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Sterling investments lists on US$ equity market

Published:Sunday | April 3, 2016 | 4:00 AMSteven Jackson
A section of the complex housing the Jamaica Stock Exchange at Harbour Street, Kingston.

Sterling Investments Limited (SIL) listed its shares on the US-dollar equities index last Friday in order to make the stocks more attractive to hard currency investors, the company said.

The stock already trades in the Jamaica Stock Exchange (JSE) main market denominated in Jamaican dollars, and the listing will therefore allow investors to trade shares in the currency of their choice.

"A US-dollar listing will increase the attractiveness of the stock to international investors who are concerned about currency risk. It will, therefore, make it easier to raise funds from a wider market should the company wish to do so in the future," said Charles Ross, a director of SIL.

SIL was listed on the main market back in October 2014 and from the start envisioned a stock that would allow investors to trade freely in both United States and Jamaican dollars.

At the Friday listing, the company said it finally realised that ambition. There are no immediate plans to raise funds arising from the listing, but the company will soon launch an initiative which will make it easier for existing shareholders to increase their investment in the company.

 

EARNING US DIVIDENDS

 

Already, SIL investors are accustomed to earning their dividends in United States dollars, but with the US-dollar listing, they now have the option to buy and sell their shares in US dollars by merely instructing their respective brokers.

In August 2012, Sterling Asset Management, the parent company of SIL, designed a product specifically for pension funds and Jamaican-dollar earners to protect them from devaluation, inflation and debt exchanges.

This was the genesis of SIL, a St Lucia-based holding company investing in high-quality hard currency assets.

SIL is only the second company to have listings on both the Jamaican dollar and US dollar boards on the stock exchange in Jamaica.

The company primarily invests in high-quality, liquid US-dollar fixed income securities in the global capital markets and invests a small percentage of its capital in select private equity projects.

The most recent financials, dated December 31, 2015, show the company produces a net profit of J$71.2 million, an increase of 21.5 per cent over the previous year.

In the last year alone, SIL had a successful rights issue and a stock split, making it more affordable for the ordinary investor.

Early investors in the fund include ATL Pension Fund, GraceKennedy Pension Fund and Cable & Wireless Pension Fund. The company is chaired by Derek Jones, an experienced and respected attorney-at-law. Other directors include Michael Bernard, a retired businessman, and Maxim Rochester, an auditing and accounting expert. NCB Capital Markets was the lead broker for the listing.

steven.jackson@gleanerjm.com