Business

Go sell your goats and buy stocks – FosRich boss tells staff

BY DENNISE WILLIAMS
Contributor

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

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Cecil Foster, CEO of FosRich, the recently listed electricial parts company, is clear that he wants his staff to personally benefit from the company being on the Jamaica Stock Exchange.

“I told my staff to sell their goats and chickens and anything else that someone can steal from them, and take the money and buy the company stock. We had meetings where we explained to the staff that when FosRich is on the JSE market, you benefit in three ways. First, you get your salary because our business is growing. Second, you get to see your investment grow because we are all working harder to meet our financial targets, and last, you get dividends. When we pay out profits to our shareholders, you will also be a shareholder.”

Speaking at the recently held JSE Regional Conference at the Pegasus Hotel, Foster noted how pleased he was with the experience of going public. “When the team from Stocks & Securities Ltd (SSL) outlined all that we needed to do to get ready to offer shares of this company to investors, it was a breeze. Why? Because we had a vision to grow this company, and so we had put in tight financial systems from five years ago. We were ready to meet the regulatory, accounting and reporting standards to list. So working with SSL was easy.”

The take-up of company shares in Jamaica has a spotty history.

Over a decade ago when Jamaica Money Market Brokers (JMMB) offered shares to staff in its IPO, the take-up was well received by staff and formed the foundation of the Employee Share Option Plan (ESOP). Fast-forward to the introduction of the JSE Junior Market in 2009, and employee take-up varied. The staff take-up of shares in the Access Financial Services was less than 10 per cent of the employee complement.

Caribbean Producers Jamaica offered not only special pricing for staff, but a zero per cent staff loan to buy shares. Only two managers took up that offer. The staff take-up in the Lasco Group in that IPO was better than the CPJ take-up, but only came in at around 20 per cent of staff. There are some in the market who believe there are trust issues between management and staff that leads to low take-up of shares even when offered at pennies on the dollar.

Other market experts believe that lack of finanical education also plays a big role in the poor take-up of staff. According to Foster: “Staff need to understand that the stock market is the best way for them to see the return on their increased productivity. I sat down and I really worked to encourage my staff to not let this opportunity pass them by.”

In December 2017, FosRich Company sought to raise $200 million from the sale of just over 100 million shares at $2 each. Specifically, the general public was offered 10,070,111 units; SSL, broker for the issue, was allocated 50 million units, and key partners and staff had the option to buy 40,385,000 shares.

FosRich did not disclose how many members of staff took up the offer. However, since the IPO, the stock hit the JSE circuit breaker twice as the price ran up from $2.00 to $2.99 during this month's trading. That would represent a 51 per cent return on investment.

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