First Rock looks to Florida expansion

BY KARENA BENNETT
Business reporter
bennettk@jamaicaobserver.com

Friday, March 15, 2019

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Investment firm, First Rock Capital Holdings Limited, plans on expanding its footprint across the region in addition to Florida, United States, after successfully closing a private placement for $2.5 billion.

The transaction, which was arranged by Sygnus Capital along with brokers Proven Wealth, JN Fund Managers and Sagicor Investments; represents one of the largest equity raised for a new company in the Caribbean.

“We are absolutely humbled by the confidence reposed in us. This confidence will not be squandered but rather cause us to be indefatigable in the pursuit of opportunities which will ultimately benefit our shareholders,” CEO First Rock Capital, Ryan Reid said.

High on the company's agenda is its expansion into Cayman, Guyana, and Barbados.

“We have a regional strategy and it will see us deploying capital in certain parts of the region, but we are very bullish on Jamaica. We believe that there hasn't been a better time to invest in Jamaica,” Reid told the Jamaica Observer.

“We are looking closely at Barbados in spite of their issues, and certainly we are looking at Florida,” he continued.

The CEO reasoned that many of these markets are either growing at considerably rates or present growth opportunities that First Rock believes could provide strong returns on investment for the company.

He added that First Rock, with assistance from Head of Real Estate Business Pierre Shirley along with head of Strategy, Zedayne Simister, has been studying the markets over the past nine months and believes that with the right structure, the investment firm can capitalise on the opportunities presented.

“I'm not at liberty to speak about the specific pipeline opportunities. However, capital deployment in these opportunities will commence in a few weeks,” Reid told the Caribbean Business Report.

First Rock is an international business company incorporated in and under the laws of St Lucia. The investment holding company's core focus is on real estate and private equity investments. Its subsidiary, First Rock Capital Resource Limited, is a limited liability company incorporated in and under the laws of Jamaica.

Upon successful expansion into the regional market, First Rock intends to apply for listing on the main market of the Jamaica Stock Exchange.

“We expect to do this within a couple of months. Certainly, once we have executed some of these transactions in our pipeline then we will do our listing,” Reid said.

As for the recent pronouncements by the Minister of Finance Nigel Clarke to cut taxes by $14 billion for the fiscal year 2019/20, “the budget couldn't have come at a better time, we have done an impact assessment on our projections and the net effect that we anticipate is very, very encouraging.

“Truthfully, these are the kind of moves that we want to see by the Government,” he said.


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