Haitian investment in Jamaica considerable

Haitian investment in Jamaica considerable

BY RICHARD BROWNE Business Editor browner@jamaicaobserver.com

Friday, March 20, 2015

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JAMAICAN investment in Haiti, via companies such as Digicel and Jamaica Broilers, is quite well known locally. But less known is the fact that it is not a one-way street, and that Haitian investment in Jamaica is considerable -- at least in the gasoline retail sector.


The Texaco brand, which has been in Jamaica for more than 93 years, has been owned by Haitian company GB Energy since 2012, and last month renewed its licence.


GB Energy is part of the GB Group, a Haitian conglomerate with interests in a wide range of businesses in the Haitian economy, including the agricultural, manufacturing, construction, consumer goods, logistics, trade, and energy sectors.


Chairman Gilbert Bigio -- reputed to be one of Haiti's richest individuals -- founded the family-run company in 1972.


Since November 2012, the GB Group has owned the Texaco brand of gas stations in Jamaica -- 67 across the island, controlling seven per cent of the local gasoline retail sector.


Last month the company announced that it had retained its exclusive right to commercialise fuel under the Texaco brand in the Dominican Republic, Jamaica and St Maarten. The licence includes the use and market rights of the Techron brand of additives for gasoline and diesel in those markets.


"Today we supply 67 stations, have increased the number of industrial accounts as well as our market share in aviation fuelling supply. GB Energy is also present in one terminal in the Jamaican market," according to the GB website.


In total, the company operates more than 350 gasoline retail stations, 13 airports. and six petroleum terminals, its Facebook page says. The company has a presence in six countries, among them the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, St Maarten, and Haiti.


The GB Group has been in the energy sector since 2003 when it acquired Shell's fuel operations in Haiti with a local investor. In 2009, it expanded further by acquiring Chevron's Texaco operations in Haiti.


The company created GB Energy in 2012 for the acquisition of Chevron -- Texaco's downstream assets in three additional countries in the Caribbean, including Jamaica, the Dominican Republic, and St Maarten.


The petroleum retail sector has been shaken up in recent years. Total from France bought out Roy deCambre's National petroleum stations, while another French company -- Rubis -- now owns the former Shell-branded stations.


Meanwhile, a Barbadian company, Sol, has entered the market with its own lubricants, but has not yet been able to open its own gasoline stations.



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