PROVEN targets $4 billion in upcoming APO

PROVEN targets $4 billion in upcoming APO

Investments already identified in Caribbean finance sector and Jamaican real estate

BY RICHARD BROWNE
Business editor
browner@jamaicaobserver.com

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

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PROVEN Investments Limited is seeking to raise $4 billion or the equivalent of about US$30 million in its upcoming additional public offering (APO), President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Chris Williams has revealed.

The money raised will not be for finding new investment possibilities, but rather to execute on already-identified opportunities, particularly in the finance sector in the English-speaking Caribbean as well as Jamaican real estate, Williams told The Business Observer in an interview yesterday.

PROVEN is currently the largest shareholder in JMMB and recently sold its shares in Access Financial Services. The expectation is that with the deployment of the funds net profits will improve by some 50 per cent .

Some of the funds raised will go towards the execution of the VIA at Braemar, a 99 unit, 10-storey apartment building in New Kingston, Williams said. The development was designed for the Jamaican middle class, with studio units selling for about $21 million and one-bedrooms for $27 million.

“That has gone very well,” Williams said on the sale of the apartments.

But there are also at least three other Jamaican real estate projects in the works, targeting other segments.

The company is about to break ground on a residential complex on nine acres in Mandeville at Bloomfield, near to the MegaMart supermarket. The property will be designed as an Airbnb/hotel and residential development, but rather than the tourist market, it will target the local, commercial market. The first phase of the three-stage project will cover two acres including elements such as a gazebo and swimming pool.

A similar development is also to be built in Ocho Rios at the foot of the Shaw Park road, Williams said.

Meanwhile, a six-villa luxury development named Caesar is planned on Millsborough in Kingston. The 5,000-square-foot villas will be targetted to the upper-upper segment with each having their own swimming pool and will carry a price tag of about US$1 million each, Williams said.

ENTREPRENEURIAL SUCCESS

The APO comes at a time when First Rock has launched its initial public offering (IPO) and when the market is expecting the upcoming IPO for the TransJamaican Highway (TJH). But Williams does not see it as a competition for investment funds, as each opportunity has its benefits.

“The opportunities presented give you a chance to diversify,” Williams said. “PROVEN is a solid investment opportunity”, he said, “but others are good”.

“I don't see it as being an either or market,” Williams said. “We are developing as a capital market destination. We want to widen that,” he said.

Williams said the Diaspora market was relatively untouched, but that the online IPO platforms would allow greater and easier investment from that segment. Also relatively untapped was the international capital market, even though Jamaica's stock market has been among the world's top performing for the past five years.

While Williams endorses the idea of becoming an entrepreneur by investing in upcoming APO and IPOs as “one of the surest ways to wealth”, he is not a fan of trying to make a quick profit with a buy and sell strategy.

“Don't ride the market — I hate that term,” he said noting that speculative investing will not bring long-term growth.

“Obviously PROVEN is the hottest opportunity right now— but the others play a role,” Williams said, noting that the company was buying businesses and that investors could expect a certain amount of aggression as was demonstrated by the Access play.


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