BUSINESS NOTES…Wednesday, April 07, 2021
BY DAVID ROSE
DIRECTORS AND INSIDE TRADES
Recently retired Pricewaterhouse Coopers partner Peter E Williams was appointed to the board of GraceKennedy Limited as of April 1. His appointment to the board will also see him take on a new role as chair of the audit committee on May 26, which is the same day Everton McDonald retires.
A director of Sagicor Select Funds Limited bought 1,159,409 and 859,327 shares in the Financial and Manufacturing and Distribution Funds, respectively, on March 18. This is the first purchase since November by an insider and came ahead of the quarter's conclusion which saw both funds trade below the net asset value.
There were several other sales during the final days of the first quarter such as with Limners and Bards Limited, Jamaica Broilers Group Limited, Supreme Ventures Limited and Kingston Wharves Limited. Two interconnected party sales valued at more than $1.5 million each occurred with Sagicor Group Limited and GWest Corporation Limited.
US WEWORK GOING PUBLIC THROUGH SPAC
Real estate subletting company WeWork will finally go public through a merger with special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) BowX Acquisition Corporation. The company, which had attempted to go public through an initial public offering in September 2019 at a US$47-billion valuation, had to cancel that option as questions about its corporate governance, financial stability and business focus became critical to potential investors. The deal will see WeWork being valued at an enterprise value of US$9 billion and provide the company with US $1.3 billion in cash. WeWork will still be run by CEO Sandeep Mathrani who replaced Adam Neumann in 2019.
TGI FRIDAYS TO UNDERGO MAKEOVER
TGI Fridays plans to enhance the image of its single location on Hope Road as part of the overall Prestige Holdings Limited (PHL) 2021 capital expenditure focus. This was disclosed in the 2020 annual report with PHL stating further enhancement plans for eight KFC restaurants and two Pizza Hut locations in Trinidad and Tobago. PHL plans to open four new Starbucks locations and an additional KFC in 2021 which forms part of its expansion plans apart from the new Operations and Distribution Centre in Aranguez.
MORE LISTED COMPANIES HEAD TO COURT
138 Student Living Limited (138SL) has become one of the latest listed companies to seek the Supreme Court's permission to hold its annual general meeting (AGM) in a virtual format. 138SL held its last AGM before the pandemic in March and is now required to hold its next meeting within 15 months of that time. Several companies have begun using the Jamaica Stock Exchange (JSE) representative action route to hold their AGM's in the absence of relevant legislation permitting virtual AGM's. Eppley Caribbean Property Fund – Value Fund has postponed its AGM due to the new restrictions put in place for in-person AGM's and is currently seeking guidance on what's allowed for the Barbadian Mutual Fund.
The first quarter (Q1) ended on a high note with Ciboney Group Limited being the largest winner as it rose by 136 per cent to $0.52. This was accompanied by Salada Foods Limited whose stock price took off by 118 per cent thanks mainly to its stock split as it closed Q1 at $6.66. Jamaica Teas Limited, Indies Pharma Limited and Lumber Depot Limited were the other high-rising stocks as they all increased by more than 50 per cent. Productive Business Solutions Limited's USD shares saw a 50 per cent increase which is rare from equities on the USD market.
The Junior Market has been the best-performing market since the price collapse in March 2020. The index has risen by 29 per cent in one year and is currently 3.51 points from returning to the 3,000 point region. Trading volumes (TV) and value traded (VT) have also been quite sizeable with both firmly surpassing 2020. The USD market also increased commendably by two per cent in the one-year time frame which includes higher TV and VT with two major additions to the USD Index since then. The USD Index is firmly over the 200-point mark but is still far from its 230.48 peak at the start of 2020. The JSE Index has only risen by four per cent since the pandemic began with both TV and VT down sharply. The JSE Index had started 2020 at 500,463.33 points and fell to a multi-year low of 364,045.96. The index is now only at 394,659.55 with only Barita Investments Limited's additional public offering being the main differentiator from last year to now.
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