First Rock lists on JSE


First Rock lists on JSE

Senior reporter

Sunday, February 23, 2020

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Minister without portfolio in the Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, Daryl Vaz, says that the performance of the Jamaica Stock Exchange (JSE) is evidence that Jamaicans are aware of the benefits of participating in the stock exchange.

“The recent increase in IPOs (initial public offering) having over subscription such as with First Rock Capital Holdings, shows that there is great liquidity in the financial system with sound and profitable investment options,” the minister told stakeholders attending Friday's listing ceremony for First Rock's IPO at the JSE's head office in downtown Kingston.

A relatively new investment company focusing on real estate and private equity investments, which owns several properties in Jamaica, the Cayman Islands, the wider Caribbean, and the United States, First Rock's IPO, which closed on January 31, sold over US$13 million in an oversubscribed sale to some 2,500 participants raising approximately US$13 million, in the process.

In fact, First Rock has raised more than $5 billion from Jamaican investors over the previous 12 months, including the funds raised from the extended IPO which opened with 106 million shares before adding 53 million more after being oversubscribed.

“It is a demonstration that more Jamaicans are aware of the benefits which can be derived from what is taking place in the financial landscape,” Vaz commented.

He said that the oversubscription showed that there is a great deal of liquidity in the financial system, with sound and profitable investments.

“Private sector investments of this type are one of the major elements in generating the economic growth needed to create the wealth and prosperity, which will enable not only a few, but many Jamaicans to enjoy,” he said.

Vaz also noted that First Rock's primary aim is to provide its shareholders with a tax-efficient vehicle, offering an enhanced level of income, above average dividend yield, and preservation of capital through the diversification of real estate assets.

“The vision of the Government is to encourage an enlargement and diversification in the menu of financial options available to the public. This is with a view that the wider populace can contribute to the growth of the economy,” he stated.

He also noted that the Government has been using the public equity markets as a vehicle for the divestment of public assets, to allow broadscale ownership of its assets by the public. He noted that “history was made” when 31,000 Jamaicans invested in the Wigton Windfarm Limited IPO raising $14 billion, or “nearly three times the $5.5 billion that was being sought”.

He also pointed out that the Government recently launched an offer for sale of shares in TransJamaica Highway Limited, and anticipates that the public will also wish to make a stake in this offer.

“Similar divestments are planned for later this year, as the Government in practice gives the private sector the dominant role in the economy, as it focuses on what it is best able to do, by creating the enabling environment,” he said.

Another speaker at the function, Mischa McLeod Hines, Assistant Vice-President at Sagicor iInvestments which handled the IPO, said that her company was pleased that the IPO surpassed its target and was oversubscribed.

“This is tremendous, and not only shows the confidence of our investors in the company and the JSE, but also the power of investment for this country and the traction it drives in any economy,” she said.

She described it as another example of Sagicor's commitment to developing the economic capacity of the country, while providing its citizens with the means to create, grow, and preserve their wealth.

She noted that First Rock had already built a strong asset base by owning eight properties, and plans to continue on this trajectory to acquire an additional three in the coming months.

“With that said, First Rock is poised to significantly contribute to the development of Jamaica,” she added.

Other speakers at the event included: Ryan Reid, president and co—founder of First Rock Capital Holdings Limited; Dr Michael Banbury, chairman of First Rock; and Marlene Street Forrest, managing director of the JSE who welcomed the guests. The event was chaired by Neville Ellis, JSE marketing and communications manager.

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