First Rock IPO indicative of confidence in the economy — Shaw


First Rock IPO indicative of confidence in the economy — Shaw

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

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Audley Shaw, minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, says the decision by the principals of First Rock Capital Holdings Limited to offer shares in the firm's operations to the public is indicative of their confidence in Jamaica's economy.

The minister who was speaking at a First Rock initial public offering (IPO) investor briefing last Thursday (January 9) in Kingston, praised First Rock on its involvement in real estate, which he noted is one of the leading growth-inducing sectors. He further described the firm's IPO investment opportunity as a “source of inspiration”.

“With all of the problems that we have, there are far more opportunities than [challenges]. We can create wealth in Jamaica and the more wealth we create is the less crime we will have; and the more human development that we enhance, is the less problems that we will have,” he argued.

Shaw contended that the company's confidence and, by extension, that of other interests across the society has been and continues to be spurred, to a great extent, by the outcomes of several key macroeconomic indicators.

“We have to improve the productivity of the country so that our workers can get a better pay cheque that can enhance their own wealth in a [meaningful] way,” he argued.

Notably, the minister said, is the extent of “unprecedented” growth being recorded; increased employment and a commensurate reduction in unemployment to a record low 7.8 per cent; and significant debt reduction, down from 145 per cent of gross domestic product to 93 per cent.

He added, however, that while “tremendous and new goals” are being achieved in the economy, there is need for higher levels of productivity to sustain and heighten these.

First Rock, a real estate and equity investment firm, is looking to raise up to US $18.5 million from its IPO, which opened on Monday and will run until January 31.

Up to 106,083,332 shares are being offered. These include 51,916,666 reserved shares, with the principals having the option to upsize the offer by an additional 53,041,666 shares, in the event of oversubscription.

Sagicor Investments will act as the arranger and lead broker, with Sygnus Capital the preferred co-arranger, and PROVEN Wealth Limited, Scotia Investments Limited, Barita Investments Limited and Mayberry Investments Limited as selling agents to the public.

First Rock will use the funds raised from the IPO to acquire several additional properties in Jamaica and the region. The firm already owns properties across the island in Costa Rica and in the United States. The entity also recently recorded a US$218,000 net profit from six months of operations.

The First Rock IPO started on Monday last.

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