THE new year is here and as we move forward into it, the Jamaica Observer has compiled a list of 23 businesses to watch in 2023. Some are publicly held, others are not, but they all are companies we believe will make massive moves this year. Here's our list and why we believe they will be impactful this year.

1) Dolla Financial Services – Dolla had a historic year, setting the record for the largest oversubscription for a Junior Market initial public offering (IPO) on the Jamaica Stock Exchange (JSE) and listing two tranches of its bond on the JSE Private Market in less than five months after its IPO, tripling its balance sheet from $861.09 million to over $2.40 billion in 2022. Dolla also sought to acquire Access Financial Services Limited. With a microcredit licence, a new subsidiary called Ultra Financier and several to come, Dolla will be a company to watch this year.

2) Spur Tree Spices Jamaica – The spice and seasonings manufacturer was the first company to list on the JSE in 2022 and brought in $209.82 million in fresh capital which was deployed to double production capacity for exotic products and to establish another production facility in St Thomas. It also sealed a deal to acquire 51 per cent of Canco Limited, a canned ackee and callaloo company which markets products under the Linstead Market Jamaica brand. With Massy Holdings to distribute its products in Jamaica and across the region and GK Investments continuing to increase its interest in the company, Spur Tree will be reaping the rewards in 2023.

3) TransJamaican Highway – TJH manages 50 km of Highway 2000 East-West and that is set to expand by 28km once Phase 1C is complete, connecting May Pen in Clarendon to Williamsfield in Manchester. It is also set to complete the acquisition of Jamaican Infrastructure Operator, which operates the highway, under an operation and maintenance agreement. These developments will benefit shareholders and make the company one to watch in 2023.

4) Pan Jam – The merger between PanJam and Jamaica Producers is scheduled to be completed this quarter and will result in a $110-billion conglomerate which will be one of the largest in the English-Speaking Caribbean. The deal will see the combined businesses harvest certain opportunities which will become available based on the scale and scope.

5) Supreme Ventures – While two general managers departed last year, SVL's growth has not slowed. It hosted the US$125,000 Mouttet Mile at Caymanas Park, and introduced Scratchaz and other gaming products while doubling down on capital and other private investments. With the FIFA World Cup benefiting Just Bet, along with the focus on technology, SVL will be aiming to exceed the historic performance it recorded in 2022 and capitalise on its reach in other markets.

6) Wisynco Group – Wisynco built up cash during the pandemic and is ready to put it to work. Apart from two new production lines to be added, Wisynco has earmarked part of its $5-billion expansion to an entirely new business which is further accentuated by its appetite for acquisitions. It has also brought back Sean Scott as deputy chief executive officer (CEO), which emphasises its succession planning.

7) Main Event Entertainment Group – After being hard hit by the pandemic, Main Event has received a significant influx of new business, reflecting the desire by many for entertainment offerings. It has also begun training again through its M Academy and has done work on a range of weddings and other private events through M Style. The grand ambitions of co-founders Solomon Sharpe and Richard Bair are reflected by the financial performance of Main Event, which earned its largest-ever net profit in the third quarter compared to any prior financial year.

8) Jamaica Broilers Group – With Haiti no longer part of its operations, Jamaica Broilers Group (JBG) is set to capitalise on the rising demand for chicken in Jamaica and the United States of America (USA). Its Jamaican operations has already surpassed pre-pandemic volumes and the group is set to invest another US$20 million in its USA operations. Its financial performance has also substantially improved and is on track to reach new records.

9) FosRich Company – FosRich set a range of records last year which included being the best-performing stock on the JSE and seeing its shareholder base quadruple as it geared up for an equity raise. FosRich also acquired a business in Old Harbour, began construction on its superstore, and further expanded its business in the Caribbean along with forging greater strategic partnerships for its product offerings. The company recorded its best year on record and is likely to garner more traction as more strategic investors take equity positions.

10) iCreate – The comeback kid was at one point the best-performing stock on the JSE and managed to end the year in this position as well. Set on a plan to deliver US$2 million in revenue and US$1 million in net profit, the Tyrone Wilson-led company managed to close out on the acquisition of outdoor advertising company Visual Vibe Limited and will become the fourth company to graduate from the Junior Market to the Main Market. The company also reimagined itself as a group with training, advertising, real estate, media and entertainment, and tech & e-commerce divisions. iCreate still intends to do a rights issue and everyone anticipates the group will deliver as promised.

11) Massy Holdings – The Trinidadian conglomerate made big waves in 2022 as the largest-ever cross listing on the JSE and second-largest company by market capitalisation. It has since continued its strategic realignment to its core portfolios of integrated retail, motors and machines and gas products, which have manifested through a variety of pending and completed acquisitions. The company will be celebrating its 100th anniversary this year and has no plans of stopping its growth trajectory. Its planned acquisition of IGL will further deepen in its presence in Jamaica, which will be the springboard for its global expansion plans.

12) Cari-Med Group – The distributor of pharmaceutical and fast-moving consumer goods has made its intentions known that it is considering an IPO. Its $6-billion distribution centre in Bernard Lodge and ownership of a New Kingston property used by a business process outsourcing (BPO) company demonstrates the scale and size associated with Cari-Med and how its listing would be a massive splash for the market and its growing diversity.

13) Seprod – Following the purchase of a controlling interest in AS Bryden and Sons Holdings Limited in June, Seprod Limited is now an $80.81-billion manufacturing and distributing giant stretching across the Caribbean and South America. This now creates a platform for Seprod to effectively broaden its presence in more markets and propel its export-driven vision. AS Bryden is expected to list on the JSE and Trinidad and Tobago Stock Exchange, which would further capitalise Seprod’s ownership.

14) Indies Pharma – Indies Pharma maintained its growth in 2022 and is currently making the final steps in the development of two new drugs with the United States Food and Drug Administration. It is also working on the development of its subsidiary, Indies Pharma Business Park Limited which will be its permanent home and create a new revenue stream with leases to BPO companies. The pharmaceutical distributor has a tall task ahead but Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Dr Guna Muppuri has sights on growing a business from the west.

15) Derrimon Trading – Derrimon finalised the acquisition of Spicy Hills Farms and Arosa in 2022 and was on the hunt for another company to position its earnings more towards exports and along a vertical acquisition strategy. Barita also increased its exposure in the manufacturing and distribution group. It’s yet to be seen how the new Select Grocers will perform at the Millenium Mall in Clarendon but the Derrick Cotterell-led group is aggressively growing.

16) NCB Financial Group – TFOB (2021) Limited and Guardian Holdings Limited (GHL) enjoyed numerous successes in 2021 which included TFOB receiving a remittance licence and GHL hitting record earnings despite a decline in the price of various investment securities and a choppy reinsurance market. Although the rest of the NCB Financial Group is experiencing a range of events, these two subsidiaries are leading a wave of change.

17) Sygnus Group – The Sygnus Group continues to see growth for the respective managed portfolio companies and in the size of its team in its first five years of operations. Its One Belmont project is slated to be completed later this year; Sygnus Credit is currently negotiating with different multilaterals on funding along its expected share buy-back; and Sygnus Deneb is executing more private equity deals.

18) Lasco Group of Companies – Lasco Manufacturing Limited is finally planning to introduce new products to the market. Lasco Distributors Limited is expanding its offerings. Lasco Financial Services Limited is also looking to jump start the microcredit subsidiary again following the slow down caused by the novel coronavirus pandemic.

19) Cornerstone Group – The Cornerstone Group continued headhunting across the Jamaican financial sector and scooping up talent for Barita Investment Limited and Cornerstone United Holdings Jamaica Limited, with Damion Brown being the latest acquisition. The capital injections into Barita and other subsidiaries have fared well, along with the focus on alternative investments and real estate through off-balance sheet assets. With a sizeable capital base one will look to see what other pieces of real estate will be acquired in Jamaica.

20) MoneyMasters – MoneyMasters signed an agreement with VM Wealth Management to be its lead broker for an IPO. This came at a time when it had just recently launched its M7 Real Estate Fund and with plans to increase its staff count by 50 per cent to 38 as it focuses on growing its net margins from 42 per cent to 50 per cent. With the securities dealer exploring a range of new real estate deals and other managed funds, the Claudette Crooks-led company is one to watch.

21) First Rock Group – First Rock Private Equity saw the listing of its first portfolio company, Dolla, which significantly improved the valuation of its investment made in January 2021. First Rock Real Estate Investments Limited began its share buy-back and is also looking to complete its Hambani development and begin construction of Bonne Chance in New Kingston. It is also involved as part of a consortium looking to purchase Medical Associates Hospital and is seeking to develop luxury villas in St Thomas.

22) Wray & Nephew – The spirits maker saw its sales for the nine months hit €103.8 million ($16.55 billion), which puts it on pace to exceed its 2019 record of €108 million. Its core markets of Jamaica and the USA supported this growth along with the continued outperformance of the Wray & Nephew Overproof and Campari portfolios. Apart from installing photovoltaic cells at its production site and site restoration, the economy has seen a sharp rebound in entertainment which is likely to continue into 2023, thus benefiting the company.

23) GraceKennedy – The food and financial services conglomerate continued its acquisitions in 2022 which included a stake in Bluedot (2022) Limited and deepening its partnerships with the Bank of Nova Scotia by acquiring the bank's eastern Caribbean insurance operations and partnering with its Jamaican operations. GK also unveiled its 2030 vision and mission, which might be seven years away but CEO Don Wehby is bullish that the company will achieve its Caribbean and major overseas stock exchange listings and US$2.1 billion in revenue.

BY DAVID ROSE Observer business writer davidr@jamaicaobserver.com

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