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JSE general manager wants more companies to list

Published:Friday | January 1, 2016 | 1:00 AM
Marlene Street Forrest, general manager of Jamaica Stock Exchange Group

JSE general manager wants more companies to list

General Manager of the Jamaica Stock Exchange (JSE), Marlene Street Forrest, is encouraging more local companies to list on the stock market, which in 2015 performed the best worldwide.

She said that registering on the JSE can generate several benefits for small and medium-sized businesses, in addition to raising capital to grow their operations.

"What we have found is that once a company comes to market and is in good and regular standing, when they go to the bank for loan financing, the bank is very receptive to them, and they can negotiate their rates down. It's a daily advertisement of their companies and they are attractive to outsiders who want to do business with them," Street Forest told JIS News.

Last week, noted international magazine Bloomberg listed the JSE as the top-performing stock market in the world this year.

Bloomberg reported on December 23 that the JSE surged more than 80 per cent in 2015, with 29 of the 57 stocks traded on the main and junior markets seeing year-over-year post-tax profits rise by 10 per cent or more.

Inspires confidence

Street Forrest said the recognition came after considerable effort to win the confidence of local investors.

"Our technology is among the best in the world, our regulatory framework is good, and these are the things that inspire confidence," she said.

"We are very proactive in terms of looking at the interest of the investor, and I think persons have realised that the way the market operates is comparable to any other in the world," she added.

The JSE general manager said she hopes the acknowledgement will bring international recognition to the Jamaican stock market and further boost the country's efforts to grow the economy.

"Jamaica may bring to mind rum daiquiris and Bob Marley," wrote Ezra Fieser of Bloomberg, "but its stock market had a better year than any other across the globe."

Bloomberg, a popular financial media company headquartered in Manhattan, New York, compared the JSE to 92 markets it tracks.

More than 20 local stocks doubled their price on the exchange with listed companies, including the Jamaica Stock Exchange, gaining 920 per cent, Caribbean Cement up more than 650 per cent and Desnoes & Geddes increasing by 500 per cent.

The JSE remains bullish based on foreign acquisitions, strong profit growth from companies and an increase in consumer and business confidence, according to statements from the JSE in its latest financials explaining the bull run.

The Bloomberg article also referenced Carl Bennett, a vice-president of investor relations at Bank of New York Mellon, who argued that growth could continue in 2016 based on possible initial public offerings of state-owned enterprises led by the Petroleum Company of Jamaica, which operates an islandwide network of petroleum service stations and liquefied petroleum gas-filling plants.

business@gleanerjm.com