 show a steep rise putting pretax profit to $71 million compared with $43 million for the full year in 2018. Based on the 2019 results, annualized earnings on 263 million shares that will be in issue after the IPO will translate to earnings of 36 cents per share, with a PE around, five which is well below the Junior Market level.
The company intends to use the net proceeds of the IPO to (i) pay IPO & Listing Expenses, (ii) expand its brokerage operations to other Caribbean territories, (iii) extend the Company’s solar photovoltaic system and for working capital purposes.
The issue opens on February 18 and scheduled to close on March 3, subject to early closure. Investors fortunate to get a good volume will enjoy a nice payday, with the limited supply, the general public will have to be satisfied with the usual dribblings.
The company acts as brokers for International, general and individual Life Insurance and employee benefits.
The directors of the company are Raymond H. Walker, Chairman Chief Executive Officer. Non-executive directors are, Rion B. Hall, Norman Minott, Jennifer Rajpat, Barrington Whyte, Tania Waldron-Gooden, Carlton Barclay and Janice P. Holness.

Big inflation spike in 2019

 The Statistical Institute of Jamaica (STATIN) reported that the annual inflation rate in Jamaica to December 2019, was 6.2 percent, a sharp increase from inflation over the last four years.
According to data from the Statin, inflation in 2018 was 2.4 percent, down from 5.2 percent in 2017. In 2016 the inflation rate ended at 1.7 percent and 3.7 percent in 2015, 6.4 in 2014 and 9.7 percent in 2013.
Jamaica’s Central Bank, in response to the sharp rise in the inflation for the year, stated, the outturn “represents a sharp jump when compared with the 3.4 percent recorded in September 2019. This inflation outturn was not anticipated and was higher than the Bank of Jamaica’s target of 4.0 to 6.0 percent.”
The release from Bank of Jamaica, stated, “the higher inflation rate was primarily influenced by faster increases in food and energy-related prices in the consumer price index (CPI). The heavily weighted Food & Non-Alcoholic Beverages division of the CPI increased over the year to December by 10.7 percent, when compared with 6.7 percent in September 2019. This was primarily related to higher prices for vegetables and starchy foods, the consequence of adverse weather conditions (drought followed by heavy rains) that affected the Island between June and October 2019.

BOJ interest cuts overnight rate.

There was also news of crop-related diseases affecting some items. Housing, Water, Electricity, Gas & Other Fuels reflected higher rates for electricity and water, which was partly related to increases in international oil prices in the December 2019 quarter. This division increased over the year to December to 1.5 percent, compared with a decline of 3.2 percent in September 2019.”
The release continues, “despite the higher headline inflation, underlying inflation, which excludes the immediate influence of agriculture and energy prices, remained stable and below 3.0 percent. At the end of  December 2019, the annual rate for this measure was 2.9 percent, which was unchanged compared with the rate in September 2019. This underscores that the Jamaican economy continues to reflect some slack with economic growth below its potential. It also highlights that the jump in inflation is likely to be temporary as expected tempered movements in agricultural prices dampen inflation over the next three to six months.”