Eppley Caribbean Property Fund to invest more in Jamaica
Local real estate market looks more promising than regional counterpartsWednesday, July 21, 2021
BY DURRANT PATE
The Barbados-based Eppley Caribbean Property Fund Limited is positioning itself to investing more in Jamaica, where the local real estate market is more promising than the other two Caribbean countries where the company has investments. Those two countries are Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago.
The move will result in a further realignment of the company's real estate investment portfolio, which initially was solely invested in Barbados but has changed since Eppley Caribbean Property Fund was acquired by Eppley Limited, an investment company domiciled in Jamaica.
Since then Jamaica accounts for the largest share of the investment portfolio with 49 per cent, with Barbados in a close second having a 48 per cent share and 3 per cent in Trinidad. Eppley Caribbean Property Fund has indicated that while it is open to investments across the English-speaking Caribbean, the management currently believes the opportunities in Jamaica looks strong at the moment.
As a result, Eppley Caribbean Property Fund is concentrating on investments in Jamaica's real estate investment space, declaring that, “this is where emphasis is.” The Business Observer reached out to General Manager Justin Nam regarding the focus being placed on Jamaican real estate ahead of those in Barbados and Trinidad.
Leaning more towards industrial and office complexes
He highlighted that, “included in our opportunity set is a strong pipeline of Jamaican opportunities,” while emphasising that the fund continues to assess opportunities on a case-by-case basis across the English-speaking Caribbean consistent with its mandate. Nam stated that Eppley Caribbean Property Fund is leaning more towards industrial and office complexes.
At present the company real estate portfolio is 34 per cent in industrial, 29 per cent in office and 42 per cent in retail properties. The company is encouraging the owners of high quality large commercial real estate to reach out to them for a decisive buyer with the ability to move quickly.
At last week's annual general meeting, Nam advised shareholders that the company performed creditably in spite of the fact over the past year the fund encountered the most challenging operating environment in a century. He detailed how Eppley Caribbean Property Fund was impacted by rent relief measures, primarily on tourism exposed Barbados properties, nevertheless, the performance remained resilient and profitable.
Eppley Caribbean Property Fund was able to maintain dividend payments and buy-backs initiatives with a very strong performance from Jamaican and industrial assets regionally, which validated the strategy to scale and diversify by geography and by asset type.
Fund has built up significant liquidity
Eppley Caribbean Property Fund has significant liquidity and low leverage to take advantage of new opportunities. For the six months ended March 2021, total investment income increased to BBD$3.26 million coming from BBD$2.92 million posted or the comparable period last year.
As a result, profits attributable to shareholders for the six months amounted to BBD$1.62 million compared to BBD$1.68 million booked prior corresponding period.
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