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Pan-Jam branches out with property investments overseas

Published:Friday | April 8, 2016 | 4:00 AM
The headquarters of Pan-Jamaican Investment Trust sits at the top of this building in New Kingston.

Pan-Jam branches out with property investments overseas

Steven Jackson

Senior Business Reporter

Property conglo-merate Pan-Jamaican Investment Trust Limited is investing more in overseas markets, real estate assets in North America now valued at $900 million, including a stake in a hotel in Miami set to open this year.

Pan-Jam this week mapped out four real estate investments in North America through various subsidiaries and partners, which extend beyond its initial interests in Canada to the United States (US).

The investments in the US were valued at approximately $500 million as at December 2015.

Pan-Jam has a 20 per cent interest in a business hotel development close to the Miami airport that is expected to open at the end of 2016, an investment made through PJ-AL Corp, a subsidiary incorporated in Florida in 2015.

The conglomerate is also in a limited partnership which invests in New York commercial and residential property, according to the chief financial officer, Paul Hanworth, in response to emailed queries by the Financial Gleaner.

There are currently two ongoing real estate projects in Canada in which Pan-Jam is engaged, called Downing Street Fund II and Downing Street Fund V, which show a carrying value of just over $400 million at December 2015. Downing Street are also the partners with which the group acquired the former Oceana Hotel in Kingston last year.

The Stephen Facey-led conglomerate said it began investing in Canada "many years ago"; then in 2013, the group renewed an old relationship with a firm known to it for many years and started investing in real estate projects.

Pan-Jam operates two subsidiaries in Canada called Norbury Investments Limited and Palisadoes Investments Limited.

"We have invested in the two Downing Street funds through Norbury Investments Limited. Palisadoes Investments Limited is a newly formed subsidiary with no operating assets," Hanworth said.

The group is "happy" with the developments so far and would consider additional investments if new projects are sufficiently compelling.

Pan-Jam's real estate investments dot much of the Kingston skyline. The group's latest developments include the 129-room Courtyard by Marriott in New Kingston, which opened last October. Pan-Jam celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2015 year and has diversified over time from solely operating a property venture to a multifaceted entity with stakes in many locally known brands. Pan-Jam investments include stakes in financial conglomerate Sagicor Group, Chukka Caribbean Adventures Limited, Mavis Bank Coffee Factory Limited, and Walkerswood and Busha Browne's spices through New Castle Company Limited.

The group made annual profit of $3.25 billion at year end December 2015, up from $2.85 billion the previous year. Its revenue, at $1.89 billion, dipped slightly from $1.9 billion a year earlier. Core property revenue slipped from $1.55 billion to $1.48 billion, due in part to the departure of a "prominent" but unnamed tenant from space in New Kingston.

Still, the company's bottom line benefited from the 13.7 per cent rise in its profit share from associated companies.

The bulk of Pan-Jam's earnings comes from Sagicor Group. In 2014, Sagicor generated returns of $2.69 billion for Pan-Jam; this year, it accounted for $3.05 billion.

steven.jackson@gleanerjm.com