MONTEGO BAY, St James — President of the Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce Oral Heaven is looking forward to seeing more companies headquartered in the western city and surrounding areas listed on the Jamaica Stock Exchange.
To help them get over their hesitancy, the business grouping is helping small businesses put structures in place that will make them more amenable to being open to public scrutiny.
"I can't name the companies but there are actually three companies that I am in discussions with the leaders, and they're actually big companies too with $300-500 million turnover. They are putting the structures in place," an excited Heaven, who is also a financial advisor, told the Jamaica Observer.
"One is ready to list; I'm just sorting out some stuff with that one. You have another that is working on say two to three years. When I look at it, it can go in two years but I guess they want to increase the earnings close to $500 million," he added.
His enthusiasm comes as the Jamaica Stock Exchange welcomes its 100th listed company with One on One Educational Services Limited now on the Junior Market.
Heaven believes St James will benefit commercially if more companies from the parish are listed. He conceded, however, that the scrutiny that comes with being a publicly traded company may discourage some enterprises.
"Listing on the stock exchange now exposes you to a lot of things, good things and what some small companies would consider bad things. Because now you are a public company and you have to share your financials, your earnings with John Public. A lot of persons, especially companies that start out of family, they're not open to readily share that information," he said.
"For them to be listed on the stock exchange they have to be structured, the accounting has to be right. That's one of the things we're looking at, at the chamber. We are working with the Honey Bun Foundation to assist small businesses as it relates to proper accounting, leadership structure, HR structure, etcetera," he added.
By his count, there are now about seven listed companies with roots in the western end of the country. These include Caribbean Producers Jamaica, GWest, Ciboney, Cargo Handlers, Knutsford Express, Dolphin Cove, and Margaritaville.