AS Guyana's oil finds continue to increase the nation's potential for growth, other Caribbean nations and their native companies are on the lookout for opportunities to profit.
Not least among them is Jamaica's NCB Capital Markets which, via its Southern and Dutch Caribbean Investment Banking hub at NCB Merchant Bank Limited (Trinidad and Tobago), in the first week of October closed a US$10-million syndicated loan for Guyana Shore Base Inc (GYSBI Guyana).
The loan, the Guyanese company stated in a LinkedIn announcement on October 3, "will enable GYSBI to expand its capacity in the delivery of secure, open and covered storage; berthing for supply vessels; operational personnel; and loading/unloading logistics support to Exxon Mobil's offshore drilling campaign".
GYSBI describes itself as the preferred offshore support for oil and gas operators in Guyana, offering services ranging from waste management, chemical storage, warehousing, construction, supply chain management, expatriate management, and customs and logistics services.
With its immediate water access and four berths, its main port consists of 30 acres of developed land while the company's 140-acre industrial estate has been developed to suit needs ranging from storage to chemical mixing and loading. As noted on the company's website, facilities operate 24 hour per day, every day of the year. The company notes, "Throughout the years, GYSBI has expanded beyond the traditional pipe yards found in Guyana and today has 580+ employees, maintains an average of 95 per cent Guyanese, and is the leading shore base operator in Guyana."
NCB Capital Markets, a subsidiary of the NCB Financial Group, is also this month sponsoring the visit of a Jamaican delegation to Guyana and reiterated that it has long-term ambitions for brick and mortar operations there.
In January 2022 CEO Steven Gooden disclosed during a Jamaica Observer Business Forum, "In terms of entering Guyana, it is something that we are actively pursuing as we hope to be there this year. We've actually incorporated an entity there but we haven't yet started operations as we go through the regulatory processes."
He noted, "The infrastructure needs in Guyana are huge and the financing requirements are significantly larger than what the current financial system there can facilitate, so there are lots of opportunities for providing flexible financial solutions in that market to help drive economic growth in the country," Gooden further said.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has forecast that Guyana's overall real gross domestic product (GDP) for 2022 will grow at a rate of 57.8 per cent. Much of this is underpinned by the development of a nascent oil and gas sector, and spin-off developments.
The non-oil economy is also expected to continue growing at a rate 7.7 per cent this year, based on IMF projections, driven mainly by rebounds in rice farming, gold mining, and continued expansion in construction activity.
Gooden expounded in January, "Our objective is to be the leading investment bank in the Caribbean — the focus now is to continue the build-out, especially at the hub levels, so that on entering markets we can build our presence in each region."
This week Gooden said that his group was interested in " arranging access to the right scale and type of financing that can navigate a fast-paced, commodity-based environment".
NCB Financial Group's subsidiary NCB Capital Markets (Guyana) Inc is noted in the NCB Financial Group's 2021 report as being inactive. Guyana would be a new operating zone for the financial group.
Currently the group operates mainly via four geographical segments — Jamaica, Trinidad & Tobago, Dutch Antilles, and Bermuda. It operates in life and health insurance and pension fund management, and general insurance segments within all four geographical segments, and primarily in Jamaica within the commercial and consumer, payment services, corporate banking, treasury and correspondent banking and wealth, asset management and investment banking segments.
Jamaica represents 58.17 per cent (2020 – 38.7 per cent), Trinidad & Tobago represents 15.29 per cent (2020 – 26. per cent), Bermuda represents 5.34 per cent (2020 – 4.8 per cent) and Dutch Antilles represents 8.86 per cent (2020 – 17.0 per cent) of total operating income for NCB Capital Markets.
Altogether, the group currently serves markets in 21 territories across the English- and Dutch-speaking Caribbean including Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados, Jamaica, Curaçao, Aruba, St Maarten and Bonaire. Guardian Group's products and services are also marketed throughout the eastern Caribbean, The Bahamas, Cayman Islands, US Virgin Islands and Belize.