Minority deserves better

SOS directors released June’s quarterly results even though the JSE rules require the first report to be relased for the September quarter.

The investing public seems not to be treated with the respect it deserves. It appears that many companies thing of investors last, not recognizing that they are shareholders just like the majority owners.
The last persons seen are the first to be remembered and is equivalent to out of sight out of mind. That seems to be the case with shareholders in the Caribbean. Newly listed Stationery & Office Supplies release of the June quarterly report although not required by the Jamaica Stock Exchange is an example of good corporate governance and is to be applauded.
In Trinidad for example, there is little liquidity in that market and the directors refuse to do anything about it. In Jamaica many companies tend to stick with the minimum regulations of the stock exchange, even when the recent examples in Jamaica say how important it is to ensure that there is adequate liquidity in the market.
The current regulation for listings in Jamaica, is for new listed companies to file their first quarterly report in the quarter ending after listing. The rule is inadequate to protect investors. Information is critical for the capital market to function properly, as such investors should not have to wait more than two quarters to get a quarterly report. In 2016, there was the very poor decision by Wentworth Graham the then head of the regulatory arm of the Jamaica Stock Exchange to permit 1834 Investments to wrongly withhold the December quarterly report from the public. This was based on improper interpretation of the rules relating to the release of financial information.

Main Event release their first report in June after their January IPO.

Earlier this year Main Event issued their IPO and included interim results to September 2016, with the year end of October. The IPO was in January but it was not until June that shareholders had information on the out turn of the operations for 2016 as well as for the first quarter this year. As it turned out, profit of $60 million at the 11 month period melted down to $56.5 million for the full year. The audited report was only signed on the June 5, more than 7 months after the year end while the first quarter results were never released but the second quarter to April was released within the deadline of June 15.
The management of Stationery & Office Supplies may have had a lot to shout about with pretax profit jumping 146 percent to $20.3 million for the June quarter this year and hence the release of the results to Jamaica Stock Exchange in less than a month of listing on the Junior Market.
Under the stock exchange rules it need not have put out the six months report having been listed in August. Some persons may see it as self interest in the release, but there is no evidence of that. The release provides the investing public with pertinent information in a timely manner, on which they can make their investment decisions. The hope is that the Jamaica Stock Exchange rules will be strengthened quickly to ensure that pertinent information is release on a timely basis to the public.

Sharp out Noel in at Scotia Jamaica

Change at Scotia Group top slot.

Scotia Group (SGJL) announced that Jackie Sharp, President and Chief Executive Officer and Head of Caribbean Central and North, will be leaving to join her family business, effective October 31.
In August 2013, the group appointed Sharp as its first female president and CEO, effective September of that year. Sharp was also appointed a director of the SGJ and the Bank of Nova Scotia Jamaica.
As CEO it not only marked the first female to be appointed to that post but the first person who did not have an early career start in the bank to make it to the top executive post, her rise is sharp indeed, taking a mere 15 years after joining the bank. The resignation brings her career at the financial group to 20 years.

Jacqueline Sharp

According to the release from the group, Jackie Sharp joined the group in 1997 as a Management Trainee and held a number of key positions including Private Banking, Insurance, and Finance, before assuming the Country Head role, and most recently Head of Scotiabank’s Caribbean Central and North covering Jamaica, Bahamas, Cayman, Belize, British Virgin Islands and Turks and Caicos Islands.
“Jackie has made significant contributions to Scotiabank and the community over the years, achieving strong financial results while becoming one of the most respected leaders in the financial sector in Jamaica and the Caribbean”, said Brendan King, Senior Vice President, International Banking, Scotiabank. “We are very grateful for her dedication, consummate leadership and passion over many years at the Bank, and wish her well in her new endeavours as she joins her family business in Jamaica.”
In the first year of her reign Scotia Group Jamaica reported a fall of $774 million or 7 percent in net income to $10.1 billion for the year ended October 2014. Profit rose 14 profit to $11.6 billion for the 2016 year from $10.1 billion in 2015.
Scotia’s closest competitor on the other hand for the year to September 2014 enjoyed a 36 percent, or $3.1 billion increase to $11.6 billion and made profit of $14.4 billion in 2016 versus $12.3 billion in 2015 for a rise of 17.5 percent.

David Noel

Scotia results for six months to April showed profit up 14 percent to $5.7 billion while NCB grew 58 percent to $9.5 billion.
Sharp is being replaced by David Noel as President and Chief Executive Officer, and Head of the Caribbean Central and North regions. Noel joined Scotiabank in Jamaica in 2001 as Legal Counsel before moving to Canada in 2008 on a leadership development rotation in Toronto.
In 2010, he took on the role of District Vice President for East New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island. He returned to Toronto in 2012 where he worked in Global Risk Management. In 2013 he was appointed Managing Director, Caribbean East, leading the Bank’s operations in Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean. In November 2016, he was appointed Deputy Chief Executive Officer of the Scotia Group with responsibility for the subsidiary units, including retail and commercial banking, life insurance, investment management and brokerage, micro-finance and mortgages.

Offer for Berger not serious

Minority shareholders in the Jamaican based Berger Paints have been made an offer to purchase the 104,990,171 ordinary shares that are not owned by the Trinidad based, Ansa McAl group.
The offer is priced at $10.88 per share, well below the price the stock has been trading at for most of 2017 and ever since the company posted strong increased nine months results in early February, re-enforced by earnings of $1.47 per shares for the full year to March, from a 15 percent increase in revenue. With an 11 percent increase in the first quarter to June this year to $23.4 million even as sales declined due to what the company says to inadequate cement supplies.
According to the offer document, from February 12 and March 11 this year, 659,600 units were traded between $10.99 and $13.56. A total of 834,100 units were traded from March 12 to April 11 at $11.41 to $14.49, thereafter until August 11, the trading range was $13.01 to a high of $23.90 with more than 2 million shares trading. In trading in the early morning session on Thursday 65,035 units were sold down to $13.

Berger Paints traded at a 52 weeks’ high of $23.50 earlier this year.

The offer document states that if the group gets 80 percent or more of issued shares, then they will apply to the Jamaica Stock Exchange to have the shares delisted. That of course is an unlikely development at the current offer price. More than 64 million shares or 30 percent of the issued shares are owned by savvy investors comprising 6 shareholders who are unlikely to accept such a low offer. Any success must have the consent of the majority of these holders.
Local stocks are trading at an average of more than 13 times 2017 earnings and that would place a value of Berger shares at $19 to $22 per share. Going forward, with economic activities picking up, profits should rise even more than at the current levels and would put the value of the stock at a higher level than the above range.

An Inconvenient Sequel premiere postponed

Former vice president Al Gore promotes his new movie, a follow-up to his 2006 documentary, “An Inconvenient Truth.

The Palace Amusement Company wishes to apologise for the postponement of the Premiere of An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power, scheduled by the Jamaica Environment Trust (JET) for July 27, 2017.
The company stated that they have been unable to secure the hard drive containing the film for reasons beyond their control. A new date is to be set when the films becomes available and all tickets for the premiere will remain valid.
The apology is extended to all stakeholders involved with the planning and execution of the premiere, as well as patrons who have purchased tickets. Palace regrets the inconvenience caused and appreciate your understanding those involved.
Al Gore has reemerged to continue his fight, traveling around the world to train an army of activists and influence international climate policy. Cameras follow him behind the scenes — in moments both private and public, funny and poignant — as he pursues the inspirational idea that while the stakes have never been higher, the perils of climate change can be overcome with human ingenuity and passion.

PBS & Express Catering over the top

NCB Capital Markets, brokers to the initial public offer of ordinary and preference shares for Productive Business Solutions which opened July 5, 2017 closed on Tuesday, July 11 for the Ordinary Shares at the price of US$0.55 per share.
The brokerage house, stated that the basis of allocation to be communicated later. The Invitation for subscription by the Company in respect of at a price of J$100 per share remains open and the public will be duly advised when same is closed. The original date for closure of both issues was set for July 26.
PBS issue was seeking to raise US$41.5 million by ordinary shares, with US$8.7 million of it to be used to International Finance Corporation. The IPO also includes 25,800,000 9.75% Redeemable Cumulative Preference Shares denominated in Jamaican dollars. The issue allocated 27,272,727 of the ordinary shares for Portland JSX, 7,272,727 units for staff with 4,545,455 shares for the General Public.
Part of the proceeds will be used to paid debt of US$17.45 million and working capital of US$13.85 million.

Ian Dear, Managing Director of Express Catering

For the year to December 2016, a loss of US$3.3 million was incurred down from a profit of $1.2 million in 2015. Revenues fell in both years to $171 million in 2016 from $194 million in 2015 and $202 million in 2014 when a small loss was incurred. Finance cost in 2016 increased by $2.6 million. The increase is attributed primarily to interest associated with the increase in debt of $998,000, FX loss of $920,000, and amortization of deferred expenses associated with the bond of $724,000. In the March 2017 quarter revenues rose to US$42.45 million from US$39.32 million with profit rising to US$838,000 before taxation of US$389,000 from a loss the year before.
PBS has borrowings of US$66 million with US$10 million due to related parties as at December 2016. The prospectus indicates that the shares are to be listed on the main market of the Jamaica Stock Exchange and on Barbados Stock Exchange’s International Securities Market, subsequent to listing in Jamaica.
Reports reaching IC Insider.com is that Express Catering was oversubscribed with the issue closing this morning as more than 1,000 applications were received by the broker for the issue, Mayberry Investments. The 100 percent Shareholder of Express Catering, Margaritaville St Lucia, offered 327,500,000 of existing shares for sale at $1.50 each, to raise approximately $490 million. Only 32.6 million shares were made available to the general public. The Stock is slated for listing on the Junior Market.

One ECCU Insurance & pension regulator

Eleanor Astaphan, Project Manager of the Single Market Insurance and Pension in the Eastern Caribbean Union

The Caribbean English speaking countries are spread across the region with most having duplication of institutions that could be more efficiently operated as one or two units to benefit from economies of scale.
We cooperate in a number of areas, most noted is in cricket where we have one team. From an economic point, the ECCU based countries have been cooperating on a number of fronts,  the most noted being The Eastern Caribbean Central Bank and one common currency. The countries are now working on setting up one body to regulate the insurance and pension industry as a single market.
According to Eleanor Astaphan, the Project Manager of the Single Market Insurance and Pension in the Eastern Caribbean Union the countries in the grouping have signed an agreement to establish the regulatory body which is likely to be operational in 2018. Revenues for the body is proposed to come from fees to be levied on industry, but this is the subject of discussion with industry players.
Under the new arrangement, when effected will require businesses to register in one territory to be able to operate in any country within the union.
Eleanor Astaphan was addressing a workshop for the Caribbean Association of Insurance Regulators hosted by the Financial Securities Commission of Jamaica and held at the Pegasus Hotel in Kingston earlier this week.
Other presentors included John Jackson who gave the key note address and spoke of the need for financial regulars to be more proactive to ensure proper protection of investors. Jackson pointed to a number of issues that are occurring that are inimical to the sector and if not addressed could lead to major problems. Jackson also suggested the need for merging of a number of regulatory bodies across the region and creation of a single capital market.
The conference was addressed by Stuart Wason of the IMF, who resented papers on capital adequacy and assessing systemic risk in the insurance industry and Meg Mulry of AM Best spoke on strengthening insurance regulation and data collection in the Caribbean.

Jamaica abounds with opportunities

Attentive shareholders at Jetcon recently held 2017 AGM

The successful performance of Jetcon Corporation since listing in 2016, reveals the rich opportunities that exist in Jamaica for Jamaicans to better themselves financially, chairman of the company, John Jackson said, in addressing shareholders at the company’s first Annual General Meeting, as a public company.
Jackson went on to state “ordinary Jamaicans need adequate education, need to corporate with and trust one another, share our assets in an organized manner and the sky is the limit to what can be achieved’. “Many opportunities exist for Jamaicans to profit from, however, they need to learn how to find them.” This means, with greater financial sophistication born out of knowledge, coupled with the advent and buoyancy of the Junior Market, ordinary Jamaican families can capitalize on various financial prospects that exist in the country”. The success of Jetcon and other newer businesses in the country suggests the need for an intervention of the Jamaican authorities to educate Jamaicans on the immense opportunities that exist to lift their quality of life through financial education and investments by pooling of their financial resources.
Jackson was speaking against the back drop of Jetcon Corporation’s doubling in profits for 2016 with preliminary data to May 2017, showing revenues rising by 75 percent and profit of approximately 150 percent over 2016.

Golding hands over Caricom report


Former Prime Minister Bruce Golding handing over the report of the finding and recommendations relating to Jamaica and its relationship with Caricom to current Prime Minister Andrew Holness at Jamaica House on Thursday.
The report was concluded after interviews with several former Prime Ministers and current ones from within the region, along with other interested persons from institutions such as Trade Unions and senior members of political parties and input from the general public were received over the internet.