Business

JP raises $1.5B in debt financing

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

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Jamaica Producers Group (JPG) Limited has successfully raised $1.5 billion in debt financing from the local capital market, the proceeds of which the company says will be used to refinance existing debts and general corporate expenses.

The offer, which benefited from exceptional liquidity in the market, was quickly taken up in full by local institutional investors. Scotia Investments Jamaica Ltd was the lead arranger on the transaction while Sygnus Capital Ltd acted as joint arranger.

In September, Jamaica Producers announced that it would be refinancing debt used to acquire its large stake in port operator Kingston Wharves Limited.

Up to September the conglomerate, with operations in speciality food and logistics, had debt totalling $3.3 billion, including two corporate bonds, one of which represents a $1-billion loan secured on shares in Kingston Wharves and repayable in 2019.

It pays interest at the weighted average treasury bill yield, or WATBY, plus 250 basis points. The WATBY resets at each semi-annual interest payment, but the effective interest rate is capped at 12 per cent for the first two years and thereafter at 14 per cent until maturity.

The new bond is repayable over seven years and is carried at a fixed-rate coupon of nine per cent per annum for the first five years, thereafter floating at the Government of Jamaica six-months WATBY benchmark plus 200 basis points. It will also result in the early redemption of the JPG Variable Rate 2019 Notes, and the delisting of the bond from the Jamaica Stock Exchange.

Group Managing Director Jeffery Hall in a press release, stated that the company is pleased to have been able to tap the local capital market to support ongoing business development programmes.

The arrangers advised that the offer was substantially oversubscribed.

Dylan Coke, vice-president, origination and capital markets, Scotia Investments Jamaica Ltd (SIJL), said that SIJL was “very pleased to be associated with a transaction for one of Jamaica's most highly respected companies”.

Similar sentiment was shared by Gregory Samuels, executive director, investment banking & head of corporate advisory at Sygnus Capital Ltd. “The transaction was well executed and shows that the market will always be bullish on good-quality investment opportunities that are appropriately structured,” he said.

Jamaica Producers Group has manufacturing operations in Jamaica, the Dominican Republic, and Holland. Its principal subsidiaries include Kingston Wharves, a leading multi-purpose port serving the Caribbean; and Hoogesteger, a leading fresh juice company in Northern Europe.

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